MEN&WOMEN: Don’t confront a lying partner without proof

Wednesday March 18 2020

Your questions about where they’ve been or who they’ve been with will be met with vague or defensive answers. ILLUSTRATION| IGAH


Are you wondering whether your partner is lying to you? Maybe their stories don’t add up. Or when they tell you where they’re going, you suspect they’re actually somewhere else.

Maybe they’re forever ‘Missing In Action.’ Or ghosting you. Or their body language seems off, like they avoid eye contact, seem nervous, or behave strangely.

Your questions about where they’ve been or who they’ve been with are met with vague or defensive answers.

Or they avoid a discussion altogether, by going silent or storming off.

But your partner could be behaving oddly for any number of reasons. So do nothing until you’re absolutely sure.

Because without proof, your accusations will always be denied. And those denials can be worse than the original lies. Your partner will also start covering their tracks, which will make it far harder to discover the truth.



But eventually you’ll catch them in the act. Or find something concrete, like a receipt showing they were somewhere they said they weren’t.

How should you react then?

You’ll almost certainly feel angry and hurt, and will be tempted to lash out. But fighting’s definitely counterproductive. So first try to understand why your partner’s lying. It might be through insecurity, fear, shame, or just because this is how they’ve always lived their life. That doesn’t justify their lies, or mean you don’t have every right to be upset. But trying to understand their behaviour will help you to keep calm and stay in control.

It’s best to call them out as if it’s no big deal. Tell them exactly why you know they’ve lied to you, and then let them respond. Make no comment until you’ve heard their story.

Explain how important honesty is for you, no matter how insecure, ashamed, or awkward either of you feel. So agree that going forward you’ll be 100 per cent truthful to one another.

But we all lie if we’re pushed. So being truthful also means never getting angry or judgemental, giving each other a hard time, or endlessly interrupting to get “the facts” straight. Especially about whatever you’ve just caught your partner doing. Instead, start to build the sort of relationship where you can both talk about anything together.

Because if you want to be a truly happy couple, then there needs to be complete openness and honesty in everything. Your money, your past, how you spend your time, your friends, phone calls and messages. No secret bank accounts, secret email accounts, or evenings out without calling home.

Maybe that’s not possible. Or maybe the lie was a deal breaker. Or the lying just continues. Or the agreements your partner has made with you going forward — like ending the affair, no longer drinking, no more gambling, whatever — are soon broken. If that happens, you may need to move on.

Because your partner may simply never understand how wonderful it is being in a relationship where there are no secrets. So don’t settle for anything less.