Married to a Pathological Liar


We all know that lying is bad. However, sometimes we have to lie. If an ordinary person has to do it, they need to put some effort to overcome their inward barrier and make a deal with their conscience. But there are people for whom lying is a usual thing – this is their lifestyle. They are called pathological liars or mythomaniacs.

According to statistics, 25% of all people have a propensity for pathological lying. And the majority of those people are men. It’s men’s nature to hide the truth and hyperbolize. Especially, when it comes to their relationships with women. If you’re married to a pathological liar, you know what it’s like. It’s difficult to impossible to eradicate this shortcoming, so you might want how to deal with a pathological liar – expose or turn a blind eye. Read on to find out.

pathological liar signs

What is a pathological liar?

The truth is, all people lie. This is one of the social skills we acquire in childhood, and we use it throughout our life. Men and women lie differently and for different reasons. However, some men are pathological liars. Lying is their response to any question, even the simplest one. Sometimes they lie for the sake of lying, not to conceal some fact. It’s important to distinguish between chronic, ordinary, and pathological liars. Chronic liars lie for the sake of their own interest or to flatter someone.

They also like to talk with a competent look on their face on topics they are not competent in at all, in other words, they are pulling the wool over people’s eyes. You encounter this kind of liars pretty often, and it’s quite easy to spot them. Ordinary liars are pretenders that act depending on a situation. Having good acting skills, they can be very convincing. Yet, they are aware of their lying.

What does pathological liar mean? It’s a person who is used to lying about everything. To lie is as necessary for them as to sleep. If you want the definition of a pathological liar, here it is: “A pathological liar is a person who lies compulsively and frequently, with no rational motive for doing so.”

Pathological liars live in their fantasy world and take it for real. Have you ever dealt with adult people vigorously telling incredible stories that are really hard to believe? You could buy that – life is full of surprises – but you realize there are many mixed facts and doubtful details in the story.

Pathological liar traits:

  • Perfect communication skills,
  • Attention seeking behavior,
  • Poor self-esteem,
  • Narcissism,
  • Subtle manipulation,
  • The desire to be a winner,
  • Impulsiveness,
  • Aggression,
  • Selfishness.

How to spot a pathological liar

definition of a pathological liarBeing friends with or dating a pathological liar, not to mention being married to a pathological liar, can be really challenging or even cause a psychological trauma. The reality in which your friend or partner exists is far from the real life. They will try to convince you that they are right, that black is white and vice versa, and if you try to contradict, they will start arguing.

  • Pathological liars are often called people with Munchausen syndrome. Like this famous character, they exaggerate things and live in their fantasy world. What are the typical signs of a pathological liar?
  • One and the same story gets new and new interpretations each time he tells it. In one company of people he tells it in one way, and being around new people, he gives it another interpretation with some omissions and additions.
  • Apart from big detailed lies, he lies about small insignificant things, which doesn’t benefit him in any way. For example, he may mention different places of birth.
  • He doesn’t see anything wrong in the fact that he lies often (less intense pathology) or never admits that he lies (more usual reaction).
  • It’s impossible to push him to the wall. Your attempt to expose him will be met with skillful prevarication. He will be coming with new excuses and versions which you can’t prove. He may start to pressurize you emotionally trying to shift the blame on you or make you feel guilty for your mistrust.
  • Pathological liars may not be very moral. They can lie about someone’s serious illness, slender their friends or relatives, say something bad about your common acquaintance.
  • Emotional evaluation of one and the same facts will vary depending on the situation and surroundings. He may discredit one person and then in a month say that this is a wonderful person. If you remind him about his negative attitude to this person, he will either blame you for exaggeration or indifferently say he changed his mind.

A pathological liar will admit his falsehood only if he is about to be exposed, and that exposure may somehow affect his life or the life of his close people. Yet, his truth will hardly resemble a frank confession. If at least 3 characteristics of a pathological liar are true about your partner, you can assume he is a pathological liar. What do you do in this situation? There are two options: to let him live in his fantasy world but as far as possible from you or to try to help him.

Dating a pathological liar

Some women are ready to put up with lies, but some ladies value honesty most of all. If you want to avoid dealing with a pathological liar, you might be interested in how to recognize him as soon as possible. Here are some pathological liar signs that will help you learn you’re on a date with a compulsive liar.

1) Listen to what he says and how he says it. Pay attention to his timbre and intonation. If a man speaks confidently, smoothly, and doesn’t pick his words, probably he is honest with you. If your interlocutor carefully chooses his words, stammers a bit, and is nervous, you should get suspicious. Yet, it can be his nervousness that makes him speak this way. You should also know that pathological liars are quite skilled speakers, so fluency, as well as picking words, is not a surefire sign of a liar. You need to look for other signs.

2) Watch when he makes pauses. Too long or too frequent pauses before answering a question, asking to repeat the question, inappropriate interjections, sudden vibrations of the timbre and the change of tone – all this indicates that he is not telling the truth.

3) Look him in the eyes. If you’re dealing with an experienced liar, you may not notice any traces of falsehood in his eyes. But if it’s an ordinary liar, he will look away rather than straight in your eyes when lying. His mimics can tell much too. Usually, a liar uses some fake emotion to hide the true one. Usually, it’s a smile. If he pays you a compliment and tells something important with a smile on his face, he is probably insincere.

4) Ask an unexpected question. This is the most effective way of exposing a liar. If your interlocutor tells you some implausible story, ask him some simple question concerning some detail. If he gets confused and can’t find an answer immediately, he was most probably lying. The story was true if he calmly gives an answer right away.

5) Put on an indifferent face. Pretend you absolutely don’t care about what he’s saying. If he is telling you the truth, his logical response will be “what’s the matter?” You won’t notice any disappointment or anger in his voice. But if he gets angry and gives some rude remarks, you’re dealing with a liar who can’t stand indifference to his “stories”.

How to help a pathological liar

Dating a pathological liar or being married to one is not easy. Deep down you might know about his addiction to lying from the start, but you liked his talkativeness. Gradually, it gets quite tough to hear lies from him every day, though. If he lies for the sake of a beautiful story, just put up with it forgiving him his rich imagination. If he lies often and about small things, think what causes him to do so. What if it’s your behavior that makes him resort to concealing the truth? Are there any ways to break him of the habit of telling lies?

can a pathological liar changeStop putting pressure on him. Very often, women provoke their men into lying. Already in their childhood, men learn that it’s better to lie to gain time rather than be punished right away. Being adults, they resort to the same strategy dealing with women. If a girlfriend wants to control his every move, he has nothing to do but lie on every occasion just to avoid her reproachful glance or scandal.

Talk about his dishonesty. If you don’t pressurize him, then you should talk that you’re worried about his constant falsehood. Tell him that you feel insecure because you can’t trust him. If a person lies about small things, one day he will lie about something important. Assure him that you’ll accept any truth, no matter how unpleasant it may be. Don’t reproach him or accuse when telling this – appeal to his feelings talking about how worried you’re.

Just ignore his minor lies. It’s typical for men to exaggerate their achievements or invent them on the spot. Your weapon in this case is humor – be ironic about that huge fish he caught the other day or an incredible story that happened to him when he was in the army. It’s unlikely that his cock and bull stories will harm your relationship in some way. There is even a better option for you – praise and encourage your man so that he will not need to make up stories.

Copy his attitude. Make him feel how you feel, show him how he looks in your eyes. Lie to him shamelessly and in a demonstrative way even about insignificant things. Let him place himself in your shoes for a while. Usually, this kind of demarche does the trick better than requests and admonitions.

Don’t try to catch him on lying. Don’t ask him tricky questions aimed at unmasking him. Show him that you trust him, and gradually he’ll realize he doesn’t need to lie.

Teach him a lesson. Maybe he needs a cold shower to cut down on lies. A light public humiliation is what he needs. If he likes telling unbelievable stories, next time he is in the middle of his tale, say something sarcastic to bring him to earth.

Can a pathological liar change? It’s almost impossible to reform such a person. The only way is to establish the real cause of his falsehood, have a frank conversation about his problem, get him to recognize his problem, and do your best to deal with it together. It’s recommended to seek professional help, since the problem, as any other disorder, stems from childhood. Yet, if he’s totally stuck in his fantasy world and it’s unbearable for you to live with such a person, you should better go separate ways.