Being cheated on is a terrible feeling. There are a lot of emotions and thoughts that run through your mind. Worse still is when your partner echoes those thoughts. Most cheaters won’t admit that they’re cheating, not at first, which leads to accusations, denials, gaslighting, and so many more painful things.
If you’re confronting a cheater and they’re firing back at you with some of these common defenses, you may want to keep pushing for the truth.
1. “You’re being paranoid.”
He smells like perfume although you don’t wear any. She comes home late on Friday nights and you haven’t been out with her for a while. When you try to go with her or suggest that you do something together, she gets angry and upset and flustered. Or maybe you even saw him kiss someone else. And yet when you approach him, he tells you not to trust your own eyes. These are all a form of gaslighting. Gaslighting is when someone tries to convince someone else not to trust their own mind, making them feel crazy. It puts the power back in the cheater’s hands. Because now you doubt your own mind and, if you feel like you can’t trust yourself, you’ll have to trust them more. You won’t accuse them again if you feel like you can’t trust yourself and what you’re saying.
2. “I don’t know, where were you last night?”
Deflection is a very common tactic. The accused has become the accuser. Now you’re in the hot seat and have to defend yourself. The goal of the cheater, is to make you so concerned about defending yourself that you won’t realize they aren’t defending themselves. They’re trying to shift the focus on you so that they don’t have to worry about lying and being caught in a lie.
3. “We never have sex anymore.”
The cheater is placing the blame on you and using sex as a defense. Oftentimes, when someone finds out their partner is cheating, they already blame themselves. They wonder what they could have done differently or why their significant other isn’t happy with them. Sex plays an important role in many relationships and it can play a role in why relationships end. Although it can be hard to go a long time without sex, it’s not an excuse to cheat. That being said, many people use it as such.
4. “You know I haven’t been happy in a long time.”
Again the cheater is placing the blame on the accuser, but in this case, there’s a little bit more truth to it. It’s not necessarily that the physical was lacking but the emotional. Again, that’s not a reason to cheat, but many cheaters will bring it up in order to defend their actions. When we’re unhappy, we often seek outside validation to become happy again. It’s one reason why cheaters seek connections outside their relationship.
5. “It didn’t mean anything. It was a one time thing and it will never happen again.”
Your partner got a quick fix but they’re owning up to it, or at least saying that they are. Cheating happens. A lot. And unfortunately most people, with men being the main culprits here, cheat with multiple people. Women have more of a tendency of cheating with one person, although that doesn’t mean that they don’t cheat with that one person multiple times. When your partner says it was a one time thing, take it with a grain of salt because, statistically, it wasn’t a one time thing.
6. “I can’t believe you don’t trust me.”
Another thing cheaters do to deflect blame and put you on the defensive, is to accuse you of not trusting them. They’ll make it seem like you’re somehow being cruel or petty for even bringing up the idea of cheating. It’s ok to have doubts about someone in a relationship. Trust is something that’s earned and needs to be reinforced throughout your relationship. If they want to keep your trust, the person you’re with should be willing to talk about your doubts and fears. But if they lash out with accusations and go on the attack, it’s a sign that they’ll guilty of something and are trying to hide it.
Not all relationships end after an affair, but you have to know what you’re getting into when you choose to continue a relationship. Take into account what they said when they were confronted. Were they honest, at least in terms of what their own truth was? Or did they deny or gaslight you? Because if it was the latter, continuing might just be continuing down a rabbit hole of more lies.