The most insidious and oft-overlooked red flag in the giant book of red flags is without a doubt LYING.
Lying is so pervasive that we even have a term for the more "innocent" ones: "little white lies".
How about "fib"? Sounds like a name for a little hamster. Fibster.
We're so accustomed to being lied to that we let is slip by again and again with no consequence or action. When it comes to our saintly women, men like to fall all over themselves explaining away these indiscretions. Our women are just far too innocent to think that they would lie to us for insidious reasons. They're just little fibs. Chubby hamsters running on their wheel. Adorable.
The egg heads explain the phenomenon of the lying wife by pointing out that women are conditioned to lie and be more manipulative from an early age. They don't have the physical attributes we men have... so they can't punch and kick and push their way out of a bad situation, so they lie and manipulate their way out of it.
That guy just said something mean to you? He's 9 times the size of you? Turn on the tears, rub your eyes, point to the large man and scream "That man PUNCHED me!" and watch the entire world come to your rescue. Girls learn this pretty early on. Especially the pretty ones.
Regardless of WHY it happens, the truth is that yes... Women lie. Women are in fact human beings. They have faults. They have vices.
But like all vices and manifestations of psychological baggage, lies must be dealt with. They must not be ignored. There must be a reason for untruths to be spilling out of her mouth, and it's usually not as innocuous as you think.
I'll give you a real-world example:
My ex-wife and I were invited to 70's themed party years ago. Everyone was going to go in fake afros, bell bottoms, big sunglasses, big shirt collars, etc. We didn't really have anything on hand so we had to put together some outfits from any old clothes we might have. She asked around at work if any ladies had anything she could use and she came back with a giant afro wig and glasses. "Look what Sally at work gave me! She said I could just have it! They're perfect!"
Fast forward to a few days after the party and she asked me to get something out of her purse. Right there on top of a giant wad of crap was a receipt from a costume shop... showing that she had purchased an afro wig, glasses and other things her friends "gave" her to use.
What the...? Why would she lie about that? The grand total was about $30. It's not like she broke the bank by spending $30. Weird.
Immediately my mind went to "it must be me" mode. Was I such a hard ass about budgeting that she couldn't share with me that she spent $30 on something unnecessary? Was she that worried about my reaction? Was I causing her to do things in secret like this? Must be me.
I was conditioned. I knew exactly what her reaction would be if I confronted her... and I did... and I was right.
"I couldn't tell you because I knew you would be mad/upset/angry/sad" is the most overused and manipulative excuse of them all. What they're doing is shifting the blame from themselves to you. "I just HAD to lie about it because you are such a baby about these things! You always blow them out of proportion. It was nothing."
Take a moment to think back to all of your interactions with your wife over the years. Were there moments sprinkled in there where she expressed displeasure with something about you? Can't think of any? Let me help.
"You're not wearing THAT shirt again, are you?"
"No... we're not buying that. It looks really stupid and tacky."
"This place you picked out for us is no good. Next time let me pick."
"Sigh... do you think you could have the kids not look like hobos when I return?"
"We have people coming over, try not to be too much of a slob."
Just innocent little wife jabs, right? Little tests here and there to keep you on your toes? What would happen if the roles reversed and you said half of those things to her? You'd be labeled a real abusive jerk of a husband and she'd have six other wives lined up to tell her as much. But I digress...
See, during those frequent little jabs... she had absolutely zero care about what your response may be. Your feelings weren't a factor. She was just stating facts. You need to know that your favorite shirt looks terrible, that thing you want for the bedroom is tacky, the place you picked out for your date is really trashy, the kids look like hobos when she's not around and you really need to do a better job of keeping yourself and the bathroom looking good. To her, these are all just necessary statements like "You left the oven on again". It's not like she's out to hurt your feelings... your feelings aren't even a factor.
See my point? She constantly takes little jabs at your sense of self-worth with zero thought as to how it may annoy or even hurt you. So why NOW is she suddenly concerned about your reaction to something she might say/do.
Because the thing she is hiding with her little lie is just the tip of a much bigger and more sinister iceberg... and she is VERY well aware of that.
Otherwise, she would rub it right in your face with no regard for your thoughts.
The $30 afro wig and glasses ensemble my ex-wife bought? It wasn't about me at all. It was about her. She had a spending problem. She coped with her anxieties by spending and eating. That was her thing. That receipt was one of about 3,987 red flags that told me "Dude... she has a problem". This particular red flag was there in black and white and she sure didn't like that I saw it. Yes, it was just $30, but it was a little receipt that was the first of many receipts that added up to thousands of dollars we needed and didn't have. She knew that. One little white lie at a time hid this reality from view.
Here's another example you may have run into. I've heard some variation of this more than a few times (the names and exact situation are all made up):
You wife was married once before to a dude named Randy. She claims that he was abusive and treated her like dirt throughout their relationship. You've personally only met the guy once and she hasn't spoken to him in 10 years. He's been a total non-factor in your relationship.
One day you see the messages app is open on the laptop you share. Buried at the bottom of a list of conversations is the word "Randy". She had a text conversation with him. This particular conversation was dated over one year ago. You start going through the messages fearing the worst... and thankfully it's nothing. Just inane blabber about how his family is doing, good to hear from him, so sorry to hear about this brother, etc. They had four different conversations over a period of a month and then it stopped. He ended the conversation with "Would love to see you sometime soon." She didn't reply. Now you feel bad for snooping. But now it's got you thinking...
Your wife has been blabbering consistently about how awful this man was for the past decade. Years of horror stories. No details left out. One time she pointed out a bottle of ketchup during a routine grocery store trip and said "Randy threw one of those at my head years ago. I had to get stitches." If there was ever a concern that you may not be comfortable hearing Randy stories, she sure didn't show it. She never asked. You just let her vent and all is well.
So now that dear old Randy has come out of the woodwork and sent random messages that were friendly and normal and out of character and unexpected... she doesn't mention them? At all? Not for an entire year? How odd.
You get an idea... instead of just coming out and asking about them, let's do something more passive... something sneaky. Let's see if she comes clean.
You: "Honey... remember that one crazy woman that was married to Randy before you? I saw her at the store the other day and she looks like a total meth head. Really scary."
Her: "Whoa. Yeah, she always had some serious problems. I haven't seen her in years."
You: "Yeah, she actually recognized me and asked me if we have heard from Randy. I said 'Nope, we never talk to him... thank god'. She just laughed."
*here's her chance to come clean.... nothing so far*
You: "So.. how long's it been since we heard from him? Not since you and I started dating... what's that, like 10 years ago?"
Sigh... there it is. You gave her a chance.
This woman has been mentioning this creep on a regular basis for years, and never mentions the time he apparently awakened from the dead and communicated with her out of the blue. Why? Because something more is going on. Here comes the rest of the iceberg.
He has touched a nerve in her. She felt something inside and she's a bit ashamed of it. She still has some residual feelings for Randy and she doesn't like that. Those messages made her feel something good for that short period of time, and she secretly deep down holds out hope that he will message her again. She even started having thoughts of asking him out to lunch. You know... just to catch up. She knows it's probably wrong... but she isn't strong enough to overcome those wandering thoughts and she couldn't bring herself tell you right away that he reached out to her. Why not? Because she knows that telling you would put an end to the communication forever and she'd never hear from Randy again.
The woman who wouldn't shut the hell up about the guy when he was gone is now completely quiet about him when he reappears. She lies to cover for him. Two big strikes and probably a sign that you are in for some serious trouble.
There's always a story behind the little lies. Always. But all of that pesky reality can get wiped out with one phrase: "I didn't want to tell you because I knew you'd get mad." The reality of the situation flips and now it's on you. You're the crazy, irrational one.
Don't fall for it.
Don't ignore lies. As soon as they appear, you call them out and dig deep. Talk it out. Investigate. Don't let up. You may not like what you find but it's better to know the truth.