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90 Percent of People Are Lying to Their Partner About This, New Study Says

Most of us keep this hidden from our significant other.

Most people agree that honesty is one of the most important factors in any romantic relationship. But as it turns out, those same people aren't exactly practicing what they preach. Even though we expect sincerity and fidelity from our significant others, there are certain things that we keep from them. In fact, a new study has found that 90 percent of people are lying to their partner about one thing in particular. Read on to find out what almost all of us aren't being honest about.

READ THIS NEXT: 5 Body Language Signs That Mean Someone Is Lying, According to Therapists and Lawyers.

Americans have become increasingly comfortable with lying.

We might claim to value honesty, but when you get right down to it, that's just not the truth. A 2016 survey of over 1,000 U.S. adults from Ipsos found that Americans have become increasingly OK with lying. According to the survey, 64 percent of respondents reported that they think lying is sometimes justified. For comparison, Ipsos conducted another similar survey in 2006, and found that just 42 percent said lying is sometimes justified.

A significant number of U.S. adults also indicated that they feel it is sometimes OK to lie to a significant other. But what exactly are most people lying to their partners about?

Most people are lying to their partner about one thing in particular.


Researchers from the University of Connecticut, Indiana University, and Duke University recently conducted a study about certain behaviors in close relationships. Through their study, which was published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology in June, the researchers found that most people are lying to their partner about one specific thing.

According to the study, 90 percent of people admit that they have lied to their significant other about their recent shopping habits. The researchers refer to this common phenomenon as "secret consumer behavior," in which people intentionally hide their consumer behavior from a relationship partner. This is usually limited to "common or ordinary behavior that is typical of everyday consumption (e.g., eating/drinking, purchasing clothes or hobby items, etc.)."

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Hiding minor purchases can actually help your relationship.

Smiling male customer in trendy wear sitting on stairs of store with bags with copy space for label, cheerful dark skinned hipster guy recreating after shopping and buying purchases

Lies can be a dealbreaker for many relationships, but the researchers of this new study suggest that this type of dishonesty can benefit a couple. In a press release, co-lead study author Kelley Gullo Wight, an assistant professor of marketing at the Indiana University Kelley School of Business, said that most people have recently lied about their everyday consumer behaviors, even thought they didn't "think their partner would care if they knew about it."

There may be benefit to the lie, because "guilt from secret consumption leads to greater relationship investment," according to the study. The researchers say something "as mundane as secretly eating pizza" could lead people into wanting to "do something positive for the relationship" in return, like washing the dishes or being more attentive to their partner. "Even though most of these secret acts are quite ordinary, they can still—positively—impact the relationship. The positive impact is an important piece," Wight said.

That doesn't mean you should keep too many secrets.

Through a series of studies and data collected from couples, the researchers found that the majority of people—65 percent—hide product purchases from their partners. On the other hand, 12 percent described their secret consumption as an experience and 10 percent said that they lied about spending money on a service. In terms of specific secrets, 40 percent said they kept food or drink purchases from their partner, followed by 10 percent keeping clothing, jewelry, or hobby buys hidden, 8 percent not sharing a gift or donation, and 6.3 percent purchasing a health, beauty, or wellness product without telling their partner.

"One of my favorite findings is that partners often keep the same secrets from each other," study co-lead author Danielle J. Brick, an assistant professor of marketing at the University of Connecticut, said in a statement. "In one couple, both partners reported secretly eating meat when they were both supposed to be vegetarian."

But Gavan J. Fitzsimons, another co-lead author of the study and a professor at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business, told Fox Digital News that there are limitations. According to Fitzsimons, the positive benefits of secret consumer behavior on a relationship only applied to relatively non-serious secrets, not "huge" ones. If you're keeping infidelity a secret, for example, the impact may be less positive.

Kali Coleman
Kali Coleman is a Senior Editor at Best Life. Her primary focus is covering news, where she often keeps readers informed on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and up-to-date on the latest retail closures. Read more
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