In many cases, people think their spouse is cheating on them because either they've cheated on someone in the past or are about to. Psychologists say that projection is a low-level coping skill, where people who cheat or think of cheating are likely to project the same thoughts on their partners.
“People cheat often out of fear of facing conflict,” explains Klapow. “They know there are problems in the relationship, but they don't know how to dive in deep with their partner to [fix the problems]. Cheating allows them to escape.”
An affair will last as long as it suits its purpose, and no longer. Some affairs last only a couple hours, while others can last a lifetime. Most affairs come to light one way or another, which can cut them short or – if the cheated spouse agrees to let the cheater continue for reasons of their own – extend them.
You share things with the other person that you haven't shared with your partner. You confide in the other person about your relationship troubles. You've become more detached and emotionally disconnected from your partner. You think about the other person all the time.
The suspicion that occurs from a sudden shift in your partner's behavior is not the same as paranoia. If your partner feels distant or there has been a significant change in their actions, this shift can be concerning. People who are cheating will sometimes become defensive or pull away from their partners.
Sure, sometimes the feeling your partner is cheating might stem from legitimate truths. But other times it's more about you and your perception of the situation. The important thing is to recognize your feelings, talk it out with your partner, and above all, trust yourself to find the truth behind the situation.
Can a relationship go back to normal after cheating?
Experts say it's possible for couples to go on to have a happy relationship after infidelity, provided they're willing to put in the work. “The couple can survive and grow after an affair,” says Coleman. “They have to—otherwise the relationship will never be gratifying.”
Also known as micro-cheating, this falls under the umbrella of emotional infidelity and refers to small, seemingly insignificant things that a person can do that, while not explicitly unfaithful, can carry with them the hint of infidelity.
Talking down your partner is the last thing you should do if you want a healthy and long-lasting relationship. It is worse than cheating because it not only damages your relationship but ruins your partner's self-esteem.
A love affair is about that initial “in love” feeling, that point in a relationship when someone is blinded to the other person's flaws. By its very nature, a love affair prolongs those feelings of infatuation. People engaged in an affair spend little “real” time together.