Expert reveals the common lies that damage relationships

While lying is certainly not a desirable trait in relationships, fibbing about who ate the last Jaffa Cake is hardly on the same level of deception as an affair.

But where do you draw the line to stop harmless white lies spiralling into something more serious that could damage your relationship?  

Speaking to FEMAIL, London-based relationship expert and co-founder of dating app So Syncd, Jessica Alderson, revealed the most common reasons for lying and explained when you need to worry about it becoming an issue. 

Insecrutiy is one of the top reasons for fibbing, according to Jessica, who says that if we are not comfortable with who we are, we can lie to make out that we are different from our true selves, while avoiding conflict is another motivation. 

‘This can be a result of wanting to avoid bringing up issues that could cause tension or simply not having the energy for it,’ the expert said. 

You might also avoid telling your partner the truth so as not to hurt their feelings. 

Jessica said: ‘This tends to occur when we care deeply about someone and want to protect them from a situation or if we have done something that we know they will find devastating.’

Other less common reasons for lying include: lying to control someone and people who are compulsive liars.  

Here, Jessica reveals some of the common things people lie about in relationships, and whether your fibs are harmless or not. 

Relationship expert and co-founder of So Syncd Jessica Alderson explained lying and how it arises in a couple (stock image)

White lies where you pretend to like a birthday present or an outfit on your partner  

‘The occasional white lie is not a bad thing,’ Jessica said. ‘Ultimately a good way to determine if a lie is acceptable is whether the intent behind it is pure and whether there are long-term consequences. 

‘For example, if your partner makes a huge effort to buy you a birthday present that they think you’ll love, even if you don’t like it, it’s acceptable – and even beneficial in some cases – to show appreciation for the present.

‘In this case, the intent behind the lie is pure. It’s simply to avoid hurting your partner’s feelings and it’s unlikely to have long-term consequences. However, if you find yourself telling white lies to your partner on a regular basis, something isn’t right. 

‘White lies should be one-offs rather than regular occurrences.’

Lies about money

‘The most common lie in relationships is about spending,’ Jessica said. ‘Finances are one of the leading causes of strain in relationships because people often have strong views about money.

‘The reasons that people lie about money are usually to do with feelings of guilt, control and fear. 

‘In some cases, people want to keep their money separate for practical reasons if they know they won’t be with their partner in the long run.’

‘In some cases, people want to keep their money separate for practical reasons if they know they won’t be with their partner in the long run.’

If you are in for the long haul with your partner, Jessica warned that constantly lying about money can erode trust. 

‘Trust is one of the core pillars of any relationship and if you break someone’s trust by lying to them, it can be very difficult or even impossible to rebuild, depending on the extent of the lies,’ she warned. 

Lies about what you want in the future 

The expert said that luckily, people don’t tend to lie about the bigger things in relationships such as their plans and desires for the future, like buying a property or having a family. 

However, it’s important to be upfront about what you want, and not be tempted to hide it in the hope of maintaining a realtionship with someone who doesn’t have the same goals/  

‘It’s not something to discuss on the first date but, for example, if you do want to have children, it’s important to be truthful about what you want – and most people are,’ Jessica said. ‘It just doesn’t make sense to lie about this kind of thing.’

Lying about what you’re doing or where you are 

Jessica said: ‘In healthy relationships, there should never be a need to lie about where you are. 

‘Of course, independence in a relationship is important and you shouldn’t have to tell your partner where you are every single minute of the day but lying about your location is a different story.’

‘If you feel the need to lie, you are probably doing something that you know your partner won’t be happy about and you need to work through this together through open and honest communication.’

Lying about being happy in a relationship  

‘Some people do lie to themselves, and other people, by saying that they are happy in a relationship when they’re not because they fear being alone,’ Jessica said. 

‘Breakups can be devastating and in order to avoid or delay this distress, we can end up lying and pretending we are happy when we’re not.’

However, Jessic said that this ‘almost always makes the situation worse’. 

She said: ‘If you are pretending to be happy in a relationship, you need to make the tough decision about whether to go your separate ways or to try to work through the issues with your partner. 

‘The thought of being alone can be scary but learning to be happy by yourself is one of the best things you can do in life.’

Lies about your past relationships  

‘People do sometimes lie about past relationships to protect their partners. However, if it’s a matter of comparing your current partner to previous partners, it’s best to just not do this rather than to lie about it,’ Jessica said. 

However, she said that you shouldn’t be tempted to lie about your own actions in the past. 

‘If it’s something more serious such as the fact that you cheated in a previous relationship, you might be tempted to lie about it but you should be upfront and honest no matter what stage you are at as a couple,’ she said.

‘It’s a difficult conversation to have, but if you are asked about it directly, you should tell the truth because potential partners have a right to know.’