Have you started to lose trust in your spouse? Does their behavior seem off somehow? It’s like something is wrong, and you can’t put your finger on it. They act like it’s any other day but seem different.

If you doubt their fidelity, can you ask them to take a lie detector test to earn your trust? What’s going to happen if you ask them to do that? Will they freak out? Will they say be fine with it? Either way, you know you must do something about the issue before it affects your mental health.


What To Do Before Asking Your Spouse to Take a Polygraph


What Does Your Intuition Tell You?

We all have a sixth sense, it’s part of our emotional personality, and some call it “EQ” or “thinking with their gut.”

Whichever you want to go with is immaterial. The point is that we can tell when something is not right, especially with people close to us.

So, if your inner “spidey-sense” is ringing alarm bells, there’s a reason for it. Ignoring it won’t make it go away. If you’re thinking thoughts of distrust, then there’s a reason for it; it’s probably not paranoia.


Collect Evidence of Cheating

If you suspect your spouse of cheating, watch their behavior. Everyone lives out patterns in their lives because we’re creatures of habit. If you’re used to seeing your spouse behave in a certain manner and they start breaking these patterns, your subconscious mind will notice.

They may be subtle initially, but you’ll eventually catch onto them. Some people grow suspicious of this new behavior, and others ignore it. Does your spouse spend more time on their phone than usual? Are they coming home later at night or leaving for work early? Do they have more events to attend without you these days?

Look for these patterns of behavior and take notes. Write them down and see how many you come up with.


Remain Calm

If you suspect your spouse is cheating, don’t lose your cool without completing the first two steps. Keep your wits about you, collect evidence, and see how things develop. If you suspect them of cheating, it’s natural for this feeling of uncertainty to grow in your mind.

Eventually, that creates resentment, leading to anger and fights. You don’t want to end up doing something you regret. So, keep your cool and stick to your observations until the time is ready to confront them.


Choose a Place to Confront Your Spouse

When you have your evidence and think it’s time to confront them, do it privately without people around. It’s never a good idea to take this action in public. Your spouse could use it as leverage to throw a tantrum and try and turn things around on you.

Call them into a private room in the home and unpack your feelings. Don’t do it in an accusatory manner. Tell them you’ve noticed changes and want to know what’s happening with them. If they brush you off, press the issue a bit harder.

If they continue telling you you’re the problem, it displays classic deflective behavior. Keep pressing them and give them the option to reveal what they really think.


Get Your Timing Right

Timing is everything during the confrontation. As mentioned, you don’t want to launch into a full-blown accusation. Increase your questioning in stages. Instead of accusing them outright, ask them if they have anything to tell you.

When they blow you off, unpack your evidence. If they remain dismissive, sympathize with them instead of going off the rails with anger. Give them the opportunity to confess and tell them you won’t think anything of it; you just want to know the truth.

If they continue to deny they’re doing anything wrong, ratchet things up another level. Ask them to explain their behavior and why you might feel that way. If they start telling you that it’s you, that’s a sign of deflective behavior.

Tell them you can’t go on with them behaving that way and give them another out. Tell them you want to know, or you’ll leave them. This scare is an ultimatum; they might crack and tell you the truth. Or they could take the other approach and try and use it as an excuse to blame you or move away from you.

If they insist there’s nothing wrong, ask them to agree to counsel and do it for you, not them. This strategy tells them you’re not accusing them but have issues you need to iron out with them.

If they continue to deny your accusations, ask them if they are willing to take a polygraph to prove their fidelity. This step might seem outrageous to them, but return to your evidence and ask them again if they have anything to tell you.

If they continue to deny it, tell them they shouldn’t have any problem taking the polygraph if that’s the case. It’s critical to remain calm and in control of your emotions during this stage. If you get angry, it’s going to give them an excuse to dismiss you.


Make Your Decision

If they agree to the polygraph, it might be because they’re trying to bluff their way out of it or because they’re telling the truth. If it’s worth pursuing, arrange the polygraph with a certified polygraph company.

If your spouse seems overly nervous the day before the test, it’s a sign they might be hiding something from you. Continue to remain calm, and keep giving them the option of coming clean, without being forceful.

Chances are the spouse will let you know what’s going on before you get in the car to take the polygraph. However, some people are better liars than others, and they may feel they can take their lies all the way to the exam room.


Will the Polygraph Bring out the Truth?

The goal of the polygraph exam is not to get your spouse to confess or bring out information relating to their behavior. The exam aims to identify whether they’re acting deceptively or telling the truth. If your spouse agrees to professional counseling, and you feel they still aren’t telling you the whole truth, the polygraph can confirm this suspicion.

The polygraph will either confirm or disprove the information your spouse gave you in counseling or your private meeting. Setting up an appointment with a counselor is important, preferably directly after the polygraph session.

You have no idea what will come to light during the exam. If a significant issue is revealed, the counseling session allows you to iron it out without going home and getting at each other’s throats. An affair recovery counselor will organize a “vomit session” where the spouse has the opportunity to let the truth come out in the wake of the polygraph exam.

This strategy presents the best opportunity for letting the truth come out and to help you rebuild trust if any issues present.


Will a Polygraph Kill the Trust Between You?

You’ll need to think carefully about your decision to ask your spouse to undergo a polygraph. While it might seem like a pragmatic solution to the issue, there are better courses of action. The polygraph will adversely affect the trust in your relationship.

If results come back negative, your spouse will think you don’t trust them. If they come back positive for deception, you’re going to have to face your trust issues. Either way, they’ll violate your trust, and you’ll have to know how to deal with that problem.


Will the Polygraph Save Your Relationship?

The polygraph may assist with helping you finding out the truth behind your spouse’s behavior. However, it’s not a counselor and doesn’t serve the role of resolving the issues between you. Only you and your spouse can commit to resolving the problems in your relationship.

If it turns out there is a breach in fidelity or trust between you and your partner, how do you intend to deal with it? Will you call it quits or make amends? Will you still care for your partner, and will they feel the same way about you?

It’s challenging to think about, and there’s no clear path to a happy ending. Everyone is different, and creating a boilerplate strategy for this scenario won’t work. Some people think your relationship is already over if you have to ask your spouse to take a polygraph.

While that might be the case for some couples, it’s not necessarily a blanket rule for everyone. Maybe you’ll find that with a clean slate, and a recommittal of trust between you, you can move past the issue.


How the Polygraph Exam Works

The polygraph exam works by asking the examinee (your spouse) a set of questions to which they have to reply with yes or no answers. It’s important to note you can’t force your spouse to take a polygraph, even with the threat of filing for divorce. If they don’t want to take it, you can do nothing to intimidate or force them into doing so.

The polygraph examiner will give your spouse a set of questions they intend to ask in the session. They can’t ask them anything that isn’t on this question review. You’ll receive a copy of the test transcript and questions or audio of the session upon completion, along with the test results.

Choosing the right questions for the test is important to its outcome. For instance, asking your spouse where they go after work won’t produce any results. The polygraph machine can only detect deception through questions that have yes-or-no answers.

Common questions to ask your spouse are the following.

  • Since the start of your relationship, have you had any sexual contact with anyone else other than your spouse?
  • Do you tell your partner lies on a daily basis?
  • Do you use illegal drugs or misuse prescription drugs?

The polygraph examiner asks your spouse these questions in a controlled environment, and you won’t be able to be present in the exam room. However, you can watch the test through a 2-way mirror. Each question the examiner asks comes back with a positive, negative, or inconclusive result.


Can My Spouse Beat the Polygraph Machine?

Your spouse can beat the machine; it’s only 97% accurate at best. However, they’ll need total control over their emotional state to do so. When we lie under a polygraph exam, it initiates the “fight-or-flight” response. This response increases blood pressure, heart rate, respiration, and skin activity.

The lie detector machine picks up this information, displaying it in chart format on the examiner’s laptop screen. The examiner has training and experience in monitoring these charts to allow them to detect deceptive behavior.

The examiner also video records the session on request. They’ll use the recording to examine the spouse’s body language after the test if they draw a conclusive result. So, your spouse will have to fool the machine, and the examiner to pass the test. That’s very challenging to pull off.

The most important thing you need to focus on is your response to the situation if your spouse is proven deceptive in their answers or if they’re telling the truth. The polygraph exam is a very unnerving experience, and your spouse will react to this stress.


Repairing Trust Issues

If you don’t know if the polygraph exam is the right move, then take time to consider your decision to ask your spouse to take it. What will happen if the test proves they’re telling the truth? Will you trust the results?

While we all have a gut instinct, are you acting paranoid? Or do you have genuine concern about their behavior? If it’s a negative or positive result, will you both be able to move past it, or will you find the trust is broken in your relationship and call it quits?

Each scenario is different, and understanding the repercussions of asking your spouse to take a lie detector test is paramount to making the decision. Ensure you know what you’re getting yourself into and the possible outcomes of the scenario.