Cheating is one of the hardest things to move pas in a relationship, but even fear or suspicion of cheating can be really destructive. If your partner thinks you're cheating — even if you're not— they may not address it in the most constructive or mature of ways. If this is the case, try not to get too defensive, even if you've done nothing wrong. Remember, they may be panicking — because the cost of cheating is so high.
"Cheating and it's consequences are one of the most devastating moments in a relationship," relationship coach and psychic medium Melinda Carver tells Bustle. "It turns your whole world upside-down... you begin to look at everything in your relationship as a lie, and your self-esteem plummets."
So even if it's not true, you need to understand that your partner is probably in a very emotional place and remember that as you try to address the problem. Be compassionate and understanding — and then you have to do your best to get to the bottom of the issue. You may have inadvertently been giving off some strange signals or have been distracted, your partner may just be going through a difficult time, or maybe there are some massive trust issues you need to work out.
Here's how you get to the bottom of it:
Know The Signs To Work Out What They're Worried About
Even if you're not cheating you may have accidentally given off signs that your partner could misinterpret, because of other things going on in your life. So knowing the signs of cheating and what may be being misread is helpful.
"The all-of-a-sudden change in behavior is one sign," relationship coach and psychic medium Melinda Carver tells Bustle. "Most men and women get comfortable in a long-term relationship. They may let themselves go physically or never change their style." So if there's a big life change recently, explain to your partner why that is and that it's not about cheating.
The other big one? That damn phone. Have you been glued to it recently? "One clue is that their cell phone will be glued to their hands and their text and call history will always be clean," relationship coach Chris Armstrong tells Bustle. "Same with erasing the cookies (web browsing history) from their computer."
Whenever anyone is shady with their phone it can make you feel insecure. If you've been more private than whatever is normal for you, you have to realize how that might be read and explain what's going on.
Ask Them If They Really Believe That You're Cheating
Once you deal with the behavioral issues, it's time to get to the root of the problem. Are they just feeling insecure and irrational or do they really think you're cheating? It can happen to the best of us.
I have certainly felt things emotionally that I knew, logically, weren't true. So you need to find out if your partner thinks you are actually cheating or if they're having illogical fears because of other issues. Maybe something is going on in their life or in your relationship that's making them feel neglected or angry. Once you work out what's actually going on with them, mentally and emotionally, you can tackle the root cause — whether they're feeling dissatisfied or there's a real lack of trust.
Know That It Could Be Projection
The other option? Well, lots of us know someone who struggles with being defensive and projects their own bad behavior onto you. "If your partner all of a sudden becomes overly protective and jealous out of nowhere, chances are they are projecting," life coach Kali Rogers tells Bustle. "If they can violate the trust between you two, then it's only natural for them to assume you could as well."
It's a really clumsy way of trying to pass responsibility or distract from what's really going on. So if it seems totally irrational, really aggressive, or goes along with some irrational or shady behavior on their part, you need to accept that they may be trying to cover the tracks.
Whenever there's paranoia or suspicion, there's usually a reason. Maybe you have been shady or inattentive, maybe your partner is struggling with something and you didn't realize or maybe they're trying to cover something up. The most important thing is that you don't panic — get to the root of the issue and then handle it from there.