The dating game is already stressful, so it’s even worse when you think you could be going steady with a liar. Maybe you’re concerned when your significant other attempts to hide their phone screen while they text, or they conveniently “forget” to tell you about running into an ex. Or, perhaps your friends suspect you should keep a close eye.
Regardless of circumstance, the constant worry your significant other is bending the truth is nothing short of exhausting. And you deserve the peace of mind that your partner is being 100% truthful, at all times. If your BS meter is through the roof, watch for these 10 signs you’re dating a liar.
1. They reference God
According to The Huffington Post, if God is on your partner’s side, they may be lying to you. When people use phrases like, “I swear on my mother’s grave,” it’s possible they could be trying to hide something. There’s no need to bring others into an argument if they’re actually telling the truth. And if they are lying, the truth will eventually prevail.
2. They stop talking about themselves
If your partner is telling a lie, he or she may shift the focus onto other people, even if it’s irrelevant. Suddenly, they go from “I” or “me” statements to language that doesn’t directly involve them. Gregory L. Jantz, Ph.D., reports for Psychology Today that liars “try to psychologically distance themselves from the lie that they’re weaving.” If a person is reluctant to put themselves in their own story, you should be suspicious.
3. They have their best interest in mind — not yours
A big part of a person’s character is evident based on how they treat others, regardless of who’s around. Marty Nemko, Ph.D., writes for Psychology Today, “Most important, I’d want to see if a person acts justly even when it’s inexpedient. This is especially key if the person has much to gain by acting against your interest and you’re unlikely to detect it.”
If your partner tries to convince you of something that doesn’t have your best interest in mind yet presents a significant gain for him or her, you should be wary. There’s no reason to put up with your partner’s inability to give you the very best that you deserve.
4. They use sex to distract you
Maybe your partner just wants to get it on, or maybe they’re using their sexual advances as a ploy to distract you from a lie in the making. If you’re in the middle of a conversation in which you’re about to blow the whistle on a cunning plan of theirs, your partner may be afraid their cover will be blown. In a panicked attempt to change the subject, they go straight to the most effective distraction: sex. In The Frisky’s description of such behavior, the woman is the vixen, but this situation can ring true for both women and men.
5. They use verbal dodging
As you’d probably guess, liars typically switch up the language they use. Just think about a time you’ve ever caught someone in a lie. In her TED Talk, How to Spot a Liar, Pamela Meyer, author of Liespotting, explains verbal dodging is when a person uses formal language rather than contractions, as well as distancing terms and phrases.
In her example of Bill Clinton, Meyer points out his choice of language as he denied his affair with infamous White House intern, Monica Lewinsky. In his claim, Clinton said, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman … Miss Lewinsky.” The takeaway here, Meyer says, is Clinton’s use of “did not” rather than a less formal contraction, and “that woman” rather than a reference that seems more familiar. If you’re trying to detect whether your partner is being truthful, pay special attention to his or her language.
6. They avoid the facts
When you’re seeking the truth, you want your partner to divulge important information that adds up. In an article for InnerSelf, Dr. Riki Robbins, Ph.D., discusses the four stages of trust, one of which is damaged trust. Robbins says it’s in this stage that the people you love will violate your trust, and a common warning sign is withholding vital information.
If you ask your partner where he or she was last night, you should expect an honest, straightforward answer. If he or she responds with “nowhere special,” your partner might be hiding something.
7. Their demeanor shifts abruptly
When you spend enough time with someone, you get to know their behaviors and quirks pretty well, which means it’s easy to recognize times they stray from such normalcy. In a Real Simple article, Gregg McCrary, retired FBI criminal profiler and crime analyst, says he first tries to assess how someone normally speaks.
“Once I know which type of talker a person is, I start asking him questions that I don’t know the answer to. If his manner shifts abruptly — going from calm to agitated or lively to mellow — chances are he’s not telling the truth,” McCrary said. Because you’re already familiar with how your partner speaks and acts, be cautious when his or her delivery feels off.
8. They’re constantly blaming you
Someone who’s constantly shifting blame clearly has something they’re not being forthright about. Taking responsibility for wrongdoings is a sign of maturity, love, and loyalty, so someone who isn’t able to do that isn’t a trustworthy partner.
Brenda Della Casa, author of Cinderella Was a Liar, told Glamour, “If every concern you have gets twisted around and thrown back at you, he’s pulling a classic guilty-man move. Keeping you on the defensive keeps him out of trouble.” When faced with this situation, speak up and question their real intentions.
9. They have a history of stretching the truth
While detecting a lie in action is your first step, recognizing a pattern of lies is also important. If you notice your partner has been all too willing to tell small lies here and there, it’s likely they’ll be just as comfortable fibbing about the big stuff. Perhaps they’ve been stretching the truth lately or lying by omission. If that’s the case, they’re clearly not overly concerned with truth-telling. And lying can lead to a cycle of more lies.
10. Their mannerisms change
When you know someone well, you know how they act. From their mannerisms to their style of talking, it’s fairly easy to notice a shift in their demeanor, which is all good news if you suspect they’re lying. AskMen says, “If she’s usually animated and a fast talker, but today she’s sitting with her arms crossed and speaking slowly, maybe there’s something you don’t know. If she rarely looks people in the eye and now she’s practically drilling your pupils with her stare, you may want to get the truth out of her.”