17 Clear Indicators of Dishonesty in a Relationship

It’s a sad fact of life that people lie for many reasons in a relationship. Whether it’s just white lies to avoid losing a partner or diabolic lies to manipulate them, dishonesty is never the way to go. These 17 signs can help you tell when your partner isn’t being entirely truthful with you.

Always Too Busy to Talk

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The best strategy for a liar to avoid getting caught is to not talk in the first place. If your partner never has time for serious conversations, watch out – they may be intentionally avoiding conversation as they don’t want to be caught with a lie they know they can’t get away with.

Unnecessarily Repeating Statements

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Liars create an illusion of truth by repeating it multiple times, and the BBC reported on a study at Vanderbilt University showing that this is a very effective strategy. If you find yourself being bombarded with an unbelievable “truth” over and over again by your partner, this is a serious red flag.

Stories Aren’t Adding Up

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When you confront your partner about where he or she has been, and you’re met with explanations or stories that seem illogical, it’s best to believe they’re lying. Illogical stories will be filled with exaggerations, loopholes, or contradictory statements, so if something doesn’t add up, question it.

Refusal to Repeat Stories

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Dishonest partners often refuse to retell their stories to avoid contradicting themselves. It’s never a good sign when your partner outright refuses to clarify some questions you have about what they’ve said. They may claim they told you everything that happened and that “it’s your choice whether you believe them.”

Being Defensive

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Sometimes, a lying partner may tell you that they have done nothing wrong, yet they will refuse to explain where they have been or who they’ve been seeing when you ask them. They become defensive towards your questioning without giving any answers, so if you notice this, you should be suspicious.

Responding Slowly

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If your partner is usually very social but suddenly becomes quiet during a confrontation or argument, this is a clear sign that they are lying. It could be a sign that they’re taking time to think, coming up with excuses, and carefully weaving through thoughts and words to avoid contradicting themselves.

Using Interjections

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As confirmed by researchers at the University of Michigan, something to look out for if you suspect your partner of lying is the use of filler words such as “uh,” “like,” and “um” in speech. This is another way for them to buy time, allowing them to carefully figure out what to say next.

Too Much Explaining

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In a dishonest relationship, you’ll probably hear the phrase “let me explain” a thousand times, followed by stories and excuses that never seem to end. Open communication is good, but explanations with elaborate stories that seem to always beat around the bush should be approached with skepticism.

Replying With Very Few Words

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As mentioned earlier, it’s a great tactic for liars to talk as little as possible, as this avoids contradictions. To combat this when forced to talk, a lying partner may choose to answer your questions with binary statements like “no” and “yes”, or invaluable phrases such as “I don’t know.”

Vague Explanations

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When replies aren’t clear enough or you notice your partner intentionally leaving out details when offering explanations, there’s a high chance you’re being lied to. A study on ScienceDirect shares that, unsurprisingly, liars tend towards evasive language or vague statements, helping them avoid making claims that are obviously false.


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What if you show that you aren’t buying an explanation given? A dishonest partner may try to compensate for this by being overly friendly or generous without actually addressing the main issue. Forbes speculates that overcompensation may come in the form of body language, such as by maintaining excessive eye contact.

They Gaslight You

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Gaslighting is every liar’s best chance to wriggle out of being caught. They will attempt to make you lose your senses by disregarding what you know is reality, making you feel crazy. If you have noticed any behavior like this in the past, you’ve probably been lied to more times than you’d care to know.

Hiding Things From You

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Ranging from things like their work life to habits such as substance abuse, a dishonest partner will not hold back from hiding information from you. Look out for signs of concealed information or avoidance, as this likely exposes a lie they have told or a terrible revelation that puts the relationship in jeopardy.

Maintaining Distance

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A lack of intimacy or difficulty getting into deep conversations with your partner could signal that they are hiding something from you, whether it be feelings or something they did wrong. They probably feel very guilty, and having to face you head-on is one thing they aren’t able to do.

Frequently Changing Their Mind

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When your partner often backs out of agreements at the last minute, especially after previously being enthusiastic about them, there may be deep problems you need to deal with. They may be hiding conflicting issues within themselves and are not being entirely open to you about them.

Disconnect With Words and Actions

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When it comes to romantic (and even platonic) relationships, actions hold more weight than words. A partner who says he “cares about you deeply” while doing things that clearly hurt you shouldn’t be someone to trust. When actions don’t match words or promises, you’re only being manipulated to remain in the relationship.

Sweating and Swallowing Hard

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Sharing knowledge from Dr. Lillian Glass, Times Magazine reveals that people are prone to excessive facial sweating when lying. This is accompanied by dryness in the eyes and mouth, resulting in excessive blinking, the licking of lips, and hard gulps. When you suspect dishonesty, watch out for these signs.

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