Infidelity can break the strongest of relationships, but so can the suspicion of infidelity, whether or not it is proven, and even whether or not it has happened. This might sound confusing because when it comes to infidelity, we immediately label the cheater as the malicious abuser and the cheated as the innocent victim. In reality, it is much more complicated than that.
Why? Because suspecting that your partner is cheating on you will strike directly at your insecurities, and it will drive you to act irrationally. The more time you take to confront your partner, the more the tension builds up inside you, making your feelings snowball into extremes. Even if the infidelity never actually took place, your feelings towards it will be raging inside, causing potentially irreversible damage to you and your relationship.
So here are a few things you can do to minimize the damage that suspecting infidelity can do to your relationship:
When the Suspicion Creeps In, Try to Stay Calm
More often than not, we begin to suspect that our partner has been unfaithful when their behavior changes. Oprah Magazine shares signs of cheating to look for.
For example, if they begin to spend more time than usual on their phones and smile a lot when they have their phones in their hands, we might be tempted to ask what caught their attention.
If the answer is a sudden change in mood and a defensive response like “So what if I spend more time on my phone?”.
If they also block their phones immediately, we are right to suspect that they are trying to keep something from us.
From here to suspecting infidelity is just a slippery slope down our path of insecurity.
Psychology Today says that Low self-esteem or previous experiences with infidelity make us more prone to link this type of attitude with cheating right off the bat.
From this point on, our attitude and understanding of the facts are altered because we become defensive.
So try to stay as calm as you possibly can.
You should remain focused on the facts of what you are dealing with rather than letting your fears get the best of you.
Simply acknowledging that you are giving in to your fears might help you realize when you are no longer assessing the situation rationally.
The Confrontation Conundrum
Insider recognizes that finding the right time to confront your partner if you suspect infidelity is exceptionally challenging, especially for those with low self-esteem.
This moment will undoubtedly be excruciating, so you have to be prepared.
If You Don’t Have Any Proof of the Infidelity
If your suspicion of infidelity is based on a feeling, a change in attitude that you’ve noticed in your partner, it is best to think things through.
Confronting your partner then and there, without a plan, will most likely worsen things.
Even if your partner denies having cheated, the answer will most likely be unsatisfactory for you.
Your suspicion will linger on, causing more and more tension in the relationship.
Moreover, you should consider that you might be wrong and that you may simply be jumping to conclusions.
The suspicious behavior you have noticed might be caused by something else entirely, and you link it to cheating might come from your fears or from simply not knowing the full extent of the situation.
Accusing your partner of infidelity over and over again will make the relationship unbearable for you and your partner, regardless of the affair.
If You Have Partial Proof of the Infidelity
Confronting partners about infidelity is complicated.
If you’ve overheard a conversation that your partner did not intend for you to hear, if you’ve seen a text or a picture that makes it quite clear to you that your partner is cheating, you only have partial proof.
Your partner will deny the infidelity in most cases, leaving you searching for more proof.
In this situation, a very efficient way to obtain hard proof is by contracting a private investigator.
This way, you can put an end to the ping pong of accusations and hold the upper hand when confronting your partner.
Being unfaithful is terrible enough, but denying it and blaming the suspecting party for making things unpleasant is mischievous, so fight back!
If You Have Cold Hard Proof of the Infidelity
You at least know where you stand when you have clear proof that your partner’s been unfaithful.
However, before confronting them, you should decide what you want.
Surely, you will ask for an explanation but think ahead about how the infidelity makes you feel.
Do this alone when you are not engaged in an emotional discussion with your partner.
Decide if the infidelity is a deal-breaker for you or if you want to keep working on the relationship.
There might also be practical aspects to consider, especially if you and your partner live together or have children.
Confront your partner when you have a clear idea of what you want.
Lay out the evidence and demand an explanation. This should be the starting point of your discussion.
Hear out your partner, try to understand their point of view, and see if you stand by the previously made decision.
Whether or not your partner has cheated, dealing with the suspicion of infidelity is an excruciating process.
If you let your emotions get the best of you, the situation will quickly escalate into relationship limbo, so try to stay calm and focus on the facts.
Find proof to ask for help when necessary, but try to base your decisions on facts rather than fears.
Decide what you want for the relationship’s future and confront your partner when you feel ready.