How to Get Your Partner to Admit to Cheating
It can be hard to get your partner to admit they are cheating. Listen carefully to what they have to say and look for inconsistencies in their alibis. If your partner uses simplistic language and few self-referential words to excuse their absences, there is an increased likelihood they are cheating. Ask casual, open-ended questions and prime your partner to tell you the truth when you’re ready to get them to admit they are cheating. Be empathetic and make your partner feel they can confess. If your partner confesses they were cheating, you’ve succeeded, but it is important to stay calm and not become aggressive or violent.
Listening to Your Partner
Listen to the kind of language your partner uses.Cheaters tend to use different words when lying about their behavior than when they are telling the truth. Specifically, they will use words with low complexity, make few self-references, and offer more negative emotions in their speech.
- High-complexity language includes “exclusive” words (“except,” “but,” and “without”) and compound sentences. If your partner is cheating, they will probably avoid sentences with lots of information and complex language when offering an alibi.
- Self-references are words like “me,” “mine,” and “my.” These words show ownership and personal responsibility for the story the liar is telling. Cheaters who are telling a lie about where they went or who they were with will be more likely to exclude these words when sharing a false alibi.
- Words that express negativity or negative emotions include hate, sad, worthless, or enemy. These words tend to come up more frequently during stories that are untrue because the liar will feel temporary guilt and discomfort when lying (unless they are truly sociopathic).
Nod as your partner speaks.Nodding is a sign of encouragement and agreement. If you nod your head as your partner speaks, they will be more willing to continue speaking, and feel at ease. With luck, they will divulge that they cheated.
- At the very least, you should be able to get them to provide more clues about their whereabouts and recent activities.
Don’t rush to speak.Many people think that the best way to extract a confession of infidelity is by browbeating their partner with endless questions. However, this will not give your partner the space they need to admit what they’ve done. When broaching the topic of cheating, allow them time to speak. Don’t try to respond to each of their statements immediately with another question, accusation, or statement of your own.
Prime your partner.Priming is a psychological technique in which you frame a person’s thoughts or behavior in a certain way by employing particular words or phrases. Your partner will be more cooperative and willing to help you if you prime them to admit they are honest. Simply ask your partner casually, “How honest would you say you are?”
- Your partner should reply that they’re very honest (especially with you).
- Most people want to imagine themselves as honest, and by helping your partner remind themselves that they are honest (or see themselves as honest) will make them more willing to admit they’re cheating.
Ask your partner to tell their story in a different way.If your partner is trying to hide their infidelity, they will tell many lies about where they are going or where they’ve been, things they’ve done, and people they’ve been with. In order to get your partner to confess – or to gather evidence that your partner is cheating – ask your partner to share their alibi in a different way.
- Liars often cannot tell their story in reverse (ordering the events of the story from last to first), and have a hard time telling their story from a starting point in the middle of the story, too.
- Encourage your partner to recap their story, using the last thing they said happened. Then ask, “What did you say happened right before that?” If they say they can’t remember, or if they offer a different sequence of events than what they initially reported, point out their error. Ask, for instance, “Are you sure that’s where you were?” or “What really happened?”
Tell an incorrect version of your partner’s alibi.If your partner offers you a story about where they were and what they did, retell their story incorrectly, and add some damning detail about their cheating behavior. For instance, imagine you think your partner is having an affair with a coworker. When you ask them where they’ve been, they might say they went out for drinks with their friends. In reply, you could say, “Oh, you went bowling with your friends and coworker?” They might reply, “I didn’t go bowling with my friends.”
- In this case, your partner’s partial denial suggests that the other part of your statement – that they were out with their coworker – is true.
- Your partner will probably catch the fact that they failed to correct the second part of your statement and quickly cover themselves
- This works best if you pretend to be deeply interested in something else like reading a book or watching a film.
Use open questions.Open questions are those which require more than simple yes/no answers. Open questions force your partner to start talking, and the more information they provide, the more evidence you’ll have to draw on later when you try to demonstrate to your partner that you know what’s going on.
- Open questions will also make your partner comfortable, which could lull them into revealing – directly or indirectly – that they were cheating.
- Listen for small details that you can verify later. Check these details out. For instance, talk to the people your partner says they were with to find out if your partner’s story checks out.
Don’t push your partner too far.If you ask too many direct, pointed questions, your partner will probably clam up and prove unwilling to confess that they are cheating. It is normal to ask a few questions about your partner’s day when you both arrive home from work, such as, “What have you been up to?” or “Why are you home so late?” But if you demonstrate that you’re suspicious before you think your partner is ready to crack, you’ll only push them to frustration, and end up getting only sarcastic or obviously untrue answers.
- Stick to natural patterns of conversation. Use the conversation patterns you and your partner had before you began to suspect they were cheating as a baseline for normal conversation.
- On the whole, avoid pointed questions like “What were you doing?”, “Who were you with?”, and “Where were you?”
Avoid using an accusatory, cold tone.Getting nasty or passive-aggressive (or even just aggressive) with your partner will not inspire them to be more open with you. Instead, adopt a light, non-judgmental, and curious tone when asking your partner questions. This will prevent them from suspecting that you suspect them of cheating. If your partner starts to believe you’re onto them, they might take extra steps to conceal their actions and throw you off the trail.
- Stay calm and level-headed when asking questions of your partner. If you are feeling emotional or physically enraged, you may not be ready to have the conversation yet. This can be a hard topic to approach, so wait until you are able to be calm.
Extracting the Confession
Get in their space.Adopting an empathetic, gently approach is usually best, but some people won’t confess unless you turn up the heat a bit and show that you’re in control. Don’t be aggressive or domineering – just make them a bit uncomfortable. Get inside their personal space.
- Bring your chair up more closely to your partner than you normally would.
- Take a small step toward them if you’re standing.
- Lean across the table when you speak.
- These subtle behaviors will shift the dynamic in your favor and could push them to spill the beans about what they’ve done.
- If your partner is violent or if you believe that they will become violent, avoid taking these steps. You may want to call The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 for advice.
Pretend you know exactly what’s going on.If you think you have substantial evidence that your partner is cheating but aren’t 100% positive, you could make your case against them directly in an effort to get them to confess. Find a quiet moment when you’re both home together. Confront your partner by saying something like, “I know what’s going on,” or “I think we should talk about [the person your partner is cheating on you with].”
- You could preface the conversation by offering your partner the chance to confess by asking, “Is there anything you want to tell me?”
- Bluffing can be effective when trying to get your partner to admit they are cheating, but if they don’t buy your bluff, they won’t admit what’s really going on. Plus, afterwards, they will feel more confident that you know nothing about their activities.
- If you bluff your partner but they truly aren’t cheating on you, you’ll look quite foolish.
Let your partner fill in the blanks.When bluffing, guide your partner into telling you what they did by offering details with a narrative built on facts you know for sure. For instance, you could say, “Every night this week you’ve been home really late. You told me you were with friends, but you weren’t, were you?” Then supply the narrative you believe (or know) happened. Your partner should begin to make corrections and fill in details about what really occurred.
React calmly when your partner confesses they were cheating.Even if you’ve long suspected your partner is cheating, it can be heartbreaking and emotionally jarring when they finally admit it. Despite the emotionally charged nature of the situation, do not start yelling or physically abusing your partner. These behaviors are not just immature and unkind – they could also be grounds for legal action.
- To react calmly, breathe in slowly and deliberately through your nose when hear that your partner is cheating. Exhale through your nose and ensure your exhalation lasts longer than your inhalation.
- Excuse yourself to another room or go for a walk to clear your head if you need to.
- Call a friend or family member to let them know what’s happening. The best way you can cope with the realization your partner is cheating on you is to get support from people who care about you.
- Don’t try to catch your cheating partner by analyzing their body language. Truisms like the idea that you can tell if someone is lying because they avert their eyes are not accurate. Body language is rarely useful in helping distinguish falsehoods from truth.
- There’s no fool-proof way of getting your partner to admit they are cheating or engaged in any other kind of bad behavior. Your partner might be cheating even if they don’t admit it.
- If you are constantly suspicious of your partner or if you are unable to trust them, your relationship may be in trouble, even if they are not cheating. You may want to seek help from a relationship counselor.
Sources and Citations
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Video: – This is how you stop your partner from cheating | Esther Perel | SVT/NRK/Skavlan
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