How to Know You’re Dating a Pathological Liar

Pathological lying, also called mythomania and pseudologia fantastica, is the chronic behavior of compulsive or habitual lying. Unlike telling the occasional white lie to avoid hurting someone’s feelings or getting into trouble, a pathological liar appears to lie for no apparent reason, according to Healthline.

And according to a 2021 study by researchers from the universities of Oakland, Alabama and Wisconsin-La Crosse, most people tell zero to two lies every day,

About 88% of the lies analyzed were classified as little white lies, such as saying you like a gift when you hate it. The rest were characterized as big lies, which could be hypocritically telling someone you love them.

But, how do you know you’re dating a pathological liar?

The two types of liar

Lying can become a problem when we do it continuously. A MedicineNet article indicates that there are generally two types of prolific liars: compulsive liars, who lie out of habit and often with no real purpose, and pathological liars, who lie endlessly to get what they want.

A man crouches behind a desk, as if hiding something. Pathological liars continually lie to get what they want, so having a relationship with someone can be extremely difficult.
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Compulsive liars

Compulsive liars twist the truth about everything because to them the truth is awkward and uncomfortable, while lying makes them feel comfortable.

This type of behavior usually develops during the early stages of childhood and may be due to being placed in an environment where lying was necessary and/or routine.

Compulsive liars aren’t overly manipulative and are fairly easy to spot because their stories tend not to add up.

Pathological liars

This behavior is also thought to originate in early childhood. It may be related to antisocial or narcissistic personality disorders, or may develop as a coping mechanism to abuse or other trauma.

The lies told by a pathological liar are usually goal-directed, and these people are generally seen as manipulative and cunning. They are harder to catch because they lie so often and sometimes believe their own stories.

How to identify a pathological liar?

Chloe Carmichael, psychologist and author of Dr. Chloe’s 10 Dating CommandmentsTold Newsweek there is no formula that will necessarily detect every pathological liar, but you can pay attention to their stories and see if what they say now matches what they said before.

“Typically, maybe someone has to cancel plans, because he had to work late, you know, and then maybe if it happens again, this time, because his mother is sick, you understand, but then if it’s the third time, either the third time in a row, or sort of very, very, very close, then it becomes kind of an outlier in terms of fair social norms,” a- she declared.

Claudia Diez, a psychologist in New York, said other telltale signs were inconsistencies in stories, the inability to verify funny stories, self-enhancing anecdotes, and the person refusing to let you “in” too close ( you don’t meet their friends or family, you don’t travel together, you share little, you don’t know where they are most of the time).

How to deal with a partner who is a pathological liar

Diez said Newsweek that you shouldn’t expect a pathological liar to confess, “because it defeats their purpose to lie”.

Instead, she says, you should “trust your intuition and seek to verify or [disprove] questionable statements you hear, regardless of their claims.

“Try to seek out the truth – it’s good to become a bit of a private detective – and confront them when you find it. Their reaction to your challenge will tell millions about their character.”

Carmichael thinks confronting your partner will only work if they really want to change. “If you find out they’re lying and then say they’re going to change, there’s always the risk that that’s also a lie, that they’re only saying that because they got caught,” she said. .

“If they come to you and reveal it, that’s a different story, because it’s coming from them. They’re showing an internal desire to change, rather than saying it as a way to manipulate others.”

Carmichael added that they need to demonstrate they are serious about change in order to salvage the relationship, which could include accompanying them to therapy sessions.

They must “realize that it would be unreasonable to expect you to trust [they are] working on this lying problem – due to the very nature of the problem – then maybe they could also agree that you go to one therapy visit a month.”

Work when it’s time to leave the relationship

If you confront your partner with the truth, but they deny it and persist in their attempts to deceive you, you know the relationship is toxic, Diez said. “Lack of honesty is the kiss of death of any healthy relationship.”

Next, you need to think about how invested you are in this relationship.

“If you’ve been on three dates with someone and it seems like they have a problem with lying, it’s probably best to leave then, because honesty issues will make it very difficult to creating a foundation for a healthy relationship,” Carmichael said.

“On the other hand, if you’re married to someone, and they have a reputation for being honest and straightforward with you for 10 years, and something comes up…then it’s worth it. to go to a doctor, at least trying to see if you can fix it.”

Diez cautioned, however, “Don’t give them too many chances if the behavior repeats itself. To stop, the individual must have a burning desire to stop lying and be a better person.”

She believes these pathological behaviors require treatment or catastrophic emotional loss for the person to turn them off — and you should always preserve yourself and choose to surround yourself with good people.

Have you noticed any red flags that caused you to end a relationship? Let us know via We can seek advice from experts and your story could be published on Newsweek.


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