How To Deal With A Lying Spouse: 14 No Nonsense Tips!

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Lies can ruin any relationship, let alone a marriage.

Sometimes your spouse keeps lying to you, even when you know the truth. It can be difficult to understand why.

You married this person, and they are supposed to be your companion through life. Naturally, this means that you are supposed to be honest with each other and trust one another.

How can you trust them when you know they are lying to you? Why would they lie in the first place?

Your spouse’s motive is very important in determining how to proceed. For instance, it’s an entirely different situation if they lie to you to protect you from possible pain, to avoid embarrassment, or to hide something from you – like an affair.

Whether the lie is meant to hurt you or not, it hurts anyway, and it can feel like betrayal.

There’s still hope though. As long as you’re both willing to put some effort into it, you can get back on track and put this behind you.

Your spouse will have to stop lying to you. To make sure that happens, it would be good to know how to recognize a lie. We’ll explore some of the more obvious signs.

Later on, you will learn what you can do to have an honest, happy marriage once again.

9 Commons Signs That Your Spouse Is Lying To You

Most people won’t be able to look you in the eyes and lie to you without batting an eyelash, especially if they care about you and you know them pretty well. When we lie, our behavior rats us out, even if we try to appear honest.

So, even if your spouse is very good at lying, you will still be able to tell that something’s off if you look for the following signs.

1. They answer with questions.

A person who doesn’t want to give you an answer will ask you a question. It is a great way to distract you and at the same time stall long enough to think of a way to cover up their lies.

For instance, let’s say you ask your spouse, “Have you been having an affair?” They could answer with, “How could you think that I might be having an affair?” This avoids answering your question.

“No, of course I’m not having an affair” isn’t too hard to say if it is true.

If your partner tries to avoid answering your questions by asking you questions instead, request that they only give you yes or no answers.

If they still need time before answering, they are probably hiding something from you.

2. They give vague answers.

“Where were you?”

“I was out.”

“Who did you go out with?”

“Just some friends.”

This is an example of vague answers. When someone offers you very few details or none at all, they probably don’t want you to know everything.

While being unnecessary specific can be a sign of lying too, if your spouse gives you nothing but vague answers, they are probably hiding something.

If you persist in trying to get them to answer with more details, they might make you believe that you’re crazy for being suspicious. Gaslighting is a type of manipulation when a person makes you question your judgment and reality. You shouldn’t tolerate it.

If your spouse is secretive about their life, there’s a big problem in your marriage that you have to address.

3. They use word-fillers and unnecessary specifics.

Word fillers like “I mean” and “you know,” or even sounds, like “huh” and “umm,” are often used to buy time when you’re inventing a lie.

You are probably already aware of the specific word-fillers that your spouse uses in conversation. When they use them more often than usual, they might be trying to lie to you.

To know for sure, check if they also seem nervous, sweaty, tense, or fidgety. They might also use unnecessary specifics or talk more formally than usual.

For instance, the conversation mentioned before would go something like this: “Where were you?”

“I was in Jim’s Coffee Shop on Fifth Street. The coffee there is better than where we went for our anniversary.”

“Who did you go out with?”

“Mike from work wanted to tell me about his new car. He bought it just two weeks ago, and it already has a broken light. Can you imagine?”

Unless your spouse is always this specific when talking to you, this conversation seems very odd.

Additionally, people sometimes talk faster when they lie because they want to get it over with as soon as possible.

4. They take time before responding.

A lot of questions can be answered in a second, but when your spouse takes time before responding, they might be thinking about what to say.

When we lie, words don’t flow as smoothly, and we have to put effort into inventing and connecting them. We need more time to respond, especially when the question comes out of nowhere.

If you notice that your spouse makes obvious attempts to stall for time by taking unnecessary pauses before responding, they might be lying to you.

For instance, when you ask them “Were you at the mall?” they might slowly take off their shoes and jacket, check their phone, or drink something before responding “Yes.”

Unless this is followed by a convincing story that explains why they took time to respond, they were probably just making time to think of the right thing to say.

5. They stall the conversation.

Your spouse might stall the conversation in many ways, any of which might indicate that they’re lying to you, especially if what you’re asking them isn’t hard to answer.

If you keep asking them follow-up questions, their answers will probably become vaguer the more you ask. It’s hard to think of so many lies at once and make sure that each lie is consistent with the initial lie.

Your spouse will probably become nervous and want to end the unpleasant conversation as soon as possible.

6. Their speech pattern changes.

It’s not easy to lie. Your spouse will probably use a higher pitch, make grammatical errors, stutter, or talk very fast. The pitch of your voice can also change due to nervousness and anxiety.

If your spouse gets nervous even though you asked them a simple question, there’s something going on that they’re not telling you.

Sometimes, people have innocent motives though, so look for more signs before assuming that your spouse wants to hurt you.

Depending on what the discussion is about, they might be trying to protect you from pain or save themselves from unnecessary embarrassment.

7. Their body language changes.

Someone who is reluctant to share the truth with you probably won’t look you in the eyes. In addition, their body might show signs of stress.

They might rub their nose or eyes, cover their face, sweat, bite their lip, or maintain a smile even though their eyes aren’t smiling. They might blink more often, cross their arms or legs, or hide their hands in their pockets. Maybe they blush or frequently change their facial expression throughout the lie.

Ultimately, your spouse’s body language will be different than in a normal conversation. You will probably sense this difference, even if you’re not sure what exactly made you think that they were lying.

8. Their story keeps changing.

You can’t just repeat the same lie over and over again. One big lie requires a whole set of small lies that you invent to cover up the initial one. So, when someone lies, their story changes.

You can ask your spouse follow-up questions to make them reveal more details. Remember the details and ask them the same questions later. Your spouse will likely give you different answers.

If you really want to make sure that your spouse isn’t lying to you, you can also ask them to tell the story backward.

9. They won’t let you near their phone.

A clear sign that your spouse is hiding something from you is when they literally hide something from you – their phone.

If they don’t let you touch their phone, there’s probably something there that they want you to see.

This is often the case with spouses who are having an affair.

Your spouse will keep their phone with them at all times, snap at you if you get too close to the phone, refuse to take calls in the same room, and stiffen if you are close enough to read text messages.

Be suspicious if they suddenly change their phone’s password for no reason.

If they literally hide their phone, you can rest assured that they’re hiding something from you.

14 Things To Do When Your Spouse Is Lying To You

Being fed lies can make your relationship toxic.

Even if your spouse isn’t hiding an affair, and they are lying to protect you or themselves from something, there should be no room for your lies in your marriage.

Maybe you don’t have to know what your spouse does every second of every hour, but you should be well aware of their whereabouts most of the time, and they shouldn’t lie to you about it.

If your spouse lies about where they were, who they were with, or what they were doing, unless you have a reason to suspect that they’re planning a surprise for you, something is most definitely up.

What now?

1. Don’t blame yourself.

It’s not your fault that your spouse lies to you, and this is true regardless of the type of lie and the reason for it.

If they lied because they were afraid of your reaction to the truth, they probably knew that there’s something wrong with what they were lying about.

You’re not the one to blame if your partner cheats on you, lies to you to make themselves seem better, or hides something from you in order to do something behind your back. It is purely their decision to do so, and you did nothing to deserve to be treated that way.

That being said, there might be things that you could improve in your behavior to improve your marriage, and we’ll talk about that more later. However, that doesn’t mean that being lied to is in any way your fault.

You didn’t deserve this.

2. Learn how to tell when they are lying.

What situations cause your spouse to lie to you? Which questions get dishonest answers, and what is the subject of the conversation when your spouse lies?

Knowing exactly when they are tempted to lie can help you determine what kind of secret your spouse is keeping from you and help you uncover it.

For instance, maybe they only lie about their whereabouts or when something they’ll say could hurt your feelings.

To stop the lying, it’s important to gather all the information that you can, so pay attention to when your partner lies because it will help you learn why.

3. Figure out why they are lying.

After you have read the signs above, you should have a good idea about when your spouse is lying to you, but what is their motive?

Try to see what their lies have in common, and what subjects they lie about most often.

Why they are lying is just as important as what they are lying about. White lies, for example, aren’t such a big deal. They are definitely not comparable to when your spouse is hiding an affair or when they are dishonest because they want to present themselves in the best possible light.

The truth is, there should be no lies in your marriage whatsoever, except for something like a surprise party.

However, it’s still important to note that there are plenty of explanations to lying that are more innocent than infidelity. So, don’t jump to conclusions.

4. Trust your instincts.

You shouldn’t jump to conclusions, but you should definitely trust your instincts.

You know your spouse very well, and if you are sensing that they are hiding something, you’re probably subconsciously picking up on the cues.

You’re noticing the difference even if you’re not aware of it.

So, if you suspect that your spouse is lying, trust your gut. You should also trust your instincts when they’re telling you what your spouse is lying about.

If you suspect an affair, you probably have a reason to think that.

Don’t let anyone accuse you of being crazy for thinking something based on what your gut’s telling you. You are probably on to something.

Don’t confront your spouse based on the feeling itself. Look for signs to back up your theory before you present it to them, and hopefully, they will reassure you in a way that you’ll know that they’re not lying.

5. Challenge their lies.

If you already suspect that your spouse is lying to you, don’t just take their word for it. Challenge their lies instead.

You can ask them questions, demand that they make eye contact, or ask them to tell you the story in reverse.

Another good way to challenge their lies is to ask them to respond only with yes and no answers.

Ask them for details when they are telling you something and ask again after some time to see if they’ll give you the same details.

These are all good ways to challenge their story and see if they are really hiding something.

6. Think about how you would react if they told the truth.

A lot of times, liars try to justify their lies by saying what your reaction to the truth would be.

So, take a moment to think about what your reaction to the truth is in the scenario.

Maybe you suspect that your spouse is cheating on you. How would you react if you found out?

You are on the road to discovering the truth, so it might be good to prepare for it anyway.

Whatever your suspicions are, what if it turns out that you are right? How much damage could the truth do to your marriage?

These are just some of the things to consider before confronting your spouse.

7. Have an honest conversation with your spouse.

Instead of confronting them and making them feel attacked, you could try to have an honest conversation with your spouse.

Get them to open up to you and tell you why they are lying.

If you want an honest response, be honest and tell them how hurt you feel because you know that they were dishonest.

Suggest that you try working on the issues that caused the lying in the first place. It might be a good idea to do this with the help of a therapist.

A few little lies don’t have to end your marriage, as long as the lying stops and you start communicating like a healthy married couple should. A therapist could help you get there.

8. Let them know what they can and can’t do and be ready to let them do more.

Your problem might not be as big as it seems. For instance, maybe you dislike your spouse’s friend, and your spouse was lying to you to keep spending time with the friend.

In this case, and in many others, it would be good to explain to your spouse what would and wouldn’t upset you.

For example, you don’t mind that your partner keeps spending time with their friend; you just think that the friend is a bad influence, and you don’t want them to take your spouse to a strip club.

In this example, your spouse can still see their friend; they just can’t go to the strip club. You have removed the need for them to lie to you, unless they are at the strip club.

Discuss these things with your spouse. By letting them know that you might be okay with some things, as long as they’re honest with you, you can stop lies that are caused by the fear of your reaction.

9. Consider changing your behavior.

It’s not your fault that your partner’s dishonest with you, but you might have done something to encourage the lies.

For instance, maybe you start a fight whenever they go out with their friends because you don’t like their friends. As such, they decided that it’s best to lie to you about where they are in order to keep spending time with their friends.

People would much rather lie about the things they’re doing than stop doing the things they enjoy.

Hear your spouse out and let them be honest with you. Let them tell you what it is that they feel like they have to lie to you about.

Don’t get mad when you hear the truth because that’s probably why they lied in the first place. Keep an open mind and allow them to open up to you without judging, blaming, or attacking them.

10. Think about how their lies have affected your relationship.

Once all the cards are on the table, it will be time to clean up the mess that lying has caused.

How has it affected your relationship?

Do you still love your spouse?

Can you forgive them?

Have you seen improvement in their behavior since you had the discussion about this?

Can you move past this, or are they doing the same things again?

What is it that you want?

Take some time to think about these questions and identify the current state of your marriage. Do you want to improve it or should you leave?

This is entirely your decision, and you don’t owe anyone any explanations. The first big question that you need to answer before deciding on how to proceed is: can you forgive your spouse for lying to you?

11. Think about whether you should forgive them.

Should you stay with your spouse if they have lied to you? There is no right or wrong answer to this.

Sometimes there is no reason to continue staying, but it all depends on the specifics of your situation and your feelings for your partner. Most of all, it depends on whether you can forgive them or not.

Being lied to hurts, and it will take some time before you could trust them again. Can you ever truly and fully forgive them for what they lied about?

If your spouse had an affair, you have every right to consider leaving them. A relationship can recover from everything, even cheating, but it requires that you both work hard for it, and you need to be willing to forgive.

If you can’t, no one can blame you, regardless of what your spouse did. However, if you cannot forgive, it’s time to leave the relationship.

To stay in a marriage and make it a happy one, you will have to forgive. Do they deserve your forgiveness?

12. Know when it’s time to forgive or move on.

Forgiving your spouse is not easy when they’ve betrayed your trust in a major way such as having an affair. If you can’t forgive them, it will make things worse in your marriage.

You will hold a grudge, resent them, and wait for them to make a wrong move again.

So, communicate how hurt you are and what emotions their lie caused. Let it all out and give your spouse a second chance if you want to. However, don’t give them a third, fourth, or fifth chance.

If you don’t see improvement in the lying and your spouse does the same things again, it’s probably time to consider moving on.

13. Watch out for future lies.

If you do stay with your spouse, you shouldn’t let your guard down just yet. Forgiving them is one thing, but assuming that they’ll never lie again is a whole other thing.

People tend to repeat bad patterns, and if your spouse has lied to you before, who’s to say that they won’t do it again?

Until you see progress and enough time passes that you can trust them again, you have every right to keep your guard up and watch out for future lies. You have caught them in a lie once, so it will be easier to catch them again if they do lie again.

However, don’t become paranoid and overly suspicious. Just be cautious before trusting them fully again.

14. Talk to a therapist.

If you can’t trust them again, you need help cleaning up the mess the lying has caused. Or perhaps you just need someone to talk to while you go through this. Either way, don’t hesitate to reach out to a therapist.

They can give you more ways to recover from the lies in your marriage, get back on track, or move on from a failed relationship. You need support when you’re hurting, so don’t be afraid to seek it.

A therapist can listen to your specific situation and give you solutions tailored to your needs.

If a relationship therapist is someone you think would help you decide what to do right now, we recommend the experts at Relationship Hero. You can speak to someone via video, phone, or instant message from wherever you like. It’s easy, convenient, and great value. Click here to learn more or to book a session.

If you suspect that your spouse is lying to you, don’t sweep the problem under the rug. Work on your marriage immediately. If you decide to leave your spouse, work on not letting this experience leave you with trust issues.

People lie, but you have to trust those close to you, otherwise you will isolate yourself. If they break your trust, they will have to work on getting it back.

Know that you’ve opened your heart without restraint, just like you should, so don’t ever feel bad about trusting people.

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About Author

Ana Vakos enjoys writing about love and all the problems that come with it. Everyone has experiences with love, and everyone needs dating advice, so giving these topics more attention and spreading the word means a lot to her.