Do you suspect that your partner is cheating on you?
Managing infidelity in a couple isn’t easy.
What is infidelity?
According to the Spanish language dictionary, infidelity is a lack of fidelity, that is, lack of firmness and constancy in one’s affections, ideas and obligations.
Formerly, sexual contact with someone other than one’s couple was considered infidelity, but with technology’s development and evolution this term has expanded to:
- having a mental or emotional bond with another person (also known as emotional infidelity)
- exchanging intimate messages with someone through one’s phone or social media
Of course, as in everything, this has various degrees and limits.
Curiously, based on each person’s formation, culture or values, the same act could or couldn’t be considered infidelity.
In this article, I’m going to focus on the process that ranges from when you begin to suspect infidelity in the couple, understanding it as your partner affectionately relating to another person and forgetting their relationship with you, to how you can manage it.
Seduction games don’t inevitably lead to infidelity
In general, we all like to be liked, so we seduce others in various forms, such as smiling, being nice, laughing at other people’s jokes, etc.
And as long as this happens in a neutral environment in which no emotions are involved, this seduction will not cause any emotional reaction.
But imagine that you’re with your partner and your friend or someone else starts playing this seduction game to which your partner “seems” to respond.
I can already imagine you…
- You feel vexed by your friend and partner
- Your level of anger begins to reach its limit
- You start thinking about what to do so you won’t explode or you feel a strong unexpected emotional reaction
Does any of this sound familiar?
Everyone has their own way of reacting, but in general, a feeling of possession, of “this is MY partner” usually arises, which basically hides a terrifying FEAR of being abandoned.
And here I’d like to state that we all play these seductive games, out of our need to be loved and accepted.
And you need to be able to differentiate general seduction from intentional flirting.
Here the best recommendation, is talking to your partner.
Don’t turn something specific into an obsession
You have the right to be upset, angry and explain to your partner how their behavior makes you feel, but if you become obsessed, you could go from doubt to being certain that “something is happening” by misinterpreting a situation.
And this can lead you to get an image in your mind of things that may not even exist, and that could lead to a very bad time.
Talk to your partner, express your feelings of discomfort and ask for what you want or need in those cases.
Most importantly, if you’re jealous, try to reach an agreement with your partner about what could lower your anxiety and insecurity.
And this agreement must be reached between both of you, based on each of your needs.
Even if someone wants to “flirt” with your partner in front of you, you can reach an agreement on how to act in that situation.
Trusting your partner is essential in those moments.
But what if your partner doesn’t respect you?
From partner to police officer
A few years ago, I had a partner with whom I spent some very good initial years, but then things started going downhill.
To get some space and reflect on what was happening to us, we decided to separate for a while, but we both agreed that, during our reflection “we wouldn’t be with any other people”.
After a month, we were back together.
One day, I don’t even know how, when I was on the computer I suddenly found a picture of my partner with another person, framed with a heart.
Right at that moment, my heart raced, my body began to tremble and my trust crumbled.
As I wasn’t sure if that picture implied an infidelity, that night, to confirm my suspicions, I decided to take his phone and, indeed, I found some inappropriate messages from another person, dated from the time when we were separated.
A few days later, I found another picture of them, on his camera.
I couldn’t believe it, I couldn’t understand it, I couldn’t even accept it, but… the text messages and pictures of them together confirmed that he had broken his promise and then, I totally lost my trust in him.
He denied it, of course. And said nothing was happening and that everything was in my head.
And then, I began to doubt. Had I “misunderstood” the messages I’d read?
So, I became a police officer.
- I would peek into his phone
- I checked his phone bills
- I checked all the pictures he took
- And I was always wondering if he’d cheat on me again.
I fell into a whirlwind of mistrust, jealousy and insecurity and worst of all, my self-esteem crumbled.
Have you ever experienced something like this?
- Have you ever taken your partner’s cell phone to check their texts or calls?
- Do you check their social networks to control him/her?
- Have you become a kind of police officer that controls all their words and actions?
If you happen to be playing cop, I need to tell you something:
You can’t go on like this, you have to make a choice.
Otherwise, you’ll suffer a lot, because you can’t control the other person constantly.
You can’t live like that. I really don’t recommend it.
What to do with infidelity in a couple?
When facing infidelity, you’ll always need to assess what you’d gain and lose if you decided to leave your partner, but you also need to answer this question:
Can you live without him/her?
Because based on your answer, you’ll have different options.
Here are three.
Option 1: You leave him/her
If you answer that you can live without him or her and, furthermore, that infidelity isn’t something you can forgive or overlook, perfect.
That’s your best option.
To stop it and start again later with someone you can trust.
Option 2: You decide to go on
Despite the infidelity, you’ve been with your partner for a long time or are in love and don’t want to throw away all the good times you shared.
If you want to give “the relationship” another chance, you’re within your right, but you’re going to have to do something VERY hard, and that is:
“Swallow the toad”.
By this I mean that if you continue the relationship, you can’t become their police or executioner.
You’re going to have to swallow your anger and work on your pain somewhere else. It may be time to seek professional help or find people who can help you.
But if you want to give this another chance, you can’t spend your days criticizing, insulting, despising and blaming them for everything.
What’d be the point if you want to continue?
Both of you will have to work to strengthen your ties and try to regain trust.
Couples therapy can guide you on this.
Option 3: You want to leave them… but can’t
This was my case, I was so in love or maybe now I could say that I was so emotionally dependent on my partner that I couldn’t live without him.
In this case, you’re going to need a lot of help (I required 1 year of therapy), because to evaluate your partner, you have to be able to freely decide whether or not you want to be with them.
But being with your partner because you depend on them emotionally isn’t the best option. And allow me to clarify that, in general, there’s always a certain degree of dependency in a relationship, but here I’m talking about the case when the dependency is so big that you can’t even decide freely.
You’re going to have to work a lot on yourself.
- You’ll have to increase your self-esteem
- Strengthen your trust in yourself
- Break your emotional dependency
- Create new support structures
- And put yourself back together
But the day will come when you’ll have the strength to decide whether to leave or stay.
Infidelity in the couple isn’t easy to overcome, but, if both members of the couple want to make it work, they can. And if you need help during the process, you know that you can count on me.