7 Lies Men Tell Women

He says he loves you in that dress, but should you believe him? A noted psychologist reveals the topics men fib about and what they are really thinking.

By Dr. Joyce Brothers from Reader's Digest Magazine
  • Loading

    The topic of trust is an important factor in all matters of the heart — and here’s why. Men lie to women. Women lie to men.

    And most people agree that some lying is even necessary — to avoid petty squabbles and to grease the wheels of a relationship.

    But there are crucial differences in the lies women and men tell. A study by psychologist Bella M. DePaulo of the University of Virginia found that when women lie, they tend to focus on making others feel better — such as the woman who tells her hostess that dinner is “simply delicious” even as she cringes with every mouthful.

    At the heart of many men’s lies, however, is the male ego. Men lie to build themselves up or to conceal something, DePaulo says. According to psychologist Michael Lewis in the book Lying and Deception in Everyday Life, men are more likely to lie to enhance themselves than women are. But consistent lying — even about minor matters — can unglue a marriage. Women need to know what kind of lies to watch for, when to accept the lies and when to call a partner’s bluff. Here, from my own experience and surveys, are some of the most common lies men tell women:

    1. “Me? I graduated top of my class.”

    This is a classic case of the runaway male ego, designed to present a man in the best light and impress a woman. When the lies continue into marriage, it’s not long before the truth will out.

    Playwright Neil Simon recalls what happened after his first hit play, Come Blow Your Horn. Every morning he’d leave for his office, telling his wife he was writing his next play. In fact, Simon had become so engrossed in a dart game he’d devised that he had not written a word. “For two months I lied to Joan,” he wrote later. “I told her the new play I was feverishly working on was coming along nicely.”

    Men have a hard time admitting failure. How our culture defines success is important to a man, so he assumes it’s important to his partner. Normally, as trust builds, a man drops these types of lies. If he doesn’t, his spouse needs to be careful. A man who can’t be honest about his failures — at work or elsewhere — may end up blaming his wife when the going gets tough in their marriage.

    2. “Of course I like your friends!”

    The lies to make a woman fall in love or stay in love account for many truth-stretchers. In one study, psychologist William Tooke and an assistant at the State University of New York College at Plattsburgh asked 110 students at the university to look at 88 deceptive tactics — such as inflating one’s accomplishments and wearing designer clothes to appear wealthy — and reveal how often they were used in their own relationships. Men were significantly more likely than women to use such deceptions.

    A man I know told his girlfriend, “You’re a great cook — much better than my mother.” In fact, his mother is a chef at a well-known New York restaurant. Fortunately for him, by the time his girlfriend discovered the truth — when they dined at his mother’s restaurant — she was so in love that she forgave his overzealous compliment.

    Women sometimes aren’t as cautious as they should be when flattered. If a man insists that his wife’s parents are wonderful, she should observe whether he actually wants to spend time with them. The same applies for her dog, her kids or anything else he says he’s crazy about.

    Ego-stroking statements that turn out to be total lies may be designed to cover up opposite feelings — for instance, when a man says he values his wife’s work but actually doesn’t consider it important. Such lies can signal serious problems ahead, whether it’s dealing with child care, vacation plans or career moves.

    3. “Honey, you’re the best.”

    One of the most lied-about subjects has to be sex. Perhaps that’s because it’s the area where we are most vulnerable. Here again men are likely to lie.

    In the first rush of romance it makes sense for a man to engage in exaggerated praise of a woman’s beauty and sexuality. But “you’re the best” lies can paralyze a relationship.

    A male colleague once confided to me that there were things he hated about his wife’s lovemaking. But he couldn’t bring them up because he’d spent years telling her she was “the greatest” in bed. By continually lying to her, he had placed real limitations on their love life — and their marriage.

    If a woman feels her man is holding back on his true sexual feelings, she needs to encourage him to be open. Talking about her own preferences is a good way to begin. Real intimacy depends on truth — lovingly told — especially in the bedroom.

    4. “No, I can’t call you. I don’t even know where I’ll be.”

    These are the sad lies, the ones he tells because he’s falling out of love. The more quickly a woman seeks the truth behind these lies, the sooner she can remedy the relationship — or, if necessary, end it. As one friend puts it, “I’d rather have the ax fall than slip down the endless slope of uncertainty and frustration.”

    A wife may not be sure that what her husband is saying means “the end.” She should listen closely, not only to what he says, but also to how he says it. According to DePaulo, changes in voice can be significant. She has found that people’s voices often get higher or shakier when they lie, and they are more likely to stumble over words.

    5. “That dress isn’t too tight. It looks great!”

    By and large, these are the good lies — the ones that show he cares. But kind lies can be too much of a good thing if a man habitually says only what his partner wants to hear. It sets the woman up for rude awakenings. After all, if the dress she’s wearing really is too tight, has he done her a favor? Far better is the tactful truth: “I usually love what you wear, honey, but it just doesn’t look quite as good this time.”

    Of course, the woman has to mean it when she says she wants the truth. A woman once told sociologist Annette Lawson, “I made him swear always to tell the truth. I promised him I would never resent it, no matter how unbearable, how harsh, how cruel. How could he think I meant it?”

    6. “They’re downsizing at work. But don’t worry. They won’t get me.”

    Many men still feel paternalistic about the women they love, so they lie to spare them worry. But these lies can destroy the very sense of confidence that the man hoped to create. And they can make a woman feel she is not a respected partner in the relationship.

    She can demand a halt to these lies only if she isn’t engaging in them herself. One couple, both midlevel executives, were worried about losing their jobs, but neither wanted to worry the other. She waited until her husband was asleep to write job applications. He bought a second copy of the newspaper so he could circle employment ads. But the secrecy exacted a price. Eventually the wife began to wonder if her husband was having an affair.

    Then one day the husband arrived ahead of schedule for an appointment with a headhunter. “There’s another candidate with her now,” the receptionist said. It was his wife.

    Learning the truth helped the couple begin supporting instead of “protecting” each other. The burden lifted, and their marriage stayed on track. Incidentally, neither of them was fired.

    7. “Sure, I’ll mow the lawn — as soon as this crick in my back goes away.”

    There are few things that trouble a man more than a woman’s anger — or nagging, as he calls it — so he lies to avoid a scene. It is in “hassle-prevention lying” that men can demonstrate their greatest versatility.

    “I’ll take the kids to the park — when the weather gets nicer,” he says as he goes out the door with golf clubs. “I would have scrubbed the pots, but I couldn’t find the scouring pads” — never looking under the sink. I know of a young man in New York City who forgot his girlfriend’s birthday. When she confronted him, he claimed he’d planned a surprise all along. He grabbed the phone, called a home-shopping network and berated the representative for not sending the expensive gift he’d ordered. “If you can’t do better than this, I’ll tear up my membership card!” he shouted. Of course, the man didn’t have a card and had never ordered a gift.

    If hassle-prevention lies are occasional, the woman can ignore them. But if they form a pattern, she needs to look at what the real problems are. In his book The Varnished Truth, David Nyberg, professor of education at State University of New York at Buffalo, states, “Occasionally there is a lot to lose by telling the truth, and something to be gained by not telling the truth.” Still, it’s important to remember that lies are at heart deceptions, and repeated deceptions destroy intimacy.

    Real intimacy is only possible to the degree that we can be honest about what we are doing and feeling. When lying comes to predominate in a marriage, the relationship begins to deteriorate. A husband and wife can sense the trust erode, and feel their hearts growing colder.

    The healing oxygen is truth. A woman who is hearing too many lies needs to have a serious discussion with her husband. She should stress she’s ready to listen, and ask him to present his thoughts in a caring manner.

    Men, for their part, need to develop the courage to drop the defense mechanisms that bolster their egos and pride, and search for true intimacy with their mates. Telling the truth to a spouse is the first step toward showing that love is more important than lies.


    Become more interesting every week!

    Get our Read Up newsletter

    Sending Message
    how we use your e-mail

    Your Comments

    • Mercy Brown

      I’m Mercy brown by name I have a few testimony to share with you all about myself, I was in a relationship with this guy and for 3years and we were about getting married when we both have misunderstanding with each other and he ask me for a divorce and we both agreed and after 4months I head that he was having an affair with one of my closest friend and I was very upset and worried so a friend of my advice me and told me if I still love my ex and if I really want to have him back so I told her yes, and she ask me to contact Dr. Madurai the spell caster and I did although I never believe on spell so he gave me something when he was casting the spell and ask me to say my wishes on it and after the casting of the spell a receive a phone call from my ex and was ask me at which I did and now we are back together again I’m so happy and I wish not to ever have this mistake again in my life. I will also advice anyone with this kind of issue to contact him for help he is really nice on phone and always there to answer you question giving you the good advice that you need. his email is maduraitemple@yahoo.com.

    • Jessica Cole

      thanks to the great dr Awase for his good work
      Am giving this testimony because someone out there may have similar problem My Husband doesn’t think polygamy is wrong. He has been seeing another girl for about four months now. I told him he needs to stop, but he says he is in love with her. They’ve talked about being together “forever” and eventually her moving in with us. My husband still loves me. He regrets getting into this in the first place, but is not willing to just break up with her. He says if they so break up then thy will be it and he will not pursue another relationship. I contacted DR AWASE a spell caster who cast a 24 hour spell for me surprisingly my husband came home on his knees begging me to forgive him that he has broke up with his mistress all thanks to DR AWASE pray that God will continue to use you to help people. Friends don’t die in silent because someone like DR AWASE has a solution to your problem is living happily with my family. Contact him via AWASELOVESPELL@YAHOO.COM

    • http://www.facebook.com/mary.ukaka Baba Ukaka


      Amazing?? MY name is Marabel i do not know how to thanks Dr ST who did a spell that make my husband to come back to me.he left me for the past five years,and for the past five years i have been in pains,sorrow,bitterness and wiping.until i read a magazine about this man called Dr ST,who help people to unite their relationship within two days.i never believe in spell or magic,so i decided to give him a try.i contacted him.he told me that he shall come back to me according to my believe.he also promise me that he shall return to me within two days,i was still doubting,if he can really do according to what he says,unfortunately on the third day he call me on phone saying that i should forget and forgive him.that he is now ready to love and cherish me,on the forth day he but a car for me to say he is very,very ,very,sorry,big thanks to Dr ST you help me to bring back my lovely husband,any body act their,having similar problem like this,thinking on what to do,Email him at happylovespell@mail.com , he will surely but a smile on your face.not only that he can help .

      1) Have promotion in anything you do
      2 )Earn a good money
      3)Success in business
      4)spiritual problems
      5) win court case

      Dr ST

    • veralla

      Life can be very displeasing especially when we loose the ones we love and cherish so much. in this kind of situation where one loses his/her soul mate there are several dangers engage in it. one may no longer be able to do the things he was doing before then success will be very scarce and happiness will be rare. that person was created to be with you for without him things may fall apart. That was my experience late last month. but thank god today i am happy with him again. all thanks to DR Paul, i was nearly loosing hope until i saw an article on how DR Paul could cast a love spell to make lovers come back. There is no harm in trying, i said to my self. i contacted him via email: altimatespelltemple@gmail.com. words are not be enough to express what he has done for me. i have promised to share the good news as long as i live……..

    • Oskar

      “Women tend to lie to make others feel better”
      Half these “man”-lies are said to make your gf/wife feel better. I call BS

    • Marie

      This is a stupid, trivial article. There’s a million of these kinds of pieces on the internet designed to get people to a website so they can be advertised at. What a crock. “Women only lie to make people feel better”. Don’t make me laugh. To think people make a living out of writing this crap.

    • Felix Sinclair

      Men: “The sky is blue.”
      Women: “Well, what is that supposed to mean?!?”

    • melanie musthaq

      I an a marry girl and got 4 kaids but not by him and he be ileilng to me about his mobil and this girl helping to get up a
      Runing for him he tole me that the he know wos from cardiff but went he to sleep I txt the number on my pones that he pones the girl on but went I ask him for the he took it off my pone but her number wos still on my pones so I txt her and ask who is this piz and she tole me her name by txt on my pones and he tole me that she wos from caridff went she not she work with him and I don know what to do

    • melanie musthaq

      I am a marry girl and I just find out that the .man I am marry to have ile to by saying this that this girl wos from caridff went she not but went I txt her unmber she told me her and that she work with him help to find out wot going

    • samata

      Thanks once again the great Dr samura I am samata lewis I want to
      share my testimony to every one here about what this great man did for
      me I was married for more than six years know child with this, my
      heart has been trouble so I don’t know what to do. And I have gone
      from one place to another still I did not found the solution of my
      problem on till one day in my office when a friend of mine came for a
      visit so I have been hiding this for every body not to share this
      problem to any one so when I see the situation on ground now my
      husband is
      about getting another woman, I try my best to share this
      with a friend so she advise me to contact this great man for a spell
      cast so I was not my self of telling her my problem so I ask her what
      we it take me? She said
      it we not take much time just three days it we
      be done then I look up and down were we I start from now? She insist
      for me to try him then I ask her for his contact she gave me his number
      and his email address his number +2347030410643 and here is the email
      SAMURATELLERSPELL100@YAHOO.COM so I called him first before I email
      him to know if his is the write person so he cast the spell and am so
      happy with my husband with two kids with this, the man is great and
      his spell casting is real thanks to my friend may God almighty bless
      you all from samata lewis