What To Do When Your Partner Lies To You

It’s too tiresome to try and build a future with someone you can’t trust. That said, sometimes lies happen. They can be big, like him not revealing he’s actually married with kids. (Yikes.) They can also be small, like when he tells you he loves the dinner you made even if it’s not very good. Reacting to both kinds is valid. If you’ve caught your partner in a lie of any type, here are the best ways to move forward.

  1. Ask yourself why. You can also ask them why, but sometimes you might be able to figure it out best by yourself. That seems a bit counterproductive, especially since communication is very important between serious couples. However, go over the scenarios in your head first about why they’d lie. Were they trying to hide something on purpose? Maybe they were stuck between a rock and a hard place and just didn’t know the best way to deliver a certain piece of news. The way you respond to this lie will help both of you within the relationship. If it’s a fairly new relationship and they lied to spare your feelings on something minor, just tell them that next time, the truth would work best no matter what.
  2. Check the calendar. Sometimes partners lie to try and hide a good surprise. If you caught your partner in a strange lie about their whereabouts and it happens to be a day before your birthday, there’s a good chance it’s related. The same goes for your anniversary. If the two of you discussed getting married and your partner seems extra suspicious about their phone these days, they may be browsing for a ring or a proposal idea. Not all lies have bad intentions behind them.
  3. If it’s a big lie, don’t put your feelings aside. It’s possible you were a side piece without even realizing it. There’s nothing more painful than realizing that your feelings don’t match those of your partner, and oftentimes, a big reveal like that means that your relationship should end immediately. If they hid a secret relationship from you, there’s no going back from that. Likewise, if a guy tells you he’s “in the process of a divorce,” tread carefully. You never know how far along it is, and it’s possible their wife didn’t get the memo just yet.
  4. If it’s a lie about their own capabilities, step back entirely. As humans, we’re not expected to be great at everything, so if you’re dating someone who claims they’re a great chef and their meals leave a lot to be desired, it’s possible they might not realize their shortcomings. What else are they inflating? It’s normal to want to showcase the things you’re good at, but if someone’s all talk, they can come off sounding more like a narcissist.
  5. Was the lie harmless? Harmless lies are things like, “Sure, I could go for dessert” when they’re already full. They don’t hurt anyone and usually, people don’t really know about them. Sometimes, people will stretch truths as a way to try and get to spend more time with you. Staying up too late and downplaying a big meeting they have in the morning is another example. They might not be as prepared or may need an extra cup of coffee, but it’s probably not going to ruin anything long-term. If you feel upset, then the lie isn’t harmless — and you have reason to believe it might be a pattern throughout your entire relationship.
  6. Figuring out how to process being lied to. If it’s a hurtful, harmful, or gigantic lie, you need to step away from the situation immediately. If your partner happens to be a serial liar, you’ll need some time to sit down and put all of the pieces together. There’s no one right way to handle being lied to since every relationship is different. But, you should continue distancing yourself from anyone who might have put you in danger by not being honest. Even if it’s a small lie, you might need a little bit of space to figure out how you want to handle the relationship going forward. Trust your instincts. It’s better to be single than with a partner who just can’t tell the truth.
  7. If you’re married, consider counseling. If you’re engaged, that’s an even bigger reason to hit up a therapist, since you need to solve these issues before making it official. A relationship counselor might also save you from making a big mistake. If your partner can’t stop lying, save yourself the grief and call off the wedding now. Even love can’t excuse a chronic liar.
  8. Block them on social media. When you deal with a big liar, you never know the lengths they might take to preserve their lies. The best thing to do is part ways. Consider this relationship to have been a learning experience, and move on. Block them on social media, since their statuses will only upset you further. Remember, you deserve the truth.
Karen Belz is a New Jersey native who is currently living in Maryland. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Speech Communication with a focus in Broadcasting and Print Media Studies from Millersville University of Pennsylvania. Since graduating, she has written for sites like LittleThings, HelloGiggles, and Scary Mommy and is currently an e-commerce editor at Bustle.

When she's not writing, she enjoys making her phone run out of memory after taking too many photos of her dog. You can find her on Twitter @karenebelz or on Instagram @karenbelz.