What to Do if You Think your Partner is Cheating

Posted by on Sep 15, 2014 in Couples Counseling For One | Comments Off on What to Do if You Think your Partner is Cheating

If you are faced with an unfaithful partner, it is extremely important to take action. Attempts to ignore the problem, or hope that the situation will resolve itself, are not enough. In the short run, you may feel better not having to deal with the unpleasantness of infidelity. In the long run, you’ll just end up feeling worse.

If you suspect your partner is cheating, the following steps may prove helpful:

  1. Confront your partner with your suspicions.

Give your partner an opportunity to explain what is going on.

It sometimes happens that the concerns one partner has are easily explained. Before you proceed as if your partner is cheating, give him or her the benefit of the doubt. It is important to allow your partner the chance to clear up misconceptions. There may very well be a reasonable explanation for his or her behavior.

Having established that, realize that people who are cheating—even when confronted–will often lie to cover up behavior or maintain their secret. Unfortunately, some people just won’t confess.

So how do you know whether or not to believe them?

  • Are your partner’s explanations logical?
  • Is your partner able to account for how time and money are spent?
  • Do your partner’s justifications and behaviors fit the evidence?

Pay attention to your instincts. If you sense that something is wrong, despite your partner’s insistence to the contrary, it’s crucial that your pay attention to those feelings. We will often talk ourselves out of what we already intuitively know.

Though it may be devastating to get an admission of infidelity, it’s important to know that having your fears confirmed is not the worst possible situation. The first step to recovering from an affair is an honest confession. No healing can happen until the truth is told, and both partners are aware of what is going on.

  1. Decide if you and your partner want to continue the relationship.

Infidelity is not necessarily the relationship killer that many perceive it to be.

This is a personal decision, and a difficult one to make. Many people feel that cheating should not be forgiven, to stay is foolish, and, if you do, you get what you deserve. In reality, actually living through an affair makes the decision much less black and white. You have to do what is right for you. Some couples recover well, and go on to have a stronger, better relationship.

  1. Seek the help of a therapy professional to fully recover.

A therapist can help determine whether your relationship prognosis is good or poor, and assist with a healthy, complete recovery.

The following relationship traits often indicate the likelihood of recovery:

  • Cheating is not chronic. The affair is a one-time or first-time offense.
  • The cheating partner is completely honest, takes responsibility for his or her actions, and seeks forgiveness.
  • Prior relationship problems are addressed.
  • Both partners express a willingness to improve communication.
  • The faithful partner works through his or her feelings of pain, grief, humiliation, anger, and resentment.
  • The couple works to repair the damaged trust.

If these indicators are not present, the affair remains unresolved, or the faithful partner is unable to let it go emotionally, the relationship will have a far less favorable prognosis.

A couples therapist is a vital tool during such a difficult time. He or she can help guide you and your partner through strong emotions and unproductive communication patterns. This is very hard work to do on your own.

Though work with a therapist doesn’t supply guarantees, it does greatly improve the situation, and reduces the chance that you will become overwhelmed or stuck in the recovery process.

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