11 Telling Signs of Dishonesty in a Relationship and How to Deal With It

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What is Dishonesty?

Before you can properly notice dishonesty in a relationship, you must be able to recognize the warning signs of dishonesty. Merriam-Webster describes dishonesty as the act of wilful disposition to defraud or deceive. When it comes to dishonesty in a relationship, your partner may be hiding certain aspects of themselves or their actions to defraud or deceive you. You may wonder if dishonesty in a relationship is disrespectful. To answer this question, you must understand that relationships are built on trust and respect. If you suspect signs of dishonesty in your relationship, your partner may not respect you and you should not trust them.

How Often Are Partners Dishonest?

According to a study done by Superdrug Online, dishonesty is a very common aspect of relationships. Over 1,000 people were surveyed about when they misled their partners and why.

Frequency With Which Respondents Tell White Lies

In this graph, we can see that dishonesty in relationships happens sometimes. Luckily, only 0.5% of female and 0.3% of male partners admit to always lying in a relationship. While almost 30% of women and 25% of men admit to rarely lying in a relationship, keep in mind that everyone lies. Not all lies are created equal, but if you feel your partner is deceiving you, continue reading to understand how to deal with lying in a relationship.

Highly Defensive

According to a retired FBI Special Agent, if your partner is highly defensive, they are probably dishonest. Defensiveness is a very common characteristic of dishonesty. Many people believe that if they adamantly deny something, it ceases to exist. If you confront your partner about certain behavior and they behave in any of the following ways, you may be experiencing signs of dishonesty in a relationship. If your partner turns their criticisms into a joke or changes the subject, they may exhibit dishonesty signs. Often, you may find that your partner will change the subject or turn your concerns into an offensive statement that has nothing to do with the situation. You will never get a satisfying answer from someone who is emotionally dishonest.

Dishonesty in a relationship may be a sign of poor communication. Check out this article on 9 Signs of Bad Communication in a Relationship to see if any of them apply to you.

Talk Too Much and Say too Little

It may seem like your partner has the answer for everything. But do they? Another characteristic of dishonesty in a relationship is someone who talks too much, but says too little. People who display signs of dishonesty in a relationship try to substitute quantity for quality when you question them. If you ask your partner about a concern, and it seems like they are just telling you what you want to hear, they are probably trying to hide something. Pay attention to how they answer your question and the many phrases they use. Is their answer clear and concise? Or does their response include meaningless buzzwords and take you through hoops? If your partner is talking too much without giving real solutions, they are probably exhibiting characteristics of dishonesty.

They Don’t Know How to Apologize

If someone shows signs of dishonesty in a relationship, they may not know how to apologize. You may think your partner is apologizing, but they may just be saying what you want to hear. Instead of a heartfelt apology, they may say, “I’m sorry, but….” When they attach a ‘but’ to their apology, they are most likely dishonest. If someone apologizes but directs the blame to you, they react out of fear, trying to turn the responsibility on you to hide their actions. Be wary of anyone who cannot apologize, as they do not have your best interest at heart.

Body Language

If you have a suspicion that you are dealing with lying in a relationship, here are some nonverbal communication cues that will undoubtedly show you the signs of dishonesty in a relationship. If a person is uncomfortable with what they are saying, they are most likely telling a lie. Here are some body language cues to pay attention to if you suspect your partner is dishonest with you.

  • Pay attention to their facial expression -0pIf the other person’s brows are furrowed, and their smile doesn’t include their entire face, they are probably being dishonest.
  • If someone is repeatedly repositioning their bodies, they are probably trying to obstruct their view of the accuser. Someone dishonest will try to cover their mouth, throat, or fiddle with their hair or hands. Pay attention to how your partner moves their body if you believe they are dishonest.
  • Does your partner maintain eye contact? A tell-tale sign of lying is broken eye contact. If you find your partner breaking eye contact when you question them, they might be lying.

Of course, everyone is different, and body language varies by person. However, there are other ways to learn the signs of dishonesty in a relationship.  As you keep a close eye on the characteristics of dishonesty in your relationship, know that you cannot rely on body language alone. Instead, pay attention to the missing details. Is your partner intentionally leaving out details of their story? Being too vague is often a sign of dishonesty in a relationship.

If you think your partner is being dishonest by being too vague, consider adding pressure. Don’t be afraid to ask for more details. Their behavior once you do this should be a clear indication of their dishonesty. Note how they respond.

  • Does your partner’s tone change in their voice when you question them? When someone is lying, their pitch may get higher or lower. Pay attention to the vocal frequencies of your partner as you interview them. The sound of your partner’s voice will reveal the answer.
  • Indifference is a sign of dishonesty. Your partner may be lying to you if they lack expression when explaining. When someone seems physically bored or indifferent when questioned, they try to hide their emotions.
  • Overthinking is a characteristic of dishonesty. Pay attention to your partner. If they seem like they are thinking too hard to fill in the blanks, they may be deceiving you.

Your partner might not be into you. If your partner is dishonest, they may be unsure of their feelings. Check out this article about When a Guy is Unsure of His Feelings for You.

How to Deal With Lying in a Relationship

Now that you know the signs of dishonesty in a relationship, how to deal with it. One of the best ways to catch a liar in their tracks is to ask them to tell their story backward. If there are gaps in the story, chronological errors, or your partner becomes agitated, they may be lying.

Now that you have caught your partner being dishonest, here are some tips on dealing with a liar in your relationship. If someone is lying to you, they use their deceit to compromise the truth because they are desperate for acceptance.

If someone is lying to you, they use their deceit to compromise the truth because they are desperate for acceptance.

Don’t Be Afraid to Express Your Feelings

If you are dealing with dishonesty in a relationship, you do not try to respond to your partner’s denial with your denial. Acknowledge your feelings appropriately. Do not try to hide your emotions. When you come to terms with your feelings, the next step is to respond.

Respond with Peace

The best way to respond to someone dishonest with you is to react peacefully. While you may feel angry enough to react with fury and drama, understand that attempting to punish the other person is a reaction of fear. If you punish your partner for being dishonest, you contribute to their need to deceive you in the first place.

Think Before Reacting

If you want to learn how to deal with dishonesty in a relationship, you will need to step back from the situation. Rather than reacting at the moment, consider taking a day or two to get your thoughts in order. When you feel confident to confront your partner, sit down and have an honest conversation with them about how their dishonesty has impacted your relationship. Honor your feelings by expressing to your partner how their actions hurt you.

When to Let Go

Keep in mind that this may not change their behavior because you express your feelings. Your partner may continue to lie. While dishonesty in a relationship can be considered a fear response, continued dishonesty is disrespectful. If you are open and honest with your partner about how their dishonesty affects you, they should respect you enough to stop their behavior. However, if they continue to lie after you express your feelings, it may be a sign to let them go. It may be hard to let your partner go because of their dishonesty, but repeated lies are a form of disrespect. If you choose to let someone be dishonest with you, you disrespect yourself. As you follow the signs of dishonesty in a relationship, consider using this guide as a tool. Hopefully, you now know how to spot the characteristics of dishonesty when dealing with a liar in a relationship.


Why does my boyfriend lie to me?

If your boyfriend/girlfriend is lying to you constantly, they may be hiding something from you. Lying is a defense mechanism, and when people in relationships feel like they are backed into a corner, they resort to lying. If you think your boyfriend/girlfriend is repeatedly being dishonest with you, consider talking with them about how their actions affect you.

Is lying disrespectful?

Everyone tells little white lies now and then. However, lying becomes disrespectful when it begins to affect others negatively. People who are dishonest to their partners without regard for the other’s feelings are disrespectful. After talking with your loved one about how their dishonesty affects you, pay attention to see if the pattern continues. If you feel like they continue to be dishonest, you may have to let them go.

What are the signs of dishonesty in a relationship?

Pay attention to how your partner reacts when you question them. Take note of any fidgeting, stammering, overthinking, and defensiveness. Dishonest people in relationships often talk in circles; they give too much detail or not enough. Use these tips and tricks to find out if your partner is being dishonest.





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