“If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.”
Most of us aren’t natural liars, so we can get into such a tangle when we lie. Interestingly, psychologist Robert S. Feldman’s research shows that 60% of people lie at least once in a 10-minute conversation. With all this lying going on, the question that arises is how to spot a liar in a relationship?
There’s nothing more devastating than having someone cheat on you. Then again, suspecting you’re being lied to in a relationship and that cheating is going on is perhaps worse.
If this is you and you’re wondering how to spot a liar in a relationship, look for changes in your partner’s behavior. You can find a full list of details in this article that can help you understand when your spouse lies to you and is actually cheating.
How to spot a liar in a relationship- 15 signs
When a spouse lies to you, they will give away little signs unless they’re a pathological liar. This personality disorder involves changes in brain connections and only happens to about 8% to 13% of the population, according to psychiatric research.
Assuming that’s not your partner, here are some proven clues for how to spot a liar in a relationship:
Everyone exhibits different physical signs of lying because we feel uncomfortable when deceiving someone. That’s why we fidget or even unconsciously protect our vulnerable areas such as the throat, nose, and face. Liars might also stand in a very stiff and awkward way, almost as if they’re under the spotlight.
The voice usually gives people away when they lie. So, listen to their tone and rhythm for how to tell if your spouse is lying to you. Of course, how to detect lies in a relationship assumes that you have a baseline to compare to.
Then again, if you’re new to the relationship and seeing some lying spouse signs, it’s very likely that they are lying. As research shows, our unconscious mind is a great lie detector and a useful ally for how to spot a liar in a relationship.
3. Facial expressions
Have you noticed the flash of a smirk or a frown? Is that what’s got you wondering how to spot a liar in a relationship?
Our faces give lots of clues to look out for when wondering how to tell when a guy or girl is lying to you. So, look for strange movements in the eyes, over-staring, or if they keep looking at the door.
If you’re wondering how to tell if your partner is lying, start by observing them. Do they seem weirdly calm or overly agitated, for instance? What about suddenly taking too much care of their appearance? They might also disappear at weird times during the day or night without explanation.
If you want to know how to spot a liar in a relationship, listen to how often they advocate honesty and deny lying. Those little phrases “I never said that” might suddenly pop up more than usual.
If you want to know how to tell if a guy or girl is lying to you, listen to their words. If they don’t give enough details about their stories, it’s very likely they’re lying.
This often comes with a certain self-assurance because most men think they’re good liars, as research shows. On the flip side, some people get so nervous that they overcompensate their stories with too much information.
Listen for inconsistencies in what your partner is saying when working out how to spot a liar in a relationship. Somehow their stories never seem to add up and they can sound evasive. You’ll hear them double backing on themselves or correcting something they said earlier that day.
That’s why learning how to spot a liar in a relationship also involves listening to counter-accusations. Perhaps you’ve asked a very innocent question about their day and they launch into a tirade of how you also take days off. Being lied to in a relationship leads to confusion, doubt, and finally disdain.
9. Avoids I or We
Liars tend to leave themselves out of their fabricated stories. It’s probably one of the easiest methods to note when wondering how to spot a liar in a relationship. Liars tend to talk about other people perhaps even with the vague hope that they can blame those people if it all goes wrong.
Other phrases lying spouses might use could be “to be honest”, “to tell you the truth”, “believe me” or anything else along those lines. These signs of a lying spouse will be different for everyone but if your partner suddenly starts using new phrases, you can raise an alarm.
10. Changes in breathing
Lying to a spouse often comes with changes in breathing. Some might hold their breath or start speaking and breathing really fast. These traits are linked to guilt and the internal conflict that’s going on with your partner. So, spotting a liar in a relationship means looking at how uncomfortable they appear.
Have you noticed you’re arguing more often about strangely small things?
Lying to your partner can make someone defensive so they react to every little thing you say and do. So, if you’re puzzled about how the dynamics have recently changed, perhaps you should consider confronting your spouse.
There are many reasons why people lie but they usually start with some form of discomfort and anxiety. People try to hide something about themselves when they lie. That then usually translates to not being able to be physically close to the object of their lying.
This form of manipulation necessarily comes with lying. It can involve holding back information or denying your feelings about very real situations.
A Medical News Today article goes through more examples. Either way, how to tell when a guy or girl is lying can leave you feeling belittled. Then there’s a high probability that you’re dealing with the signs of a lying spouse.
If you want to find out more about dealing with gaslighting, watch this video featuring clinical psychologist Dr. Ramani Durvasula:
14. Strange phone habits
Mobile phones are great tools for working out how to spot a liar in a relationship. For example, has your partner suddenly become very protective of their phone? Do they turn their back on you and hunch over their phone while messaging? These could be sure signs of a lying and cheating spouse.
As mentioned earlier, our unconscious mind is a fantastic lie detector. The answer to how to spot a liar in a relationship, therefore, lies in listening to your gut. The best way to do this is to find a calm and quiet spot so you can breathe and listen to your body.
Then, try to feel what’s going on. Do you get uncomfortable sensations across your skin, shoulders, stomach, or anywhere else when you think about your spouse? As therapist Caroline Donofrio shares in this article, if you feel heavy, tight, and have a sense of dread, you’re probably dealing with a lying partner.
Dealing with the signs of a lying spouse
It’s ok when your spouse lies about little things such as spending a little bit more on those shoes or suits. On the flip side, lying to your partner about themselves or their lives can lead to disaster. The good news, though, is that you can reclaim your relationship with a bit of work.
First, how to spot a liar in a relationship means getting curious. Ask them questions but don’t be aggressive about it. For instance, it’s ok to ask for more details such as “who was at lunch.” Showing interest is perfectly valid.
Once you have your evidence when things don’t add up, you’ll have to ask yourself why your partner is lying and then how to confront them about it.
Why does my partner lie to me?
As researchers have shown, people lie as a defense mechanism. They might be worried about their reputation or ashamed about something they’ve done. Sometimes people also fear their partners’ reactions and don’t want to disappoint them. Think about someone who’s trying to give up smoking but sneaks the odd cigarette here and there.
Harsh as this might sound when we spot physical signs of lying, we also need to ask ourselves what role we’ve played in this dynamic. Over-criticizing or nit-picking can push someone over the edge to become that lying spouse we all dread.
After you’ve answered the question “how to spot a liar in a relationship,” you now need to go into action before it spirals out of control and destroys your relationship. If you’re stumped with what to do when your spouse lies, first consider if you’re willing to forgive them.
Once you know that you’re willing to fight for this relationship, you can talk to them gently and with compassion. The non-violent communication framework is very helpful with this. You basically use I statements and talk about how you feel. Tell your partner that you’re in pain and want to know how to help them so that you can improve things together.
Common questions about lying and deception
How to spot a liar in a relationship isn’t just about going down a checklist. You also need to check in with your emotions and give yourself lots of self-compassion. All relationships have ups and downs, and there’s always the option to talk it out before making radical changes.
Some of these questions and answers might help you get started:
How does lying impact a relationship?
As mentioned, it’s common when a spouse lies about little things. On the other hand, big lies can be one of the things that destroy a relationship if you let them go too far. Without trust, you can’t build a solid foundation for a healthy marriage, and you’ll soon find yourselves alienating each other.
Can a relationship recover when your spouse lies to you?
What to do when your spouse lies starts with talking to them and creating a safe space together. Assuming you can forgive them, you’ll need to set boundaries and ground rules for how trust and honesty work for you both in this relationship. If both partners are willing to make an effort, then, with time and patience, relationships can recover.
Do liars ever change?
The majority of people aren’t pathological liars, which means they can change if they want to. It also depends on what triggered them to start lying. If they feel insecure in the relationship, they won’t ever stop lying until they can be themselves. Assuming they know what they need, then yes, anyone can change with personal work, as neuroscientists can now prove to us with their research on brain plasticity.
Innate liars bring misery to people around them. How to spot a liar in a relationship can mean trying to understand if someone has grown up with lying as the tool they use to operate within the world. If that’s the case, stay away.
That’s because it often means they have some sort of mental disorder, and unless you’re willing to support them through therapy, it’s often best to stay away from the start. It’s not your responsibility to fix them.
How to tell if your partner is lying?
If you’re wondering, “why does my partner lie to me” then look for the signs. Don’t just rely on one sign but look for a combination of their body, facial and speech cues. Also, what’s changed in their behavior, and whether they suddenly appear more cagey than usual after certain triggers.
How to detect lies in a relationship means first looking for the signs. Once you’re convinced, you have to talk to them. There’s no easy way around this one. Be honest about how you feel and ask them what they need from you to help them stop lying.
Listen and empathize with them and show them that you want to support them but that lying needs to stop. Their response will then allow you to decide how you want to move forward.
As you can see, there are many signs for how to spot a liar in a relationship. These range from physical clues to verbal and behavioral ones. The tough task for you will be to understand what to do with this information. Assuming you want to fight for your relationship, find a quiet time to talk to your partner and be open about what you would like to change.
Be supportive but listen to how they respond. Then, be brave and keep to your moral values, and everything else should eventually fall into place.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Sylvia Smith loves to share insights on how couples can revitalize their love lives in and out of the bedroom. As a writer at Marriage.com, she is a big believer in living consciously and encourages couples to adopt this principle in their lives too. Sylvia believes that every couple can transform their relationship into a happier, healthier one by taking purposeful and wholehearted action.