4 Best Things To Do If You Think Your Partner Is Cheating On You

Photo: Yuriy Maksymiv / Shutterstock
Woman sits on bed while he lies down

When you start seeing the signs of infidelity in your relationship, you need to know what to do if you suspect cheating.

Maybe you've noticed the common first signs of cheating in a relationship, such as a sudden change in his schedule or increased secretiveness with his phone.

It's important to tread lightly because it might not necessarily be the case that he’s actually cheating, so you don't want to accuse him before having all of the facts.

At this point, you have a few options, but the most pressing thing that you need to do is to find out if your suspicions are correct.

Here's what to do when you suspect your boyfriend is cheating.

RELATED: The Surprising Reason People Cheat (And Why It's Happening Now More Than Ever Before)

1. Disengage.

This is the first thing that you have to do when you identify feelings that make you think that your partner is cheating.

Relationships and betrayal are seriously emotional things and you need to have a clear head so that you can make a fair, balanced evaluation of your partner.

The best way to do this is to try and find a little space away from everything. You don’t want to tip your partner off, not yet, so find natural moments to hang out with a friend for a weekend or go to your parents’ house for a week.

Use the time to focus on yourself, be healthy, and clear your mind. You need to approach this with a cool and calculated mind.

2. Write a list.

Why do you suspect your boyfriend is cheating? Start creating a physical, written list of all of the reasons that make you think that he’s being loyal as well as what makes you think that he might be cheating.

It’s essential that you include why a written item could indicate loyalty or infidelity because you have to prove this thing to yourself in a balanced and fair way.

When you return to this list an hour, a day, a week after you’ve written it, you’ll be looking at it with new eyes. If it reads like you are overanalyzing things then that’s useful. If it reads like his infidelity is painfully obvious, then that’s useful too.

RELATED: The Question Your Partner Might Ask You Right Before He Cheats

3. Seek out a second opinion.

As you approach the situation from different angles and perspectives, it can be a good idea to start getting second opinions.

Now, this is both an important and dangerous step. Finding out what your friends or family think is crucial to forming a more complete picture.

As Clinical Hypnotherapist and Spiritual Life Coach Keya Murthy says, “To know if your feelings are real, talk to your mother or an older stable woman whom you trust. She’ll confirm your doubts or let you know if you are wrong.”

Remember that you’ve already taken some time to think this over so that you can keep your emotions from interfering with your evaluation, but your friends haven’t. Put yourself in their shoes. If one of your close friends told you that they suspected their partner of cheating, then you’d probably go through a lot of different feelings quite quickly.

There is no telling how exactly they will react but it’s important to keep in mind that they are just hearing this for the first time, whereas you’ve been thinking about it for a while.

Your friends might immediately pass judgment based on your suspicions or they might become angry that one of their friends might be being taken advantage of.

Come to them calmly and take what they say with the awareness that their perspectives are useful because they are detached, but to be taken with a grain of salt.

On seeking out the help of friends, Keya Murthy says, “If your friend has her feet on the ground and her head up high, then a heart-to-heart where she can help you objectify your feelings will help.”

Once you’ve collected all of the opinions and done some soul searching and come to some sort of conclusion, it’s time to put those conclusions to the test.

4. Directly address it.

Most likely, the only way to find out if your boyfriend or husband is cheating is to speak to them directly about it.

This isn’t going to be fun or easy, but it's necessary. You can’t rely on some bombastic “walk in on them” type of revelation, as this isn’t a movie.

You're going to need to talk to him at some point and you're probably not going to be working with perfect information.

It’s also really important not to make this move before you are ready too.

Murthy says that in order to address him directly about your suspicions, “Prepare yourself for the truth before addressing it with him. Until you are not ready to handle the truth, don’t bring it up with him. You need a friend or a series of sessions with a therapist or some strong woman to help you with this before you address it with him.”

Refer to the list that you made and see how it holds up. You wrote it at the beginning. Now that you’re staring down the barrel of real confrontation, what do you think about the list items? What about your explanations?

Think about the questions that you can ask your boyfriend to see if he's cheating, such as:

1. How do you feel about our relationship?
2. You haven't been acting like yourself lately, how are you doing?
3. Is there anything that you want to tell me?

Focus on him and how he reacts. You want to see it if he averts his gaze, you want to see his discomfort or confusion or offense at the questions.

Don’t psych yourself out. These feelings have been eating away at you for a while, you’ve done your due diligence and broke things down from an outside perspective.

Do not let him make you think that you’re the bad guy for bringing this up. You needed to address this with him, don’t forget that.

The rest is up to you and him. Your relationship will certainly be affected, but it’s a whole lot better than it would be if you just let those feelings ferment.

Remember that you also don’t have to decide what to do with your relationship on the spot. Remove yourself from the situation again and think about it before you decide to pass judgment and what to do next.

RELATED: Why Do People Cheat On People They Love?

Dan O'Reilly is a writer who covers news, politics and social justice. Follow him on Twitter.