How To Cope When You Are Dating A Habitual Liar

Updated March 20, 2024by Regain Editorial Team

Lying can be a tricky dance. Whether it is a white lie or a lie intended to help, lying is a guessing game in honesty.

No matter who you are, you are going to experience some form of lying. It's up to you to determine the levels of lying you are willing to tolerate from a person in your life. In most cases, you will have a friend who will lie every once in a while. Some friends will stretch the truth. And there will inevitably be at least one who is a habitual liar.

Ahead, we’ll discuss the signs of habitual lying and why some people lie more often than others. Should you feel that you need support in improving a relationship founded on lies, we will make additional recommendations for seeking help.

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Have you noticed that your partner is frequently lying to you?

Lying may start in childhood

Lying can start as early as two years old. This is a time before we are even aware of ill-intent. It is said that lying is an indication of cognitive growth but also a loss of innocence. When a child lies before even knowing the repercussions of their actions, what are they trying to achieve? It is safe to say that they are not trying to manipulate anyone - hopefully. If lying is seen as harmful intent, then should we view the same behavior in our children? The answer can get a bit tricky.

Lying is prominent in most everyday life. Answering an "I'm doing fine," despite not being okay whatsoever, is one specific example of lying. The intent here, however, is most often to shield the other person from our drama or protect ourselves from our own vulnerabilities. The intent is what distinguishes a harmful lie from an innocuous one.

In contrast, some lies can devastate others' lives and ultimately could result in someone's death. There have been multiple accounts of false testimonies resulting in a jail sentence. Like most things, the answer exists along a spectrum. White lies are the simple lies that we tell to make life easier, and these dark, life-altering lies are on the other side of the spectrum. Somewhere along the way, we are going to tell a lie. Each lie we tell will fall along this spectrum, but what can determine the magnitude of the lying will be the person’s intent.

How lying can affect a relationship

Any relationship will have its ups and downs. With intimate relationships, you will be experiencing more of them. The partner you choose could be one of the most responsible decisions you could ever make in a relationship. This person you plan to live with for the indefinite future will be the person who can pick you up when you get knocked down. This person may carry you when you do not have the strength to move another step.

Your partner could also be the person who has you second-guessing yourself. They could test your boundaries, or they could destroy them.

There are plenty of opportunities to test the integrity of a relationship, especially past the intimate phase of the relationship. When talks of moving in or starting a family come into the plan, your partner’s actions tell the larger story. If we foster healthy communication and practice active listening, these obstacles will become, hopefully, beautiful memories. But what happens when we catch our partner lying?


A caught lie may cause you to question everything your partner has ever said. This event can cause you to think about a person you thought you released all control from critically. It is a painful reminder of the flaws that any person can have. When this happens, it can be challenging to know what statements were lies and which were truthful. There will not be a formal investigation of any sort. There will most likely be a careful eye now moving forward. It will not necessarily mean that the relationship is doomed to fail. 

As humans, we sometimes focus entirely too much on our flaws when our flaws. There is no such thing as a perfect person. We present the best version of ourselves to our partners, and we wish to maintain that image. Who is to say that attempting to be perfect isn't a noble thing to do? Like we have mentioned, the intention is what matters here.

Coping with habitual lying

It can be difficult to interact with a person who is a habitual liar or pathological liar No matter how true the words seem out of a person's mouth, their honesty has been forever jeopardized if they continuously lie.

A habitual liar may be living with a disorder such as psychopathy, antisocialism, narcissism, or other personality disorders. Some may not live with any of these. As you would expect, it is tough to diagnose such a disorder.

The cause could be deep-rooted insecurities or internally motivated deceptions. Regardless, this person, your partner, is continually lying to you.

No matter what kind of lie it may be, it will sacrifice some level of honesty if it is caught. White lies sacrifice less. Detrimental lies often cause harm. If the lies are constant, each instance can erode honesty until all that is left is disbelief.

There are ways to cope with such behavior. In most cases, this behavior is a self-inflicted behavior with no ill intent.

Draw a line or set boundaries

Whatever level of lying you are willing to tolerate, there will likely be a point where you cannot accept any more. It could be a number of lies heard, or it can be an intuitive benchmark, but you must have the intent to set a boundary.

It can be hard if you're married to a compulsive liar. If your partner begins lying, hold them accountable. Remember, everyone lies. Asking for someone who lies too much to stop completely is downright impossible. There are therapies and people who are genuinely wanting to help. Some professionals understand that lying is not a habit entirely within their control.

Try your best to hear your partner out. If you are not satisfied with the response, then move on. Habitual lying is not a habit that changes overnight. It will take a significant investment on your part to help your partner, and if you cannot afford that expense, there isn't any obligation.

If you set the boundary, hear your partner’s take. If you manage to progress the conversation, then it's a sign they're willing to change.

Change your behavior

Have you noticed that your partner is frequently lying to you?

In some cases, your partner might lie to avoid your reactions. If your partner tells you that they'll be home in 20 minutes, but it becomes an hour and they come home to intense arguments, they may lie to avoid the confrontation. We can't change other people, but we can change ourselves.

If you notice that our partners lie when they want to avoid a particular confrontation, adjust your behavior to narrow down the instance in which they might lie or ask. We are not always aware of our actions, so the question might not always be fruitful. But act within reason. We are not spies. We do not have to adjust ourselves for the sake of another person if we don't want to compromise our values. If we see that the adjustments are within our interest, we might try to make these changes.

Seek professional help

If you are reached the point where it’s time to bring in a professional for support with habitual lying, that is nothing about which you or your partner should feel ashamed. Asking for help can be a sign of strength, and it may be more accessible than you realize.

Many couples seek the support of therapists through online counseling platforms like Regain for a variety of reasons. From managing addictions, moving forward after infidelity, or recreating a sense of novelty and excitement that has been lost to learning best parenting practices and grieving the loss of a family member, there are countless reasons why couples might meet with a therapist. As long as you have a secure internet connection, you can meet over a videoconference with your online therapist or text them directly. You and your partner can even attend online therapy sessions from separate locations if your schedules are highly demanding.

Online therapy has effectively helped many people in resolving various issues related to their personal relationships. In one study, researchers compared the efficacy of face-to-face therapy with online therapy for participants seeking support for numerous mental health related issues. The report yielded promising results showing how online therapy can be an effective alternative, in that participants reported satisfactory experiences with the treatment mode.


Lying can be a difficult subject to take on. Society may view lying as improper behavior, but in actuality, lying is a part of everyday life. We cannot be pooling our problems onto each person we encounter, nor should we. Avoiding topics or simply giving answers to prevent unnecessary conflict is healthy.

When lying is introduced into a relationship, we have a more difficult problem to solve. Love and lies can cause a flurry of suspicions without any evidence. These suspicions could cause the end of a relationship. Allowing healthy communications and an honesty environment can quickly help us wade past these obstacles we all face in our intimate relationships.  Should you feel the need to seek support for habitual lying or living with a partner who may be a pathological liar, know that you can reach out to an online therapist at Regain today, and they will work toward helping you and your partner reach your overall relationship goals.

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