In the third grade, my teacher accused me of cheating on a writing assignment. Knowing my work was original, I pleaded with her to believe me and change my grade. This was a big deal for my 8-year-old self. But, as an adult, false accusations can cut deeper and feelings don't heal as quickly. Some of the most difficult implications to deal with come from those we love the most, especially romantic partners. If a paranoid SO ever points a judgmental finger at you, consider what to say to your partner if they think you're cheating, because having the right conversation just might save your relationship.
Even though you know you have been faithful, something has set off the Spidey sense in your partner. Hearing that they think you've been cheating hurts, and can put you on the defensive. But if this is a relationship you believe in and want to make work, you're going to have to lay down your shield, put on your big girl pants, and see if you can sort this situation out. Talking openly and honestly with your partner is the only way to resolve this confusion and move on in a positive direction.
Before blowing up and breaking up, try using these five talking points with a partner who thinks you've been unfaithful.
1. "I Hear Your Concerns"
It's possible that you're partner has misread some of your actions. Perhaps they mistook your late nights at work as an alibi for meeting up with another lover. Give them a chance to explain where all these accusations are coming from, and try to let them know that you understand. As Psychology Today explained, validating your partner's feelings can strengthen your relationship. Letting them know that you hear why that situation caused concern for them, and you relate to their feeling of mistrust will let them know that you are really listening to the heart of what's bothering them. Once you understand where thoughts of perceived infidelity originated, you can work together on how to avoid these types of misunderstandings in the future.
2. "I'm Not That Person"
Everyone brings baggage from past relationships into new ones, but if you want a fresh start, you must leave behind the old and focus on the new. If you're partner was cheated on in the past, it's possible they are worried that the same pattern will repeat with you. As psychologist JoAnn Magdoff told Women's Health, "people who were cheated on in the past may find themselves setting traps and checking on their new partner, asking them questions they know the answers to, and assuming their partner is lying." Remind your partner that you are not the person who hurt them — you're not their past, but their present and future.
3. "This Hurts My Feelings"
Just like you want to validate your partner's feelings, you want to make sure yours are heard as well. In a gentle way, let them know that these accusations hurt your feelings. Holding on to this and pushing those emotions down can lead to unresolved feelings and possible resentment aimed at your partner.
4. "Let's Talk About Our Relationship"
Once you have confronted the topic head-on, it's a good idea to take an overall look at your relationship. Ask the hard questions, like: Could this concern resurface in the future? Are you both satisfied with the resolution of this topic? And most importantly, Is there trust?
Having trust in relationships provides strength, instead of dwelling on the fear that you might be hurt by your partner, according to Mind Body Green. Taking an honest look at your relationship will help you see if this is an isolated incident, or if other trust issues are looming around the corner.
5. "Can We Move Past This?"
Once you and your partner have had the opportunity to express you thoughts and feelings on this issue, it's time to decide if your relationship is one you are both invested in making work. No doubt you both had some hurt feelings from this situation, so the big question is, Can we move past this? Hopefully, you and your partner have the courage to be honest and trust your instincts about your future as a couple.