It didn't take long for the divorce rumours to start flying.
Tinker (Ty) Keck, a 31-year-old personal trainer, had just told his wife he delayed having children with her because he wasn't sure they were going to stay together. That was after he had admitted he would encourage her to get liposuction if she developed a flabby stomach.
"I think I'm digging myself a bigger hole," he said.
Mr. Keck made these confessions during the premiere episode of a new Fox reality show The Moment of Truth. The show, which made its debut to an audience of 23.2 million viewers late last month, hooks contestants up to a lie detector and asks them personal and potentially embarrassing questions in front of their loved ones.
The payoff, should they answer all the questions honestly, is $100,000 (U.S.). But the potential pitfall - to which Mr. Keck has apparently succumbed during his time on air - is that, at times, honesty is not the best policy.
"I think little white lies help keep a relationship stronger," says Marleah Stout, editor of the 2008 Harlequin Romance Report, which looked at the nature of confessions.
"It's difficult to be honest 24 hours a day about everything," she said."And if you were, I don't think you'd have any friends or people who would want to spend time with you," Ms. Stout said.
In a survey performed for the annual romance report, Harlequin found that 67 per cent of Canadians believe white lies are an acceptable and even a welcome part of any relationship.
Yet 31 per cent of men and 42 per cent of women surveyed named trust and honesty as the values that mattered most in their romantic dealings.
"We want honesty in our relationships," Ms. Stout said. "But only if it doesn't offend us or contradict our idea of our relationships."
And as long as it doesn't get us in trouble. The survey found that only 24 per cent of men and 23 per cent of women would confess to their partner about having sex with someone else. Only 30 per cent of respondents would confess to kissing someone else and roughly 40 per cent would confess to flirting.
Forty-two per cent of men and 35 per cent of women surveyed admitted to sending a sexually explicit text message or e-mail to someone other than their romantic partner, but only 16 per cent of men and 18 per cent of women said they would confess this to their partner.
And Canadians were not just willing to lie to the person they're in love with. Asked what they would say about a friend's romantic partner if asked for their opinion, 46 per cent of men and 45 per cent of women said they would lie.
So where is the line between good lies and bad lies?
Ms. Stout said lying about infidelity, finances or any other major issue is obviously unacceptable. But refraining from telling a loved one something minor or potentially hurtful is actually interpreted by most as a way of protecting their feelings.
"It's a way of making the other person feel good and not hurt them or cause any stirs," she said. "But I think it's probably different for every couple. It depends what people can handle."
One participant told Harlequin she found her boyfriend to be too honest. "Sometimes it just gets plain annoying," she said. "He tells me the stupidest things like if he saw his ex at the bar and she came up to say hello. Some things are better left unsaid."
Ms. Stout was also surprised by how many respondents admitted to snooping in their loved ones' possessions, while not being totally honest themselves.
"I think curiosity gets the best of us all sometimes, but you may find out some things that you don't want to know," she said. "People want to be more open, but they're not necessarily doing it because the fear of losing someone takes over."
And some people use honesty as a weapon, she said, sharing things with others just to gauge the person's response or punish them in a passive-aggressive manner.
"Sometimes not saying something is not necessarily a lie," she said. "If it's not hurting anyone, there's no need to be discussing that."
And that is why Fox's The Moment of Truth is so painful, for both the audience and participants.
Answering questions about yourself is not that difficult, but doing so while staring friends and family in the eye is a whole separate equation.
"One prerequisite for signing up for the show is, inherently, being an idiot," Troy Patterson wrote on Slate.com.
But it is not so much idiotic as masochistic to answer questions such as: "Do fat people repulse you?"; "Have you ever thought your boyfriend might be gay?"; or "Have you ever had sexual relations with my sister?"
The show's tag line asks "Is there an honest person left in America?" In some cases, it might be better if the answer was "no."
Liar, liarYour girlfriend, who's dieting, keeps asking if she looks any thinner. She doesn't. What do you do? Take our quiz to find
out what kind of liar you are at globeandmail.com/life.
How to lie like a pro
Scientific studies have shown that there are various verbal and non-verbal cues that consistently give people away when fudging the truth, so if you're going to lie, lie with every inch of your
being.Smile with your eyes
An insincere smile will give a liar away pronto. If your lips curl up with kindness but your eyes remain immobile, you're about to get smacked. Take a lesson from Tyra Banks, and practise your
facial expressions in the mirror, making sure the skin around
your eyes crinkles with each
lying smile. Hands at your side
Fidgeting, touching your nose and handling objects are all signs of panic and deception. Think about what you'd be doing with your hands if you were telling the truth, and remember that crossing your fingers is a dead giveaway.Say you didn't do it
Lying is about more than just
superficial appearances; you have to speak the part as well. People who are lying use expanded contractions, meaning they will say. "No, that is not lipstick on my collar," rather than the more casual contraction, "You're completely paranoid."
Hydrate in advance
Reaching for a drink under intense questioning will set off alarms. Take a sip and you'll look desperate and possibly hung over, a sure sign that you did something bad the night before. Drink a Gatorade, then lie.Really connect with the
person you're deceiving
If you look away while talking, you're lying, and they'll know it. Make eye contact and hold it, but not in a creepy, intense way.