I’ve begun to notice the lies my boyfriend tells. At first, I thought he was insecure and was simply “exaggerating the truth” every now-and-then. It’s now 10 months in, and I am convinced that he is a compulsive/pathological liar. He lies about things he’s owned, life accomplishments and who the hell knows what else. For example, he told me he owned a, let’s say, fairly expensive classic car, and fixed it up himself. Not only did he “race” this car, he stumbled upon a movie production set while driving and they approached him to tell him how nice of a car he had — (he says that this is how he ended up having solo bar-time with two actors from the film) – uh huh. There are many more stories that just seem too good to be true.
What really bothers me though is that all of these elaborate stories have no evidence of ever have been being true. He “lost” everything he owned when he had to “pay back the military for their screw-up,” explaining how he had to auction his precious car (which there are no pictures of him with or driving it — you would think a car like that, you would have a photo or two) — and all his savings, everything he owned except for some clothes. AND, to drive that car you would need a license, right? Well, here the reason why doesn’t have a driver’s license is because he “did have one, but they (the DMV) screwed up when they printed it and it was never valid.” (I don’t work at the DMV, but I’m pretty sure if you took the test and passed, you could get the whole license issue fixed, as long as you’re in the system.) He did, however, have a state ID that was valid. Hmmm.
Not only do I not believe him now about ever having the car or other things, but he was married very young and divorced soon after. How do I know the girl was at fault? Of course, nothing unfortunate that has happened to him has EVER been his own fault. It’s always someone else’s fault.
I’m at a loss of what to do. The majority of the stories are just too unrealistic for me to even consider being true. I don’t encourage him when he lies; as a matter of fact I ignore most of his fabrications and random “exaggerations.” I’ve never dealt with someone who lies so often about serious life experiences and, at times, trivial things.
I know I can’t fix the problem, but how am I supposed to determine fact from fiction? Should I leave now or talk to him about it?
A: I’m confused. Why would you want to stay with someone who is this shady? Sure. You can try to talk to him about it. You probably should at least give him a chance. But how will you know if what he tells you about his lies is the truth? This is the problem with liars. They often lie about the lying.
I suspect a life with him would mean always feeling on edge. With every story or explanation, you’ll be asking yourself, “Is this the truth or is it another lie?” You ask how you’re supposed to determine fact from fiction. The answer is that you shouldn’t have to.
Healthy relationships are built on trust. Unless he makes a major change so that you, in your heart, absolutely know you can trust him, it would be a mistake to keep this relationship going.
I wish you well.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 15 Jan 2014
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2014). Boyfriend Lies Excessively. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 19, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2014/01/15/boyfriends-lies-worsening/