We've all had moments when we wouldn't mind a little white lie from our romantic partners. Maybe you're having a "fat day" and want to be reassured that he still thinks you look sexy (although he's probably not lying when he tells you that).
And we've all said things in the heat of passion that didn't stand the true test of time. Those are all part of life. But, there are some mistruths that aren't meant to make us feel better or where intentions aren't so benevolent.
I'm talking about romantic deception: when someone purposefully misrepresents the truth about themselves or their romantic situation. Do you think your partner is hiding something from you? Are you worried he might be cheating on you? Could he be telling you he's someone he's not? How can you ferret out the truth, whether it's with a new partner who seems to have a mysterious background or with an existing partner you suspect of being unfaithful? Here are six signs he's lying.
1. Non-Verbal Clues. The body doesn't lie. 93% of communication is non-verbal, and there are some classic signs to look for when you think someone is lying. The most common: he won't look you in the eye. Another classic example, which you might remember from the Clinton era, is that he'll touch his nose. Other body signals include either an increase in gestures or an unusual stillness (he's trying to control those nervous gestures). While you can't hook him up to a lie detector, you can tune into the cues those machines use: an increase in heart rate. It's subtle, but you might notice the pulse in his throat becomes more prominent, or he'll perspire more.
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2. His story changes. Pay attention to early cues when you're thinking about starting a new relationship. When he tells you about his background or his childhood, are the stories the same? Con artists will have their stories memorized, but if you get them to go into greater detail, they'll have to ad-lib. I'm not suggesting you be suspicious of every new guy, but if your inner warning system is already sending an alarm, you might want to give him the opportunity to tell his stories in front of different friends. While he's spinning his yarn, you can pay attention to the threads.
3. He gets nasty and start fights with you out of the blue. According to Dr. Jane Greer, the reason he'll go on the offensive is to back you off his trail. You're looking for behavior that's not normal; if he's always picking fights, this isn't necessarily a sign he's lying. But if he's normally more laid back and suddenly goes on the attack, he's probably trying to throw you off his guilty trail.
4. He "gets nice." Dr. Greer adds, "Conversely, they can get very nice... being thoughtful or bringing you gifts, doing what you want (without being asked)." Now, I'm not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, but again, we're talking about sudden changes in behavior. Men will often try to assuage their own guilt about having an affair, or even thinking about it, by paying extra attention to their partners. They'll buy flowers or jewelry, as if to buy their way to forgiveness without having to admit to their guilt.
5. He acts different. Sex and relationship therapist Maria Merloni suggests you watch for sudden changes in habits. For example, he never used to go out on the weeknights, but suddenly now he does, and he might claim to be hanging out with a new friend. Also, becoming protective or paranoid about his phone: bringing it into the bathroom with him, suddenly needing to have his cell phone with him 24/7, going in another room to talk on the phone, making sure you are never in the same room alone, with his phone.
6. Above all, trust your gut. Again, the body doesn't lie. Unless you are paranoid from past deceptions, your gut will let you know if it's something to worry about. And although you might be sorely tempted to sneak a peak at his phone or follow him to his weekend hangout spot, I strongly recommend that you don't stoop to snooping.
If you suspect he's cheating, you already have a breach of trust. Snooping will make it worse; neither of you will trust the other, and it's a lot more difficult to heal a relationship with multiple trust issues. Instead, ask him straight up. Tell him you're suspicious (and why). Tell him you were tempted to check his phone, but you'd rather hear it from him.
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