What is Your Body Language Really Saying?

How to Confront Your Cheating Partner:  4 Things You Need to Know and Do


The signs are there.  You suspect your partner is cheating and having a cyber, emotional or physical affair.  You might be feeling betrayed, hurt and unsure how to proceed.  Your natural impulse is to immediately confront your partner and let them have it.  However, a word to the wise, stop and take a deep breath!  Don’t make any accusations until you have concrete evidence to make your case and secure a confession.

Here’s why: when first confronted about the affair, your partner may clam up, deny, and deceive to protect themselves from the fallout.  They fear being abandoned, punished or rejected if the truth is discovered.  They fear losing control and being forced to change.  They may also want to protect you from being hurt.

So what is the best way to proceed?

As a relationship therapist and author of a book called “Chatting or Cheating”, here’s my best advice: If your goal is to get to the truth, make sure you have the 4 P’s covered: Proof, Preparation, Purpose & Plan  before talking to your partner.

Here’s what you need to know and do:

Text I love you1. Have proof.

Before you even consider confronting your partner, it is essential that  you have proof – not a hunch, an idea or a fear, but REAL, TANGIBLE proof of the infidelity, such as a text, email, or voicemail message, a private detective’s report, a piece of clothing you found that doesn’t belong to you, or even photographs, —something that you can produce as indisputable evidence.

Without proof, you will look (or be treated) like a distrusting fool at best and, at worst, you will ensure that your cheating partner learns to cover their tracks better.

Proof will also help you plow through your own denial. When we love and want to trust someone, it can create huge blind spots in our ability to see the truth. Let’s face it, to hear your partner admit that he or she has cheated on you hurts to the core.  However, the truth can also be the doorway to a better and healthier relationship on the other side.

The more proof you possess, the greater the chance you’ll have to get your partner to come clean.

PROOF is your ally.

Only when you have PROOF can you proceed.

2. Be prepared.

When you first confront your partner, don’t be surprised, be prepared that your partner may get defensive, adamantly deny  any and all wrongdoing and dismiss everything (i.e. “We’re just good friends, that’s all.”, “We’re not having sex, so what’s the big deal?” “Lighten up. It was just a totally harmless text.”)

When it comes to emotional or cyber infidelity where no physical intimacy has occurred, the boundaries are blurrier. It is often easy for the betrayer to deceive themselves (and you) into thinking their behavior is meaningless and harmless.   Their denial may be even more defensive or aggressive.

Cheaters often use distraction as a tactic to deflect the truth by claiming you’re overly jealous or too paranoid. They may even blame you for the time they were spending  with someone else, claiming they needed a supportive friend because you were dropping the ball in the relationship by not providing something your partner needed or wanted.

The bottom line is, do your homework and be prepared. DON’T be surprised by your partner’s reaction, and DON’T lose your cool.

3. Know your purpose.

The purpose is to get the truth by getting your partner to confess. Once you have a confession and know what’s really going on, you can work at a solution.

To do this, you must approach your partner in a rational, non-threatening way that alleviates your partner’s fear instead of aggravating it.   The intention is to get your partner to respond in a way that is forthright and honest.

Keep affirming to yourself… “I feel calm. I am safe. I can handle this. I want the secretiveness to stop. I’m in charge here and I’m going to get to the bottom of this.”

Your partner will probably be in shock and denial. But no matter what your partner says or does, your purpose is to persevere until you get to the truth.

4. Make a plan.  Keep calm and make a plan

Make a plan to confront your partner and discuss the affair without interruptions. Choose the time and place carefully, then present the evidence one piece at a time.

It is very important to remain calm, no matter how much you may want to inflict physical harm on your cheating partner! Don’t get me wrong, wanting to vent is healthy and necessary. In fact, it is essential to your own healing, as well as, the healing of your relationship that you are able to express your emotions.

However, getting upset, accusing, attacking, or name-calling will put your partner on the defensive and not help you get to the truth.

Remaining calm, cool, and collected is key to getting to the truth. Have a plan for how you’ll deal with your anger and frustration when these emotions come up.   The more calmly you deal with the truth, the more your partner will tell you the truth.

Do a personal check in and make sure that you are emotionally prepared for the outcome of the discussion.

When the answer is “Yes! I’m ready!”    Here’s what to do next:

Think Conversation NOT Confrontation

Couple Communicating, woman talking man listeningApproach your partner in a  rational, non-threatening way.

First,  remember to do everything you can humanly do to stay calm so that you can approach your partner in a diplomatic, non-combative way.   A good way to start the conversation is to talk about yourself and  start each sentence with “I” instead of “you.” This will help your partner be less reactive.

Second,  do not hurl accusations. Ask. Be curious. Be open.  Inside, you might be feeling pretty pissed off and  saying, “How could my partner do it to me?”  “I want to strangle them, not be kind and understanding right now!” HOWEVER, to get what you want…the ANSWERS and TRUTH, you have to make sure that when you ask, you’re coming from a place of openness and a desire to know.  Phrase the problem in a non-judgmental way by stating, “Something I discovered is upsetting me. I’m concerned (sad, hurt, frustrated) and I’d like to talk with you about it.”  This will maximize your chances of being heard and ultimately  getting the truth.

Lastly, once your partner starts to open up, don’t bombard him or her with questions. Studies show that people shut down, become defensive and lie when asked too many pointed questions (i.e. Who were you with? Why did you lie? How could you do this to me?).  Know that this is an ongoing, unfolding discussion and everyone needs to come out of the shock and denial first.  Listen carefully to your partner’s responses so you can accurately assess the situation and keep the conversation going.

It helps to think of having this conversation as a way to come together to understand  and discuss what went wrong and what you can do about it now. Keep insisting: “I love you. I want our relationship to work. This has got to stop. This is what I need.”  If you can approach your partner with an expressed desire to use their confession for good–to ultimately improve your relationship–the conversation will be far more fruitful.

This article was written by Dr. Sheri Meyers Psy.D., America’s leading love and intimacy expert.



2 Responses to How to Confront Your Cheating Partner: 4 Things You Need to Know and Do

  1. Shefoundout says:

    It’s nice that this blog doesn’t come off as a plan of attack on the other person. There’s is no greater way to make a bag thing worse than to just go in screaming and flailing and asking for trouble. My ex caught me cheating a little over a year ago. We had been having a rough time and it just kind of happened. Even though it ended up not working out, I still have so much respect for her for how she handled it. She got proof just like you said, and then she made a plan and stuck to it. I could easily see how angry and hurt she was, but she was prepared for that and didn’t let it get in the way out us talking it out. I’m not sure if she ever read this but it sure sounds like she might of.

    • susanB says:

      It’s nice to see you being so respectful towards your ex after the end of the relationship. I found myself in a similar situation not too long ago, I wish it would have ended this cordially. All I can say is that I wish I would have taken this advice instead of doing some of the things I did.

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Are you crossing the line?

sparking-the-old-flame Note from Dr. Sheri: I’m so happy to share with you my interview with  Malia  Karlinsky, the Love and Sex Editor at  Galtime.  Enjoy ♥

These days, conveniences like email, texting and social media have made it easier than ever to connect with others. But for people who are married or are in committed relationships, it also means innocent communication can slip into flirting or emotional cheating– a betrayal even if there’s no physical contact involved. So where is the line between harmless chatting and harmful cheating? We asked Sheri Meyers Psy.D, licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and author of “Chatting or Cheating: How to Detect Infidelity, Rebuild Love and Affair-Proof Your Relationship.”

GalTime: What is “Emotional Sex?”

Sheri Meyers Psy.D:  Emotional sex is an affair of the heart that feels the same as romantic love and can manifest itself in numerous ways—physically, romantically, emotionally, lustfully, verbally, or virtually. Once emotional sex kicks in, fantasy takes over. The brain chemicals activated in emotional sex create the illusion that a “perfect love” exists and “destiny” is knocking. Emotional sex is an insidious form of infidelity that frequently occurs between two people who at first call themselves ‘just friends.’

GT: Who is more likely to get involved in this type of relationship?

SM: Women tend to have emotional affairs. Men tend to have physical and cyber affairs. Having an affair is usually a symptom of an underlying problem in the relationship. Often we feel like something is missing and we may consciously or unconsciously seek that something in someone else.

GT: How do these situations start? When does it cross the line between chatting and cheating?

SM: Emotional sex usually starts innocently. You become Friends with the sexy co-worker and decide to carpool to work together, or you reunite with an ex on Facebook and start to share stories and photos from the past. You know you’re crossing the line when…

Signs Chatting is Becoming Cheating chatting online or crossing the line

  • • You start sharing more about yourself with your friend than your partner.

    • You prefer talking to your ‘friend’ over your primary partner.

    • You check for messages CONSTANTLY.

    • You think about him or her more than your partner or your kids.

    • Thoughts of your friend bring relief and an instant high.

GT: What if YOU are the person having the affair? How do you break the news?

SM: Before confessing to your partner, you must confess to yourself and take full responsibility. Forgive your partner for anything they did or didn’t do that may have influenced your choice to cheat. Do not blame your partner for the affair– now or ever!

Start and end your confession with love. It might go something like this: “ I love you with all of my heart. I really screwed up. I want to get this out in the open and tell you the truth so that we can move on and heal our relationship together.” Then tell what happened. And close with a lot of love.

GT: Is ending the affair always the right goal– or could it be that the person that you’re cheating with is actually a better relationship for you?

SM: While you may feel tempted to do something wild, crazy and risky, like leave your relationship for your emotional lover, this is a BIG mistake. Biochemical research has shown that the effect of ‘love chemicals’ is twofold: they are released in RESPONSE to your friend, and they BOND you to your friend. Letting go of such intoxicating nourishment seems unimaginable, but if you want your primary relationship to work, then you have to END the affair. The lover must go.

GT: If you think you are being cheated on… What are your tips for spotting a cheater?

SM: Here are some trumpet-blaring red flags…

Tips for Spotting a Cheater chatting or cheating_woman suspecting husband

  • •  Your partner starts withdrawing from normal activities, social plans and time with you.

     • Your partner receives (or sends) regular texts at all hours from a ‘friend’ you don’t know or didn’t know your partner had.

    Your partner is taking mysterious calls in the other room and when you ask who called, they say “No one” “Wrong number” “It’s business,” or “Why do you ask?”

    •  Your partner is getting very secretive or defensive about how they are spending their time and money.

    •  Your partner’s desire to be ‘attractive’ is increasing, especially when leaving the house. This includes dressing differently when leaving the house, changing their style, losing weight, looking sexier.

     • Your partner is running hot and cold when it comes to sex with you.

GT: Is there a “best way” to confront someone if you are having suspicions about them?

SM: It is essential that you have REAL, tangible proof, not assumptions. Preparation is being able to emotionally handle the truth. Have a plan in place in terms of the time and place you are going to have the discussion without interruption. When confronted, cheaters often lie or deny. Be prepared for escape clauses, denial, and dismissal of your claims, defensiveness, or distraction. These reactions come from fear. Being conversational rather than confrontational will allow your partner to feel safe enough to be honest.

GT: When do you cut your losses and move on…and when do you try and work it out?

SM: It’s not going to work if the cheater doesn’t give up the lover. That’s a non-negotiable.

If you are the cheater, it takes strength, patience, reliability and perseverance. You have to earn back the trust by being steadfast and resolute in your love and doing whatever it takes show your partner they are #1 and your relationship together is a #1 priority.

If you are the betrayed, it takes a willingness to heal, forgive and open up your heart again.

Together as a team, you can face the weaknesses and change the emotional climate between you. Channel your attention towards making your relationship strong. And keep saying these words to each other: “I love you,” “You are important,” “We matter,” “I want only you.”

This article written by  Malia Karlinsky originally appeared on Galtime.

 



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Backstage at the Couch

Backstage at the CouchRecently, I appeared as a guest on the CBS New York talk show, “The Couch”, during which we discussed the red flags of infidelity with the three co-hosts. We had a great time playing a little game that I call “Chatting or Cheating?”

Here’s how it went: I presented a scenario, then the three co-hosts held up a sign to vote whether they thought the person discussed in the scenario was guilty of cheating or were just innocently chatting. They were right about half the time! It just goes to show you that there’s a fine line between a platonic friendship and a secretive affair. To a casual observer, it’s hard to tell what’s really going on.

Watch the video to see if you could tell.


Would YOU be able to tell if your partner was cheating? What would tip you off? What are the signs?

Want to give it a try for yourself?

Here are several other scenarios for you to consider. Read each one and ask yourself, is this cheating, or is it just chatting? Why or why not? Then scroll down to compare your answer with mine.

Ready? Here we go…

Scenario 1: Parent “Play Dates”

parent-play-datesYou strike up a conversation with another parent at your child’s baseball practice. You make plans to carpool to the games together. You begin to dress differently (more attractively) when you know you’re going to see this parent and think about ways to stretch the time you spend together. You often suggest taking the kids out after the games, or hanging out together during the kids’ extended play dates. You think about this parent often and wonder what life would be like if you were together.

Are you just chatting or crossing the line into cheating?

My Analysis: Scenario 1: Parent Play Dates
cautionThis is definitely a slippery slope for emotional sex and more!

You are finding yourself thinking more and more about this other parent, and you are going out of your way to figure out how to see more of them. You are trying to look more attractive, dressing better, perhaps wearing make-up at times you normally would not (if you’re a woman). It’s important to ask yourself why do you want to look so attractive to this person?

Plus, the more time you spend alone together, the better chance there is that you will cross the line from emotional sex to actual physical sex. When you begin to make excuses to yourself as to WHY you should spend more time with this person, while keeping your interactions secret from your primary partner, that’s when you know you’re headed down a slippery slope. (In Chapter 7 of my book, “Chatting or Cheating?” I discuss ways to stop obsessing and end the infatuation so that you don’t end up doing something you’ll regret later.)

Scenario 2: Flirting at Work

flirting-at-workYou started to work back at your old job and there is a co-worker there that you were seeing for a while before you met and (married or started dating) your partner. Although you feel like you are a faithful person and committed to your current partner and relationship, you are enjoying the sparks and chemistry you still feel between you. You go out to lunches together, laugh and mildly flirt but nothing MORE. You know in your heart that you’d never cheat but the feelings you have makes going to work a lot more fun.

When does the fun cross the line into cheating?

My Analysis: Scenario 2: Flirting at Work
checkIt sounds like it’s just innocent mild flirting and probably nothing to worry about. Sometimes we can’t avoid being near people with whom we’ve had a former relationship, or whom we’ve dated in the past, especially if it’s someone we work with.

The red flag would be if you or your partner wasn’t being honest about the extent of the flirtation, or went on extended lunch dates so you could spend more time together, or you developing crush-like feelings and were being secretive about it.

Secrecy is a sign there’s something to hide and that you or your partner don’t want to stop doing what they’re doing with this other person because it feels good. That’s all part of the brain chemistry of cheating (the dopamine hit) and plays into why secrecy can actually INCREASE the likelihood that you or your partner will cheat. Keeping secrets can feel exciting! See Chapter 1 of my book, “Chatting or Cheating” for the full scoop on the brain chemicals that lead to the slippery slope of emotional sex.

Scenario 3: Sparking the Old Flame

sparking-the-old-flameYou discover over 300+ private messages between your partner and their old flame from college (who is single) on Facebook. In addition, you now know that they also regularly call and text each other. You’ve hacked into your significant other’s  e-mail account and read everything. Your partner tells this other person all about their problems (including your relationship problems) and goes on and on about how they wish they could be together. Your partner even proclaims that this other person is someone they’ve always dreamt of, but that they would never leave you.

Is this cheating, even though they haven’t had sex or even been physically together for years?

My Analysis: Scenario 3: Sparking the Old Flame

dangerThere are some big red flags that indicate the person is engaged in emotional sex. This scenario hits the 3 Big S’s of emotional sex– S#1-SecrecyS#2- Shared Intimacy and S#3 -Sexual Chemistry. Let’s start with 300+ private messages that you didn’t know about. There is certainly a lot of S#1 going on. The husband or wife has been sharing their innermost thoughts and feelings with the other person, not you. Worse, they are discussing their problems about you and your relationship with this outside person and not you. Definitely S#2! This creates more emotional separation between you and more intimacy between them. They are looking to the other person to get their emotional needs met and there’s a lot of S#3 romantic fantasy and affection being exchanged. Even though there hasn’t been physical contact, there is an emotional bond and more being formed. It’s just a matter of time before the cyber relationship becomes a full-blown affair.

A huge breeding ground for infidelity is when we stop giving each other the 3 As: Affection, Attention and Appreciation at home and turn outside to get those needs met.

To learn more about the RED FLAGS and tell-tale signs that your partner is crossing the line into cheating, take a look at my book, “Chatting or Cheating” which can be found on Amazon & Barnes & Noble.

There are ways to protect your primary relationship from cheating that are fully in your control. You can stay alert for temptations and choose your friends wisely (in other words, if you know you’re vulnerable, stay away from attractive friends of the opposite sex, especially if they’re flirtatious!). You can keep your personal life personal when you’re chatting with a friend, and you can refrain from any kind of flirting. Flirting is how affairs start. It’s like a drug – once you get a hit, you keep wanting to come back for more and more. And if you find yourself attracted to someone, be honest about it to yourself and your primary partner. Getting these feelings out in the open can keep you from being tempted.

Put your energy and attention into making your primary relationship stronger by growing your emotional intimacy and friendship with your partner, not a stranger.

Wising you love and light,
Dr. Sheri

This article was written by Dr. Sheri Meyers, America’s leading love and intimacy expert.



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facebook-addicted

Editor’s note: I’m happy to have been asked by Nicole  Cantanese @ Refinery 29.com  to offer my opinion on social media. This article originally appeared on their site. 

facebook-addicted

Ah, social media. You’ve got followers, friends, and even strangers liking what you did today. With every new notification, you get a little shot of dopamine (that’s the feel-good chemical that fires off in pleasure-seeking situations, as in jumping off a plane or, well, doing drugs). So, you want to keep pressing refresh to get another dose. And then, you realize that what’s happening in your real life isn’t nearly as exciting. “Social media—Twitter, Instagram, Facebook—can create a false sense of connection with people,” says Sheri Meyers, PsyD, a therapist in Los Angeles (and author of Chatting or Cheating) “And, it’s immediate and 24/7, so there isn’t as much of a need to reach out to those that are close to us.”

Eventually, real life pays the price — because when it’s not as satisfying as the cyber version, it can lead to feeling down about what you have going on (or don’t have going on). “The life we possess virtually can seem more exciting or interesting than what’s happening in real life and real time,” Meyers says. “Online, you’re constantly on the receiving end of a sense of approval, which feels really good. What isn’t healthy is when you turn more and more to your cyber friends for approval, satisfaction, and that dopamine hit. Then, you stop trying to connect and relate with the people closest to you.”

 

internet addiction5

Remember when we mentioned the dopamine-narcotics connection? Turns out that you can actually get hooked on social media, too. “Internet addiction is real,” says Meyers. “The same brain chemicals that get activated from drugs or any pleasure-seeking behavior apply here, too.” When those happy chemicals plummet, you have to keep going back to the “drug” — i.e., picking up your iPhone to check the latest tweet — to get the boost again. And, it’s not doing any favors for your relationship, either: “Once you are spending time away from your partner and in social media, and you start getting your needs met there, then you are no longer seeking out that attention from your loved one,” she warns. “In the end, you will only feel lonelier.”

Social media aims to bring us closer, but too much of a good thing can be problematic. Rationally, we all know that comparing ourselves to others isn’t healthy, but with an endless stream of humblebrags and not-so-humble brags, it’s difficult not to do so. But, says Meyers, that’s a distorted view of reality, because people tend to broadcast the good stuff, not the bad. “When you begin to compare yourself with others, which is a natural human tendency, that creates a weak foundation to stand upon,” she says. “And when you think, ‘Look who liked my photo!’ or ‘Look how many friends or followers I have!’ you’re on shallow ground.” Eventually, you’ll possibly feel less-than, or you may develop a falsely boosted ego — neither of which are ideal.

cell phones in handOf course, social media isn’t all bad; constantly reaching for your iPhone does have its upsides. “In a way, it can be positive, since social media gives us a distraction from pain in our life,” says Meyers. “It could be a way to get our mind off of it, but you still need to cope with it.” And, if used to help others, a tweet can be a good thing indeed.

Beyond that, it’s important to set boundaries and rules. “Just like you are allowed a certain amount of chocolate, you can’t eat as much as you want,” says Meyers. “You need to feed your real life as much as your online social life.” So, maybe you put the iPad down while eating dinner, or take a weekend off from social media apps. It’s all part of shifting your focus. Instead of thinking ‘I’m so great! I have 20 new followers,’ be thankful for legitimate moments of happiness, not what’s found on your news feed. Get out into the real world, create a true memory without needing to broadcast it — and before you know it, you’ll be #lovingyourlife.

by Nicole Cantanese.  Originally posted on Refinery 29

MORE ON THIS TOPIC: Here’s an interview I did with ABC on Internet Addiction



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chatting online or crossing the line

Has Your Online Friendship Crossed the Line?

A 60 Second Chatting or Cheating  Reality Check 

Has your online friendship crossed the line?  Sure, it’s easy to make excuses and deny what’s happening by telling ourselves, “It’s just innocent flirting,” or “We’re only Facebook friends,” or “I’m just texting with a co-worker, that’s all!” How can you be sure that what you’re doing is really innocent and harmless, or if you’re slipping down the slippery slope towards having  emotional sex?

Take this 60-second reality check quiz from my book “Chatting or Cheating” to see whether it’s just chatting or if you’re really cheating.

Answer Truthfully….

 Are you…    

  1. Exchanging personal, intimate, and confidential information (and/or had offline contact) with an online ‘friend’ that your partner doesn’t know about?

  2. Telling your ‘friend’  you’re  single when you’re not?

  3. Sending or receiving flirtatious emails or texts?

  4. Thinking romantic thoughts about your Friend  (i.e. what life would be like if you were together)?

  5. Spending a large amount of time (in person or online) talking, sharing, confiding with your friend and not telling your partner about it? Or worse, lying about who you are with?

  6. Sexting—i.e. sending  or receiving a sexy message or photo?

  7. Finding yourself sexually and/or emotionally  aroused when you think about your friend?

  8. Imagining you are in bed with your ‘friend,’ while making love with your partner?

  9. Secretly purchasing intimate gifts for your friend or for you to wear while online with your friend?

  10. Visiting or participating in a sex chat room with your friend?

  11. Doing anything sexual using your webcam (or your imagination)?

  12. Sharing your sexual fantasies, masturbating and/or mutually masturbating?

Answering YES to questions 1-5 should set off some blaring alarms in your head that you are definitely rapidly sliding down the EMOTIONAL SEX slippery slope into the CHEATING ZONE.

Answering YES to questions 6-12 is a strong indicator that you are ALREADY IN the CHEATING ZONE.

These behaviors put your primary relationship at risk, and if you care about saving it, you need start pouring the energy, time, and focus you’ve been giving to your “friend,” back into your relationship, fast.

If you’ve been seeking a thrill and fulfillment from outside sources, it usually means something is missing in your relationship with your partner.  If that’s the case, it’s time to take a serious, hard look at what’s really going on and fix it.

A good place to start is by reading the first chapter of my book, available here.

 It’s totally free, and in it you’ll learn just how easily your seemingly innocent friendship can transform into a full blown affair once EMOTIONAL SEX  takes over.  You’ll gain further insight into your current situation and the 6 main relationship vulnerabilities that open the door to cheating.

The cost of an affair, be it physical, emotional, or cyber, can be devastating to a relationship.   It’s never too late to turn things around, even if you’ve already crossed a line (or if your partner has).


The roadmap to healing starts when you take off the blinders of affair-denial and become affair-aware. 

This article was written by Dr. Sheri Meyers, America’s leading love and intimacy expert.

 

 

 

 



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