What to do if you think your bitch-ass partner is cheating on you

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What to do if you think your bitch-ass partner is cheating on you

There is a protocol

by Nian Hu

You feel it in your gut. No, you feel it with every fiber of your being. And no matter how hard you try, you can't seem to shake the feeling. You have your suspicions, but no hard evidence…yet. For whatever reason, you are completely and utterly convinced your partner is cheating on you.

This is an unbelievably shitty feeling, made even shittier by the fact you! Don't! Know! The! Truth! The uncertainty of it all is eating you alive. Are you going insane, or are you actually onto something? At this point, you don't even care, you just want answers, and you'll do anything to get them.

If you truly think your partner is cheating on you, here are the steps you should take:

DO. NOT. SNOOP.

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Yes, the temptation will be strong, but you must resist it. Fight it tooth and nail. Set a reminder on your phone. Tie yourself to a chair. I don't care! Because the absolute worst thing you can do right now is make yourself the bad guy. If your partner is cheating on you, that's a huge violation of trust and boundaries and everything in between. But it's just as bad to violate their privacy, especially when you don't even know they're guilty! When you get caught, saying "I was just trying to find evidence you're cheating on me!" isn't exactly a stellar excuse.

Aside from all the ethical implications, snooping is also a sign there's already something terribly wrong with your relationship — regardless of whether or not your partner is cheating. If you're at the point in your relationship where you feel like you have no other way of getting the truth, you're not in a relationship anymore. At least, not a healthy one that's worth salvaging. If the trust between you two has dissolved to the point where you think that your partner would lie to your face if confronted, you need to take this as a sign this "relationship" is no longer worth your time and energy.

Take a step back and assess everything objectively

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Obviously this is much easier said than done, because it's borderline impossible to get a truly objective perspective on a situation if you're personally involved in it. So, it's important to seek out a trustworthy third-party member who can take a look at what's going on and (hopefully) offer some valuable insight. Seek the guidance of a close friend, family member, or better yet, someone who has no stake in the situation at all — like a therapist, guidance counselor, or a wise and all-knowing Babe editor who can respond to you with expert advice in literally seconds.

Before presenting the facts of the situation to your third-party member, you have to actually, you know, assemble the facts (assuming you have any at all). Take a look through old text convos and jot down all the times your partner said something fishy or ignored you outright. While it might be hard to remember things that happened in real life, do your best to recall specific incidents that triggered your suspicions. If, upon looking at the "evidence," you realize that you don't really have any, you should stop and ask yourself if you're just being paranoid. But even if you don't have all the evidence in the world, it's still worth going to the next step, which is…

Talk to your partner — but stay calm and stick to the facts

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So you've assembled the facts, talked to a trustworthy third-party member, and uhhhh…things aren't looking too great. But you have to stay calm. Again, easier said than done! You can't just fly into a rage without at least talking to your partner first. You know that rom-com trope where one person sees or hears something that makes them think the other person is cheating on them and they get super mad at them, only to learn at the very end that it was all a huge misunderstanding? In movies, this usually ends in a joyful reconciliation and spur-of-the-moment wedding, but in real life it ends much more poorly — understandably, because nobody likes being accused of cheating.

So, when you finally decide to confront your partner, it's important to stick to the facts. Starting off with something accusatory like, "You're always hanging out with Brenda, and I know you're sleeping with her!" will only lead them to become defensive and angry. Instead, say something really detailed and specific, like: "Lately I've noticed you've been spending quite a bit of time with your coworker Brenda. Last weekend you told me you were going bowling with your friends when you were actually at a bar with her. I'm a little concerned you feel the need to lie to me about spending time with someone, and it makes me wonder if your relationship with her is more than just friendship. Can you tell me what's going on?" Lay out the facts in the least accusatory way possible, and then give them a chance to respond.

Prepare yourself for the worst

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You know what they say — don't ask questions if you don't want to hear the answer. This goes for simple questions like, "Do I look ugly in this dress?" as well as more serious questions like, "Are you cheating on me?" So keep that in mind when you're confronting your partner about what's really going on. This whole time, you might actually be in denial. Sure, you've looked over the facts and discussed this at length with your friends, but deep down you're still convinced this is all a huge misunderstanding that'll blow over soon.

Do not delude yourself. There is a possibility your partner looks you in the eye and says, "Yeah, I've been seeing someone else." That will hurt like a motherfucker, and you need to prepare yourself for the worst. To be clear, this isn't for your partner's sake — if they did actually cheat on you, you have every right to tell them how angry and hurt you are — but more so for your own. Even though you finally managed to get a clear answer, it's still not the answer you wanted. Nobody in the world wants to hear their partner is cheating on them. Be ready to call a friend, text a family member, or flee to a local bar and drown your sorrows in margaritas.

Just remember, no matter how much it hurts, at least you finally have an answer.

@nian_hu

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