8 Common Signs Of A Lying Spouse And How To Deal With It

Marriages are made in heaven, but in some cases, they do not turn out as planned, especially if a partner is unfaithful and you notice signs the spouse is lying. Have you ever noticed your spouse suddenly locking their social media apps with extra security or lying to you that they were busy at the office while being out at a party? These are the signs that you must identify to understand the problem and prove that the stories are a complete fabrication. An unfaithful partner can destroy a relationship and cause irreparable damage to the relationship. Sometimes, it might just be a communication problem, and a heartfelt conversation is sometimes all you need to get your relationship back on track. Read on to know your partner is lying, common signs of a liar, and how to deal with the situation.

In This Article

Common Signs To Tell Your Spouse Is Lying

You may know your spouse very well but still find it difficult to discover their attempts at prevarication or evasion from simple questions. Either they are too good at lying, or you are too naïve. Don’t worry. A little observation of their body language can help you discover their lies.

The most common sign of lying is to avoid eye contact. You ask your spouse a question, and if they are sharing a misleading untruth, they will usually answer you without looking at you. It shows that they do not want to share any information with you and want to avoid conversations altogether. They had to use subterfuge on this occasion to evade answering and avoid being caught.

  1. Avoids eye contact: The most common sign of lying is when your spouse avoids eye contact. If your spouse usually answers you without looking at you when you ask them a question, it is a clear indicator that they are lying. It shows they do not want to share any information with you and want to avoid the conversation altogether.
  1. Evades direct answer: You ask your spouse, “Did you drink with a friend last night?” Their reply will be, “Why would I do that?” or “Why did you ask me this?” They will ask you back to assess your reaction and take some time to come up with answers that bring them the least trouble. They will also do this to check if you really know something, and if you don’t, they will use it against you and take you on a guilt trip for doubting them.

    Evading direct answer is a sign spouse is lying

    Image: IStock

  1. Uses too many word fillers: If caught off guard, your spouse may fumble and buy time to come up with a lie. They will use many fillers, such as “umm” or “err.” They might also appear distracted and fidgety because they are nervous. Sometimes, their tone may become formal, which may indicate the pressure to maintain the lie. In this case, you should not resort to anger and keep track of the instances. You should not forgive for their mendacity.
  1. Takes too much time to reply: Suppose you ask your spouse a simple question, such as, “Did you go to the bank?” They will not answer with a straight “yes” or “no,” but try to act busy with something only to buy time and come up with a reasonable answer.
  1. Changes their body language: If a person is lying and feels nervous, it will show frequently in some degree in their awkward body language. They will shrug their shoulders, sweat a little more, play with their hair, and try to hide behind physical objects such as chairs or tables. If you observe keenly, you will notice that their body language is unusual, and they are hiding something.
  1. Changes their tone or speech: When lying, your spouse may suddenly start to stutter or make a slip of the tongue. They may also speak faster than usual, hoping to end the conversation. The tone of their speech may also change, and they may act sweet, using endearments they don’t usually use.

    Changes their tone of speech

    Image: IStock

  1. Does not stick to one story: Ask them to describe an incident and ask again in a few days. If their answers vary, they may be lying. Additionally, you may notice that their statements become ambiguous and they keep on trying to convince with equivocation. This is not foolproof because your spouse may have a poor memory. But if they are lying, every time you ask them about an event or incident, their stories will keep changing. This clearly indicates bluffing .
protip_icon Point to consider
Research suggests that liars display lower cognitive complexity, use fewer self-references, and use more negative words compared to truthful people.(1)
  1. Keeps their phone locked and away from you: If your spouse hides something, they will make sure that their phone is out of bounds for you. They will lock it with a code and may even keep it on silent mode most of the time. When you are around, they will immediately lock the phone. If they answer calls far away from you, they do not want you to know certain things and may even lie to you.

A blogger behind the blog ‘Little Ms. Goody Two Shoes’ shares her experience of how she ignored her husband’s lying habit until it was too late for her to control the damage. She says, “He lied to everyone but me. It was a character flaw, or so I had thought. It wasn’t always lying…he just had a way of embellishing the truth and leaving out facts. It wasn’t like he was a bad guy for wanting to entertain people with his exaggerations. I can admit now that I was never a fan of this trait, but relationships require patience and acceptance, and I was a dutiful wife after all. And his exaggerations and lies were for everyone but me. He was honest with me, I told myself. Except he wasn’t. I didn’t even realize how far back the lies went until after it was over and I was no longer blinded by love. The trouble with a lie, one single white lie or omission of truth, is that it can make you question everything and anything that person ever told you (i).”

Probable Reasons Why Your Spouse Lies To You

The reason why someone lies differs for each person and situation. Here are some of the most likely reasons why your spouse lies to you.

  1. To avoid hurting you: You may often seek your partner’s advice on small things such as your clothes, work samples, or any routine incident or event in your life. Sometimes, your spouse may notice that you made a mistake, but to avoid hurting you, they may lie. This lie is usually harmless and often used to give you instant happiness.
  1. To look good in your eyes: Your spouse may have created a certain image of themselves in their mind that they would like to preserve. They may try to live up to the image so that you will continue to love them. They may lie about qualities they do not possess, and by doing so, they may try to get the admiration and respect they want.

    Your spouse may lie to look good in your eyes

    Image: IStock

  1. To control the amount of information you have: Some people don’t like to provide others with too much information about themselves. It doesn’t matter if you are married to them; they will still hide certain details of their lives. For example, if you ask your spouse what their family or siblings do, they may not respond directly to you. This may be because they are embarrassed about their background or don’t want you to know everything about them.
  1. To derive thrill out of lying: Your spouse may lie to get some thrill. By withholding information, they feel that they can control what you know and understand.
  1. To avoid explanation: It may be that your partner thinks you may endlessly ask them about what they have done or plan to do. To them, this may seem troublesome, and lying is an easy way out. For example, they spend time with friends but lie to you that they are working. It’s not that they want to hide something, but they are worried that you might think they are spending time with friends drinking too much alcohol, or even flirting. Thus, they may lie to avoid explanation.
  1. To avoid confrontation: You may hate your partner doing a certain thing. But if they can’t stop doing it, they will lie to you about it. For example, whenever you are away, they tend to stay outside late at night drinking wantonly. When you ask them, they will deny it to avoid a dispute with you.
    protip_icon Point to consider
    Your spouse may lie because they think that the timing is not right to disclose something important. In this case, they will ultimately tell you the truth, maybe in a few days, weeks or months.

    Your spouse may lie to avoid confrontation

    Image: Shutterstock

  1. To break up with you: This may not always be the case, but it is not impossible. Your partner may not want to continue the relationship with you and sees no reason for telling you everything, so they choose to lie. They may hope that you will eventually get a whiff of it.

How To Deal With A Lying Spouse

Perhaps you are right about your partner lying to you. But what can you do about it? Here are some ways to deal with a lying spouse.

  1. Observe their habit of lying: First, you need to understand the reason behind the falsification. Are they lying to cover up their bad habit? Do they lie when you ask for their opinion on something? Are they lying to hide something from you? You need to understand if there are certain patterns to it or if they are a habitual liar.
  1. Discuss the issue with them: If your partner is a habitual liar, confront them. Tell them how their habit of lying affects you and undermines the trust factor in the relationship. If they lie to protect your feelings, assure them that they can be honest with you. They can speak to you without being dishonest about their feelings. Try to find a way to resolve the problem.

    Discuss the issue to deal with a lying spouse

    Image: Shutterstock

  1. Change your attitude: In most cases, your partner may be lying because they cannot handle your reaction to it. After discussing with your partner, try to reflect on your reaction to see if you can bring any change that will enable honest communication between you and your partner.
protip_icon Quick tip
Do not set up a situation where you can ‘catch them’ in a lie. Instead, tell them they’ve been dishonest, and gently explain that you feel betrayed.
  1. Consult a marriage counselor: Seek help from a marriage counselor if your partner continues to lie despite all your efforts. Your partner may have stopped lying, but you may be judging your partner based on your past experiences. A marriage counselor can help you look at things objectively.

Should You Confront Deception in a Relationship?

Yes, addressing deception in a relationship is essential, but it is crucial to approach the situation with care and consideration. Instead of immediately confronting the person, take some time to gather your thoughts and emotions. Reflect on the specific behavior that raised concerns and try understanding the context. When you decide to talk, choose a calm and private setting. Express your feelings using ‘I’ statements to avoid sounding like you are blaming the person, focusing on your emotions rather than placing blame. Encourage open communication and be prepared to listen to the other person’s perspective. Building trust takes time, and both partners must be committed to understanding and resolving issues for the relationship to thrive. If the deception is causing a lot of distress, seeking the guidance of a relationship counselor or therapist may provide additional support and facilitate a healthier resolution.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How does lying in a marriage affect the relationship?

Lying can lead to losing trust in your partner and other related issues. You may believe that only big lies can have an impact on your relationship. However, even minor and infrequent lies can gradually lead to distrust of your spouse for you, shaking the foundation of a healthy relationship.

2. When to leave a lying spouse?

It is entirely up to you if you want to stick to your spouse or leave them. But, before making any decision, try to resolve the issue and confront your partner about their behavior. Also, make your decision with a clear and calm mind; don’t do it when you’re agitated and angry, to make sure you don’t regret later.

3. What is pocketing in a relationship?

Pocketing in a relationship refers to when one partner intentionally hides the other person from their social circle and personal life, keeping them separate and not fully involved in public and private activities.

4. Is it possible for someone to be a good liar and not show any signs of deception?

Yes, some people can lie skillfully without showing any obvious signs of lying. They can excel in communication, managing their emotions, and pretending to be truthful, making it challenging for others to decipher their lying behaviors.

Avoiding eye contact while speaking, not answering you directly, altered behavior, and changes in tone of speech are some common signs your spouse is lying to you. Many of us resort to telling white lies when in difficult situations. However, dishonesty is not an acceptable trait in intimate relationships. Also, lying could create unwanted friction between you and your partner and ruin your trust. Hence, if you find your spouse lying to you often, try to deal with them calmly and find a solution to this habit before the situation worsens.

Infographic: Effects Of A Lying Spouse On A Marriage

If you have just found out that your spouse has been lying to you about certain things, it is also necessary to know what effects it might have on the integrity and status of your relationship. In the following infographic, we have enlisted points that highlight the same and will help you know better.

effects of a lying spouse on a marriage (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Get high-quality PDF version by clicking below.

Download Infographic in PDF version Download Infographic
Download Infographic in PDF version

Key Pointers

  • Lies and deceit in a marriage can destroy a relationship.
  • Avoiding eye contact, taking more than usual time to answer your questions, changes in tone and body language, etc., are some of the common signs that your spouse is lying.
  • Talking to your partner about your suspicions or asking a neutral friend or marriage counselor to intervene can help you find an answer to your queries.

Do you feel concerned about your partner’s honesty? Spare a moment to watch this video to gain insights into potential signs your partner might be hiding something from you.

Personal Experience: Source


MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/8436708_Lying_Words_Predicting_Deception_from_Linguistic_Styles
Was this article helpful?
The following two tabs change content below.