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Pathological Liars in Relationships

How Can One Cope With Pathological Liars in Relationships

Pathological liars are those people who tell lies compulsively, without any discernible outcome or end. In such cases the person may or may not be aware that they are lying. Some might believe their stories to be true. The following article offers ways to identify and deal with pathological liars in relationships.
PsycholoGenie Staff
Last Updated: Mar 12, 2018
If you ask any couple who have been together for a very long time, about the attributes in their relationship which bind them together, most of them will have a common answer - love, commitment, and trust. For any relationship to go a mile, it takes lots of honesty and loyalty on both sides. However, what if someone is stuck with a person who constantly lies about things, people, events, situations, and everything else? Will such a relationship survive? How can you tell if someone is a pathological liar? How to cope with them? Let's try to find answers to all these questions.

Characteristics of a Pathological Liar
If you are someone who feels that his/her partner is a pathological liar, it is very important to first be sure, that what you are thinking is true. So, if you want to identify the symptoms, here are a few of them:
  • A pathological liar is someone who will lie, no matter what. Lying is something inbuilt in them, right from their childhood. If they ever have to tell the truth, they feel very awkward and uncomfortable.
  • Does your partner tell you exciting stories from his life that seem to be too good to be true? Is he always making up such stories to grab your attention, while somewhere down the line you feel that they cannot be true? If the answer to both these questions is in the affirmative, he/she could be lying.
  • You can find out whether your partner is lying or not through his/her body language. Does your partner sometimes not make eye contact with you while speaking? Is he constantly shifting his gaze downwards or making rapid eye movements while talking to you? Does he fidget, touch his face, or move his hands rapidly while answering your questions? If yes, then most probably he is lying. However, you cannot solely rely on his body language as many liars have actually mastered the art of lying, and they believe that whatever they are saying is the truth, thus they show no outward awkwardness while doing so.
  • Another way to identify them is that whenever their partners ask them something, they tell them to repeat the question. Most of the time, this is done so that they have enough time on their hands to make up another false story.
  • Sometimes, re-questioning the person a few days later about the story he told you may help you. If his answers are inconsistent and different from what he told you a few days ago, it means that he was lying before.
How to Cope With Them
When dealing with such relationship issues, the main thing to understand is that these people lie, not to manipulate you, but because it is their habit. People lie because they have this need to constantly impress others and to fulfill this need, they come up with bigger and better stories every time.

The first thing to do when dealing with a pathological liar is to confront them. Since you are threatening their fantasies, they would try to argue with you or act defensive. Do not expect them to agree with what you are saying immediately. Also, do not accuse them of something. Rather, be sensitive and understanding. Tell them that it is alright to be ordinary or less exciting, rather than faking just to impress others. Tell them that you will love them even if they do not have anything thrilling to tell or lead an ordinary life. Since you are dealing with a personality disorder here, if things do not improve or change, you can take help from a psychiatrist. Therapy and your love can do wonders for your partner.

Find out whether your partner is just a compulsive liar, and not a sociopath or a cheater who is there just to gain something - money, sympathy, status, etc. by being with you. If he/she is constantly trying to take advantage of you, borrowing money from you or trying to isolate you from your near ones, it is better that you cut yourself off from the relationship as all these are traits of a sociopath, not a pathological liar. However, if he/she does not manipulate or use you and you love him/her deeply, make him/her take therapy to treat the mental illness and support them in recovery all the while.