There are two different types of lies: the little white lies, which can be harmless and trivial, and larger ones, which have the ability to alter the course of a relationship. It’s no surprise to hear that you shouldn’t be lying to your partner, yet Psychology Today points to studies that show that most of us lie at least once a day. Even though lying is common and may even seem harmless, even the smallest lie can shatter a relationship if it’s told frequently enough.
Now that we know most of us lie, it’s important to understand why your partner might lie to you. While open and honest communication within a relationship is always encouraged, if you suspect that your partner may be lying to you about something, here are four common subtleties that might confirm your suspicions.
1. Inconsistencies with your partner’s stories
You can tell if someone is lying if there are inconsistencies with what they are saying, J.J. Newberry, a federal agent, said to WebMD. Newberry explains that people have certain “normal” reactions to a situation. For example, if a person hears a loud bang, a normal reaction would be to look and see where it came from. So, if your partner is explaining something that happened, and they leave out crucial information on how they reacted in a situation, it can reveal an inconsistency. It’s something you can pick up on if you listen closely to how your partner is trying explain themselves. Newberry notes, if the story sounds illogical, “that’s what you should look for when you’re talking to someone who isn’t being truthful. Are there inconsistencies that just don’t fit?”
2. Facial hints
A researcher discovered about 50 years ago that humans share seven microexpressions, which are universal, hardwired ways that our emotions appear on our faces. Janine Driver, a lie detector expert and former federal law enforcement investigator, tells the Huffington Post that identifying facial hints is the closest that humans can get to mind reading. One of the most dangerous and noticeable microexpressions is contempt, “a feeling of moral superiority and disrespect.”
Contempt can show up on your partner’s face as a smirk, which would signify that they’ve told a lie and believe they’re going to get away with it. Additionally, Driver points out that researchers have been able to spot contempt microexpressions on chronic cheaters.
3. They’re evasive with their responses
This is one is pretty easy to spot. Terri Orbuch, Ph.D., aka “The Love Doctor,” says that your partner can become evasive to avoid lying outright to you. It keeps them innocent in the situation because if they avoid answering your questions, it’s harder to pin them down in a lie. “If this is not how your partner typically behaves, it can be a signal that something is up. It may feel like pulling teeth to have a conversation,” says Orbuch. You’ll notice that when you directly ask your partner questions they may avoid answering or give you an “I don’t know.” Either way, something’s up.
4. Body language
Driver says that when speaking, people usually align their belly buttons with objects that have grabbed their interest. When you start a conversation with your partner, take note of whether his or her navel is directed at you. As you continue speaking, if your significant other begins to twist his or her body toward an exit, this could indicate that your partner is lying to you — this signifies that he or she wants to end the conversation and leave the room.
Another bodily action Driver says to look out for is the covering the eyes, mouth, or even the entire face. Driver says that your lying partner may start squinting his or her eyes as well. Bear in mind though, if your partner normally acts in a certain way or aligns his or her body in a certain way when you talk, it may just be their normal behavior. When your partner does things that are inconsistent, that should be a red flag.