13 Things Your Cheating Partner Might Say When Confronted
Any emotion is possible when you discover your partner has been unfaithful.
Outrage, panic, betrayal, and emptiness come to mind.
But it's also possible to feel relief when you realize why your relationship has felt so “off” lately.
Once you know the truth, you need to consider how to approach your spouse.
Confronting a cheating spouse is a difficult task that you shouldn't do without preparation.
Think about what you want to say, but also prepare yourself for the typical things cheaters say when confronted.
Before you confront your cheating spouse, consider the following:
- Be sure you're head is clear and your emotions are in check (if possible).
- Have the conversation away from home or when children are not at home.
- Have any evidence of the affair available.
- Write down questions you want to ask.
- Think about possible responses he or she may have and how you'll answer them.
- 13 Things Cheaters Say When Confronted
- 1. “It was just sex.”
- 2. “You made me cheat.”
- 3. “I'm sorry.”
- 4. “I didn't cheat.”
- 5. “It won't happen again.”
- 6. “I was seduced.”
- 7. “I wasn't happy in our relationship.”
- 8. “You don't understand me.”
- 9. “How can you not trust me?”
- 10. “…And where were you last night?”
- 11. “It's over now.”
- 12. “I wasn't trying to hurt you.”
- 13. “Nothing physical happened.”
Let's look at things cheaters say and why each response is common. Reviewing this list will help you:
- Prepare you for this painful encounter.
- Help you stay on track during the conversation.
- Know whether your partner (and you) wants to stay or leave.
- Know what your next steps will be after the conversation.
Quick note: Having good communication in a relationship is an important skill to develop. To learn more, check out this course that is helping couples learn healthy communication skills.
13 Things Cheaters Say When Confronted
1. “It was just sex.”
If your partner claims that the extramarital affair was based solely on sex, he or she is looking for your forgiveness by claiming an absence of emotional depth.
This response is often used as a defense mechanism to minimize cheating allegations.
A cheating spouse may try to pass off a physical relationship as insignificant or because the two of you have been having sex infrequently.
If your partner tries to play down the severity of having sex outside of your relationship, you'll likely feel turned off and reject any consideration of future intimacy now that you're aware of his or her carefree attitude.
If there's been a problem with sex between you and your spouse before the affair, then counseling may help you resolve this and move past the infidelity.
2. “You made me cheat.”
Your partner may be quick to blame someone else, and the easiest target is you. He or she may put full blame on you by claiming you're distant or you never show affection.
This is often done to take the focus off of the infidelity and redirect it to your “wrongdoings.”
Or your partner may legitimately feel the distance in your relationship has made him or her vulnerable to cheating.
If you hear this common response, remember that your partner made a conscious decision to cheat, which was not your fault.
Return the focus to the issue at hand but recognize if you want to save the relationship, there's some real work ahead of both of you.
3. “I'm sorry.”
The rest of this sentence that is often left out is: “…that I got caught.”
Cheaters may express this insincere remorse to gain your forgiveness or for a loss of words when found out.
Your partner is forgetting about the lack of concern he had for your feelings for the duration of the cheating relationship.
He or she may truly feel remorseful for hurting you, but “I'm sorry” means very little without being accompanied by actions to back it up.
If your spouse is truly remorseful and wants to end the affair, he or she will have a lot of intense work ahead. As will you.
4. “I didn't cheat.”
Of all the ways cheaters respond, denial is often the instinctive initial reaction when confronted.
Your partner may try to gaslight you to make you doubt your beliefs to gain the upper hand in the conversation.
Saying this is an attempt to make you feel bad for “jumping to conclusions” or “accusing” your partner of infidelity.
If you recognize gaslighting when confronting a cheater, and he or she continues to deny the truth, recognize that this is a form of emotional abuse which only adds insult to injury.
For dramatic affect, this moment is a great time to present any evidence you may have. Boom.
5. “It won't happen again.”
Your partner may say this in an effort to get you to dismiss the mistake as a one-time thing instead of a regular occurrence.
Your partner wants you to see the infidelity as a regrettable lack of judgment — not a character flaw.
While you should remain cautious, this statement may be the honest truth. Talk to your partner to uncover the reason behind the cheating.
If you decide to forgive and try to move on, meet with a marriage or relationship therapist to work on rebuilding trust in your relationship.
6. “I was seduced.”
Saying this is a way to blame the other person in the affair. It puts your partner in the victim role if he or she claims being coerced.
If your partner respected your relationship, he or she wouldn't have been distracted by another person.
This statement demonstrates insecurity and a need to deflect responsibility.
You need to be with someone who makes you feel secure.
So when considering what to say to a cheater, remind your spouse that you don't want to be with someone you can't trust to fall prey to seduction.
However, this response might reveal that your partner was vulnerable to another person's advances because he or she feels lonely or unfulfilled in your relationship.
It's valuable to find our if you partner's response is just a red herring or something worthy of addressing.
7. “I wasn't happy in our relationship.”
There is probably truth to this statement if your partner says it, but it's also a way to relieve guilt.
An unhappy relationship doesn't rationalize cheating, but rather it calls for some introspection and couple's counseling.
If your significant other doesn't want to work on repairing the relationship, it may be time to split and find someone who appreciates you.
8. “You don't understand me.”
Your husband or wife may claim the other person understands his or her needs in a way that you don't.
This statement is intended to make you feel like you're on the outside of a special bond and can't see its legitimacy.
Your spouse may crave novelty and excitement, believing a stranger has a deeper understanding of his or her needs than you do.
And it may be difficult for him or her to release the addiction to this excitement.
If so, you have some soul-searching to do. Do you want to wait it out and see if the affair runs its course or cut the cord now?
9. “How can you not trust me?”
Another way your spouse deflects blame is by accusing you of being suspicious.
He or she may try to make you feel distrustful or petty for bringing up the possibility of cheating.
But if your partner wants to maintain your trust, he or she should be willing to discuss any doubts and come forward with the truth.
Recognize this is another way to divert guilt if the cheating occurred, and it shows your partner isn't ready to build a healthy relationship with you.
10. “…And where were you last night?”
Accused cheaters often use projection to swap roles and become the accuser.
Your partner may bring up some past (but unequal) wrongdoing by you and act as though you're now on an equal playing field in the bad behavior game. And you feel like you need to play defense.
The cheater's goal is to shift your focus so you forget about his or her own wrongdoings.
He or she wants to confuse you and make you feel like you've been caught in a lie.
This demonstrates an inability to cope and is strongly indicative of a toxic relationship.
If this happens, don't get defensive, as it will only escalate things.
Answer this question as if it weren't ridiculous and move on.
11. “It's over now.”
Saying this is your partner's way of telling you the affair's in the past and there's nothing going on now. Your partner wants a clean slate because he or she claims to be faithful now.
This might be the case, but you'll still want to consider the past deception you've uncovered. Who's to say it won't happen again? How can you rebuild your trust?
Your partner will need to be completely open and willing to give you access to his or her phone, email, and social media until you feel safe again. And, of course, couple's counseling is a must.
12. “I wasn't trying to hurt you.”
Your spouse knew his or her actions would hurt you if you knew about the infidelity, so keeping it a secret was the best option. He or she may insinuate sheltering you from the situation was in your best interest.
Now that the truth has been revealed, your partner is trying to exhibit extra caring behavior but doesn't show true regret.
Remind your partner that if “avoiding hurt” was the goal, an affair should never have happened in the first place. The question now — “Are you done with this person?”
13. “Nothing physical happened.”
Not all affairs are physical. But what turns a friendship into an emotional affair is any form of secrecy involved in the interactions.
If your partner has been spending time with someone else and keeps you in the dark about it, it's probably emotional infidelity.
Claiming the relationship wasn't physical only minimizes the fact that your partner lied to you. If he or she tries to shrug it off due to a lack of sexual interaction, it's still unacceptable.
An emotional connection almost always turns into a sexual one. You just caught him or her before it happened.
Tell your lover that you can't be in a relationship with someone who has feelings for another person — whether or not they're having sex.
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Are you ready for the talk?
Cheating isn't a deal-breaker for all relationships.
But if your partner says insincere things like some of those listed above when confronted about infidelity (whether it's to place blame on you or minimize the situation), it may be time to rethink staying together.
You may still want to save your relationship and give it another chance, but it's important to realize that it will take time, effort, and commitment from both of you.