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Lying in Relationships: Why Do People Do It and How Concerned Should You Be?

Even though most people would say they believe you should never tell a lie when you can tell the truth instead, lying is a lot more common than you might think. Lying is a pretty deeply ingrained human behavior, with roughly 60 percent of people spouting untruths regularly. A dizzying number of people even tell a lie every few minutes, some without necessarily realizing it.

Of course, most of the lies people tell are trivial and relatively harmless. A few little white lies in relationships may even be preferable, as not everyone likes brutal honesty when it comes to hearing what their partner truly thinks of them. However, more significant deceptions are common enough to make understanding the reasons for lying important too.

Why Do People Lie?

There are as many different reasons someone might decide to lie to their partner as there are types of people in the world in the first place. Some of those reasons are innocent or even non-existent, as people do sometimes lie “just because.” Others are a lot more serious. Here are a few of the most common.


With around 15-18 percent of married couples choosing to step outside their relationships sexually or romantically at one point or another, cheating isn’t necessarily the norm. However, it remains most people’s top concern as far as possible reasons a partner might be lying or sneaking around. The way modern technology tracks your every move makes it pretty hard to get away with cheating for very long these days, but there will always be those who try anyway.

Desire to Avoid Consequences

Even honest people don’t necessarily like to be held accountable for their actions and choices. People spend money they shouldn’t have, watch porn on the down-low, or perpetuate friendships with people they know their partner doesn’t like. Most think they have good reasons for not being honest about such things, but it’s more likely to be about not wanting to wind up in hot water if they can avoid it instead.


People care what their partners or potential love interests might think of them. It’s why over 90 percent of people lie on their dating profiles to at least some extent. Most of these lies are insecurity-based, though, and relatively harmless. For instance, men may fudge the facts when it comes to what they earn or how tall they are. Women more commonly lie about their age or weight. Just about everyone bends the truth when it comes to topics like education, family background, and professional goals.

Family Ties

Family members can be sensitive topics when it comes to other people, but with spouses and partners, especially. Many families include people who are addicts, who are abusive, or who have cut ties with others in the family unit for various reasons. Someone in a relationship may lie out of embarrassment or out of a desire to protect their families from judgment.

To Avoid (or Cause) Hurt

Relationships can be complicated when it comes to concepts like hurt. Almost everyone can point to a time they told a little white lie (or maybe even a full-size falsehood) because they wanted to avoid needlessly hurting their partner’s feelings. However, it’s just as common for people who are hurt to want to hurt their partner in return. Lying serves both purposes equally well.

How Worried Should You Be About a Lying Partner?

No one likes to catch their partner in a lie, but it’s essential to realize that lying is part of human nature. Nobody’s perfect, your partner included. Everyone occasionally fibs, dances around the truth, or gives in to the temptation to lie by omission. However, there’s a massive difference between a little white lie told to spare someone’s feelings or avoid admitting to something embarrassing and a huge betrayal.

Relationships require openness and honesty if they’re going to stay healthy and happy, so no one should make a habit of lying or sneaking around when it comes to their partner. If you’ve caught your partner in a lie recently or suspect they might be lying to you about something significant, you’ll have to confront them – preferably with proof. If you’re trying to move forward after a past lie, there’s no shame in seeking out help via therapy or counseling.

Ultimately, lying crosses a line in a relationship when it’s so constant or so severe that it makes trust impossible, and no one should put up with being hurt or disrespected in their relationship. How serious a role does falsehoods play in your partnership? If something’s bothering you, don’t sit on it. Bring it up for discussion with your partner so the two of you can find a solution that’s fair, loving, and honest.

Attraction and Other People: When Is It Cheating vs Good Clean Fun?

Every couple is different as far as what counts as cheating. For some, a partner simply being good friends with someone of their preferred gender is too close for comfort. For others, having casual sex with multiple other people is no big deal. All couples have defined boundaries they know not to violate, but there are always situations in life that can leave you wondering whether what you’re doing is cheating vs good clean fun.

So how exactly is anyone supposed to know when they’re crossing a dangerous line with someone they’re attracted to? When does it stop being harmless flirting and start being something to worry about? Here are a few tips for figuring it out.

When Are Harmless Fantasies Not So Harmless?

You’re in a relationship, not a convent. It’s the most human thing in the world to notice other people and to like what you see. It’s healthy to feel attraction to other people, as well as to entertain the occasion fantasy about someone else. You can rest easy in the knowledge that your partner does it as well and there’s nothing wrong with it on either end.

Fantasizing about something and doing it are two different things entirely. However, it’s possible for someone’s fantasy life to become obsessive and to perhaps be an indicator that things aren’t as they should be in their relationship. Occasionally fantasizing about Ryan Gosling while you enjoy a private romp with your vibrator is innocent enough. If you have trouble enjoying sex with your partner without imagining you’re with your hot coworker instead though, you might want to ask yourself why.

That said, fantasizing isn’t cheating. It’s healthy, clean fun, and can even be something couples learn to enjoy sharing. However, it shouldn’t consume you to the point where it’s getting in the way of your relationship or any other aspect of your life. If it does, ask yourself what the people in your fantasies have that your partner doesn’t. If you can identify what’s missing, you can open a discussion with your partner that might lead to a healthy solution.

What Is Micro-Cheating and Are You Doing It?

Even if certain things haven’t been expressly defined as cheating in words between you and your partner, you’re aware that doing them would cause trouble. Micro-cheating is not about those big things or even the grey-area things that make you wonder whether you should be doing whatever it is. Micro-cheating is the subtle stuff that seems harmless on paper, but that you know would probably upset your partner if they knew about it. The following are a few common examples:

  • Telling someone else you’re single when you’re not, especially if it’s so you can experience a bit of the single life again instead of simply fantasizing about it.
  • Going out of your way to text or instant message someone you find attractive, especially someone you could see yourself dating if you were single. Double especially if you hide it from your partner or know they would be upset but it if they found out.
  • Establishing or maintaining a deep emotional bond with someone else – a bond similar to the type you would have with a romantic partner.
  • Letting flirty moments that might otherwise be innocent go way too far. Sometimes people have zero intention of cheating but enjoy pushing interactions up to that point before backing off.
  • Making passes at strangers or otherwise making the first move in a flirty exchange with someone you don’t know. Being a bestie’s wing-woman is fine, but not if you’re using it as an excuse to get up close and personal with other people.
  • Being on a dating app for any reason, even if you’re just there to chat or are simply curious about who else might be out there. People in healthy relationships don’t generally feel the need to maintain accounts on Tinder or OKCupid.

Many actions like the above aren’t necessarily cheating in and of themselves, but they could be a sign that something’s lacking in your relationship. They could also eventually lead to the temptation to cheat if you’re not careful. Generally speaking, if you wouldn’t want your partner to find out about it, it’s probably micro-cheating. If you’re left actively questioning your motives for doing whatever it was, it’s a sign you shouldn’t have been doing it in the first place.

At the end of the day, cheating vs good clean fun isn’t about what your friends or the rest of society would say crosses a line. It’s something that either crosses the boundaries you’ve set within your relationship or otherwise breaks the trust you know your partner has in you. It’s not about having fantasies, noticing someone on the street, or having sexy dreams about someone else. How do you and your partner define it?

When Should a Decision Be Strictly Your Call (and Not Your Partner’s)?

When you’re in a relationship, the simple act of making life decisions becomes more complicated and that’s as it should be. Your choices no longer affect just you, so it makes sense to bring your partner in on the conversation more often than not. Some decisions should still be considered yours to make on your own though (and vice versa for your partner).

It’s important to keep your partner in the loop and include them, so even personal decisions should probably at least be discussed. Large decisions about where you’ll live or whether to buy a house together should always be considered joint decisions. However, you should always get the final say in more personal decisions. The following are some great examples.

What You Do for a Living

If you’re like most people, you want your partner’s input when it comes to your future career, but at the end of the day, it’s ultimately your call. It’s not just a money issue either, although income is important. Only you can say for sure whether you’re passionate enough about something to do it for the rest of your life.

You’re also the only one who can determine whether a particular job field is compatible with everything else you want for your life. Are the hours you’ll be expected to work really for you? What about the other job requirements? A partner can be a great help when it comes to figuring those things out, but the final call should be yours to make.

When You Have Sex

When you decide to be in a sexual relationship with another person, it makes sense that they’ll want sex fairly regularly. It’s also fine to indulge your partner occasionally if they’re really in the mood, but you’re less enthused. What isn’t fine is for your partner to ever make you feel like you don’t have the right to say no.

You’re the one who gets the final call when it comes to your body. If you don’t want to have sex or engage in something specific, it’s your call and your partner should respect that. If you and your partner find you disagree on the ideal frequency for your sex life, it may be time to initiate a more in-depth decision.

Whether You’re on Birth Control

Whether or not the two of you have children right now (or ever) is a mutual decision you and your partner make together. However, whether you’re on oral birth control is a personal decision about your body that you deserve the final call on.

Oral birth control doesn’t agree with every woman or every system, so there are lots of reasons why someone might not want to be on it. The opposite is also true. Many women far prefer the freedom and peace of mind taking oral contraceptives brings to the table as compared to the alternatives. Your partner does not have the right to decide for you either way.

Who Your Friends Are

While it’s great when your friends and your partner get along famously and like one another, that might not always be the case. Unless a particular friendship is somehow affecting your relationship, it’s up to you and you alone who you hang out with and include in your social circle. Your partner doesn’t get to decide otherwise because they don’t like them or approve of something specific about them.

Yes, you should listen to your partner if they express concern about a friend who’s maybe hurting you or taking advantage of you. Yes, you should value their opinion and be respectful of your partner’s feelings when being firm about boundaries. No, you shouldn’t give them the final call on your friendships just because it’s easier. Friendships are important and personal, so decisions about them should be personal too.

How You Look

Looks may be only skin deep, but that doesn’t make them unimportant. How you choose to dress, and look is part of how you express your identity to the rest of the world, so it makes sense that it’s personal to you on many levels.

That said, your looks are your own. It’s fine to take your partner’s likes and dislikes into consideration when styling yourself or making decisions about body modifications like tattoos or piercings. It’s not fine for them to make demands or try to decide for you how you’re allowed to look, how you’ll wear your hair, and so forth. Again, it’s your body, so it’s your call.

Being in a relationship frequently means putting your heads together and coming up with a compromise. Healthy relationships are between two individuals who are comfortable making their own decisions though. What decisions do you share with your partner versus make on your own?

Secrets You’re Allowed to Keep to in a Relationship

If you’re like most people, you might be of the mind that you should never keep secrets from a spouse or significant other, and you’re right for the most part. People in relationships should always feel at ease speaking frankly with a partner, even when it comes to tough topics. However, there are many good things in life that’s it’s wholly possible to have too much of, and honesty is definitely one of them.

There’s also a huge difference between lying to your partner or deliberately keeping critical information from them and understanding that some things are probably better kept to one’s self. The following are some excellent examples of things that may be better left unsaid.

1. Where They Rank as a Lover

Some of us are incredibly lucky in that we settled down with the person who’s also the absolute best we’ve ever had when it comes to sex. However, that’s simply not the case for everyone. If your partner doesn’t happen to be your number one, you naturally don’t love them any less for that, and it hardly means that they aren’t phenomenal in the sack. Literally no one wants to hear that from the person they love though, even if it’s the truth. In fact, such confessions can irreparably damage your relationship, so definitely keep this secret to yourself.

2. Details of Your Sexual Past

If something about your intimate past has given you cause to be concerned about your sexual health, then you should absolutely communicate that to your partner. Otherwise, this is a topic that it’s definitely OK to keep secret when it comes to your relationship. Your partner doesn’t need to know your “number”, nor do you need to know theirs. You shouldn’t feel obligated to share graphic, X-rated details about any past sexual encounters you’ve had with other people, even if the topic comes up on its own someday. “Don’t ask, don’t tell” is actually a great stance to take here.

3. Personal Opinions About Close Family

Two people in a relationship rarely to never like everything about every single member of the other person’s family or friends, and it’s unlikely that’s any less the case for you and your partner. In rare cases where you’re dealing with serious issues, it might be best to bring up your concerns, but usually it’s just best to keep opinions about parents, siblings, or even best friends off the table. Your partner is probably every bit as protective of their loved ones as you are of yours, so you’re unlikely to get them to see things your way.

4. What You Fantasize About in Private

Sharing your fantasies with your partner can be a wonderful way to deepen intimacy and take your sex life as a couple to the next level, especially if you know your partner is open to making a fantasy come true for you. However, you’re under no obligation to spill the beans unless you really want to. How a person likes to masturbate or who they like to fantasize about when they’re alone is pretty personal, so it’s completely OK to keep those things secret or just between you and your favorite vibrator.

5. Who Else You Find Attractive

Some people don’t mind hearing about their partner’s mad crush on Jason Momoa, Jessica Chastain, or even a coworker at the office, but others would simply rather not. Almost no one wants to hear that their partner finds their best friend or sibling super smoking hot, especially in graphic sexual detail. Unless you know your partner’s the rare sort that genuinely doesn’t mind, you might make them feel insecure. Of course, you can’t help who you find attractive, but you can help whether or not you express something that could hurt your partner’s feelings.

6. Reasons You Miss Your Ex Sometimes

Speaking of treading carefully when expressing attraction to others, it’s pretty much never a good idea to bring up why you really miss your ex at times. No one likes the experience of being compared to somebody else, especially if they come up short. Your current partner doesn’t need to know that you loved your ex’s cooking or got along a lot better with their family. That said, while it’s natural and normal to sometimes miss people we were once intimately connected to, keep in mind that those past relationships ended for a reason.

In conclusion, while it’s true that communication is the key to a healthy, happy relationship, it’s definitely possible to overshare. Converse freely and openly about the big things or anything that truly does concern the other person, but know which tidbits are probably better kept to yourself as well. In the end, your relationship will thank you for it.

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