Marriages are built on open communication, trust and honesty.
These are the fundamentals of any relationship.
You start off on cloud nine, completely loved up and utterly besotted.
As your marriage continues, it becomes a security blanket of mutual trust, honest and communication.
But what happens when he starts lying to you?
You can’t trust someone who isn’t telling you the truth, even if those lies are seemingly innocent.
Your wedding vows say “until death do us part”.
But nowhere does it mention what you should do if your husband is lying.
Here are 9 steps to deal with your lying husband.
1) Work out when he’s lying to you
You know your husband is lying to you, but do you catch it in the moment, or after he’s done? It’s important to try and pick up on it as it’s happening.
If you ask behavioural specialists, they’ll tell you there are tell-tale signs when someone is lying to you. It’s all in their body language.
You can use the body cues to catch him in a lie as it happens. Here’s some of the things you should be looking out for:
- Does he stop to scratch his nose?
- Does his nose turn red?
- Does he fidget?
- Does he cover his mouth?
- Does he rub his ear?
- Does he avoid eye contact?
Here’s body language cues can give you a good hint if any deception is taking place, especially if you know how to read them. However, the signs of lying go beyond just body language.
If you’re after more solid evidence that you’re not receiving the whole truth from him, then be on the look out for the following:
- Is he being vague and leaving out important details? If he’s hiding the truth this is a common way to try and get around it without you noticing.
- Does he sound unsure? You’ve been married for five year, why does he suddenly sound nervous when he’s around you? It’s probably because he’s in the process of covering up a lie and worries about getting caught.
- Does he respond with indifference? Whether he shrugs in response, has zero expression or emotion, or simply seems like he couldn’t care less, he may be trying to hide his emotions so you can’t see what’s going on.
- Is he overthinking his answer? You ask a simple question, while he launches into an essay of an answer. He’s trying to deceive by providing more information than you asked for to try and put you at ease.
So, while body language is important, you also need to pay attention to the signals he’s giving off. This will help you catch him out in a lie – big or small.
2) Ask them to tell their story backwards
Ok, so now you’re well equipped to catch him out when he’s lying, so what’s the best way to deal with it?
We have a few tricks up our sleeve to help you out and put him on the spot.
One of these is to ask him to tell his story in reverse. There has been some research to suggest that if you ask someone to tell their story backwards – and not in chronological order – they’re more likely to slip up on their lie.
Let’s face it, telling a lie is much more stressful than telling the truth.
It takes a lot more focus and concentration and uses up far more mental energy in the process.
Makes you wonder why people bother in the first place, doesn’t it?
By asking him to tell his story backwards and looking out for the signs mentioned above, you have an even better chance of catching him out.
After all, you don’t want to accuse him of lying without the proof in your hands. These first steps are crucial when it comes to dealing with a lying husband.
3) Consider why he is lying
Now that you are certain he is lying to you and know how to catch him out in the moment, consider exactly why he might be lying to you.
People lie all the time.
In fact, a 2004 Reader’s Digest poll found that at least 96% of people admitted to lying at some point.
Generally, people lie to hide something from you.
It could be something small, like he ate the leftovers in the fridge that were meant for dinner.
Or it could be something much bigger, like he’s been cheating on you with someone else.
Or it could be a little white lie told to make him sound better, like he was a professional basketball player when he was younger.
There are so many different reasons to lie, and in order to know how to deal with your husband’s lies, it helps to work out why he’s lying in the first place.
It’s also important to weigh up how long he has been lying to you.
Was this a one off that you have noticed, or has it been going on for years?
If it has been going on for years, will you be able to rebuild that trust in your relationship moving forward? It’s a hard question to answer, but it’s something only you can answer.
When it comes to your husband, only you can decide what amount of lying is acceptable and what’s not.
Don’t look at your friend’s relationships.
Focus on yours and trust your gut feeling before you go on.
Once you’ve gathered your thoughts on why he’s lying and where you think it’s coming from, it’s time to prepare yourself for the conversation.
4) Don’t blame yourself
So, you know that he’s lying and you’re pretty sure you know why. Before you confront him about it, there’s one thing you need to tell yourself. It’s important that you don’t blame yourself for these lies.
If he’s cheating on you, it’s not your fault.
If he’s been meeting friends behind your back, it’s not your fault.
If he’s been telling white lies to make himself sound better, it’s not your fault.
It’s so easy to see yourself as the reason they lie – even when you have nothing to do with it. You almost become the scapegoat for the lies they have told.
He makes you feel like he had no choice but to lie because of the way you would react.
None of this is on you.
None of this is your fault.
So, don’t let him think that.
It’s important to recognise this before you go ahead and confront him about the lies, otherwise the conversation will very quickly turn on you and you’ll start blaming yourself.
Liars tend to be very manipulative people, so be sure to sort out your feelings and recognise that you have played no role in the lies. You’re not to blame.
5) Plan the conversation
There’s no point attacking your husband when he lies.
If he’s caught out in a lie and called up on it, he’s likely to get defensive and start lashing out at you.
There’s no good that will come out of this type of confrontation.
Instead, think the conversation through before having it.
What do you want to get out of confronting him?
If it’s something serious – such as he’s cheating on you – then you need to consider your own emotions first before confronting him.
If it’s something smaller – such as, he avoided your work dinner and lied about having plans – it’s worth considering why he told this lie in the first place.
Don’t forget, either way it’s not your fault he lied. Understanding the context of his lie simply gives you a chance to think about how you approach it with him.
It may have been a genuine white lie that was told for the purpose of making you feel better – for example, telling you he’s sad you didn’t get the job, when secretly he prefers you don’t go back to work just yet. This is just his attempts at being supportive.
As you can see, understanding the context of the lie can completely change the way you feel about it.
At the end of the day, a lie is a lie and if it’s ongoing, it’s something you need to address in a relationship.
You can’t have honesty if one of you is lying.
6) Open up to him
Now’s the time to open up an honest conversation about the lies.
While it’s tempting to simply demand he stops lying to you – it’s never that simple.
Make sure you go into the conversation calmly and rationally.
If you’re feeling worked up or particularly angry, it’s best to walk away and attempt the conversation at a later date. It won’t get you anywhere.
- Firstly, never start by telling him you know he lied. Instead, give him the opportunity to admit this himself. There are plenty of different ways you can approach and encourage this: “I think there’s something going on that you don’t want me to know about? I think it’s time for you to share this with me so we can deal with it together”. This will let him know that you’re ready to be open and honest and that you aren’t here to attack him. It gives him the opportunity to get his feelings out in the open and explain why he lied in the first place.
- The next stage of the conversation is to share your feelings. You need to let him know exactly how those lies made you feel and why there’s no place for them in your relationship. He may have been lying to protect your feelings and thinking he was doing the right thing. You need to make it clear that lies aren’t OK, no matter the circumstances. And that it’s important you’re both open and honest with each other.
If the conversation does get heated, walk away.
Don’t get drawn in.
Don’t let him blame you.
If he does get worked up and defensive, it’s because he’s embarrassed about being caught out in a lie. He’s trying to drag you down with him by goading you into a fight.
Don’t take the bait.
Simply walk away, and have the conversation again at a later date when he’s calm again.
After he’s had some time for it all to sink in, it’s much easier to approach him again to open up that conversation.
7) Consider how your relationship has been affected
Now that the lies are out in the open, it’s time to consider the affect they’ve had on your relationship.
This means you need to consider how big the lie was and whether or not it has changed the way you feel about it.
A little white lie is unlikely to change the way you feel. However, if he’s been seeing someone behind your back and lying about it, that might.
Now is the chance to ask yourself some of the more difficult questions:
- Do I still love my husband after his lies?
- Do I still trust my husband after his lies?
- Have I seen a change in his behaviour since I confronted him?
- Do I forgive him for his lies?
If you answered no to one, or all of these, it’s time to consider where your relationship stands. This will be different for everyone, depending on the circumstances surrounding the lies and the pain that has been caused by them.
Once again, know that the decision of what to do next is in your hands.
Don’t let him feel like any of this is your fault. And that you owe it to him to give him a second chance.
He’s broken your trust – you owe him nothing.
It’s time to think about yourself and put yourself first.
What do you want?
Here are some options you might consider:
- Letting it go and moving forward: if the lie was small and he seems truly remorseful about it, you may feel happy to let this go. We all make mistakes from time to time, as long as he learns from them, you’re about to move on.
- Counselling: if the lie was bigger and/or he is showing no remorse for lying to you, counselling may be the best option. There’s a reason he’s lying to you and if he isn’t remorseful, then it’s highly likely he’ll do it again. This is something you need to work through together and a counsellor may be the best option.
- Leaving him: if the lie is too big to forgive, you may consider leaving him and walking out on your marriage. This is entirely up to you and how you feel about it. Just be sure to think it through before you make any decisions, and don’t do it while you’re worked up and feeling angry. You may only live to regret it.
8) Move on
Once you’ve made the decision about how you wish to handle the lie, it’s time to move on.
This means you have to leave the lie in the past and live by your decision.
If you decided to give him a second chance, then you can’t throw the lie back in his face, every time the two of you fight.
This shows you’re not over the lie and you haven’t given him a second chance at all. Instead, you’re letting it eat away at you, which is something that will come out and destroy your relationship.
If you chose counselling, then you need to commit and see it through. Don’t give up after just one session. It takes more than that to make the changes you need.
And if you left him, stay strong. It takes strength to walk away from a marriage and in time, you may find yourself lonely and wondering whether or not you made the right decision. Stand by yourself and know you didn’t make the decision lightly.
9) Watch out for future lies
“Once a liar, always a liar” – or so they say.
Catching your husband out in a lie can be hard to get over.
Remind yourself that time heals all wounds.
You may find yourself extra vigilant over the next few months, never completely trusting him and always questioning the truths he tells you.
This is normal. It takes time to build that trust up again.
It’s not reflection on you or your relationship.
It’s simply something that will rebuild in time when you discover he is putting the effort in and is only speaking the truth.
In time, those lies will become a thing of the past.
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