The worst has happened. You have found out your partner has cheated on you. Your mind is out of control and your heart is broken – you’re hardly thinking about how to confront a cheater. Your thoughts are muddled, and your feelings all over the place. To put it in simple words, you can’t think straight.
To find out how to confront a cheater as you go through the motions of disbelief, grief, and trauma, we reached out to psychologist Jayant Sundaresan. He said, “For some people, cheating is like an addiction. But that doesn’t mean they can’t mend their ways or tame their addiction. In all probability, they can control it unless and until they are intoxicated and aren’t in the right state of mind.”
11 Expert Tips For Confronting A Cheater
Jayant says, “Before you confront a liar and cheater, look at the label and timeline of your relationship. If it was just casual dating, then why bother putting yourself through so much torment to confront them? They chose to cheat on you. They did the wrong thing here. You pick yourself up and move on.
“Because if you confront them, they can say, “Since we aren’t serious about each other, why should I inhibit myself from seeing others?” They will wash their hands off the whole matter. In such unlabeled relationships, you won’t get the satisfaction of their apology, regret, or guilt because they won’t mean anything they say. This is one of the signs he never loved you and they don’t really care about their actions how they affect you.
“So why bother at all? It’s better to put a stop to it and walk away. But if it’s a serious relationship, then you must confront your cheating spouse, and you need to know how.” Below are some of the ways on how to confront a cheater.
1. How to confront a cheater? Select the right time and place
Jayant says, “This is one of the first things to think about when you are planning to confront your cheating spouse. You want everything to be on your side, including time and setting. Select a place where you can be comfortable, you don’t want any distractions and disturbances. Don’t have this conversation when you or they are driving.”
Similarly, you can’t barge into their office and create a scene at their workplace. Don’t confront them when they are hanging out with their friends because those people might end up defending their friend (your partner) and make them look like the victim. You need to know how to out a cheater smartly by being mindful about the ‘where’ and ‘when’.
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2. Remain objective
Jayant adds, “When you confront a cheating boyfriend without proof, they might react impulsively. Any cheating partner would react like that. They might twist the entire narrative when you are not confident and strong. So, handle a cheater by remaining objective, calm, and dispassionate. It’s very difficult to not burst out crying but this is not the time to cry or open the floodgate of feelings.
“Imagine you are a lawyer who is presenting your own case. Be in control of your emotions while confronting a cheater. It sounds impossible but it’s doable.” There are 7 types of cheaters. My former partner was a serial cheater. When I confronted him about his cheating, I was howling. My body was out of sync with my mind. I refused to be sane or have a rational conversation. I acted like a wounded victim when I was supposed to play it strong.
3. Lay down your evidence
Jayant shares, “If you want to know how to confront a cheater, you need to have strong proof against them and logically lay down your evidence. You can’t just approach them and say that your instincts are telling you that they are cheating on you. While your intuition could be 100% correct, you need data to make them confess.”
If they deny cheating on you, then it’s one of the signs you are dating a fuccboi who can’t take accountability for his actions. When you confront a cheating boyfriend without proof or any cheating partner with no speck of evidence, they will say that it’s just your over-possessive nature that’s giving rise to such baseless suspicion. Don’t give them a chance to wiggle their way out of this.
4. Give the cheater a chance to speak
Jayant says, “While confronting your boyfriend about cheating, don’t dump all the evidence and hurl abuses at him. Don’t confront your cheating partner by name-calling or by taking a dig at their character. Give them a chance to speak without prejudice. Don’t make personal remarks because if and when you are looking for ways to reconnect after a big fight like this, the vicious name-calling and snide remarks will make it difficult to move past. It will forever stand between the two of you.
“The reason that you need to confront a liar and cheater without prejudgments is because there is always a microscopic chance you could be wrong. How you conduct yourself during these pivotal times will matter later in the relationship if you decide to give them another chance.”
5. Don’t think you have the upper hand here
Jayant adds, “When you confront a cheater with evidence, the hurt and betrayal can get to your head and make you act in unnatural ways. You will think they are at your mercy. You will be mean, rude, and pass snide comments. Show a little humility out of the possibility that you could be wrong even if the chances are minimal. Ask yourself “Is he cheating or am I paranoid?” before you go all out on them. Even if you’re right, acting this way will hurt you too.”
Your reaction to their disloyalty can cause a lot of damage. When we think of confrontation, we often imagine a dramatic movie scenario. Breaking things, throwing stuff at them, grabbing their collar, or even indulging in physical abuse like pushing your partner or slapping them. These are extremely unhealthy. Not just for them, but also for you.
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6. Be prepared for their reaction
Jayant says, “Being prepared for their extreme reaction is one of the things you need to keep in mind while planning how to confront a cheater or how to out a cheater. When you confront your cheating spouse, be prepared for an emotional outburst from their side. They might cry, scream, yell, and throw things around/at you. You’ve caught them off guard. They don’t have a defense yet, so they will try to make you feel uncomfortable by shouting and creating a disruption.”
When you confront a liar and cheater unexpectedly, the guilt often doesn’t hit them right away. They are reacting out of disbelief that their infidelity has unraveled, and that you were smart enough to collect evidence against them.
7. Be prepared for an unexpected outcome
Jayant adds, “Along with the above mentioned point, you also need to be prepared that they might accept their disloyalty and end it all. They will hold themselves accountable for everything. When you confront a cheater with evidence, they might think you have cornered them. They will try to escape this by ending the relationship itself. They are very smart and they know how to apologize for cheating. They will use everything they can to get out of this situation.
“You may want to confront a cheater when you snooped around and found out about their infidelity. But some people don’t confront their partner because they fear the relationship might end. The question you need to ask before confronting a cheater is: are you ready for anything that hits back at you?”
8. Don’t ask for the details
Jayant says, “When you are confronting your boyfriend about cheating or any partner about their deceit, ask yourself how many of the painstaking details you want to know. If they answer everything truthfully, your curiosity will get the better of you and you will visualize everything.
If you reach the reconciliation phase, your mind will flash these images. Some details are better left undisclosed for your peace of mind. You need to know how to love yourself if you want to move on from this relationship. It will be better for your mental health when you stop fixating on the details about his affair.”
Your spouse has violated the rules of monogamy. It’s common to be curious but don’t make the mistakes I made. When I confronted my previous partner, I was so inquisitive about everything. I wanted to know where they did it. How many times? In the bedroom? Which hotel? What was she wearing? None of the answers made anything better. It only intensified my trauma.
9. Write the things you want to say
Jayant says, “Before you find out how to confront a cheater, you must know how to handle a cheater by writing all the things you want to say. Practice it. The reason behind this is so you can hold yourself together and don’t break down during confrontation. You have been gravely wronged, but you need to be strong.”
10. Don’t compare or blame yourself
Always keep in mind that cheating is a choice. It’s selfish and shows their lack of self-esteem. If they respected you and the relationship, they would never do this to you. Don’t ever compare yourself to the person they cheated on you with. Don’t try to blame yourself either. It won’t do you any good. When asked on Reddit if cheating is a choice or a mistake, one user said, “Knocking over a glass of milk is a mistake. Cheating is VERY much intentional.”
11. You’ve confronted them. Now what?
Jayant says, “You’ve got all your answers to how to confront a cheater. Now what? A lot of people are so immersed in their grief that all they care about is the confrontation. They don’t sit back and think about the things that will follow after that.
“You found out how to out a cheater and you’ve confronted them. Let’s say they accept, apologize, and want to make it better. They didn’t deny or make excuses. They beg for a second chance. What are you going to do now? Are you ready to repair the relationship? Or do you want to dump them and move on?”
Related Reading: 11 Ways Being Cheated On Changes You
How Do Cheaters React When Confronted
Your partner has been having their romantic escapades behind your back. Let’s say you confront a cheater when you snooped around to gather evidence against them. There are many shocking things cheaters say when they are caught. Below are some of the common phases used when you confront a liar and cheater:
- “What rubbish! It wasn’t me. I don’t even know this person”
- “Someone is brainwashing you”
- “It’s just rumors and gossip”
- “How could you even think I would cheat on you?”
- “How dare you accuse me of cheating?”
- “Is this your level of faith in me?”
- “You weren’t meeting my needs”
- “You were always busy/tired/not in the mood”
- “You were always fighting with me”
4. Playing the victim card
- “I felt trapped in the relationship”
- “I was going through a lot at work/in my personal life”
- “You never understood me”
- “Are you accusing me of cheating because it’s you who’s actually cheating on me?”
- “You are just jealous/controlling/overprotective”
- “How dare you check my phone? You have invaded my privacy”
- “It was just sex. You are the only person I care about”
- “There was no emotional connection. I don’t love her”
- “It was a stupid mistake and it happened only once”
It’s not just about how to confront a cheater. It’s also about how to move forward afterward. If you want them back, then you need to rebuild trust. That takes a lot of time. If you love them and think they can mend their ways, give them a chance. But if you can’t stand them or the idea of the two of you being together again, then move on. You don’t need a partner who lies, cheats, and thinks cheating is a small mistake. You need someone who treats you with respect and will choose you over anyone else.
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