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.
Calling out 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 stand up to your partner you may want to know the best way to confront a cheating spouse by considering 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.
- 19 Things Cheaters Say When Opposed
- 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.”
- 14. “You cheated on me.”
- 15. “You're crazy.”
- 16. “You never want to have sex.”
- 17. “You're never around, and I'm lonely.”
- 18. “You've never really loved me.”
- 19. “I'm in love with him/her, and I'm leaving you.”
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.
19 Things Cheaters Say When Opposed
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 excuse 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 stood up to.
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 speaking to 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 excuse 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.
14. “You cheated on me.”
Even if this is true, it doesn't excuse your spouse's choice to stray as well. He or she should know better than anyone how painful it is to have an unfaithful partner and how damaging it can be to the relationship.
If your partner is trying to get back at you for your previous infidelity and feels the need to even the score, then you both have some work to do to rebuild trust and emotional intimacy again.
It's likely your partner is still hurt and angry over the past and hasn't resolved lingering feelings of betrayal. Those feelings have given him or her an emotional pass to do the same.
15. “You're crazy.”
A cheating partner might turn to gaslighting to make you feel like your suspicions are ridiculous and crazy. He or she might laugh at you, walk out the door in anger, or stonewall you in order to make you doubt yourself and feel bad about even bringing up the possibility.
You may be accused of being jealous, paranoid, over-the-top, or too needy, even though you know without a doubt that your suspicions are grounded in truth.
If this happens, it's good to stand your ground and present any evidence you may have. Call out gaslighting for what it is and let your unfaithful spouse know that you are on to them and won't put up with the game and the deception.
16. “You never want to have sex.”
Maybe your sex life has been through a dry spell, and it may be true that you are the partner who is losing interest in sex or has felt too tired (stressed, unhappy, etc.) to initiate or respond as you once did.
But your lagging sex life is no excuse for your partner to seek sex outside of your relationship. If he or she was dissatisfied, there was plenty of opportunity to talk about it or seek help to improve the core issues interfering with your intimacy.
There is likely a deeper problem you both need to address in your relationship that has led to the infidelity and your partner's desire for sex with someone else. If you both want to save your connection, it's worth exploring the core problem and how you can resolve it.
17. “You're never around, and I'm lonely.”
If you and your partner are like two ships passing in the night, it may be that he or she decided to divert course and seek companionship (and intimacy) elsewhere.
Perhaps you travel or work a lot, and your spouse has a legitimate complaint that you aren't around enough. Maybe he or she has said something to you about this, but you've been too distracted to take it seriously. But now your partner has your full attention.
Or it could be just an excuse without any merit to give him or her time to be fully honest and forthright. Either way, you two have some things to work out to get what you both need from the relationship. Loneliness isn't a good reason for infidelity, but it can make it easier to cross the line.
18. “You've never really loved me.”
Either this statement has some truth to it, or it's another way of deflecting blame on to you. If your spouse legitimately feels you haven't shown love and affection and has been starved for these, then an affair is not all that surprising.
If you've been unavailable emotionally and or physically, your spouse has been drawn in by someone who is available to offer the love and attention he or she craves.
But this statement may be a way for your partner to make him or herself feel better about straying. Perhaps the opposite is more true — he or she never really loved you. Your partner wasn't showing much love while being unfaithful.
19. “I'm in love with him/her, and I'm leaving you.”
This statement is definitely not what you want to hear, especially if you want to save the relationship. But you need to prepare yourself for this possibility.
At least your partner fessed up, but it took a confrontation for the truth to finally come out. You may want to find out if you partner is convinced your relationship is over and whether or not he or she wants to try counseling before you split up.
If so, your spouse or partner needs to commit to ending the other relationship while you work together with a therapist to see if there's anything work saving.
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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.