Should You or Your Spouse Take a Lie Detector Test & Other Common Questions

There are many words to describe an affair.   It is often called a fantasy, a break from reality, infidelity, some call it unforgivable, everyone calls it painful.  But what it truly is deep down to the core is a lie.  

In counseling part of what we do is work with the couple to rebuild trust.  Sometimes we recommend that the betrayer should take a polygraph also known as a “lie detector test”.  This is another way to help the betrayed spouse feel at ease with the truth the betrayer is telling them.  If the betrayer is with holding parts of the truth the polygraph will help bring that to light.  

Q: Does Marriage Solutions do polygraph examinations.

A: No.  We do not do polygraph examinations.  We do couples therapy.  

Q:Is the goal of the polygraph to bring out the full truth from my spouse?

A: The goal of the polygraph is NOT to bring out new information or new truths but rather to confirm the betrayer has been telling the truth in counseling and has not been lying or withholding information.  It will reveal weather your spouse has been lying.  

The polygraph examination is not the time to come out with new information.  It is just to confirm or disprove the information given by the betrayer.  This is why it is so important to visit with an affair recovery counselor.  We recommend having a “vomit session” where the complete truth comes out, there is resolution, and then take the polygraph test to help the betrayer experience closure and to truly rebuild trust.    

Q: How does the Polygraph Examination work?

A: When we think about lie detector tests we think of Law and Order or some television dramatization where 5 people surround the subject and fire off random questions and the guilty party stumbles through the interrogation and spills all the beans.  Actually, the process is much more rigid than that.  

The Polygraph Examiner asks only a few straight forward questions that are very specific to the issue and the person being tested knows the questions before the examination is actually administered.  Surprising enough the examination usually only lasts a couple of minutes.  The test monitors three things: the respiration, perspiration, and cardiovascular. 

Q: How Valid is a Polygraph Test?  

A: A common thought is that polygraph isn’t admissible in court and so they must be faultyor unreliable.  The truth is polygraph testing is a refined science and can be admissible in court if the judge allows it.  The test is 97% accurate and the 3% margin of error is often when the person is non-compliant.

Q: Can the person being tested trick the polygraph test?

A: Many people think the polygraph test is faulty because you can learn different techniques to evade the examination such as controlling your heart rate or keeping calm to trick the test and pass it without detection.  It is important to find a polygraph examiner who is skilled in detecting all evasion techniques.  You can find polygraph examiners on the American Polygraph Association website It is good to ask what professional associations they belong to and how many hours of continuing education they go through each year.  It is a good sign when a professional can make a living with their chosen field. 

Q: Does it work on everyone?

A: There are some individuals that a polygraph test does not work for. Ladies who are pregnant cannot be tested partly because of the heartbeat of the baby and sometimes people taking certain medication.  

Q: When is a polygraph unsuccessful?

A: A surprising fact that arguments had just before the test can cause it to be skewed.   A couple was on their way to the polygraph lab and the husband, who was to be tested, confessed to having sex with his wife’s sister on the ride over.  Thinking that he had better get out all the information before the exam.  The examiner sent them away because they had unresolved issues. The polygraph test is meant to confirm the information given by the betrayer AFTER the issues have been dealt with.  

A man had been upset and crying during an argument just before the test.  His test showed that he was lying but he was actually telling the truth.  

Q: What if I forgot something would the polygraph bring that up and cause me to fail?

A: No, the reason is the polygraph exam reads the sympathetic nervous system and the subconscious mind does not make the sympathetic nervous system react.  A polygraph examiner is most interested in a neurotransmitter stress hormone known as Norepinephrine. It affects the heart and brain in the fight-or-flight response and produces several chemicals in a person when they lie.  Click HERE to read more about it.

Q: What questions are commonly asked on a polygraph test?

A: Common questions asked are:  Have you been caught in an affair?  Have you had sexual contact with someone other than your spouse? If they answer “yes” then they couple must go and talk about the details of the affair with the “vomit session” answering questions like how many times the affair happened, the last time you had an affair, and when did the affair begin?

Once the affair has been talked about then the polygraph examiner will ask questions like are you lying to your spouse about anything sexual at this time?  Are you attempting to withhold any sexual information from your spouse at this time?  

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“Brad Robinson is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and an expert in infidelity recovery in Tulsa, OK. Together with his wife Morgan Robinson they teach people about how to understand and overcome infidelity and how to make their marriage thrive even after betrayal. You can learn more about their work by visiting