* I generally write using the pronouns he/him when referring to narcissists, but females are just as likely to be narcissists or exhibit narcissistic traits. So please don't think just because article uses the word him or he that it could not be a woman in that same role.
Finding out that your partner may be cheating on you is one of the most painful scenarios a person can face. For your peace of mind, you may want to confront them.
In this article, we will discuss the best ways to confront a cheating partner.
Questions to Ask Yourself Beforehand
Do You Have Evidence?
Before you run into the room guns blazing, you will want to take a deep breath, and review the evidence that you have before making any accusations.
If you have discovered texts, emails, or any other forms of written communication between your partner and a second party, then this evidence will be sufficient to use.
If you have found phone calls between your partner and another person, this does not necessarily mean that they are cheating. However, if you have reason to believe that these calls are suspicious, then you should discuss them for peace of mind.
Sometimes, we may experience a ‘gut feeling’ that our partner is cheating. Maybe they are going out with their friends more often, or they are working longer hours at work.
These scenarios can be difficult to use as evidence, as you may simply be overthinking the situation.
However, it is still best to discuss these if you believe cheating may be taking place.
What do You Want to Happen?
Following a discussion about your partner’s potential infidelity, there are several outcomes that may take place.
If your partner denies the allegations, and proves themselves to be correct, then you may want to think about discussing your reasoning for believing otherwise.
Then, you can work on the trust issues you have in the relationship, and try to move forward.
If your partner confirms the allegations, then you will have some decisions to make. Maybe you will want to work on these issues and move on from them. Or, maybe you will want to end the relationship.
These are decisions that would be easier to think about before the confrontation, as your emotions may get in the way of rational thinking if you find out that your worst nightmares have come true.
Planning The Conversation
Choosing a Suitable Time and Place
It may be tempting to lay all your cards on the table, and confront your partner immediately.
However, it would be much better to choose a time in which you are both free to talk, and a place that is suitable for the discussion.
We recommend having this conversation in a private area, e.g., your home, without other parties present. This is a private discussion that you will want to have together, without others giving their opinions, and affecting your thoughts and decisions.
Writing Down What You Would Like to Say
As we briefly mentioned, it may be a good idea to write down your thoughts and feelings, using them as notes instead of offloading without a plan.
By writing everything down, you will be able to follow these notes without being interrupted or distracted.
If your partner is guilty of cheating, they may try to work their way around the conversation, convincing you that you are mistaken.
By having the facts written down, you can refer to them, and point out why you believe that they are not being completely truthful.
The most important part of this conversation will be to remain calm.
If your partner is guilty, and you immediately get angry – which is a completely understandable reaction – your partner will be less likely to admit to anything, out of fear.
Start the conversation calmly, take deep breaths throughout, and treat it as a discussion rather than an argument. This way, you will be more likely to get the full truth from your partner.
Having The Conversation
Using the Word, ‘I’
By starting a sentence with, ‘I feel…’, rather than, ‘You have/did…’, you are letting your partner know that you are expressing your personal feelings rather than outright accusing them.
Let them know that you are upset, and regardless of what they did/didn’t do, you are seeking a peaceful resolution.
Using Your Evidence
Refer to the evidence that you have collected throughout the discussion. If your partner tries to lie to you, calmly remind them that you know the truth, and that you would like to hear it from them.
If They Deny Cheating
You may want to take this time to discuss why you thought they had cheated in the first place, and work on these trust issues in the relationship to avoid this happening again in the future. Communication is key!
If they deny it, but you still believe that they may be lying, discuss this also. If they continue to deny it, you may need to wait for more evidence to present itself before accusing them again.
If They Admit to Cheating
You are going to feel a number of emotions at this point, but, again, your best option is to try and remain calm.
Your partner has admitted their wrongdoings, and by getting angry/upset, you will lead them to believe that they were wrong for telling you.
This may lead them to conceal the truth from you further down the line, if you decide to stay together.
Ask them why they cheated, and use this time to understand what was going through their heads while this happened.
There are no excuses for infidelity, but knowing their reasons may help put your mind at ease, even if only slightly.
If your trust has completely been diminished, you may want to end the relationship. Or, you will want to make it work. Either way, this is completely your decision, and you need to do what is best for you.
Lastly, the most important aspect to remember that this is not your fault.
It can be easy to blame yourself, wondering what the other person provided that your partner that you didn’t. The truth is, this reflects solely on your partner.
They made a decision to cheat, and that has nothing to do with you.
While it is inevitable, you need to try and not blame yourself for your partner’s actions.
Before confronting your partner, you will want to plan the conversation as much as you possibly can. Of course, there is no way that you will be able to predict every aspect of the discussion, but preparation is key.
This can be a painful scenario to live though, and we are deeply sorry that you are going through it. Always remember your self-worth, and don’t forget that while this feels like the worst thing in the world, things will get better.
We wish you the best of luck.
Rape Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) is the nation’s largest organization fighting sexual violence: (800) 656-HOPE / (800) 810-7440 (TTY)
988 Mental Health Emergency Hotline: Calling 988 will connect you to a crisis counselor regardless of where you are in the United States.
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) HelpLine: 1-800-950-NAMI, or text “HELPLINE” to 62640.Both services available between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. ET, Monday–Friday
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233
Suicide Prevention, Awareness, and Support: www.suicide.org
Crisis Text Line: Text REASON to 741741 (free, confidential and 24/7). In English and Spanish
Self-Harm Hotline: 1-800-DONT CUT (1-800-366-8288)
Family Violence Helpline: 1-800-996-6228
Planned Parenthood Hotline: 1-800-230-PLAN (7526)
American Association of Poison Control Centers: 1-800-222-1222
National Council on Alcoholism & Drug Dependency: 1-800-622-2255
LGBTQ Hotline: 1-888-843-4564
National Maternal Mental Health Hotline: 1-833-TLC-MAMA (1-833-852-6262)
The Trevor Project: 1-866-488-7386 or text “START” to 678678. Standard text messaging rates apply. Available 24/7/365. (Provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning—LGBTQ—young people under 25.)
The SAGE LGBT Elder Hotline connects LGBT older people and caretakers with friendly responders. 1-877-360-LGBT (5428)
The Trans Lifeline is staffed by transgender people for transgender people:
1-877-565-8860 (United States)
Veterans Crisis Line: https://www.veteranscrisisline.net
International Suicide Prevention Directory: findahelpline.com
The StrongHearts Native Helpline is a confidential and anonymous culturally appropriate domestic violence and dating violence helpline for Native Americans, available every day from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. CT. Call 1-844-762-8483.
‘Find a Therapist’ Online Directories
- Psychology Today: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists
- GoodTherapy.org: http://www.goodtherapy.org/find-therapist.html
- American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy: https://aamft.org/Directories/Find_a_Therapist.asp
- Emergency: 911
- Hotline: 1-888-353-2273
- YourLifeCounts.org: https://yourlifecounts.org/find-help/
UK & Republic of Ireland
- Emergency: 112 or 999
- Hotline: +44 (0) 8457 90 90 90 (UK – local rate)
- Hotline: +44 (0) 8457 90 91 92 (UK minicom)
- Hotline: 1850 60 90 90 (ROI – local rate)
- Hotline: 1850 60 90 91 (ROI minicom)
- YourLifeCounts.org: https://yourlifecounts.org/find-help/