All humans have innate intuition. Yet no one’s cornered the market on this gift better than women. We may not know why we don’t believe what our partner’s telling us, but something about what he’s saying or how he’s saying it just doesn’t add up. We feel it.

How far do you want to go to figure out the truth? If it’s a case of presumed infidelity, you need to know. But what about the smaller things that he says (or doesn’t say) that bother you? Picking your battles is a question each woman must decide for herself.

There are times even the most honest person will want to alter or omit information. Telling the “whole truth” can lead to unnecessary upset and unwanted arguments. Day in and day out, we all submit to our own little white lies in order to protect someone’s feelings; whether it’s turning down a movie with a friend or making an excuse for something we don’t want to do.

Honesty is wonderful when managed with tact, diplomacy, and wisdom. Brutal honesty is often a double-edged sword. It allows for complete transparency and ideally forges a closer bond. But humans have underlying insecurities and fears that can easily alter one’s best intentions when “telling all.” What was intended as an honestly stated and understandable scenario can quickly turn into something harmful when shared at the wrong time or under the wrong conditions.

Here’s are five tips to decode your partner’s lying:

Elaboration: Novice’s use elaboration. They tell their story in great detail… like you might if you had to tell your boss why you were late. “So, why didn’t you pick up the phone last night?” you might ask. You hear an elaborate story filled with unexpected events and dramatic factors. A litany of details is a dead give away that it’s a lie.

The eyes can’t lie: Before concocting a story a liar will often shift their eyes to the left as you’re viewing them (their right). It’s an old-school “tell” called visual construction. Your partner’s mind is in the process of creating a more preferable scenario. Conversely, when trying to remember a real life event, we shift our eyes up and to the viewer’s right. Liars may choose to stare straight ahead while reciting their tale in order to stay focused on the rehearsed “facts,” or avoid eye contact all together out of shame. This is why text messages and phone calls are the preferred method of lying. The eyes are cued up to involuntary reactions that are hard to hide in person.

Evasion/Deflection: This tactic includes anything and everything to avoid dealing with telling you something that makes your man uncomfortable. He has to leave. He can’t talk about it now. He has to make a call or he’s late for an appointment. It’s the adult version of running away.

The Turn-around: This is a handy technique that’s used to shift the blame and put you on the hot seat. Suddenly, you’re the subject of questioning. He asks where you were or whom you were with, accuses or attacks you. This defensive move becomes an offensive play. By doing a turn-around, you’re now the one who must defend yourself and answer questions.

Omission: He answers your questions, but only in part. He says enough to satisfy you, but you sense there’s more. He may admit he went out drinking with his buddies but omits the part about the strip club at the end of the night and the lap dance. Not because he did anything to harm you but because saying this will upset you and possibly start a fight.

Telling the truth comes at a price. From the first time a baseball went through the neighbor’s window to what happened with their dad’s car, men have learned that telling the truth results in punishment. To speak honestly with you on a difficult subject is like walking through fire. If keeping you happy is his goal, this process needs to be transformed for a better outcome.

So maybe the better set of questions to ask is how comfortable do you make him in telling you the truth? If you want your partner to feel safe to tell you the truth, you have to set a template for this new reality. You’d need to listen. You’d have to reserve your judgment and just let him speak.

Short of sleeping with your best friend, most men lie to keep the peace in a relationship. Let him talk, and try to hear what he’s saying. You might not like what you hear but you’ll have set the stage for honest communication. And, you’ll have valuable information from which to make an informed decision.

The more men fear our response, the less truth they’ll tell us. The more men feel they can tell us the truth without dramatic fights and verbal abuse, the safer they’ll feel to tell us the truth when asked. You can’t work on fixing a problem if you don’t know what’s going on. The truth will give you the information you need to make a true assessment of the situation and your subsequent actions.