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There is nothing quite like that sinking feeling in your stomach followed by the flash of anger and hurt that comes when your partner lies to you. Obviously, some lies are bigger and more devastating than others, but even small little white lies that accumulate over time can feel like death by a thousand punches. What I'm saying is that being lied to by the person you love just plain sucks — and while you shouldn't have to put up with it, knowing what to do when your boyfriend lies to your face can determine whether your relationship survives dishonesty or will be doomed by it.
Doing the "right" thing in the moment is especially hard, because being betrayed, even in small ways, might bring up a lot of feelings.
Your instincts may be to lash out in defense, but if what you want is actual resolution and for the behavior to stop, following those instincts may not be the most effective path. So, to help find out what to do when someone lies to you in a relationship, I consulted the experts.
Here is how they say to respond if you are ever in a situation where you've caught your SO in a straight-up lie. It can be really hard not to lash out in the moment, but try to resist the urge. Take a beat.
Later is often better because it gives you time to compose your feelings and what you want to say. The antidote to anger is empathy, so if you want to avoid escalating the argument, Laurel Housecelebrity dating and relationship coach and host of the Man Whisperer podcast, suggests that rather than leaning into your justifiable anger, you try and understand the reason why your SO lied.
Just because you are coming from a place of empathy and calmness does not mean that you have to put up with the behavior. This is why House says the next step is to set clear boundaries around honesty. By coming forward with your expectations, you can be clear with your partner that you would always rather them be honest than lie in an attempt to protect your feelings or their own dignity.
And of course, this should be backed up by your actions. No histrionics.
This requires professional help. The same goes for partners who break the agreements caused by lies. This is also a deal-breaker. Ideally, we would never lie to our partners or be lied to, but people are complicated, and sometimes they make mistakes.
While empathy and understanding — paired with clear boundaries — are a good place to start, the fact remains that a partner who continually lies or deceives you intentionally is not worthy of your love or your time, and that's the truth.
Susan Winter, NYC relationship expert and love coach. April Masinirelationship and etiquette expert.
Laurel Housecelebrity dating and relationship coach. By Rachel Shatto and Mia Sherin. Updated: July 6, Originally Published: November 27, Search Close.