Like it or not, every guy, even the nice ones, won’t tell the truth in a relationship now and then. Of course, lying about big things, like cheating, is a deal breaker. But if he’s fudging the details about smaller stuff — such as whether he really needs to work late on the same night as your best friend’s birthday dinner or why he’s been moody all weekend — he’s probably not doing it to hurt you.
Some people say men tell little lies to avoid conflict. The next time you get that nagging feeling that he’s full of it, use these strategies to trigger a voluntary confession.
Bring his guard down
Put him at ease and he’ll be more likely to blab. Position yourself across the room from him — if he’s sitting on the couch, sit on the floor, 6 to 9 feet away. “When a guy is on edge, his personal-space bubble expands, and sitting lower than him signals that it’s a nonthreatening conversation,” says Janine Driver, body-language and deception-detection expert. Also, face him at an angle, which is less intimidating to him than being head-on.
Then start with a general question that’s related to the lie. If you suspect he fibbed about doing something you had asked, say something like “So how did that thing go?” Meanwhile, appear distracted by flipping TV channels or messing around on your laptop. “This will get him talking, because it feels like you’ve initiated a routine conversation, not an interrogation,” Driver says.
Next, lead him to the truth by making a nonconfrontational statement — now is not the time to test the skills you’ve cribbed from Law & Order. Say these five magic words: “Is there any reason why…” and complete the sentence by describing how you think he may be deceiving you. For example, “Is there any reason why you wouldn’t want to come to Sarah’s party with me?” It’ll seem like a request for information, not an accusation, says Driver. If he still skirts the issue, ask “Really?” in a confused tone, and wait quietly. According to Driver, staying silent subtly ups the pressure without making him feel cornered.
Don’t make him regret it
Ultimately, you have to make him feel safe. “Let him know you won’t punish him for telling the truth and he will be less likely to lie in the first place,” Amador says.
When he confesses, find a way to cool off — hang out with friends or go shopping — then talk about how you can make your relationship more open. Driver suggests thanking him for coming clean. Say “I appreciate your telling the truth. You always do, and I admire that about you.” This is a line that cops use during questioning. “You’re assigning him a trait you want him to have — honesty,” says Driver. “As a result, he’s more likely to own up in the future.”