Q: “How Can I Stop My Partner from Lying?”
Follow these scripts for setting healthy boundaries, encouraging honesty, and finding common ground in relationships touched by ADHD.
Q: “My spouse lies to me. He’s a loving partner, but when he forgets to do something that I’ve asked him to do, he lies about it. Then I find out later and an argument ensues. How can we stop this cycle?”
This is not an uncommon problem with ADHD-impacted couples — the partner with ADHD does something they’re embarrassed about, or that they wish they hadn’t done, and decides not to talk about it or to cover it up. And then it comes out.
How to Encourage Truth Telling
To move away from lying, I encourage couples to use what I call a do-over. Here’s the script: The partner who catches himself or herself telling a lie stops and says, “May I take a do-over?” Or the other person recognizes that their partner might not be telling the truth, and says, “Would you like a do-over?”
This allows the couple to stop, think, take a few moments to breathe, and enables the person who told the lie to start over again. The partner’s response to the now-truthful statement should be: “Thank you for sharing that with me.”
There’s no punishment for a do-over. Rather, there is an agreement that honesty will be appreciated. And that encourages consistent honest interaction.
ADHD and Lying: Next Steps
- Download: Rate Your ADHD Coping Strategies
- Watch: How to Recognize (and End) Toxic Relationships with ADHD
- Read: Neutralize Chronic Shame by Understanding Its Source
- More Expert Advice: Help! My ADHD Spouse Finds Relationship Drama Stimulating
Melissa Orlov is a marriage consultant and the founder of ADHDmarriage.com.
CELEBRATING 25 YEARS OF ADDITUDE
Since 1998, ADDitude has worked to provide ADHD education and guidance through webinars, newsletters, community engagement, and its groundbreaking magazine. To support ADDitude’s mission, please consider subscribing. Your readership and support help make our content and outreach possible. Thank you.