Before we start talking about how to confront a liar, there is something we all need to be honest about. Everyone lies in a relationship; every single one of us. However, what matters is how much of it is “allowed,” so that the relationship remains afloat and does not sink! If you think that your relationship is firm and that it can take the occasional lies that you and your partner tell each other, then good for you; this exercise is not required in the first place. But if you think that your partner’s lying habit is going beyond control and is affecting the deeper values that a relationship should be built on, say faith, it is high time you confront them about the same.
The key ingredient of every relationship is belief and trust. When complemented by respect and love, belief cements your relationship and makes it rock solid. Trust is, however, very fragile, and hence, easily broken. If your partner constantly lies to you, soon your trust is going to break and it is very essential that you fill them up on it! That might save your relationship.
Here is a step to step guide about how to go about the confrontation.
Step 1: Believe in your gut feeling
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Your instincts are what you need to trust most. If you think something isn’t right, that is the first sign in itself!
I am sure you cannot put your finger on it yet, but we will get there soon. So basically, don’t ignore that inner feeling that is warning you. Anything could have made you feel like that. Maybe your partner had a higher pitch of voice than usual; maybe they greeted you with a fake smile; maybe they were trying to change the topic when you attempted to initiate a deeper conversation about something you thought they were lying about. These signs and the gut feeling shouldn’t be unheeded.
Step 2: Recognize the times when your partner is lying
To know how to confront a liar, one has to first know what they are looking for. Knowing how to identify the instances when your partner lies to you or tries to deceive you, will give you an idea about how serious this issue is.
You need to be aware of how your person behaves in a normal situation when they aren’t stressed versus the times when they seem to have lied to you. Reading the person’s body language will enable you to have a real good grasp on when they are deceiving you.
You can run a test for the same. Ask your significant other a simple question, a question to which they will invariably answer with a truth. Now ask a question about the particular thing you think they are lying to you about. Signs of stress are bound to come up.
P.S.: Eye contact is not a genuine indicator of truth, by the way!
Step 3: Probe a little more
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Investigation is vital when you are thinking of how to confront a liar. You need to do your research. We suggest you talk to other people who, in your opinion, have some insight on the truth or are a part of the possible lie. If the story they give you is not similar to the one your partner cooked up, I am afraid they are indeed lying to you.
This step is important because here, you move away from the general signs of lying and look into your particular situation. Remember, all liars are different, so the ways of confronting them have to be different too.
Step 4: Find out if your partner enjoys lying and gets pleasure from it
Believe it or not, there are people who actually love the act of lying. It’s like an addiction, if one may call it that! Shameless liars who get away with their lies, every single time, start to tell lies as a way of life. It is not a perceived necessity but done just for fun. Compulsive liars can be very hard to crack.
Try to dig up your partner’s lying history through friends and close ones. You may get an answer there.
Suggested read: Guilt trips and relationships: A toxic combination
Step 5: Keep a mental note of the times you think your partner lied to you
Write them down if necessary. Make sure you put in the details. Explain why you think what they said was a lie. This takes you a step ahead from the hunch that you have. When you confront your lying partner, you would want to show them that you know for sure that they are being deceitful. Collect emails maybe, which contradict what your partner said to you. You can even take note of text messages. If you are speaking with people who you think can help you confront your lying partner, make sure you get info from more than one source (that is, more than one friend).
Step 6: Talk to your S.O. about it, privately
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Confronting the person you are in a relationship with, in front of people, is a very mean thing to do. What if your gut feeling is wrong? What if they are not lying to you? Imagine how guilty you would feel then.
So discuss the matter privately. Feelings of embarrassment and shame should not escalate the whole thing beyond the breaking point. Speak to your person calmly about what you believe they lied to you about; speak of the specific lie(s) and express your desire to discuss it rationally. Do not use an accusing tone. Also, don’t call them a liar. You’re confronting them to find out if they’ve lied or not. So don’t jump the gun and call them a liar at the outset. Like I said, a gentle course is what you need to follow. In most of the cases, we see that a person stops lying because of the feeling of embarrassment they go through when confronted. And that’s all we want, right?
Step 7: Give your partner a chance to explain why they lied
This is an extension of the previous step. You should let your S.O. explain themself. However, when they do that, carefully notice for more indicators of lying. Their confessions could be a lie too if they are compulsive liars. Hear them out completely, and if there is an apology after an acceptance of the lie, don’t drag the confrontation forward. To forgive and forget or not? Now, that is your call to make! However, I would like to advise that you discuss the matter completely before closing it and ask them to not repeat it again.
Step 8: Show your S.O. evidence if need be
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If it does not go as smoothly as in the previous step, you may have to show your partner evidence to prove your point. There are high chances that your significant other will get defensive during the confrontation, make plenty of excuses, or maybe even accuse you of something you never did. This is the time when you need to bring out all the evidence that you have been collecting. Show them the emails and the texts that are sure to prove that they are lying. You have now cornered your partner. After this, they may either accept and apologize, or remain silent and not accept the evidence.
Step 9: Try a little trick if they refute the evidence
This is the “false fact contribution.” In this, you offer a falsehood to your lying partner and see if they accept it. For example, your S.O. told you that they went to work and you think they were lying. You think they took a day off and spent it with someone else while lying to you about being at work doing overtime. Using the false fact contribution, you can casually tell your partner that you saw it in the news that some kind of a wreck happened near their work place, on the road that they have to navigate through to get to office and back home. If they agree in a jiffy, you have your evidence since you made that up!
This is a great tool and may come in handy.
Step 10: Hold your ground
Since your evidence is clear now, you need to be a little more persistent. You should not let you partner get away with this. They will try to convince you and deceive you again. But be tenacious. You know you have researched deeply and now there is no letting go.
If they try to lie to you chronically, by providing contradictory evidence (which are lies of course), then it is time for you to make a big decision: Do you really want to be in this relationship?
If you genuinely feel that your partner is doing this just to hurt you, you need to stop seeing them. However, if you think that there is another reason for all this, which you are not very sure of, we advise you to investigate the matter further.
Use this step by step guide to confront your lying significant other effectively.
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