Now. Before you rush to judgement, I need to clear the air and state that lying affects both men and women.
After all, who isn’t guilty of a little white lie every now and then?
But today, we’re talking about something entirely different.
I received an email recently from a woman who was confused and frustrated that her husband won't stop lying to her.
Big lies, little lies - and everything in between.
In March of 2023, Psychology Today published an article stating how new research revealed men are more dishonest than women.
Though the difference is small, it was noticeable particularly when the lies promote self-interest.
So why do men lie?
It happens for a variety of reasons I’ll discuss shortly. The key to improving relationships is understanding the big question – WHY do they do it?
Gaining an understanding about the motivations and reasons behind why men lie can help you make sense of his behavior and offer peace of mind.
Whether you're curious about why your partner or husband lies to you or you're simply interested in human behavior, keep reading to discover the fascinating world of male deception.
See if this sounds familiar.
You’re a straightforward woman. You see things in black and white. Right or wrong, you prefer to get things out in the open, deal with them, and move on.
It can be frustrating when you catch your husband, family member, friend or co-worker in an outright, blatant lie.
It’s common to feel betrayed, angry, and bewildered that he didn’t have the nerve to come clean – especially when it comes to the small things.
“My husband lies all the time”
For a moment, let’s look at some of the common reasons why men lie.
For starters, there’s a causal lie every now and then. A stretch of the truth or exaggeration if you will.
A common belief is that men never admit they’re wrong. Never asking for directions might come to mind. Lying can be a way for him fudge the truth and look like he was right all along.
“No honey, I got this.” Two hours later you end up in another time zone you’re thinking, “nope, you most certainly don’t.”
A common belief is that men are often raised to be independent and solve problems on their own. The theory is that they want to hide their mistakes instead of admitting to them.
And thennnnn there’s the ego.
Ah yes, the male ego. Writing this as a man I can confirm that lying is a way for some men to maintain the illusion of competence and avoid feeling like an inadequate failure.
But for others, that’s not it at all.
Gender roles are only PART of the equation.
Is your husband softhearted?
If you’re familiar with my work, you’ll know that I created a tool called the Flag Page where I identify that each of us has what I call a nature.
You’re either softhearted, hard natured, or balancing. When you’re balancing, you fluctuate from one side to the other depending on the circumstance.
Let’s break it down.
Hard natured men: These men are direct and to the point. They are quick to draw a conclusion and prefer to address conflict head-on. Hard natured men are results-oriented people.
Softhearted men: Softhearted men are relationship oriented. They are often easy going and prefer a subtle approach. These men shy away from – *or even hate* - conflict. They’ll do anything to avoid it – including and especially by lying!
Balancing men: If your husband is balancing, the previous two statements might both sound like your husband or partner. At work, he might be in charge of a team and have to make tough decisions at times. At home, you might see more of his softer side – or vice versa.
Now here’s the thing.
If your husband is softhearted AND came from a difficult childhood home where he had a bad, weak, or non-existent relationship with his father, you might find that your husband lies all the time.
Past Experiences and Trauma
Your husband’s childhood is a factor because the more troubled his childhood, the more likely he is to be what I call a “Chaos Kid”. I’ve referred to the Chaos to Purpose Scale at length elsewhere, so I won’t go into detail here.
Children with a healthy childhood and strong relationship with their father are lucky to grow up as happy adults with a strong moral compass.
In other words, they’ll think twice about lying to cover up a mistake.
Men who have experienced trauma or abuse lie for a variety of reasons:
- He is a softhearted man who wants to avoid conflict
- He is seeking validation or approval
- He witnessed his father or mother normalize lying
- He’s in a midlife crisis
- He is lying as a result of his ego
Why do men lie? Let’s break it down.
Reason #1: He is a softhearted man who wants to avoid conflict
If you identified your husband as being a softhearted man, chances are good that you are hard natured or balancing. This means the two of you have opposite approaches to conflict.
You want to take it head on. He wants to sweep it under the rug.
In a relationship, there are other factors that can increase the frequency in which he lies to you. If he feels you don’t respect him and is constantly criticized – as if he can’t do anything right, he is MUCH more likely to lie about any mundane thing.
Now think about your upbringing for a moment. How did your mother treat your father? Did she ridicule your father? Did he tell lies to her?
Many women don’t know that the way their mother treated their father has a HUGE impact on the way they treat their husband or partner today.
The same goes for him. How did his father treat his mother?
Look for patterns in both of your childhoods and see if you can draw any parallels to your marriage today.
If you are hard natured and your husband is softhearted and you’d like to learn more about how to get through to him, you can learn more in my book Softhearted Woman Hard World. This book was originally written for women, but I eventually realized that Softhearted women are not built to fix things while Hard natured or balancing women are.
Over the years, I was stunned to find out how hard natured women married to softhearted men found this book helpful. They gained a completely different understanding of their softhearted husband. I hope you’ll do the same!
Reason #2: He is seeking validation or approval
Softhearted people thrive on validation and approval for who they are. Men who would tell you they hate conflict crave respect.
Is your husband is softhearted? Take the Flag Page survey to find out.
If he IS softhearted, look at who he married. A woman who is confident, self-assured, a problem solver – and tackles conflict head on.
They say opposites attract and this is often – but not always the case.
As a couple, you navigate life together until the pressures of life kick in and the stress becomes too much.
Suddenly, you stop giving him complements – he does the same. You attempt to “guide” him to make the “right” decisions by giving unsolicited advice.
But the trouble is. HE’S. NOT. LISTENING.
Not only is he not listening, but he may also be so filled with resentment that he’s seeking relief – away from you.
If he’s spending more time with his buddies lately, he’s irritable, down, and makes up lies just to get away, I hope this article comes as a wake-up call.
As a next step, download this free guide to learn about men’s two greatest needs so you can get your relationship back on track.
Reason #3: He witnessed his father or mother normalize lying
In my Environment Changer course, I teach that we all live with a set of lifestyle values – both good and bad. We either accepted the values, beliefs, and actions of our parents or we rejected these as a child – and we still reject them today.
There are 15 primary lifestyle issues - one of them is loyalty.
While loyalty can mean different things to different people, if loyalty is important to you, you find it extremely painful when you find out your husband is lying to you.
Again – look to his childhood.
Did his mother or father tell lies? Did either of them hate conflict while the other was more dominant in nature?
If lying was the way his father dealt with conflict and he accepted it as a child, that is the way he will deal with conflict today. Lying is simply normal to him.
In fact, I’ll go a step further. Lying could have been “baked” into your husband at a young age. If lying was a way of life for his parents, no amount of confrontation, open discussion or threats will change that.
The key to resolving this issue begins with understanding WHY he is lying in the first place.
Reason #4: He’s in a midlife crisis
Childhood is so important, yet often overlooked!
Women often write to me in frustration trying to understand the man they married.
Over the years, these women found that the little lies he once told grew bigger as the level of resentment between them grew.
Some women notice a dramatic, almost overnight change in their husband.
They immediately jump online in a desperate attempt to understand this stranger that is now living in their house. They tell me things like:
- “My husband is living in EXACT contrast to everything he used to stand against.”
- “My husband lies about everything. I think he’s a narcissist.”
- “My husband lies about where he is. This is not the man I married.”
Men who endured abandonment, abuse, and neglect as a child often enter a midlife crisis as an adult.
Now why does this happen?
You weren’t aware of this when you married him, but the pain from your husband’s childhood was lying dormant all this time in his subconscious mind until the perfect moment – when everything EXPLODED.
It could have been ignited by the death of a parent, stress at work, or a move across country.
Once the perfect storm hits, he falls into midlife crisis.
I created a free midlife crisis roadmap you can use as your compass to navigate this difficult journey. If your husband sees you as the enemy, this free guide can help give you some perspective so you can maintain your sanity.
If any of this sounds familiar, lying is simply par for the course. It’s a symptom of midlife crisis or a challenging upbringing.
Reason #5: He is lying as a result of his ego
Finally, men may lie as a way to protect their ego and preserve their sense of self. Lying can be a way to avoid feelings of shame or guilt, or to maintain the appearance of control in a situation where they feel powerless.
Additionally, men may lie to protect their self-image, such as by exaggerating their accomplishments or downplaying their flaws.
How to Address and Cope with Lying in Relationships
Addressing and coping with lying in relationships can be challenging, but it’s even more challenging when the person lying is your husband or partner.
If your husband was raised in zone 1-3 of the Chaos to Purpose scale, your goal is to create an environment where he feels safe with you.
That means he can speak to you without fear of judgement or criticism. It means he has no fear of being attacked for things he has said or done.
You can start by learning how to support his needs as a man.
Now I know what you’re thinking. “I’m the one feeling betrayed by his lying. Why do I have to do all the work?!”
Think of your relationship like two high powered fans. You resist him, he resists you.
Change will not happen until one of you stop your “fan” and take the first step.
Relationship experts always cite communication as the first thing to work on when you reach rocky waters with an intimate partner, but communication in general won’t cut it.
If both of you still have good will between you, Marriage 101 could be a great step in the right direction toward better understanding your husband. This program is a two-hour live interactive call I personally hold with couples.
You’ll each walk away with a set of dos and don’ts based on your Flag Page so you have a specific plan to rebuild the connection you once had.
You need to know who he is at heart, how he’s motivated, and what you can do to support who he is – and when you do, he’ll do the same for you!
That’s the goal of Marriage 101. It’s a 100% positive, man-friendly alternative to traditional marriage counseling where neither of you are the “bad guy”.
The Importance of Trust and Honesty
Honesty and transparency are important in all relationships. But relationships don’t deteriorate overnight. It’s a slow burn that happens gradually – until one day you wake up and realize you were asleep at the wheel.
If you want the lying to stop and you’re determined to change the momentum in your relationship, start by addressing some of the reasons he’s lying in the first place.
You might be surprised how little steps lead to big changes in him!
Win his heart back – without his participation
The reason why men lie goes deeper than gender roles and societal expectations.
From past trauma to a midlife crisis, I hope you have a new perspective on the reason why men tell lies - and a plan to move forward.
If your marriage or serious relationship is in real trouble, I encourage you to watch this free video presentation for women on 3 mistakes women make when their husband tells you it’s over.
Whether he’s dropped the bomb already, or you fear it’s coming in the near future, I hope you’ll take a few moments to learn how to win his heart back – without his participation.
I’m a big believer that it only takes one person to heal a marriage.
I’ve seen women transform their marriages through my Environment Changer course time and time again - and their husband had no idea how they did it.
But he didn’t care. What mattered was he had the girl he married back, not the woman who went through the motions of life and lost the passion and enthusiasm she once had.
Will you be my next success story? Watch the presentation to learn more.
Now it’s your turn.
Do any of these reasons why men lie resonate with you?
Did this article help you fill in some missing pieces?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.