The 5 Lies That Are Okay to Tell Your Partner

Sometimes honesty isn't the best policy.

When and why lying is okay

iStock/Cathy Yeulet

"Words cut like knives and it’s easy to [harm] your relationship with the verbal wounds of a truthful tongue," according to relationship therapist and author Jamie Turndorf, PhD on PsychologyToday. "Consider whether what you intend to say or do will be helpful and constructive to the other person and the relationship." If not, these phrases might help keep the peace.

"You're right" to shut down a fight


Nip small arguments in the bud by relenting, even if you don't agree with your partner. "Letting down our defenses in the heat of battle seems counterintuitive, but it is actually very effective," Melody Brook, author of The Blame Game, told WebMD.

"You look great" to avoid thought broadcasting

iStock/Dean Mitchell

This is the correct answer to the question, "Do these jeans make me look fat?" Saying otherwise can only be hurtful. "Thought broadcasting, or saying every little thing that comes into your head, can be really damaging to a relationship," writes Bernstein.

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"I love you more than anything" as deceptive affection


In a recent study, DePaul University relationship researcher Sean Horan, PhD, examined this form of lying, known as deceptive affection, and found that participants performed fake affectionate acts about three times per week. As long as the true feelings are there as a foundation, “deceptive affection might actually help maintain a relationship," Horan told PyschCentral.

"I'm fine" as protective buffering

iStock/Aldo Murillo

"There are times when your partner genuinely wants to know what's wrong," writes Elizabeth Bernstein, a Wall Street Journal relationship columnist. "But sometimes he or she just wants reassurance." Experts call this type of little white lie "protective buffering," a method meant to shield your partner from stress that he or she can't do anything about.

"I understand" to demonstrate deep care


Even if you don't get all the nuances, it's important to show you can key in to your partner's plights. "Empathy—the ability to recognize and share someone else's feelings—is the most important part of any relationship," psychologist Albert Maslow, PhD, told WebMD. Enough said.

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