5 Ways To Tell When He's Lying

In my work with couples over many years, especially because I do so much infidelity work, there are people who I thought were lying when they actually were not. And there were also people I believed were truthful, who were lying the entire time. But I get better every year.

I am reluctant to write this blogpost because I don’t want it used by some as a small manual to become a better liar. For that reason, I will only list some of the major factors I use to determine a person’s transparency, when I wonder; is he a liar?

is he a liar

1. He Answers a Question With a Question

When people answer a question honestly, they only have to think about one thing – the truth. But when people are being deceptive, they have to think in multiple, parallel ways. They think about the true answer that they keep to themselves. They think about what they could say even though it’s not the truth. And they think about whether their untruthful answers will be found out due to either a previous inconsistency, or a conflict in their timeframe. 

Lying takes a lot more time than telling the truth does.

If he’s lying to you, he might take an unusually long period of time to think before he answers you. That said, there are people who think before they answer who are just being contemplative and precise in their candor.

2. He Picks a Fight With You

People who feel like they’re in the witness box try to change the subject. As the saying goes, “A good defense is a good offense.” So if you ask a straightforward question and are answered with an argument, bring him immediately back to your original question. Make sure you don’t let his strategy work by getting defensive.

Others, when they’re trying to shut down your problematic question, will use volume to challenge or intimidate you. Just ask them to lower their voice, and then repeat the question.

And remember that silence is not the enemy. After you’ve asked a question, don’t keep talking. Wait, in silence, until he answers you.

3. Absence of Empathy

When a person is telling you the truth, he will be able to see how badly you’re struggling and express compassion and understanding for you. A transparent person will lean in and answer your question, over and over again if necessary. 

He will want to make sure you get your answers so you will feel comforted and reassured.

Honest people don’t make it all about them when you’re upset. They empathize with your anguish and do everything they can to tell you what you need to know.

Empathy is one thing that never occurs to a person who is about to lie right to your face. He’s too busy worried about himself and what he’s going to say.

4. They Feign Emotional Injury

When you ask a probative question, it is time to worry if you get a response that indicates you have immediately offended him. He may become overly emotional and say, holding his chest, “I can’t believe you’re asking me that.”

He not only has changed the subject, but he has started to train you to not ask the same question twice because he is SO offended.

But a guy who answers honestly will immediately respond to your question, and will likely be curious as to what made you ask the question in the first place. 

People who lie are not genuinely curious about what it was that made you ask in the first place.

5. He Gives Nonspecific Answers

Most people don’t like to lie. It makes them uncomfortable because they’re afraid they’re going to get caught. So when a man has to lie, he will choose partial lies. People who use vague language select words like “only, just, or a few.” 

The word “once” is usually a red flag for me as well. 

When a person is lying, he will often tell you that he doesn’t know. A truthful person who genuinely doesn’t know will say so but will chase it with an offer to think back or find out, because he will want to reassure you with truthfulness.


There are so many ways that I use to tell when people are lying to me or to their spouse. Way too many to write about. But probably the most reliable indicator is that feeling I have in my gut. It’s developed over time, and its reliability still stuns me. 

Perhaps your own intuition is pretty reliable as well.

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Lisa Ryan

Relationship Expert – Infidelity Specialist – Personal Development Coach

Loves the big blue sea, homely dogs, the unvarnished truth, and making people feel better.

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