How Can I Get My Spouse or Partner To Tell Me The Truth?
There are a lot of things you can do to encourage a romantic partner to be more forthcoming.
By consistently following the strategies listed in this section, a partner will be more likely to tell you the truth.
But, these strategies are not easy to follow—they take a lot of emotional restraint, concentration and effort.
To begin with, it helps to understand why people lie.
Typically, deceptive behavior is driven by fear—fear of being embarrassed, punished, or even rejected. And fear is one of our most basic emotions.
Whether we realize it or not, fear works overtime to protect us from harm—it influences a lot of our responses, especially our deceptive behavior. In fact, even when we claim to lie out of kindness or to protect another’s feelings—fear is often lurking in the background.
For instance, when asked to comment on a spouse’s or partner’s appearance—the common "how do I look" question, white lies are often told—"you look great." Not only do such lies spare another’s feelings, but they also protect us from having to deal all the hassles and problems that come with telling the truth. That is, dealing with a partner’s worries, insecurities, frustrations, or even his or her potential backlash. If you doubt this, the next time you are asked a difficult question—be very candid and pay close attention to what happens.
Realizing that deception is driven by fear is the key to getting people to be more truthful. Overall, people are more likely to be candid with you when you do things to alleviate their fears.
And there are many strategies that you can use to make people more comfortable telling the truth. It should be noted, however, that the strategies listed here do not work well when trying to get a spouse or partner to talk about serious matters such as infidelity.
- limit the use of questions
- react calmly to unwelcome information
- use of empathy
- build up trust
- find ways to balance power
- bluff – pretend to know more than you do
- forgive mistakes
- final considerations
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