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Working through infidelity can be one of the biggest tests any couple can go through, but what about a couple who have to contend with accusations of cheating or having an affair, when in fact no adultery has actually been committed?
Imagine it, every time you are a late from work because of new road works or a traffic accident, or something landed on your desk when you were planning to leave and your partner is convinced you are cheating and lying to them about why you are home late. Or maybe you forgot to charge your battery and so your phone was dead when your husband or wife tried to call you on your lunch break, and now they are adamant you were cheating and turned it off deliberately. While these may sound like extreme cases to most, others have to deal with this kind of situation on a daily basis – whether they are the ones constantly being accused like this, or they are the ones who are so convinced their partner is cheating and can’t let it go.
Sarah and Martin have been together for 16 years and have been battling accusations of cheating, on and off, for a number of years. Both in their early 50’s they came to me for help because their teenage son was sick and tired of hearing them argue over the same thing again and again.
Martin was convinced that Sarah snuck out of the house to cheat on him at night. His proof was that google maps showed that her phone was in a different location in the city at 3am. Sarah often sleeps in the spare room due to his snoring and separate rooms is a habit they both got into as they have different times they like to sleep and wake. He had been studying this map tracker for months, years and believes it is proof she is cheating. He accused her of sleeping separately so she can sneak out in the night and have an affair.
Sarah is drained of this “Nicola I am in my 50’s why would I sneak out at 3am like a teenager, it makes no sense. I’ve never cheated and I never will” Sarah noticed that these accusations crop up when Martin is not working. A similar situation occurred 4 years ago when Martin lost his job and was worrying about his finances, with the extra time on his hands he began to be obsessed that his wife was having an affair at work. Sarah says when Martin has nothing to do, he begins to have fears and obsessions come up that are unfounded. “Nicola he is like a dog with a bone – he will not let the conversation slide and keeps trying to push me to admit things” He tells me and my son that he has evidence, but when we ask to see the evidence he does not show us anything.
Whilst working with Martin and Sarah, there were a few things that I noticed. Martin became extremely insecure when he lost his job as he felt he no longer had anything to offer Sarah and that Sarah would leave him for someone more successful. No matter what Sarah said, nothing would reassure him, and this was because it was an insecurity Martin needed to work on.
I did a lot of work with Martin on how to boost his self-confidence and refocus his mind on fitness and an online business. Martin needed to learn he had a lot to offer regardless of his financial situation. Sarah had proved to him over the years that she is not there for financial security but because she is in love with him and I helped him to see that through meditations that were loaded with positive affirmations about himself and through us talking through different scenarios as they came up and changing the thought process to what was actually happening and not what he assumed was happening peace was restored. I also supported them to rebuild the connection, sleep in the same room and communicate with compassion. Now the family is happier and the home peaceful.
Cory and Rachel have been together for 9 months. They have plans to get married and build a family. However, Cory had recently been convinced that Rachel was having an affair with another man in her building.
Cory got overly jealous and was constantly worried when she was not home – he had thoughts of her having an affair with this guy. Cory managed to get hold of the guy’s number and became obsessed with checking when both the other guy and Rachel were online on WhatsApp. If they were online together, it made him further believe that they were having an affair. He was checking this when they were apart several times a day and taking screenshots as evidence, especially the start and end of the day when they were apart.
It is important to remember that being on WhatsApp at the same time as someone else is not enough evidence to accuse someone of having an affair. In fact, Cory has no concrete proof and is purely going on his own thoughts and assumptions.
I met with Rachel and worked out instantly she has not cheated, having worked with so many people all over the world for 16 years I can tell most times if someone is lying. She had no interest in the guy accused of having an affair with and no intentions of cheating. Rachel told me she spends most of her time with her boyfriend to reassure him, staying over again and again, even if they have an argument. Yet he can also get uneasy when she is on her phone in his presence – wanting to know who is texting her and why she is on WhatsApp at certain times over night. He also is uneasy when she takes her bag with the phone in to the toilet with her, when out at lunch.
Cory has gone as far as to threaten the guy via text message and phone calls. He also contacted the guy’s girlfriend and warned her that Rachel and this guy were having an affair. No matter what Rachel said, it did nothing to deter him from accusing her of cheating and him behaving so irrationally – including going to see the guy to confront him about cheating with his girlfriend. Demanding the guy told him to his face and they guy did and he calmed down for a while but still the next day started accusing again. This was the final straw for Rachel.
Thankfully, I was able to work with Cory to calm him emotions down and to work on his thought processes and his reactions. I created meditations specifically to address Cory’s inner most insecure thoughts and provided him with anxiety calming exercises to restore his confidence and release those insecurities.
Insecurities can come for a number of reasons. Society can make us all feel ugly, unsuccessful, not good enough on the best of days and when we are in a relationship these feelings can be heightened because we are opening up and being vulnerable with someone who can potentially hurt us. You may compare yourself with others who are “better looking” richer, smarter or whom you believe can offer your partner more than you can. This kind of harmful thinking can lead to fear that your partner may leave, be attracted to someone else or cheat.
Past cheating is also a major contributor to insecurities. It can be first hand, you have cheated or been cheated on and your mind won’t let it go because your scared of getting hurt again. It can be your current partner’s history, they have cheated on someone before. Where they shared they cheated on someone else in the past and was honest with you but now you can’t help but worry that they will cheat on you too.
There can also be insecurities and fears that come from witnessing others traumatized by either cheating or abandonment. Like an affair happening to a close friend or close family member or parent’s breaking up over infidelity.
Bullying and name calling can affect self-esteem, as well as the aging process or weight gain.
Lastly in the relationship white lies on different topics and hiding, withholding information in different areas can arouse suspicions.
Whilst these are all valid reasons people get insecure and suspicious and may not be the fault of the person with them. It is the responsibility to help themselves to change them, as if they give into the thoughts they can become overwhelming and consuming.
Perception is so subjective – how we see a situation can be totally different to what is actually happening. For example, if your husband or wife walks outside to take a call, it can automatically make you feel like they are hiding something, when in reality you may have the TV on, and they are taking a professional call. In some cases, they are actually planning a surprise for their partner and don’t want to give the game away! There are so many more reasons, but often it’s easier to think there is something suspicious going on.
In this day and age with phone addiction rife, taking the phone or tablet to the toilet is also becoming the norm, which worries some people.
Additionally, different personalities will behave differently in different situations. Some love to chat to strangers, be friendly and warm to all they meet, others are more reserved. The more reserved may see their partner as flirty or too much, they may see it as being friendly and part of who they are.
Some people project what they are doing or have done onto others. If a person has had an affair, you may notice that they begin to accuse others of doing the same thing – it’s an easy way to shift the guilt and some even go as far as to accuse others of cheating in their mind, so that they can justify their own cheating.
It’s also easier to feel like others will do to you, what you have so done to others – so if someone has had an affair behind their partner’s back, they may fear that their husband of wife will do the same to get them back.
This helps to figure out what it is that makes your husband or wife believe that you are cheating. This helps you both to air out what your thoughts and feelings are about particular situations, for example, messaging a work colleague late at night. Even if you think you are doing something innocently, if it is something that your partner doesn’t think is appropriate then you both need to come to some kind of agreement on what is and isn’t acceptable. This will also help clear up any misunderstandings.
If you continue to do something that your partner doesn’t like, you may start to do things behind their back, and this can increase their feelings of betrayal or lack of trust.
Of course some people are accused of full blown cheating when they are not and this step may not help in these cases.
As with any relationship, when there are any issues to work through, they can take some time and real effort – this is why you need to be patient.
Don’t expect your partner to get over their fears or insecurities overnight but also remember there is only so much you can do to do to prove yourself. They will need to take action if they want to stop their own insecurities and out bursts.
If you have done everything you can to reassure your partner that you are committed to them and it’s not enough for them then I strongly advise seeking relationship counseling online.
Sometimes when insecurities or relationship issues are so deep, it is better to see someone who has experience in dealing with relationships, anxiety and affairs. It’s not just about supporting you and your partner through the accusations but can also support you both working together to build a healthier and happier connection to one another.
If fact if you are looking to do that right now, build a closer union, do check out my brand new relationship masterclass, a 43 minute video designed to outline the key steps to saving a relationship on the brink, or gaining clarity if one of you is unsure.
Having someone who can look at your relationship from the outside, can really help you both see where situations are being looked at the wrong way or can guide your conversations to reveal the true reasons behind why the lack of trust or accusations of infidelity are part of your relationship.
If there are things you are doing or have previously done that has given your husband or wife reasons to think you are cheating, try to counteract this by doing things that will rebuild the trust. Involve your partner in this – ask them what needs to be done for them to feel more comfortable or trusting.
This doesn’t mean you walk around on eggshells and give into their every demand but doing things to reassure them, like spending quality time together, planning special date nights and paying attention to things they like too. Especially if there are things that you do that can easily be misconstrued as something more than friendly, now is the time to let those bad habits go.
Let me finish with one more case study as a story of hope for the listeners
Maria has been married to Tony for 3 years, however over the last year Maria had a feeling that Tony was cheating and that he was meeting someone regularly behind her back.
Maria needed to know where Tony was at all times and went as far as to put a new phone in his car without him knowing so that she should trace the phone and track where Tony was at all times. Even if Tony was at the place he told Maria he was going to, she was adamant that he was meeting someone there.
Tony eventually found the phone and when he confronted her the discussion quickly turned into a heated argument. Tony couldn’t understand why Maria was accusing him of cheating when he had done nothing wrong and Maria couldn’t shake the feeling that he was having an affair.
I decided the best approach to this couple was to work with them individually and then together as a couple. I needed to work out what the root cause was for Maria thinking Tony was cheating. It didn’t take me long!
Maria explained that Tony has an extremely friendly personality and sometimes she worries that women will misunderstand this and think he is flirting. Maria is more of an introvert and so doesn’t understand why Tony has to be so friendly with everyone.
Tony believed that his words should be enough and that there is nothing more he could do to reassure his wife of his commitment to her. He said he loves the attention he gets from other people as Maria is not the most affectionate but would never dream of cheating on Maria.
I was able to help both Maria and Tony work out why they feel the way they do and how their feelings and past experiences shape their future reactions. Maria knowing that she is an introvert and not as open as Tony left her feeling vulnerable and made her feel insecure in her marriage, whereas Tony sought compliments from others with no intentions of taking it further – he just wanted that self-esteem boost.
Working with Maria and Tony together as a couple I was able to help them bridge the communication gap between them. It meant both had different things to work on separately but also had to work on things together to make sure they were making their marriage a happy and secure one.
If you are the partner who suspects your partner. Realise that you may be right and you may not be. It is hard to know the difference between fears and insecurities your stuff and their stuff they are withdrawing, lying hiding something.
This is where you will need to know and understand – is this a gut feeling or fear in the mind. A gut knowing is like a knowing – you know, it’s clear and you feel it strongly and calmly. The mind insecurities is in the head and is more panicky. If your stuck reach out to me if you would like some support to work this out.
So if you are going through this
It’s always helpful to remember that if you both truly love one another and really want to be in a healthy relationship together then you have the power to make that happen. Change is possible, everyone is capable of changing if they want to. If your partner has been through things in their past that makes it harder for them to trust you or they’ve misunderstood things, then you know that with the right love and support you can both do the healing and relationship work to become closer.