Honesty builds trust and intimacy. When one partner conceals information or has secrets, it erodes a trusting relationship.
One non-obvious reason people lie to their partners is that they don’t feel safe telling the truth. Their head goes into a defensive mode, thinking merely about the short-term benefits. They fear rejection or disapproval. If such are the consequences of telling the truth, they believe it’s expedient to sidestep it, especially if they expect they’re unlikely to be caught.
If you reckon your partner is lying, first seek to figure out the reason behind the lie. Reflect on the last time your partner lied to you. How would you have responded if they’d spoken the truth? Would you have reacted with anger—even yelling or starting a fight?
When your partner lies, focus first on the one aspect you have total control over: your reactions. Have a “trust chat” with your partner. With no suggestion of judgment or shaming them, reveal your concerns and talk to them about honesty, trust, and secrecy.
Nudge your partner to be more candid with you. Let your partner know you’d always prefer to know the truth, regardless of the situation. Then, when your partner speaks the truth, thank them for being forthright and telling you the truth, even when they know that the revelation may leave you disappointed or angry.
Idea for Impact: Negative reactions like criticism, contempt, sarcasm, or aggression can make your partner more likely to hide the truth, causing a relationship to embitter even further.