What Do Surveys Reveal about Lying in Close Relationships?

person taking a surveyConsidering that most people prefer to give socially desirable answers when asked about their deceptive behavior (i.e., "I’m honest")—the results, nevertheless, show that deception is common in romantic relationships and marriages.

When asked very specific questions about lying to a loved one ("Have you ever...?"), almost everyone will admit to misleading a romantic partner from time to time.

And when pressed, only a few individuals cannot recall a situation where they recently deceived a husband/wife or boyfriend/girlfriend (see Metts).

When not outright lying, research also shows that spouses and lovers frequently withhold important information from each other (see Roloff & Cloven; Baxter & Wilmot).

Along the same line, couples often try to avoid discussing problematic issues altogether.

"Taboo topics" are common among romantic partners (e.g., money, sex, household tasks, etc.). Over the course of time, spouses and lovers may simply stop talking to each other about specific issues which cause problems (see Baxter & Wilmot).

Finally, when individuals are asked to write down three of the biggest lies they have told a romantic partner, most people have little trouble coming up with such a list (see lies lovers tell).

You can also participate in an online survey about the lies that lovers tell or view the results of that survey.

Experimental research on deception also suggests that lying is a fairly common activity...