These tips are inspired by a reader’s comment on my article about cheating:
“My boyfriend went to a destination wedding with his family and there are photos of him consistently with an attractive blonde woman,” says Sue on Is He Cheating? 4 Ways to Tell if He’s Lying. “In the pictures they appear in close proximity (sitting beside each other at the bar, on excursions, at lunch, walking along beach). He tells me she is a stranger. When questioned he gets defensive. (I am persistent, so I may be the cause of this). He tells me I am imagining things. Subtle hints have emerged from his family, such as the son saw her coming out of the hotel room. My boyfriend claims his son was drunk. I asked him about the pictures, and he said she was alone and he probable felt bad and chatted with her. The pictures made it look like they were a couple. Lies bother me, the truth would be so much easier to deal with…how do I get the truth from my boyfriend?”
If you want to read your boyfriend like a book, take look at You Can’t Lie to Me: The Revolutionary Program to Supercharge Your Inner Lie Detector and Get to the Truth. It’s by Janine Driver, a world-renowned body language expert. You’ll get tips on nonverbal and verbal communication that will help you weed out the liars from the truth-tellers.
But, as I explain below, not all body language experts agree that we can spot a liar.
Is Your Boyfriend Lying?
Another way to phrase it: can you trust your boyfriend? I wish I had a few easy tips that will help you discover the truth, but I don’t. I can, however, give you some things to think about…
Ask yourself why you don’t trust your boyfriend
Sue said she is “persistent” in asking about her boyfriend’s trip and whether or not he’s telling the truth about the other woman. Her self-awareness is good – because sometimes we do create situations that aren’t actually true. Our minds are incredibly powerful and convincing, and humans have been known to believe things that simply aren’t based in reality.
Here’s a recent example from my last vacation with my husband: we went to Jamaica with a huge group of people. One woman was single – an attractive, fit, smart, fun woman whom my husband likes. Whenever they interacted, I felt jealous – even though all the did was talk a few times! They didn’t dance, go for coffee, or even play beach volleyball together.
My own insecurities were leading me to think he likes this woman, and vice versa. My jealousy and suspicion had nothing to do with reality. I had the same problem with my ex-boyfriend – I thought he was telling me lies and I didn’t trust him.
Are you like me — sorta prone to insecurity, jealous, suspicion? Have you accused past boyfriends of telling lies? One way to find out the truth is to look inward.
Get an objective perspective on the situation
What makes you think your boyfriend is telling lies? If you have pictures that may or may not be incriminating, then show them to a trusted, objective friend or family member. If you saw your boyfriend do something that makes you uncomfortable, then describe it to someone you trust. You may think you’re seeing signs your boyfriend is having an affair, but you could be wrong. Maybe you just need an external “reality check.”
Do you have a gut feeling that your boyfriend isn’t telling you the truth? Marriage counselor Gary Neuman says, “A woman’s gut is the most important indicator that a man is cheating.” He is the author of The Truth about Cheating: Why Men Stray and What You Can Do to Prevent It.
If your gut is telling you not to trust your boyfriend, then I think you need to pay close attention. But if your own insecurities and jealousies are misleading you, then you need do some internal soul-searching before confronting your boyfriend.
Believe your boyfriend’s body language – it’s telling you the truth
If your boyfriend says, “I’m telling you the truth, I’d never lie to you!” while pointing his belly button away from you or towards the door, then he’s probably lying. If he fidgets or pulls his earlobes while professing “the truth”, he could be lying.
“A self-touch gesture, what other experts may refer to as manipulators, pacifiers, or adapters, is a common movement we make when one part of our body touches another part, usually to soothe ourselves during situations of high mental stress,” writes body language expert Janine Driver in You Say More Than You Think. “It’s a way to tell ourselves, “I’ll get through this” or “I’ll be OK.””
But, other nonverbal communication experts say that it’s very difficult to tell if someone isn’t telling you the truth:
“As the best researchers can tell, and in my own experience as an FBI Special Agent (now retired), detecting deception is very difficult,” writes Joe Navarro in The Truth About Lie Detection. “Every study conducted since 1986, when the famed researcher Paul Ekman first wrote about this, has demonstrated that humans are no better than chance at detecting deception…That means that if you toss a coin in the air you will be as likely to detect deception as the truth. And while it is true that a very few people are better at detecting deception than others, they are barely above chance.”
Is he telling you lies? Can you trust him? The bottom line
This leads me to believe that trying to read your boyfriend’s gestures and words is NOT the most effective way to find out the truth. It’s easy to manipulate your body language so it looks like you’re being honest, especially if you’re a practiced liar.
Unfortunately, this brings us back to Sue’s question: “How do I find out the truth from my boyfriend?” Even more unfortunately, there are no easy answers.
And I can’t tell her what she should do – whether or not she should trust him. All I can do is encourage her – and you – to make sure you’re emotionally healthy (not prone to suspicions or insecure jealousy), tune in to your gut instincts, and be brave enough to be honest with yourself.
What do you think – can you trust a boyfriend who you think is telling you lies? Or is the fact that you think he’s lying enough to break up with him?
I'm glad you're here! My name is Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen; my husband Bruce and I live in Vancouver, BC with our critters. We can't have kids, and are learning to accept whatever life brings - both good and bad. I have an MSW (Master of Social Work) from UBC, and degrees in Education and Psychology. I hope you say hello below - I can't give relationship advice, but writing can bring you clarity and insight.