Unsolicited confession of deception in romantic relationships




Kearns, Kyle Daniel

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We have long known that deception plays a consistent and complicated role in romantic relationships. Though social scientists have studied the discovery and detection of deception in couples, unprompted confession of deception has yet to be explored. It is not yet known why people choose to confess their lies to significant others, nor how that confession affects relationships. The present study surveyed 373 undergraduate students about their experiences both confessing to their romantic partner and being confessed to, and found that their likelihood to confess was positively associated with how discoverable they perceived the lie to be. Those higher in commitment and with a more negative attitude toward deception were more likely to have plans to confess. Participants were questioned about the nature of each lie and how it affected their relationship in the short-term and long-term. Their responses are categorized and discussed.


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