How to Respond to Cheating Accusations: Stay Calm and Read On
You came home and found your significant other freaking out. Whether it was tears, coldness or screaming, they’ve accused you of cheating. What should you do? Most of us respond by getting hurt or angry, but that’s the worst thing you could do. Whether you’re a professional philanderer or an innocent bystander, you need to keep your wits about you. I’ll walk you through the steps to getting your relationship back on track.
Steps For Responding to Accusation of Cheating
- Take a deep breath and stay calm.
- Ask relevant questions so you can understand why your partner thinks you cheated.
- Identify the source of the rumor if it came from outside your relationship.
- Seek outside assistance, whether professional or a neutral friend.
- Primary damage control can consist of confronting the rumor monger, ongoing professional help and rebuilding trust.
- Secondary damage control is when you make sure the accusations aren’t affecting your work and other social life.
- Assess the relationship because, if you didn’t cheat then there may be more going on, and it could be time to end things.
No one enjoys being in a situation where they’re painted as the villain. Following this simple guide will help you to address the accusations like an adult, instead of devolving into a childish he-said, she-said ego contest.
Calm Under Pressure
For most of us, responding to any accusation, regardless of the truth, is an emotional proposition. Losing your head when your partner accuses you of cheating is the worst thing you could do. It makes you look guilty. Furthermore, it also exacerbates the situation.
I understand that some relationships include having blowout arguments. However, no matter how good the makeup sex is, it’s not a healthy way to deal with a situation. Plus, when you’re accused of cheating, makeup sex is the least of your worries.
Before you blow your top, stop, breathe, and think about what will happen. Focus on the outcome you want, and understand that getting there involves self-mastery and controlled effort. Like everything in life, there is a right way to go about dispelling this unpleasant problem.
Before you can get past cheating accusations, you have to understand them. For obvious reasons, if you are cheating, you probably think you can skip this step. I never suggest doing your partner wrong, but even if you were a cheat, you’d still need to know how you got caught in order to get past the problem.
Take however much time your partner needs to calm them down. Once they’re able to have a mature conversation, it’s time to ask questions. Find out the who, what, when, where and why. Did someone tell them you cheated? If so, find out who and why.
Alternately, did your partner see, read or hear something that makes them worry about your fidelity? What did they ‘discover’? How long have they felt this way? Where do they think you go when you aren’t together? It’s vital to understand their motivation behind the accusation.
Often, when you’re accused of cheating, what you say has less weight than it should. That’s when it’s time to call in a specialist. Whether you choose a friend who loves you both, a marriage counselor or some other mediator, you need someone to help facilitate the conversation.
When picking the right person to help, consider your options carefully. It’s alright to find someone who loves you both, but if they take sides you’re going to be worse off than you were before. If you seek professional counseling, you should interview several options before you choose.
Ask potential mediators how they plan to handle the issue. Make sure you understand what they expect, and vice versa. Don’t assume that talking things out will always get you what you want. All you can do is put in the effort. Maybe this relationship program I highly recommend can help give you ideas and pointers on the best approach to take.
When a partner doesn’t meet you halfway, there’s nothing you can do to force their hand. You have to let them feel how they feel. Your significant other is their own person, responsible for their actions and choices.
Talk it Out
Sit down with your significant other and outside assistant. Set ground rules for how to proceed. Then abide by the rules. Remember to make statements from your own perspective like, “I feel…” instead of trying to force your partner to take your side by saying, “You should…”
Take the time to really listen to what they have to say. Let your partner have their say. Don’t wait for your turn to talk, but instead hear them. Think about what they believe and why. Try to put yourself in their shoes. Would you feel the same way given the evidence?
Your mediator should help both of you sort out the facts from the overreactions. Now is the time to ‘fess up if you’ve been hiding something from them. Otherwise, work with your assistant to help them move past their misconceptions so your relationship can heal.
Going through all of this is more difficult when you’ve been wronged. However, try to remember that the other person believed that you did something awful to them, and they’re traumatized by it, even if they were wrong.
Doing Damage Control
Rebuilding trust is tough after an accusation of cheating. Particularly when it’s false, you may be hurt. Still, you have to be the bigger person, and make the first move. Take extra time and do something you both enjoy together. Re-create a favorite date, or do something new.
It can help to get away from it all. Go camping or get out of town for a weekend. Spend time together working on what makes you good together. Moreover, do something special just for them.
Whether it’s giving them a massage, or buying them flowers, you know what works best to make your partner feel special. The goal here is to make them understand how much you value them. To get more strategies on rebuilding trust in your relationship, I recommend a relationship coaching program that works, Check it out here.
Social Damage Control
Hopefully, your spouse didn’t show up at your job and have a meltdown. If they chose to have it out in front of friends, family or co-workers, that can make it wore for you. Set boundaries for the future. Both of you need to agree not to air dirty laundry in a way that could harm the other person’s life outside the relationship.
If your boss, family or friends saw the accusation, don’t get defensive. Even more important, don’t tear down your partner in front of them and try to make him or her look bad. This will only make things worse for both of you. Dissuade others from getting actively involved.
Instead, apologize for bringing your relationship to their place of work or social gathering. Indicate that you are handling the issue kindly and in a mature way. After that, move any conversation away from the topic.
When you absolutely need to say that your partner was wrong, then do so gently. “I understand (he/she) is upset, but they have nothing to worry about. I’ll see what’s going on,” should be enough information. Likewise, if anyone asks about it later, simply say you worked it out and there was a misunderstanding.
Is This Worth It?
Regrettably, not all relationships are salvageable. When you have an unreasonable partner or one who refuses to let go of an imagined transgression, it’s time to consider the sad alternative. It may be time to end the relationship.
Only you will know when breaking up or divorcing is the right answer. However, dragging things out will not help. Should you choose to stop seeing the accuser, end things promptly, calmly, and without undue arguing. You don’t owe them anything you’re not willing to give.
Unfortunately, some relationships cannot be saved. If you have a partner who falsely accuses you, there’s a problem. Especially when it happens repeatedly, your partner may have a control issue to address. When you simply looking at an attractive person makes your significant other break down, they need professional therapy.
Alternately, sometimes things are an honest mistake. A partner who is working late and planning a surprise birthday party can end up looking downright suspicious. When the issue is a non-issue, come clean. It may ruin a surprise, but it won’t wreck your relationship.
If you follow these steps and remain calm, everything will resolve more smoothly. Regardless of the circumstances, being accused of cheating is never pleasant. Never respond with anger, it only makes things worse.