How to spot if you’re being lied to

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Trust in a relationship is something we all strive for, but something some of us struggle with. You want to have faith that your partner is always totally honest, but suspicion can raise its ugly head. Maybe you’re not sure if your partner has been faithful, or perhaps you suspect they’ve lied to you about their financial situation. Perhaps you think they’ve not told you important details from their past.

Whatever the issue that’s bothering you, doubtless it’s making you feel less than positive about your relationship. And unless you’re 100% sure that what you suspect is true, it’s hard to know how to tackle the situation. Before you do anything rash, ask yourself these questions – they should help you gain some perspective on the situation.

Question 1: Am I worrying about nothing?
If you’ve been lied to and hurt in the past, it’s understandable that you might carry some of those feelings over into new relationships.  If this sounds like you, ask yourself if you are just being a bit paranoid.

Maybe you’re projecting fears from an old relationship onto your new partner, or perhaps you’re just someone who worries about things like this? Do friends and family sometimes say you’re oversensitive? This doesn’t mean you’re necessarily wrong about your doubts, but does mean you need to be completely honest with yourself before you go down the path of believing your partner is lying to you.

Once you’ve looked to yourself, you can move onto the next question.

Question 2: Do I have any actual evidence?
If you’ve ascertained you’re not just being paranoid, then you need to consider the hard evidence. What sparked your suspicions? Maybe your partner’s been working late but glossing over the details of why, or perhaps they’ve been much more secretive about their phone calls and texts as usual. You may have noticed unusual receipts, or credit card charges or an unwillingness to meet your family. Don’t just dismiss anything that doesn’t seem right – you owe it to yourself to get some answers.

Once you’ve decided you have something firm to back up your suspicions ask yourself this:

Question 3: Has the past given me reason to doubt my partner?
If you current suspicions seem to slot into a previous pattern of lies then you certainly have reason to be concerned – and reason to face this head on. However, if your partner has always given you reason to trust them, then you need to weigh up your new concerns with their past actions.

Your answer to this question will help you decide how to go about the next stage:

Question 4:  Should I talk to my partner?
If you’ve got this far, then the answer is probably yes. If you don’t address these issues then your relationship won’t develop – in fact, it’s likely your anxieties will cause a rift. You either need to give your partner a chance to explain themselves or at least get to the bottom of the issue. If your mind has been put to rest, great (and you could even stop at question 4). However, if you were right all along, you need to ask yourself another question:

Question 5: Can we move on?
There are some things you just can’t move on from, in which case you will need to work out how to end things quickly and cleanly. But sometimes two people can overcome great difficulty to emerge with a much stronger relationship with a new found honesty. It’s up to you to decide whether you can forgive and move on.  And it’s important to remember that forgiveness doesn’t mean all is forgotten – your partner needs to take responsibility for what happened and you both need to agree boundaries moving forward.

This brings us onto:

Question 6: What needs to change?
If you have made the decision to stay and work on your relationship, your partner needs to know what you expect from them. The primary expectations will be trust and honesty, but you may have some other requirements, such as more visibility of their finances. Your partner needs to understand that these are an important part of you rebuilding your relationship.

On the other hand, if it was all a misunderstanding then you need to understand why it happened and how you can communicate better to ensure it doesn’t happen again – or at least how you can learn to handle a situation like this better in the future. Relationships are about learning and growth: view this as a great chance to strengthen your partnership further.


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