How to Spot a Liar in a Relationship (19 Signs)

In every close relationship, we expect honesty. But let’s be real; there are times you might feel unsure about what your partner says or does, especially when their words don’t match their actions. 

But don’t jump to any conclusions just yet. There’s a chance that what you’re noticing is nothing to worry about. How can you tell the difference? Stick with me, and we’ll go over everything step by step. 

Inconsistency in Stories

Imagine your partner explaining why they were late yesterday. First, they said it was a flat tire. Later, it switches to traffic delays, and then maybe it’s added that there was also a detour. This flip-flopping is what inconsistency looks like.

In a partnership, these mixed messages can leave you feeling unsure and even troubled because your gut tells you something’s not quite right.

Inconsistencies can reveal themselves over time, so it’s important to pay attention as stories evolve. A genuine mistake might occur, sure, but if the storyline keeps getting remodeled, it’s a strong hint that the truth might be on vacation.

Defensive Behavior

If a simple question like “Who were you talking to on the phone?” is met with “Why do you always have to control me?” – pause and ponder.

Being protective about personal space is normal, but if your partner is quick to build a wall when you ask everyday questions, it’s worth taking a closer look.

Here’s how this might roll out:

  1. You ask a straightforward question.
  2. Instead of answering, your partner lashes out or tries to flip the blame onto you.
  3. It leaves you more suspicious and them not having to give a real answer.

Avoids Eye Contact

When people lie, they might find it hard to hold your gaze because they know their words don’t match their feelings.

Imagine this: You’re enjoying coffee together and ask a basic question, “How was work yesterday?” Instead of the usual eye-to-eye, they look at the latte, the table, the birds outside—everywhere but you.

Remember, though, don’t jump to conclusions; some cultures see direct eye contact differently.

Hesitation in Response

When asking your partner a straightforward question, notice if there’s a pause that’s a bit too long. It’s that awkward silence before they answer, the ‘hmm‘ moment that stretches out.

This is not about the brain freezes we all have sometimes; it’s a consistent pattern you start to notice. When someone knows their stuff, the answer rolls right off their tongue. Why? Because it’s their real experience, easy peasy.

But let’s say you ask, “Who called you last night?” and they pause like they’re trying to press the right answer out of their brain like toothpaste from an almost empty tube. Weird, huh? It’s a simple question, after all. These pauses might be them buying time to think of a lie or remember the lie they previously told.

Change in Voice Pitch

Now, we’re not all expert singers with perfect pitch, but our voices do tell a story beyond the words we say. If someone’s usually talking in calm, even tones, and suddenly they sound like a squeaky door hinge, something’s probably amiss.

You’re hanging out, sharing how your day went, and you ask, “Who were you talking to on the phone just now?” If the response comes in a melody that’s higher than their usual tone, take note. They might just be surprised, sure—but it could also mean their vocal cords are dancing to the beat of deceit.

Body Language Mismatch

When people really mean what they say, usually their whole body agrees. Nods go up and down, smiles are wide, and arms are open. It’s harmony.

But if someone tells you, “I had a great day,” and they look as joyful as someone who just stepped on Lego, you might wonder, “Alright, so which is it?

Watch out for:

  • Arms folded tight when they’re supposedly relaxed.
  • Smiles that vanish faster than a magic trick when they say they’re happy.
  • Nods that don’t match their “Yes” or shakes that don’t fit their “No.”

Timing Discrepancies

We all forget dates and mix up times now and then. But if someone often gets mixed up about when things happened, it might mean they’re trying to keep track of a made-up story.

When stories don’t line up with what you know is true about when and where things happened, those are called timing discrepancies.

Here’s what you might notice:

  • They say they did something one day, but later they mention it happened on another day.
  • You get different times when you ask about the same event more than once.
  • They’re not sure about the order of events, like what happened first and what came after.

Change in Routine

Everyone has a regular routine, and small changes are normal. But when there’s a big shift with no clear reason, or if your partner doesn’t want to talk about it, that can be a sign.

Look for:

  • A sudden interest in new activities without much to say about them.
  • More “work” that keeps them out at odd hours.
  • Frequent excuses to run errands alone without needing help.

Secretive Phone Use

It’s natural for people to treasure their privacy, even from their partners. However, if your other half starts to guard their phone like a treasure chest, it’s natural to feel a bit curious or even concerned.

Maybe they’ve started taking their phone with them every time they leave the room, which they never used to do before. Perhaps you’ve noticed them replying to messages more frequently, but they brush off your curiosity with a vague “it’s nothing.” Sometimes, they might even angle the screen away from you, as if they’re hiding a delicate secret.

This level of privacy can leave you feeling shut out and raise questions about trust.

Touch Avoidance

Holding hands, a pat on the back, or a simple touch on the arm – these are small gestures that mean a lot. If these little things start to disappear or your partner starts to pull away when you reach out, it could be a sign that they’re uncomfortable or hiding something.

Pay attention to how often they:

  • Move away when you try to get close.
  • Don’t reach out to touch you, even in small ways, like they used to.
  • Seem tense or stiff when there is physical contact between you two.

Stress Indicators

Sometimes, you can just see the stress written all over someone’s face. Maybe your partner has been more fidgety than usual, or their laugh doesn’t have the same spark. These little stress indicators can mean they’re carrying something heavy on their mind.

It doesn’t necessarily point to lying, but it does suggest they’ve got something on their mind that isn’t finding its way out into the open. And while we all have our secrets, knowing your partner is stressed and not knowing why can be tough.

A conversation that comes from a place of care, where you ask about their well-being without prying too hard, could help ease the load they’re carrying.

Anxiety Indicators

When anxiety crops up because of a lie, your partner might seem ‘off.’ They may jump a little when the phone rings or glance over their shoulder more than usual. You might find them lost in thought, and when you ask what’s wrong, they snap back to reality with a jolt, assuring you it’s nothing.

It’s these small things that could signal they’re wrestling with inner turmoil, possibly from not being fully honest.

Instant Denial

If you notice that your partner immediately says “No!” to anything you question them about, even before you finish speaking, this could be a sign of instant denial. This is when someone rejects what you’re saying very quickly without taking time to think about it or hear you out.

What to look out for:

  • They interrupt you to say, “That’s not true,” before you’ve had a chance to fully explain your concern.
  • They seem to not want to talk at all about whatever you’re questioning them on.
  • If you ask about something, they try to end the conversation immediately.

Nervous Laughter

Nervous laughter is that little giggle or chuckle that pops up at times when it doesn’t quite fit. Like when you’re asking about something serious, and they respond with a laugh rather than words. It’s confusing, right?

You might notice it when:

  • You’re discussing something important, and instead of answering, they let out a nervous chuckle.
  • After they share some information with you, they laugh, but you can tell it doesn’t sound real.
  • Even during moments of silence, they might nervously giggle as if they need to fill the space with something.

Covering the Mouth

When someone talks, and they cover their mouth with their hand, it’s like they want to keep something from getting out. It’s a bit like closing a door to stop a pet from running out – but in this case, it might be the truth they’re trying to keep inside.

For example, you might ask your partner a direct question about where they’ve been, and you see their hand drift up to their face as they reply. It’s a small move, but it might make you wonder if they’re trying to hide their words, almost as if they’re signaling, “I’m not sure I want you to know this.

Seeing this doesn’t always mean they’re fibbing. Sometimes it’s just a habit, or they might be unsure. But if this hand-to-mouth action starts to happen a lot, especially when you’re asking questions, it could be a sign that they’re not being totally open with you.

Excessive Justifications

We all explain ourselves from time to time, but when it’s too much, and too often, it could be a sign they’re trying to hide the real story under a pile of details.

This is what excessive justifications could include:

  • Giving a lot of reasons or excuses for simple things that don’t normally need explaining.
  • Overloading you with details, as if they’ve rehearsed or overthought what to tell you.
  • Always having an answer ready, even when the situation doesn’t really call for one.

Forced Calmness

Sometimes you can tell someone’s trying too hard to seem calm. It’s like watching someone sit still in a chair, but you can tell they really want to get up and move around. When your partner is usually more expressive, and suddenly they’re acting too smooth, it might catch your attention.

For instance, say your partner comes home a lot later than usual. You ask about their day, expecting maybe a sign of stress or a tired smile. Instead, they seem unusually cool, with each move and each word measured out as if they practiced. It almost feels like they’re trying to make sure nothing slips out that they don’t want you to know.

Avoiding the Subject

Some people can be really good at changing the topic when they don’t want to talk about something. If your partner does this whenever certain things come up, it’s like they’re trying to escape the conversation.

You can see:

  • Quick changes in conversation right when you’re about to get to the heart of a matter.
  • In an almost skillful way, they bring up new things when you’re trying to focus on one point.
  • Trying to get back to what you were talking about only leads to more changes.


When someone starts being really nice out of nowhere, it can make you stop and think, “What’s going on?” Maybe your partner is suddenly bringing you little gifts all the time, or they’re doing lots of extra nice things for no clear reason.

While it’s lovely to get surprises, if this is new and doesn’t fit with how they usually act, it could be a sign they’re trying to make up for something they feel guilty about.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if my partner denies lying despite multiple signs indicating otherwise?

If the trust in your relationship is challenged and communication doesn’t resolve the doubts, you might consider couple’s counseling. A professional can help mediate the conversation and give both partners the tools to rebuild trust.

Are there times when it’s okay to let a lie go in a relationship?

Minor or infrequent lies that don’t have a significant impact on the relationship might sometimes be overlooked, but it’s important to address patterns of dishonesty that affect trust and intimacy. Use your judgment and consider the context and your values.

Final Thoughts

Remember that spotting a lie doesn’t always mean the end of the world—or your relationship. I’ve shared some signs that could raise red flags, but they’re just hints, not proof.

If your gut tells you something’s not right, trust yourself enough to have an open chat with your partner. Good conversations can clear the air and bring you closer. And after all, honesty and trust are what make a relationship solid and real.

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

As you found this post useful...

Share it on social media!

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?

Photo of author

Bea is an editor and writer with a passion for literature and self-improvement. Her ability to combine these two interests enables her to write informative and thought-provoking articles that positively impact society. She enjoys reading stories and listening to music in her spare time.