If you are asking yourself, “Is he cheating?” you probably sense something is off in your relationship. Too often women doubt themselves in favor of accepting a cheater's lies. But "Is he cheating?" is a brave question to ask. It means you trust your own instincts instead of the lies he's offering.
Facing the reality of your relationship can be difficult. However, it also can help you see your relationship more clearly. The following six steps can help you grow emotionally, whether or not he is actually cheating on you:
1. Identify your feelings. You are the expert on yourself. If you're so busy that you are unaware of your feelings, you are missing out on a precious gift. You are unique and have inherent worth just for being you. You deserve to be cherished and treated respectfully -- physically, emotionally and spiritually.
Start by identifying what you are feeling. Usually, anger is the tip of the iceberg. There are deeper feelings which fuel it. Try to identify those feelings. Journaling is a great tool to help you vent and identify those deeper feelings. Sometimes drawing a picture of the feeling can help you to express the feeling in a way words cannot capture.
2. Talk to your partner about your concerns and feelings. Once you have identified the deeper feelings, talk to your partner about how his behavior affects you. Your anger is justified but your man will not hear anything you say in an angry tone of voice. Speak about your deeper feelings in a tone that he can hear. You will feel better about yourself if you communicate in a respectful way. Do this for yourself, not for him. Think about how you can stand up for yourself, address his behavior and maintain your self-esteem in the process.
3. Watch his reaction and body language. If your man is cheating, he may respond by denying it, blaming you or he may respond angrily. Look for the following behaviors: Is he posturing over you (for power and control) or looking at the floor (out of shame and deceit) or is he humble and sorry for his behavior?
4. Provide physical evidence of the cheating. You may have credit card statements with mysterious charges, photos, sexting dialogue on his phone, hidden email accounts, or apps on his phone to hook up with others for affairs. Show him the evidence. He may deny it until the evidence is actually shown to him.
5. Ask for honesty. After you have confronted him with the evidence of his cheating, ask him to be honest with you. You may want to employ a sex addiction therapist if there is a lot of acting out on his part or a family therapist if is a one-time affair. He may or may not want help with his behavior.
6. Set appropriate physical and emotional boundaries for your personal self-care. Be prepared to set physical and emotional boundaries to keep yourself safe. If he has visited strip clubs or had any sexual interaction with another person, you need to get STD testing for your own knowledge.
Ask him to sleep in a different room or leave your residence. Tell him you need time to think and process the knowledge of his cheating. Most people choose to wait six months to a year before making a big life decision like breaking up. The time will give you a chance to process your feelings and give him time to prove to you he wants to stop the behavior and continue a relationship with you.
There is hope for couples to work things out after being cheated on. It does require excruciating work for both people in therapy. You both chose each other for a reason and that reason is still there. Do you remember what brought you both together? Ask yourself if it is worth the risk, vulnerability and pain to work it out. The worst end result is breaking up but the rewards of trying to work on the relationship can be deeply rewarding and deepen the emotional and sexual intimacy between the two of you.
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