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.

Heterosexual couple argue. They are facing each other and sitting on a grey couch.

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.

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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

Melissa Orlov is a marriage consultant and the founder of

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