Here are some things to look for before you have a difficult conversation.
Infidelity is one of the worst things that can happen in any relationship. It can be the death knell to not only the relationship but to your self-esteem as well. So what do you do when you have a niggling doubt that your partner is being faithful?
Insecurity is normal in any relationship. We may wonder if the person loves us as much as we love them. Things may seem too good to be true. Or we may look back at previous relationships and realize we missed important red flags and ask ourselves if we are being vigilant in this relationship.
The truth is, even when asked directly, a cheating partner will often lie about being with others. Here are some things to look at that may indicate a problem.
A strong emotional relationship with another person.
This one can be tricky because many of us have close and fully platonic relationships with people who are not our partners. Sometimes those relationships start to veer into emotional cheating before becoming more. If the relationship with the friend is similar to a new partner relationship, you may want to look more closely at what's going on. Just like when you start a romantic relationship, with emotional cheating or suppressed romantic feelings there will be an intensity there. Your partner may talk about that other person all the time, want to spend a lot of time with them, may make changes they attribute to their new friend's influence, or avoid having you meet the person. Emotional cheating can move onto physical cheating, and even if it doesn't, unresolved romantic feelings towards another is a relationship challenge you need to address.
Changes in how they treat you.
A cheating partner may start treating you differently in an effort to push you away or justify their own behavior. There may be a dramatic change in the frequency and tone of their communication with you. They may start criticizing you and your appearance. It may seem like they are picking fights. They may decline opportunities for intimacy. They may blow off dates or seem reluctant to spend time together the way that you typically do. You also may notice a cheating partner who is suddenly oversolicitous out of guilt, buying you gifts, or being overly affectionate after a period when they've been cheating.
Changes in appearance or daily routines.
One of the most obvious indications that cheating may be happening is changes in daily routines or a sudden renewed interest in their appearance. A partner who suddenly is working late, spending a lot of time at a new activity, or going on business trips may be straying. They may buy a lot of new clothes, change their hair, be more attentive to grooming, or suddenly lose a lot of weight or otherwise change their physical appearance. You also may see them spend more time on technology, either texting or using the computer to send messages. There may be changes in spending routines with unexplained purchases or money that seems to go missing for no reason.
What to do if you suspect cheating.
The first thing should always be communication. Don't have the conversation on the fly; schedule a time to talk when you can be present. Be direct and share what issues you are seeing that have you concerned. Look for signs that they are lying during the conversation. You may request that your partner join you in couple's counseling. If your partner is unwilling to talk to you or go to counseling or if they blow off your concerns, that's likely a sign that there are serious issues in your relationship that need to be addressed.
You don't have to stay in a relationship where there is infidelity. It takes two to make a relationship work and if one person isn't willing to put in the effort, it may be time to cut them loose. Don't make any rash decisions though. Reach out to friends, family, or counselors to get the help you need to make a decision that works best for you.
#relationships #cheating #communication
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