Hey Honey, I’m going to be late!
Been hearing this statement ever so often lately? Or even different permutations or combinations of it?
While it may be as innocuous as it sounds, if you’ve been hearing it pretty often and your gut tells you that something’s not right, then it’s time – to trust your gut.
It is said that more than love and communication, trust is the foundation of any relationship. As long as there is trust, a relationship will survive. It is little wonder then that marriages end even after all the years of hard work that went into it. Even after all the love. Only because the element of trust was eroded by a cheating spouse.
Why Do People Cheat?
It is definitely not easy to understand why people cheat in a marriage or a committed relationship. No hard and fast rules that say why some do and others don’t. While therapists and psychologists and counselors will give you various reasons, the truth of the matter is that the cheating spouse had a choice. And, he or she made the wrong one.
After the discovery, comes the confrontation, and don’t expect it to be a calm, civil conversation. It may start out like that but it will end up as heated arguments, accusations, and lies – yes, lots of them. There could be numerous reasons a cheating spouse could give you from the – “It just happened, I didn’t plan on it” to the “I was drunk” or “It’s all because of you” – yes, that’s a pretty common one too.
So, What Exactly Do Cheaters Say When Confronted?
Almost all cheaters seem to have access to a handbook or perhaps even a tutorial that tells them what to say when they get caught, given the similarity in the stories that do the rounds among families, friends, and co-workers.
From outright lies to half-truths, and even twisted versions of the truth, you can expect to hear it all. But given that the other partner is already emotionally twisted up from having confronted a cheating spouse, it’s even harder for them to decipher what’s true and what’s not. You know the lies are there and a portion of you also clings to the hope that your fears are unfounded. This is where your gut-feeling comes into play.
It’s already been established that there will be lies in most cheating confrontations. Note that the word ‘most’ is used because there have been instances where the cheating partner has opted to confess instead of giving in to lies. But sadly they’re few and far between. Here are the most common things or ‘cheaterish’ (a play on gibberish) as we’d like to call it, that cheaters say to hide affairs:
Note: These are general things you hear cheaters say. Every marriage is different but if you want to focus on yours and how to get it back on track (quickly) then make sure you take the marriage assessment quiz.
“You don’t trust me”
Perhaps the “Don’t you trust me?” version is more commonly used. Cheaters always use this as the first line of defense. It makes the other party double-think the purpose of the confrontation. It also serves well to plant the seed of self-doubt in the mind of the cheated partner.
Instead of accepting the blame, the cheater uses the partner as a scapegoat, especially if they’re aware that of trust issues in your past. Even if you have enough evidence to support your claim, being called out for trust puts that chink in your armor, especially because you are being asked to relive the past and make a choice right there and then, causing most partners to continue believing in a lie.
“He/She is just a friend. Nothing more! We are just friends!”
Truth be told, most affairs start out as friendships between co-workers or co-travelers or co-anything. However social media most often blurs the lines, making it even easier to engage in inappropriate opposite-sex friendships that can lead to full-blown television worthy infidelity.
Innocent texts and double entendre messages exchanged via social media can escalate quickly because they create a false aura of intimacy. Preemptive red flag actions to watch out for in a cheating partner are – leaving the room on getting a call, keeping their phone locked or changing their phone’s password, etc…
Questions like “Who are you texting?” trigger a heated argument, and the question will most likely remain unanswered. The suspecting partner will feel, or to put it more correctly, ‘is made to feel’ that they are in the wrong, and are simply being jealous or paranoid or controlling.
“You’re just paranoid!” “You’re silly!”
These are typical responses that the cheating partner uses to downplay suspicion and make it look like there is nothing to worry about. They say this to get the upper hand in a confrontation, and in a way, are acknowledging your concerns, but also letting you feel that your apprehensions are misplaced.
Cheaters will act nonchalantly during a confrontation, but at the same time, this would serve as a warning that they’d have to be more careful going forward and be better in hiding their affairs. Changes would have to be made, and amends would need to be done so the suspecting partner can be put at ease.
But that doesn’t mean the affair will end or the lies will stop. They will usually just lie-low for a bit so that ruffled feathers can be calmed and you don’t see another red flag for a while.
“It wasn’t me!” “It’s not what it seems.”
Denial is the number one rule of cheating. It is 100% part of the cheater’s manual.
When confronted, they deny it to the very end. “I was out of town,” “I was attending a department meeting,” “I visited my folks that weekend,” “I was at home” – these are just the things cheaters say to hide affairs.
It will always be another person but them and it will leave you with that feeling of self-doubt. You will start questioning yourself and even feeling guilty about having suspected your poor loving spouse. You might end up telling yourself that you are being suspicious, or even plain narrow-minded but always remember, if your gut feeling tells you otherwise, then there’s more to it than meets the eye. Whosoever coined the term “go with your gut”, knew what they were talking about
“I never meant to hurt you!”
A slight acknowledgment from the cheater that his/her actions caused pain is the closest thing of an admission that you can get.
Although this should give you the slightest comfort, this is one of the most painful responses you can get when confronting a cheating partner. It is the reality that your partner is not taking full responsibility for the consequences of his/her decisions and actions, even if the intentions are innocent.
This also proves that there is a lack of discipline and integrity, defining the person’s character. Choosing to cross boundaries and have an affair will automatically burn bridges and hurt all the individuals involved in the relationship.
“I am sorry and I love you!”
One of the popular things cheaters say to hide affairs in a desperate plea to salvage the relationship.
The reality is, sometimes this works at ending the confrontation and becomes the cornerstone for second chances. Chances are it could also be a plea to just buy time. But if a cheating partner says this with the intention of taking full accountability for their actions and the resulting consequences, then both parties willing, there might just be a chance to salvage the relationship, but that will keep for another day.
“You are so cold.” “You’re never here.” “You are insecure.” “This is all your fault.”
From accusations to downright blaming we get to the finale of a cheating confrontation. You get blamed for the actions and decisions of the cheating partner. Their cheating on you becomes your fault, and you are the root cause of the problem.
They engaged in an affair or an extramarital relationship because you were insecure about yourself. They’ve crossed the lines of friendship because you’re crazy. They made decisions, and now they want all the attention to be shifted to you.
Next comes the blame game, the backstabbing, and more exaggerated truths just so the cheating issue can be put aside, and the full-blown focus can be on you. This is the part of the confrontation where the cheater blames the other party for all the actions, decisions, and consequences of their cheating.
The cheater will never acknowledge being at fault for having an affair, instead chose to lay blame on the partner. This is a sad reality, that leaves both parties bitter and scarred. Things will be said and done at this point and the relationship may never go back to what it used to be.
The Bitter Truth
Partners who discover that their spouses are cheating on them are confronted with a rollercoaster of emotions that they surely didn’t sign up for. But, regardless of how you learn about your partner’s cheating, and no matter that it was a ‘once-only’ or ‘spur of the moment’ thing or a full-blown affair that’s been going on for weeks or months on end, the reality will leave you devastated and heartbroken – trust, when broken, is painful indeed.
Unfortunately, lying is something that comes naturally to us humans, although easier for some compared to others. Lying becomes the getaway for cheaters to – avoid conflicts, hide the affair, avoid pain, cover up ugly truths, and even manipulate the situation. Telling lies is also one of the greatest ways to cover up their own fear, guilt, and apprehension. But lies, no matter how big or small, always crack or break the very foundation of trust.
I’ve covered how to rebuild trust in a marriage in more detail and it’s a slow (but do-able) process.
So, Why Do Cheaters Lie When Confronted?
Confronting a cheater is sometimes a useless act. At the end of the argument, you are undoubtedly, always the one at fault. You are the one to blame. You are the reason why your partner cheated.
In a twisted sort of way, a cheating spouse would like you to believe that no cheating was done, ever. That you’re being suspicious and untrusting. Between the tears, the self-doubt, the recriminations and the denials are more lies delivered with such award-winning performance, so as to evoke sympathy and self-doubt.
During drinking sprees, you’d often hear the very well-used advice – “You can do anything you like as long as you don’t get caught, and if you do, always deny.” Is this a universal guideline for cheaters? Is this why most of them lie when being confronted about their affairs?
Easier than admitting the truth
Yes, a person who cheated someone will also carry a sense of guilt, even just the smallest shame ever, and when caught, the lies come out more comfortable and faster than an admission.
Cheaters are aware of their decisions. You may be surprised to know that cheaters do go through their share of sleepless nights. The reasons for it could range from feeling guilty and ashamed to the wariness of being caught. During their cheating phase, they also go through moments of sanity and cognitive reasoning that convince them that the cheating needs to stop. During a confrontation, however, the straightforward reality gives them that sudden slap on the face – at times even literally but it is their worst nightmare – that of being caught -unfolding at the moment.
They are overwhelmed with fear, embarrassment, guilt, and everything else in between that the only way they feel they can get over it is by hiding under more lies. The more you question, the angrier they become because they are frightened of their actions and wrongdoings coming to light.
Fear and insecurity
After that initial reaction of fear and anger, the tendency for cheaters to further suppress your interrogation may lead to violent actions like physical abuse. And all of these lies and actions only reflect their fears and insecurities. Getting caught cheating and being confronted about it adds to the cheater’s shame and self-preservation and to save face, out comes the lies. In short, cheaters lie to protect themselves, no matter how they’d like to present it.
Another reason cheaters lie is that they don’t want to take accountability for their actions and decisions. They would rather blame the other person, in most cases you and not have to take responsibility for their wrongs at all. Disgustingly, they are hoping to justify their cheating, and since they don’t want to take accountability for their actions, lies allow them to create their own fantasy bubble that lets them get away from taking the blame. It can be termed as an out-of-bounds coping mechanism from the forthcoming consequences of their actions.
This might be the apparent reason why cheaters continuously lie on being confronted about their wrongdoing, and also because it feeds their ego and their pride. Lies can make bad things realistically right, and cheaters generally have that self-created ego, which makes them feel good about themselves no matter what their actions are, cheating included. For men, it makes them virile and for women more guileful but still, both are morally wrong. Lies or without lies, cheating is never welcome in any relationship.
Still wants this relationship
Another compelling reason for a cheater to resort to lies during a confrontation would be their desire to keep you and continue with your existing relationship. They would be telling you half-truths, so you don’t think the worst of them and give them another chance. It would be the ultimate wish granted if you believe their lies and forget about the things they did and start fresh and move on. In this likely scenario, a familiar quote comes to mind, “cheaters will always be cheaters.”
Cheating, whether physical or emotional is a mistake, and it leaves its mark on a relationship. You might both work at putting your broken relationship together, but just like cracked china that’s fused together, the pieces might come together again, never to be completely whole.
This does not however mean that a relationship cannot be rectified or salvaged.
Can it happen?
Yes! With a lot of effort, patience and determination to keep at it, no matter what the cost. The cheater will need to work hard to earn the trust they lot. You shouldn’t expect it to come easy. The road to recovery from cheating is very difficult. Not everyone succeeds for it takes both parties – the partner that was cheated on to be prepared to set aside trust issues and put the past behind and for the cheating partner to know and respect boundaries and value their partner and the second chance they’ve been given.
This may or may not lead to a happy ending, but if it does, the relationship will be at its strongest.
Can you trust a cheater?
Or more importantly, would you be foolish enough to trust a cheater again? This could be a million-dollar question and unfortunately, there’s no correct answer here. But bear in mind that people can always change for the better, cheaters included.
Marriages can certainly survive infidelity (it happens more often than you might think) but it does take time to forgive a cheater. It’s far from an overnight process but if you’d like a little more advice, tell me what you’re dealing with in your marriage.