Spotting a liar isn’t easy. That’s especially true if the potential liar is someone close to you. You might not want to believe someone as close to you as your spouse would lie to you, so you ignore the signs (or pretend you don’t see them).
However, sooner or later, the lying will become too much. It will become devastating and damaging to not only your marriage but your mental health as well. To avoid getting to that point, you have to leave sooner. But when? Here’s how to know when your spouse is lying to you and, consequently, when to leave a lying spouse.
1. They Avoid Eye Contact
If you completely trust your partner, the first sign of lying — avoiding eye contact — might go unnoticed. But then again, it’s also a clear sign that something isn’t right, so the chances of you noticing it are still pretty high.
If your spouse isn’t making eye contact while talking to you, they might just be distracted. But if they are actively avoiding it when they are answering a question, chances are they are lying.
Many people wondering how to know when to leave a lying spouse think that avoiding eye contact is their sign to pack their bags. Of course it isn’t.
First of all, you have no idea what they are lying about. You also don’t know why they are doing it. Leaving at the first sign of lying would be an overreaction. However, avoiding eye contact is a great tell that something isn’t right. It’s your wake-up call.
2. The Way They Speak Has Changed
Given that you’ve been with your spouse many years, you are intimately familiar with the way they talk. You know their catchphrases, so to speak, and you know what they are really thinking just by hearing their tone.
If your spouse has changed how they talk to you (when you’re alone or in company), that’s a good sign that they are lying. Maybe they changed their tone or their pitch? Perhaps they are talking slower than usual?
That might be because they are coming up with what they are saying on the spot. These changes aren’t unusual for liars (especially unprepared ones).
3. Their Tone Is Off (Or Short)
Do you want to know when to leave a lying spouse? As soon as you catch them in a lie. But to do that, you have to actually catch them in a lie.
A good sign of lying is a change in tone. If you’re asking questions that your spouse can’t answer (or come up with a lie), they might get short with you. A short, dismissive tone is never a good sign.
Laura Doyle recommends giving your partner a little space and respecting his privacy. “It’s pretty suffocating to have your every thought questioned, while knowing that your every move is also being watched. The frustration alone can cause your spouse to go radio silent,” says Laura. “People tend to rise to your expectations. Good or bad, so why not expect the best,”. If your partner’s tone is off or short, maybe try this approach before leaving.
4. Evading Clear Answers
Liars will rarely have an elaborate, believable lie ready at every moment. That’s especially true if they don’t expect to be questioned. So, if you’ve confronted your spouse about something and they are evading the question, that might be a sign they are trying to come up with a lie.
That’s also true if they take too long to answer a question. The simpler the question, the bigger the probability that they are lying.
5. They Are Trying to Distract You
Liars, especially those who have been lying for a while, will use different tactics to protect themselves. Some will have elaborate stories and answers ready for every question, while others will just use the age-old distraction tactics.
If you notice that your spouse is acting in a distracting way every time you ask them a pointed question, they might be lying. For example, you might ask them why they were late coming home from work, and they’ll swoop in to kiss you. Alternatively, they’ll start an activity with you out of the blue. They can even initiate intimacy as a way of distracting you.
Depending on how capable your spouse is (and how easily distractible you are), this tactic might work for a while.
6. Talking Too Much (About Things That Don’t Matter)
One of the ways your spouse might try to distract you is by going on tangents while answering questions. You’ll ask them something straightforward, and they’ll launch into a monologue that touches on pretty much every subject in the universe, except the one you asked about.
That is a relatively effective lying technique since people don’t usually want to interrupt others mid-monologue. Not to mention, following such a complicated train of thought that has no beginning or end can be exhausting. By the time the monologue is done, you forgot what you asked and what started it in the first place.
7. Defensive Attitude (and Stance)
How does one know when to leave a lying spouse? There isn’t a clear line that your spouse has to cross for you to confront and leave them. However, if they are getting more and more defensive when you try to talk to them or ask them questions, you might want to consider just distancing yourself from them or just leaving.
A defensive attitude is a sign of guilt. When someone confronts us about something, it’s in our nature to get defensive. However, we’re more likely to get defensive if we’re lying or feeling guilty about something.
And, let’s face it — if your spouse is feeling guilty, that means they’ve done something wrong that could potentially damage or compromise your relationship.
Body language, in general, is a good indication that someone is lying. If you’re suspicious about just how truthful your souse’s words are, pay attention to how they act instead. If they are fidgeting, playing with their ear, looking away from you, or scratching themselves, they might not be telling the truth.
8. Distant Behavior
Marriage includes a lot of sharing. You probably share pretty much everything with your spouse and vice versa. However, if your spouse is doing something they know could hurt you and are lying to you about that, they might stop this exchange of information to avoid incriminating themselves.
Instead, they’ll act distant. You’ll feel as if there’s a void between you that wasn’t there before. That is actually typical behavior for liars. In an effort not to get caught in a lie, they stop sharing information completely and communicate minimally. Lying also might be too exhausting for them, so the alternative of just keeping quiet seems better.
9. They Can’t Keep Their Story Straight
One of the surest signs that you’re being lied to and also one of the answers to the question of when to leave a lying spouse is when their stories just don’t add up. Perhaps a new story contradicts an older one. Or, alternatively, what they said at the end of the story isn’t what they opened with.
It’s fairly easy to see if someone is lying to you when they are telling you a story. Just make them tell it to you backward. Ask questions about the events they are describing but go from the most recent one they mentioned to the oldest one. A liar will either slip up or get defensive.
10. They Are Making You Doubt Yourself
If the previous nine signs didn’t make you leave, then gaslighting definitely should. Liars will be so invested in maintaining the facade of honest, trustworthy people, they’ll be willing to do anything not to get caught. So, they’ll try to make you think you’re crazy or misguided for even asking them whatever it is you asked in the first place.
That is emotional manipulation, and it’s an extremely toxic form of behavior. If your spouse is doing that to you, they have severely violated not only your trust but also the sanctity of your marriage.
11. They Are Short Tempered
Finally, how does one know when to leave a lying spouse? What’s the most sure-fire sign that you need to pack your bags and leave immediately? If your spouse gets angry at you for questioning them and has raging outbursts that make you afraid for your safety — leave immediately.
As mentioned, a liar will do anything to protect their false integrity. They don’t want to be caught and will sometimes go to extreme lengths not to. But there’s no reason for you to actually wait until their lies (and behavior) get out of hand. Instead, confront them as soon as you get suspicious, keep an eye out for these 11 signs and, if they get overly angry at you, just leave.