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If we all wore our hearts on our sleeves, or rather, our lies on our faces, the world would be a more interesting place. Whether it’s for the better or worse is up for debate. But one thing’s for certain: We lie a lot.
According to a University of Massachusetts study, 60 percent of adults can’t go 10 minutes in a conversation without lying at least once. The most common lies? Women lie to make someone else feel good and men generally lie to make themselves look better.
But whether they’re telling a white lie or not, can you spot a liar? There are physiological factors that give away a lie, but—unless you’re a trained sleuth—it’s going to be difficult to gauge whether dilated pupils, an averted gaze, fidgeting hands, or a change in posture are, alone, full-blown indicators of deception. However, if you know what behaviors to look for in addition to these cues, you can definitiely sniff out a false statement.
Though you may not be able to detect your girlfriend or wife’s lies with 100 percent accuracy, you will be a heck of a lot more confident in determining if she’s cheating, deceiving you, or hiding something. Here’s how to read between the lies.
Decide: Is it you, or is it her?
“Look at your past to determine whether it’s a legitimate intuition you have about her lying,” says Sarah Jones, relationship expert, and founder and CEO of coaching website Introverted Alpha. If you’ve had a recurring gut feeling that every woman you’ve ever been with is being dishonest or unfaithful, but they’ve never given you reason to believe so, then it might be you. Your worries could be stemming from insecurity—especially if a previous girlfriend lied to you before (and not just a little white lie, but dropped a full-blown bomb). You may be on high alert and have extra anxiety from being deceived in the past, but you don’t want to ruin a relationship by constantly questioning her motives and actions. That being said, “if you’re usually right, or if this is a new worry, then it likely does have something to do with her,” Jones adds. “Pay attention to your gut.”
Is she overly protective of her electronics?
“If she’s keeping her phone locked and out of sight, if she never wants to Google or order takeout with you using her own computer, or if she snaps at you for snooping around when you’re doing no such thing, that’s definitely suspicious,” Jones says. It shows she’s paranoid about something. That’s not to say she’s being overreactive if you ask to see her last three month’s worth of text messages and phone calls (then you’re the one who’s overreacting). You should have a level of trust where you’re not spying on each other’s personal emails, social media accounts, and electronics. But if she has recurring late-night phone calls she’s not forthcoming about, then that tips you off that something’s not right.
Does she have trouble making eye contact?
“If you’re worried something’s up and you come to her with it, does she avoid your eyes?” Jones asks. “That often indicates shame, fear, or, at the very least, discomfort.” Just keep in mind that unless she’s a compulsive liar, she’s going to seem surprised, taken aback, even genuinely confused if you accuse her of dishonesty and she’s innocent, Jones says.
Has her body language changed?
If you’ve been in a relationship for a while, you’ve picked up on her habits, behaviors, and quirks. So, with this being said, she might always twirl her hair, flip her phone, drum her fingers, or tap her feet on a regular basis. That doesn’t mean you start pointing fingers and losing your mind. “Some people are naturally more fidgety than others, and it might have nothing to do with you,” Jones adds. But: “If she’s suddenly nervous around you whereas she wasn’t before,” then you might be detecting something.
Is she closed off and guarded?
“If she’s not opening up to you at a normal level for how well you know each other, and how long you’ve been together, she might be hiding something,” Jones says. You know how affectionate she is on a regular basis, who she spends most of her time with, hell, even when she goes to bed. If she starts drastically straying from her normal behavior, that’s a red flag. If you want to ask her—and this goes for any of the aforementioned signs—Jones suggests you preface the conversation with, ‘I might be totally nuts here, but I’ve been a little worried about X lately. Is anything up with that?’ You want to show concern and thoughtfulness without jumping to conclusions or jumping down her throat.