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Romantic relationships are one of the topics revolving around human behavior, which has received manifold research analysis and coverage. There exists a myriad of documented books and articles, which deeply define and explain human relationships with regard to romance as viewed by different people across the globe. One obvious thing about these relationships is the fact that they are faced with an array of problems some of which lead to their termination or contribute to strain between the parties involved. Among these factors is deception, which most researchers have considered to be of significant interest in the understanding of the flow of romantic relationships. It is however worth noting that although a lot of research has been done concerning deception detection an relationship, little or no major attention has been accorded the attitude of people towards deception in the context of a romantic relationship. Different people view deception in unique ways and this may be affected by a number of factors including but not limited to gender and personality. As a result, some people justify the idea of deception in intimate relationships for the sake of protecting personal interests, which may not necessarily be geared towards the success of the relationship. This analysis focuses on Emotional Reactions towards deception in Romantic Relationships as portrayed by different people in the society.


Lack of truth and honesty is noted as one of major problem facing romantic relationships in not only the current generation but throughout human history. Honesty on its own is a fundamental principle of promoting social relationships and lack of costs numerous relationships in the world. Despite this, many people in romantic relationships do not embrace it. It is one of the standards of relationships that most people find it hard to maintain. Due to this, deception has taken its course with research indicating that people have different views concerning the whole issue of deception in romantic relationships. Although, not emphasized by many, lack of honesty may significantly affect interpersonal trust between people in romantic relationships. Nevertheless, it is argued that any romantic relationship must accommodate some level of deception i.e. there are situations in life which calls for deception whereas others require total honesty. Above all, emotional reactions towards deception in romantic relationships determine their continuation or termination. This analysis therefore synthesizes the literature of four authentic experts in unraveling the truth behind deceptive behavior in romantic relationships. 

Literature review

As discussed by Brian and Norman, deception is a common phenomenon in romantic relationships. A number of factors augment this, which may be personal or resulting from the behavior of the other partner (Brian & Norman 2011). Despite the cause of deception in any romantic relation, the two lay significant emphasis on the role of mood in perceiving stress in either friends or strangers. In other words, a person may be deceived without notice simply because of his/her existing mood. This implies that many deception actions and behavior unnoticed in romantic relationships because an individual's state of mind in relation to what could be happening around. The two affirm that happiness plays a key role in deception detection with their research indicating that unhappy people who are less likely to detect deception in relationships compared to those that are unhappy.

Why is it that happy people rarely detect deception in romantic relationships? This is solely based on the fact that happiness is directly related to positive thinking and attitude. It would therefore be hard for a happy person to imagine that one of the parties involved could be dishonest. It is therefore possible to conclude that the context in which deception occurs determines its detection by people in relationships. What defines mood? Brian and Norman affirm that sometimes deception is not easily detected because some people including those in intimate relationships use it as a social lubricant in attempts to promote good communication between those in love. For this reason, a number of factors may promote lying. One of these factors is avoidance of conflicts. It is more obvious than not that intimate relationships are strengthened by love and shared interests. Many people would therefore do and say anything within their reach to make the other person happy including use of deceptive means. Brian and Norman state this in their latest research, which puts mood first as one of the factors that affect emotional reactions towards deception in romantic relationships.

Apart from conflicts, people in romantic relationships use deception to manipulate their partners. Brian and Norman note that manipulation blocks the mind of the person being deceived from seeing dishonesty in particular actions or behavior. Other experts that manipulation is never aimed to benefit the two individuals but it is usually a selfish way of satisfying personal interests have always emphasized it. Based on the approach, many people find it hard to detect deception in people they trust and dearly value in their lives as friends. As a result, it becomes possible for a person to emotionally accept an idea merely because he or she does not understand the real motive behind such moves (Brian & Norman 2011).

In addition, the impact of deception determines the way in which a person emotionally reacts to it. Brian and Norman conclude that lies which are aimed at benefiting the deceived are not easily detected compared to exploitative and risky deceptive behaviors and actions in a romantic relationships. On the other hand, culture affects the manner in which people in romantic relationships respond to deception. Since culture goes beyond shaping ones character and personality, it detects perception towards life issues. Therefore, acceptability of deception in romantic relationships stems from background and upbringing. For those people who grow in deceptive families say parents are involved in corrupt deals they are likely to accept deception in romantic relationships compared to those hailing from honest family background (Brian & Norman 2011).  

As mentioned earlier, the issue of deception in romantic relationships has myriad discrepancies as discussed by different research experts in history.  Levine, McCornack and Avery analyze the issue from a gender-based approach in the understanding of emotional reactions towards deception in romantic relationships. This study conducted by the three experts explores existing sex differences and emotional responses as experienced by relational partners. They affirm that men and women view deception in relationships from different angles thus affecting the manner in which they emotionally react in both friendship and intimate setting. The study reveals that women are more likely to consider deception as unacceptable in relationships compared to their male counterparts who may consider it as part of life. According to their 1992 publication addressing gender differences in relation to deception in romantic relationships, Levine, McCornack and Avery affirm argue that there exists a higher possibility of women to react emotionally violent towards deception and vice versa.

Notably, the use of deception in relationships is more prevalent in men compared to women. Men are more likely do device canning and dishonest ways of sustaining a relationship, most of which may be completely unacceptable by women. Unlike men who score high on deceptive scales, Levine, McCornack and Avery note that women tend to be more pragmatic in dealing with their romantic relationships. They suspect that most men have been socialized to accept deception in dealing with their partners who may be against the whole idea of dishonesty. As a result, women get more emotionally affected than men get and some of the wounds caused by dishonesty taking ages to heal (Levine, McCornack & Avery 1992).

Emotional reactions towards deception in romantic relationships are also influenced the way in which the society ranks men and women. Lack of gender balance and equality puts women at the edge of being manipulated even in intimate relationships with their male counterparts (Levine, McCornack & Avery 1992). Based on their position in the society, most men lack emotional awareness of a relationship due the powerful position they assume in the society. Having understood their low position, women prefer honesty in relationships and are always conscious about emotional implications of being deceptive in an intimate relationship. As discussed by Levine, McCornack and Avery, women experience high emotional reaction when they notice elements of deception in the relationship. Negative attitude towards deception is therefore likely to affect psychological reasoning of women, which may ultimately result into behavior change.

It is worth noting that deception exists among women in spite of their perception towards the whole idea of dishonesty in romantic relationships. However, it has been found out that women demonstrate high levels of anxiety compared to men when they are just about to lie. This is sometimes expressed through verbal stress. Unlike men, women also consider the chances of a lie being successful. Nevertheless, their high level of motivation lowers their frequency of being involved in deceptive actions and behavior (Levine, McCornack &Avery 2011). Communication also plays a major role in either promoting or discouraging deception in romantic relationships. It is obvious that good communication cannot be compromised to have the dream of a cohesive relationship come true. It involves the way in which information is passed from one party to the other including its validity. Dishonesty in speech and actions can therefore be viewed as a lack of good communication. Negative communication opens a door for deception due to lack of understanding. It also determines the manner in which friends or those people in romantic relationships react towards deception. Violence mainly characterizes relationships, which do not embrace positive and good communication skills. Besides these, Levine, McCornack and Avery agree that suspicion affects individuals' emotional reactions towards deception. Based on the behavior and actions of a partner may cause the other party to curious and suspicious of deception. This is mainly caused by change in the normal behavior and lifestyle.

Another author and psychologist who explores emotional reactions towards deception in romantic relationship is Buss. In his 2005, research analyses how men and women respond to deceptions and nature's contribution in determining human perception over dishonesty. According to his findings, Buss attributes deception to the desire of one person. In other words, partners tend to exploit one another in order quench their desires. He argues that throughout history, there are emotions, which have evolved in order to guard against deception or to minimize the consequences, which come as a result of dishonesty in a romantic relationship (Buss 2005). He further notes that most respond to deception by emotional distress, which may end up affecting their future relationship.   He however notes that people respond differently towards deception mainly because of the nature and intensity of its perceived consequences.

As discussed by Buss, men and women exhibit differences in reactions towards deception because of the rules of natural selection. The tow have unique reproductive strategies; short -term mating strategies in men and long-term strategies in women. He affirms that while men have their focus on sexual variety, women emphasize safety of their partners, family care and provision of resources. He reiterates that existing mating tactics between men and women may have contributed to conflicts on the view of deception. As a result, women who are inclined towards long-term romantic relationships are to detest deception compared to those focus on short-lived relationships (Buss 2005). A part from denouncing deception in romantic relationship compared to men, women experience intense emotional injury. Although there exists natural differences, which lead to differences in response, it is important to also understand the long-term effects of deception. Continuous deception may lead to separation or permanent divorce.

Like Brian and Norman, Forgas explores the issue of emotional reactions from a situational point of view. Based on his 2008 research, he concurs with other researchers that deception is a common phenomenon in our society especially in romantic relationships. Although every partner works hard to promote harmony, dishonesty is a major cause of unstable relationships. In his introductory remarks of the article, he addresses the issue of detecting deception in a relation. He notes that people in romantic relationships can easily detect deception in their partners based on how much they know each other. This is because of the familiarity in character whose slightest deviation could be instantly identified. Although it is possible to detect deception in romantic relationships, Forgas admits that there are a number of factors, which may affect this. He prioritizes mood as a key factor, which affects the ease of a person detecting deception in their partners especially when they are in a romantic relationship (Forgas 2008).

What is the effect? It is clear that mood reflects the state of the mind and the possibility of realizing any changes in the surrounding. Mood is determined by events taking place in the life of an individual or expected occurrence. Since deception affects the way in which a person behaves, mood may make it either easily recognized or impossible. How then does mood work? Forgas states that mood affects the ability of a person to detecting certain behavioral changes in another person or even within the environment. He affirms that mood can be delineated into two categories and that an individual's position determines his or her ability to detect deception and emotionally react towards it. He notes that people with positive mood are not likely to detect deception because of their attitude and prefixed mind towards their partners. In other words, positive mood affects one thinking and attitude towards others or towards the surrounding (Forgas 2008). When people in intimate relationships are in positive moods, they are likely to see every good in their partners without leaving any room for an accusation of dishonesty. A positive mood enhances the ability to view life positively and appreciate those people who make a difference in your life including romantic friends. Notwithstanding the impact of positive mood in relationships, it is worth noting that many romantic relationships have been terminated simply because of mood.

On the other hand, it is believed that negative mood significantly promotes the ability of an individual to detect deception in a romantic relationship. Why does this happen? People with negative moods tend to suspicious and judgmental towards their partners and are also able to identify every single negative aspect of their lives. As a result, of negative mood, it is very easy for one to identify change in character, speech and even behavior. It is however important to double emphasize the fact that poor judgment and conclusions triggered by negative threatens the stability of any relationship (Forgas 2008). A part from easy identification of deception, people in a state of negative mood are likely to react quite emotionally towards deception as stated by Forgas. When compared to those in a positive mood, they are prone to emotional distress and instant decision-making. As concluded by Forgas, negative mood does not enhance trust between friends in a romantic relationship. It is because of this reason that most of such people make poor judgment concerning their friend's character and honesty.

With regard to communication, Forgas notes that countless romantic relationships have crumbled throughout as a result breakdown in communication. In totality, communication strengthens the relationship between two parties whose breakdown may lead to a disjoint relationship in which there exists no social linkage. Poor communication promotes mistrust and suspicion since people cannot express their feelings towards a perceived idea. Such a breakdown in communication gives room for extreme emotional reactions, which may lead to lifetime termination of a romantic relationship that would have worked successfully if good communication were embraced. Linking communication and mood, Forgas asserts that people with negative mood have the ability to quickly notice deceptive communication in romantic relationships (Forgas 2008).

Limitations and Directions for Future Research

This research poses a number of limitations, which create a gap that has to be filled during future research studies. The main limitation is the fact that most of the people who were assessed had been deceived at one point or the other during their romantic relationship. It would be quite rational and helpful to involve both dating, married and single in gaining a conclusive study covering causes of deception in intimate relationships. By incorporating the views of single people who are not in romantic relationships, it would have been possible to have their perception concerning these relationships. To address this limitation, future research studies should consider analyzing views from both single and hooked individuals. The study is also limited by the fact that it only addresses emotional reactions towards deception in romantic relationships. Besides emotional reactions, there is an array of reactions towards dishonesty in any relationship. Future studies should focus on all reactions towards to obtain a concise comprehension of various reactions, which are related to deception in romantic relationships.


Deception remains a mega threat to the stability of any romantic relationships. Although men and women strive to please each other misunderstanding, mistrust and suspicion are inevitable. This has been augmented by the fact that most people in romantic relationships find it challenging to remain faithful to one another. Because of the negative effects of deception, there is every need of dealing with deception and encourage people in relationships to be honest. An important factor, which promotes this and has been double emphasized in the research is good communication. Many psychologists and other researchers concur that communication lays the foundation any romantic relationship.

Notably, both men and women get affected with deception. However, women have been found to be more affected by deception compared to their male counterparts. This is mainly because of their long-term commitment to provision of resources to their families and child bearing (Levine, McCornack & Avery, 1992). Above all, reactions towards deception vary from one person to the other as detected by various factors. Among these factors is mood, which is highly considered by experts as a major factor that determines the ease to identify deception in a relationship. It is this reaction, which determines the future of a relationship and people in relationships need to embrace honesty in order to eliminate deception.

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