Women sometimes aren't as cautious as they should be when flattered. If a man insists that his wife's parents are wonderful, she should observe whether he actually wants to spend time with them. The same applies for her dog, her kids or anything else he says he's crazy about.
Ego-stroking statements that turn out to be total lies may be designed to cover up opposite feelings—for instance, when a man says he values his wife's work but actually doesn't consider it important. Such lies can signal serious problems ahead, whether it's dealing with child care, vacation plans or career moves.
3) "Honey, you're the best."
One of the most lied-about subjects has to be sex. Perhaps that's because it's the area where we are most vulnerable. Here again men are likely to lie.
In the first rush of romance it makes sense for a man to engage in exaggerated praise of a woman's beauty and sexuality. But "you're the best" lies can paralyze a relationship.
A male colleague once confided to me that there were things he hated about his wife's lovemaking. But he couldn't bring them up because he'd spent years telling her she was "the greatest" in bed. By continually lying to her, he had placed real limitations on their love life—and their marriage.
If a woman feels her man is holding back on his true sexual feelings, she needs to encourage him to be open. Talking about her own preferences is a good way to begin. Real intimacy depends on truth—lovingly told—especially in the bedroom.
4) "No, I can't call you. I don't even know where I'll be."
These are the sad lies, the ones he tells because he's falling out of love. The more quickly a woman seeks the truth behind these lies, the sooner she can remedy the relationship—or, if necessary, end it. As one friend puts it, "I'd rather have the ax fall than slip down the endless slope of uncertainty and frustration."
A wife may not be sure that what her husband is saying means "the end." She should listen closely, not only to what he says, but also to how he says it. According to DePaulo, changes in voice can be significant. She has found that people's voices often get higher or shakier when they lie, and they are more likely to stumble over words.
5) "That dress isn't too tight. It looks great!"
By and large, these are the good lies—the ones that show he cares. But kind lies can be too much of a good thing if a man habitually says only what his partner wants to hear. It sets the woman up for rude awakenings.
After all, if the dress she's wearing really is too tight, has he done her a favor? Far better is the tactful truth: "I usually love what you wear, honey, but it just doesn't look quite as good this time."
Of course, the woman has to mean it when she says she wants the truth. A woman once told sociologist Annette Lawson, "I made him swear always to tell the truth. I promised him I would never resent it, no matter how unbearable, how harsh, how cruel. How could he think I meant it?"