There are two important things to remember when you discover that your partner lied to you:
1) Make sure you have all of the facts.
Don't rely on gossip or guesses. If your partner denies lying or blames you for being "jealous" or "paranoid," you'll have nothing to stand on if you don't have reliable information. And if you're wrong, you've just damaged your relationship for no good reason.
2) Get calm before talking about it.
If at all possible, wait a bit to confront your partner about the lie. Breathe deeply and calm down. The more you can focus clearly on the facts and on specifically what you want to change, the better chance you have of a positive outcome.
When you do talk with your partner about the lying, it's possible that he or she will get defensive and turn this back around on you. You may hear things like...
"This is all your fault!"
"I wouldn’t lie if you didn’t get so jealous!"
"If you didn't overreact, I wouldn't have to lie!"
"You're making this all up!"
The "splinter" gets driven even deeper when your partner blames you for his or her lying (even if there's no admission). For this reason, it's vital for you to be as calm as possible and to remain focused on saying what you need to say in a way that your partner can hear.
Present the facts that you have and then use phrases like these to turn this ugly situation around...
1. "I feel _____ when you ______."
It's powerful to state how you feel. Be specific so that your partner is not only aware of what you are referring to, but also how his or her lie has affected you. For example, "I feel angry when you lie to me about your ex texting you."
2. "I want to know _______."
If the truth about a situation is still unclear, ask. Tell your partner about the proof you have and then request more information. Say, "I overheard you telling your buddy that I'm just a booty call for you. I want to know what kind of commitment you WILL make to me."
3. "Are you willing to _______?"
Repairing the damage after lying takes time. When you and your partner create conscious agreements to bring more honesty and openness, you're on your way to reconnecting and trusting again. Try, "Are you willing to give me access to your email account and cell phone so that I can see that you've stopped communicating with her?"
4. "I expect ________ ."
Getting specific is key to stopping your partner's lying habit. State your expectations to set boundaries. For instance, "I expect you to talk with me first before you make a major purchase. I expect us to discuss it, consider our budget and make a wise financial decision together."
5. "How can I support your honesty?"
Acknowledge the ways that you might unintentionally make it unsafe for your partner to tell you the truth. If you get angry easily or are jealous, take responsibility for your share in the dynamic and start responding differently. Find out from your partner some specific ways that you can foster an environment that promotes (instead of shuts down) honesty.
Communication-- especially about difficult topics-- doesn't have to be difficult! Click here to get our free 7 day Communication Magic ecourse. We can teach you how to choose words that keep your partner (and you) open to build trust and connection.