Do you suspect your partner of compulsive lying? Here are six ways to tell if he or she is a compulsive liar.

Everyone lies. When someone asks you ‘How was your day?” you may reply “Good, and yours?’ You’re fibbing if your boss just rapped you on the head because of a failed project. Everyone lies to avoid conflict or awkward social situations, but some people do it compulsively. Of course, it damages relationships. How would you know if your partner engages in compulsive lying?

What Is Pathological or Compulsive Lying?

Compulsive or pathological lying (pseudologia fantastica) describes a condition in which a person lies all the time. Compulsive liars are master storytellers. They specialize in stretching the truth, so the tales they tell have truthful elements.

They lie for an extended period, usually to present themselves in a positive light. The lying usually has an internal motivation.


Compulsive lying is a complicated health condition. Consequently, mental health professionals haven’t understood it fully. However, many experts feel that it’s because of other mental health conditions like ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and Bipolar Disorder.

A person’s environment may also make him or her lie out of habit. Parental modeling and issues with the nervous system may lead to this behavior.

6 Signs of Compulsive or Pathological Lying

Habitual liars hide the truth well, so it’s hard to tell that they’re doing so. Telling if your partner is one is an even greater task because couples often use white lies to avoid conflicts. That doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to spot the signs.

Here are six that will show if your partner tends to lie compulsively.

1. Compulsive liars lie often

First of all, compulsive lying means lying often. The lies are subtle and about little things. There is also some truth to a liar’s stories. Therefore, it is hard to spot his or her lies.

2. Compulsive liars are attention seekers

Habitual liars crave the limelight. If your partner is one, you’ll find that he or she is the life of any party. He or she will become the focus of conversations.

3. These liars have self-esteem issues

Liars often brag because it boosts their self-confidence. It gives their egos a lift. If your partner loves to blow his or her trumpet, he or she may lie about other things.

4. Liars have telling body language

Another way to spot a compulsive liar is through his or her body language. Liars will avoid eye contact. That said, skilled compulsive liars will still look you in the eye while lying to you.

Also, liars may sweat or fidget as they lie. Again, experienced ones will know how to control this behavior.

5. Compulsive liars change their stories

Compulsive liars tell tall stories that are seldom the same the next time you hear them. Your partner may win the next storytelling competition because he or she tells tall tales all the time.

6. These liars won’t admit the truth

Compulsive liars will never give in even after you’ve caught them in a lie because they feel that it’s their responsibility to see it through.


So, your partner is a compulsive liar, but he or she doesn’t do so to harm your relationship. His or her lying is just a force of habit, so you may want to give him or her a little push to give it up.

Experts recommend therapy as a way to treat compulsive lying. Note that it may not have an effect because a compulsive liar may refuse to admit the truth to the therapist. That said, the sessions can help them understand how their behavior affects others.

If you’ve noticed that your partner is prone to compulsive lying, take action. You may want your partner to seek help. Alternatively, you may want to reassess your relationship.

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Kathie Lynnbag

    I’ve been in some kind of relationship with my husband since our wedding day 25 years ago where I’ve always been alone and afraid.My husband worked away from home so I raised our children alone, but for the last 9 years, our company is now in our yard. Every day it eats at me, I’m constantly trying to imagine my life alone and I feel like no one would ever want to be with me. I don’t think I could have sex with anyone ever again including my husband I feel disgusting and ugly since he tried to have an affair but I caught it before it actually happened.

    After then I had hired a very reliable hacker and he gave me complete access to my husband’s phone. To be honest what i found was brutal, i got broken and weak! I used to be strong and outgoing people looked up to me for it. Now i’m just weak, lonely and afraid. save yourself and find out the truth before its too late.

  2. Taylor

    I’ve seen #5 nd #6 often, but not the rest though I grew up with parents and a sibling who are- without a doubt- compulsive liars. They will tell me with a straight face (and no fidgeting or sweating) that they are not doing something even while they’re doing it right in front of me.
    Dad will say he’s ready to go to an appt even though I can see that he’s laying in bed, still has PJ’s on, hasn’t gone to toilet, showered or brushed his teeth… Mom told me she had not said something to my brother just seconds after she said it.
    After I told Mom I couldn’t take her lying anymore, she told my brother I was mean. Without finding out what she meant by “mean” or trying to delve into facts, he called police (she pays him in cash for his “loyalty) and came to the house to meet them. When he was unsuccessful in having me hauled off, he denied having called police, denied having met the police at our house, denied everything, even dropping his jaw open and feigning innocence, then turning around and telling others present “she’s paranoid.”
    I stayed completely away from all of them for 15 years because of the lying, but now we’re in the same city while I take care of Dad’s heart issues. I’ve had to resort to recording EVERYthing.
    Rather than look for body language or attention-seeking, I recommend paying attention to what they say and find out if it’s true. The “love your dress” example in the article is not a white lie. An honest person simply wouldn’t comment on the dress at all if they don’t like it. My mother, otoh, will tell the person she LOVES it, ask where they got it, ask if she can borrow it, and go on and on about how beautiful it is…THEN will go tell others the dress is hideous and she hates the person wearing it. My brother does the same. There is a LOT of duplicity, and it’s always over-the-top.

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