Reacting Poorly to the Truth Leads to More Lying and Deception

How a partner reacts to the truth also influences the use of deception.

Some people react in a calm and reasonable manner when they discover the truth.

On the other hand, some people react very poorly when told an unpleasant truth. These people can become aggressive – yelling, screaming, and/or making a scene. Or some people give the cold shoulder – they pout, sulk, and withdraw (see Cole; Roloff & Cloven).

When spouses respond poorly to the truth – romantic partners stop telling them the truth (see react calmly).

Acting poorly when told the truth can result in what is called a "chilling effect" (Roloff and Cloven). Most people do not feel comfortable opening themselves up to someone who responds poorly to unwelcome information.

For example, if your spouse reacts very negatively when you get a speeding ticket, how likely are you to bring up this issue when it happens again?

woman upsetSimply stated, the more you overreact when told something you do not want to hear, the more likely people will lie to you in the future.

Accordingly, people often make their worst fears come true – lovers lie to them about the things they do not want to hear.

Have you ever noticed how in a family setting, people who deal poorly with unpleasant information are usually the last to find out what is really going-on?

The same dynamic occurs in our intimate relationships. If you tend to react poorly to the truth, do not be surprised if you husband or wife is not always eager to tell you the truth.