How do I know if I’m being cheated on? My partner is so secretive… Am I just paranoid?

Posted in: You asked cheating fingers

Cheating. Firstly – do you have a shared definition of what cheating means? If not, get on the same page first. How do you feel about flirting? Asking for someone else’s phone number? Being in touch with an ex? Are you monogamous? These are not universal, don’t assume.

There are some classic signs that someone is cheating: They smell differently, kiss differently, or use new sexual “techniques”. Other obvious ones: Spotting a series of lies, unexplained absences, acting out of guilt, and a change in their openness and connection to you. But, none of these can tell you anything for sure.

Keep separate the idea of privacy vs. secrecy though. Privacy is about personal space, secrecy is about deception. You can be open about what you want to be private about (like, closing the door when you use the washroom, choosing not to talk about ex-partners, or not sharing every aspect of your day or plans). Whereas secrecy is lying and covering up (like, about where you are, who you are, what you do). So, is your partner private? Or secretive?

Finally, ask yourself – how bad is your mistrust? Sometimes it’s not about whether they are cheating. Even if they are not cheating, do you want to be in a relationship where you’re suspicious all the time? If not, something has to change. How much of that is you, and how much of it has to do with them? How can you talk to your partner about it? What kind of support do you need from friends?

A good relationship isn’t just about not cheating. It’s about feeling safe enough to talk about stuff, to work through difficulties, and to bring out our best selves.

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