Attachment Styles, Need for Intimacy, Deception and Lying

A spouse’s or romantic partner’s "beliefs about intimacy" also influences how often they use deception (see Cole, Guthrie and Kunkel, Lemay et al).

And an individual’s comfort or beliefs about intimacy varies in a very predictable way; it’s referred to as one’s adult or romantic attachment style.

If you are not familiar with the different attachment styles that exist, you can read about them and take on online test (see attachment styles). When you are done, the link at the end of that page will bring you back here.

Attachment Styles and Deception

Securely attached individuals are more likely to tell the truth than people who are more anxious or dismissing in nature.

Anxious/preoccupied individuals are more likely to lie to their husband or wife out of fear of being rejected. Such individuals lie in order to please their partners. As such, anxious individuals are much more likely to tell romantic partners exactly what they want to hear – whether it is the truth or not (see examples of anxious attachment).

Dismissing partners are also more prone to lying because they are so uncomfortable with intimacy and being close to a romantic partner. One good way to keep partners at a safe distance is to lie to them. A spouse can only get so close, if they don’t know the truth (see examples of dismissing attachment).

Finally, a romantic partner’s style of attachment can also influence how likely a person is to lie. Husbands and wives are more likely to lie when they are married to an anxious/preoccupied individual.

Anxious or preoccupied individuals often cause their partners to lie to them because they are overly needy – asking a lot of invasive questions and responding poorly when actually told the truth. Anxious/preoccupied individuals act in ways that make their worst fears come true – feeling hounded, their partners are more likely to end up betraying their trust.

Attachment styles, unfortunately, not only influence the use of deception, but a lot of other relational behaviors, including one’s willingness to forgive (see problems with forgiveness) and one’s ability to detect deception (see anxiety bonus).

In addition to one’s style of attachment, the demands that partners place on each other can influence the use of deception....