Dishonesty: How To Spot It & Deal With It?

It can be incredibly emotionally draining to deal with a dishonest partner. Yes, problems with self esteem can affect a relationship. A very codependent partner can also negatively influence the entire relationship. Jealousy can also quickly destroy relationships. However, nothing seems to be quite as emotionally damaging as experiencing dishonesty in a relationship you thought was built on trust. 

The first thing people usually have problems with is becoming aware that their partner is being dishonest. Denial is a large part of why dealing with dishonesty can be so traumatic. But even if you manage to spot dishonesty – how do you deal with it? What are the best ways to communicate with a partner who is not being truthful? How can you even think about building intimacy in a relationship if there is no honesty first?

There are techniques you can use to spot dishonesty, and there are ways to deal with the partner who is lying to you. Although it is always best to resort to professional help and consider emotional intimacy coaching, that doesn’t mean you can’t do a little to help yourself.

How Does Dishonesty Affect Relationships?

Being lied to hurts, and no amount of sorrys can take the lie back. Once your partner lies to you, it seems as though a whole mountain of doubts comes crashing down on you.

But that’s, unfortunately, not all. Dishonesty can erode a relationship in many ways. Not only do you feel miserable, but, once some time passes, you will inevitably start thinking about all the other things that dishonesty brings into the relationship.

  1. The trust is gone – The only solid foundation for any relationship is trust. Without it, there’s little to fall back on, which is why dishonesty causes such big problems in relationships. 
  2. Lying hurts – It doesn’t have to mean that the partner’s intention was to hurt you by telling a lie. Nevertheless, they did, because to find out that you’ve been lied to is never easy, and it nearly always causes emotional pain.
  3. It shows disrespect – When your partner tells you the truth, no matter how difficult it may be for you to hear, they show they respect you enough to be honest with you. On the other hand, when your partner lies to you, it shows a serious lack of respect for you and your feelings.
  4. Lying is selfish – When a partner is dishonest, it shows that they are not willing to take the blame for the greater good of the relationship. Instead of coming clean, taking the flak, and accepting responsibility, they lie in order to selfishly save their grace.
  5. Lies breed lies – And in two ways. For one, dishonest partners, if their actions remain unaddressed, continue to be dishonest. Also, once you notice all the lies, you will start thinking that there is no reason for you to remain honest. Always try to work things out, but do not change the characteristics of your own personality to accommodate for your partner’s flaws.

Can A Small Lie Ruin A Relationship?

Truthfulness should always be the top priority in a relationship. Even if the truth is unpleasant, difficult to deal with, or plain painful, it’s better than a lie. Lies can affect relationships in many negative ways, no matter if they’re big or small. 

For individuals who were raised in an environment that was unsafe, for some, there is a pattern of not using their voice that is learned. This pattern can lead to not wanting to tell the truth if the truth is going to create conflict. Later in life, one little white lie can build on more.

Even when a lie is white and harmless, you can end up feeling bad simply because of the fact that your partner lied to you. Also, there can be other issues behind every lie, waiting to rear their heads. That is why you should always think carefully before being dishonest.

What Harmless Lies Can Ruin A Relationship?

Just because you or your partner perceive a lie as harmless, it certainly doesn’t have to turn out harmless. Every lie has a great potential to be detrimental to a relationship. Here are the five most common white lies that can cause serious rifts between you and your partner:

  1. “I’m fine” – If there’s something wrong, if you are angry or sad, you should let your partner know. This can lead to a serious argument that can greatly affect the current state of your relationship.
  2. “My credit score is OK” – Some of the biggest fights originate because of money. Although money should not play that large a role in relationships, it does, and not being honest about potential financial struggles can leave serious consequences.
  3. “I haven’t texted my ex in a long time” – Lying about your ex is certainly a quick way to ruin a relationship. If you’ve heard from your ex, be honest and tell your partner about it. No point in hiding it, as when the truth inevitably comes out, it will have a much worse effect than if you had been honest in the first place.

What Are The 5 Signs That Someone Is Lying?

Even though individuals who tend to be frequently dishonest tend to think they don’t have a “tell” when they’re lying, the truth is there are some signs that point to the fact that the person is not telling the truth. Here are 5 signs that signal somebody is being dishonest with you:

  1. They’re touching their throat, mouth, or face – If you notice that a person is excessively touching their body while talking with you, especially if they normally don’t do that, you could be listening to a lie.
  2. They’re repeating themselves – If an individual, while speaking with you, begins to inexplicably stammer or repeat words and phrases, it shows they’re not sure of what to say next. While it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re lying – perhaps they’re just nervous, if they don’t behave that way normally, it’s a red flag. 
  3. They make nervous pauses – If you ask a dishonest person a question, they will normally make a pause before giving you an answer, granting themselves the time to construct a dishonest reply. 
  4. They’re looking at the door – If a person is uncomfortable in any given situation, their instincts start telling them they should leave. If you notice they are looking toward the door, it might mean they are desperate to escape the uncomfortable situation of lying to you. 
  5. They’re not blinking – Blinking is a reflex, so if you notice that a person is maintaining eye contact with you without blinking, it can mean that they are such avid liars that they’re actually trying to fake truthful behavior.

How Do You Deal With A Liar In A Relationship?

When you discover that your partner has been lying to you, there is only one course of action – confronting them. Allowing the dishonesty to continue can only be more detrimental to your mental health, while giving space to your partner to continue their usual routine. Here’s how you should confront a dishonest partner:

  1. Confront your partner privately

    This is an unpleasant topic for the both of you, so no need to do it in front of other people – unless there is reason to believe that you may not be safe when confronting your partner.

  2. Give your partner a chance to explain the lie

    Sometimes, it is enough for your partner to confess, apologise, and promise such behavior will not repeat itself.

  3. Remain calm

    Do not let your emotions run wild, because that could provoke a bad reaction from your partner. Although you have every right to be angry, try not to show it.

  4. Show your partner the evidence

    If your partner is unwilling to admit what they’ve done, show them the evidence that clearly points to the lies.

  5. Explain lost trust

    Tell your partner how you’re feeling because of all the lies. Let them know how their lying has negatively impacted your relationship and your happiness and you won’t continue on unless they get help.

  6. Propose relationship workshop

    Finally, if you’re willing to continue working on your relationship, you should suggest relationship coaching to your father. Nobody can help you as much as qualified professionals.

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Can A Small Lie Ruin A Relationship?

It’s never easy being lied to. The emotional trauma of realizing your partner was dishonest is difficult to deal with on its own, and even more so if you want to salvage the relationship. Lying can be extremely damaging, but there are relationships that come out all the stronger out of it. However, if you truly want to work on it with your partner, you should consider reaching out to an experienced relationship advocate.

At PIVOT, we know just how emotionally traumatizing dealing with dishonesty can be, which is why we organize relationship workshops and retreats, as well as individual coaching sessions alongside our team of experienced advocates. Contact us today and let the healing begin.