Cheating has always been a common plot point in many major media franchises. Be it books, television, or movies, cheating is a way to add high amounts of drama and tension, creating a thrill ride for their audiences.
What's less thrilling is how often it takes place in real life, and how these cheaters still try to think of themselves as having been in the right. They'll say anything so long as it paints them in a better light, even if it means throwing their partner's emotions even further under the bus.
Behind Your Back
Anyone who has ever been cheated on, no matter the duration, method, or emotion behind it, knows how painful it is. Your heart drops, your stomach tenses up, it feels like things are crumbling down around you. It's an incredibly tough thing to deal with, made only harder by the cheater's immediate flurry of excuses.
There's a long list of tactics cheaters will employ to try and deflect, minimize, or brush off what happened, with some of the most common ones collected here. In learning what their go-to comebacks are, you can also learn what to do in response, keeping yourself on the high ground.
This type of confrontation takes confidence, which is something that many victims of bad relationships lack due to the abuse they faced. It's not lost forever though, as this free audio will teach you simple techniques for boosting confidence far above where it's ever been before.
"It didn't mean anything."
Perhaps the most common tactic used by cheaters when they're caught is minimizing the gravity of their deeds. With casual dismissals and hollow justifications, they seek to belittle the pain you're feeling while also playing down the harm they did. They refuse to acknowledge just how much damage they've done by cheating, and how much it has hurt you. Not only do they leave wounds, they leave scars.
If they refuse to own up to their actions, they'll know well and good just how much one foolish choice can destroy a wonderful thing.
The immediate vilification and commanding of a partner's emotions is an attempt at a power grab. Before you can even get into your feelings about the matter, the cheater is already telling you how you feel, preventing you from expressing yourself so they can control the narrative from there on out.
They do this so they can feel like they're still in charge of the situation, even though they know they've lost. If they try to tell you you're overreacting or try to play up your emotions in a bad way, know that it means you've got them on the ropes, and they're struggling to bounce back.
"Do you not trust me?"
When your partner starts accusing you of not trusting them, it's just another tactic to dodge blame. They might try to make you feel like you're overreacting or being petty for questioning their fidelity. They've been so honest and trustworthy elsewhere, why would they lie about this?
If they truly value your trust, they should be open to discussing your concerns and being honest with you. Don't let them divert their guilt by playing mind games. It's a sign that they're not ready to build a healthy and genuine relationship with you. Trust is the foundation, and if they're not willing to uphold it, it's time to reassess where you stand.
"You're just jealous."
This is another attempt at spinning the cheating narrative in a way that makes the cheater seem like the better person here. By attributing your anger solely to jealousy rather than very real feelings of betrayal and heartbreak, they can write you off as being unreasonable or being unwilling to listen to their excuses.
This clearly shows that they're not interested in taking accountability, only spinning things in ways that makes them feel better about themself and their actions. Even if you are feeling jealous, that's not an unreasonable response to your partner giving affection to someone else. Any flavor of 'upset' is valid here!
"You pushed me to do it."
This is the cheater trying to immediately turn the situation around. They know they can't deny what they did or refute the evidence, so they'll claim the root of the problem started not with them, but with their partner. They'll try to suggest that their infidelity is a direct response to their partner's behavior or flaws, but we know that's not the case. Infidelity is a choice they consciously made, and no one else is responsible for it.
Remember, there are healthier ways to address relationship issues, like open communication or seeking professional help, they just chose not to bring those up with you. Don't let them twist the narrative. Hold them accountable for their choices and work towards finding genuine solutions together.
"It was a mistake."
Cheaters often try to brush off their infidelity as a simple 'mistake' to avoid taking responsibility. But let's be real here, infidelity isn't some innocent slip-up. It's a deliberate choice, filled with planning and deception. We shouldn't let them whittle down the seriousness of their actions. It's important to understand that true accountability starts with owning up to what they've done, terrible as it is.
When cheaters face the weight of what their actions, it becomes possible to rebuild trust and mend broken relationships. Rather than trying to brush it off, now is the time for them to step up, take responsibility, and begin the journey of healing (if their partner is willing to give them a second chance).
"I never meant to hurt you."
Cheaters often resort to feigned remorse as a way to gain sympathy, wanting to make their partner feel bad for confronting them at all. While it's possible for genuine remorse to exist, it's important to look beyond mere words. True remorse goes hand in hand with a sincere commitment to comprehending the hurt they've caused, actively making amends, and working towards rebuilding trust.
Don't let a cheater deceive you with empty apologies. Pay attention to their actions and whether they align with their supposed remorse. It's through genuine efforts and a genuine desire for change that they can begin to earn back the trust that was shattered.
"We haven't been intimate."
It's possible that your sex life has hit a rough patch. Maybe you've been feeling less interested or too exhausted, stressed, or unhappy to engage as you used to. No matter the cause, your diminished sex life doesn't justify your partner seeking intimacy outside of your relationship. If they were unsatisfied, there were better, healthier options to express those thoughts to you.
There's likely a deeper problem at play that both of you need to address. Infidelity and your partner's desire for someone else stem from underlying issues within your relationship. If you both genuinely want to salvage your connection, it's important to dig into the root problem and find ways to resolve it together.
"I need time to myself."
This statement on its own isn't a bad thing. Maybe your relationship has been struggling due to one person being overbearing or smothering, but as with many of the reasonable issues brought up in this list, that doesn't mean cheating is the way to fix it.
All cheating ever does is dig deeper holes and make problems even worse. If they wanted time alone, they've now proven they can't be trusted with that time alone. To delegate some space between the two of you, they should have spoken to you about it first.
"I've been lonely."
If you and your partner are facing something like opposing work schedules or just spending little time together, it's possible that one of you decided to change course and seek companionship (and intimacy) elsewhere. Whatever the cause, your partner was feeling neglected, and they have a valid complaint about not having enough time with you. They may have even tried to express this concern before, but you were too preoccupied to take it seriously. That doesn't excuse what they did, but it serves as an explanation at least. Not everyone gets one.
Alternatively, it could be an excuse without much substance, giving them a chance to be fully honest and forthcoming. Either way, it's clear that you both need to address some underlying issues in order to fulfill your respective needs within the relationship. Loneliness is never a justification for infidelity, but it can drive people to make some rash decisions.
"I was seduced."
Using such a statement is a way for the cheater to place themselves in the victim role if they claim coercion. Once they're in that role, any confrontation or claim that they would never have been seduced if they had respect for your relationship now makes you look like the bad guy. But you deserve to be with someone who makes you feel secure. When addressing a cheater, it's important to remind them that you don't want to be with someone you can't trust to resist seduction.
However, this excuse may indicate that your partner was susceptible to another person's advances due to feelings of loneliness or dissatisfaction in your relationship. It's essential to determine whether this response is a mere distraction or a legitimate concern that requires attention.
"You're just insecure."
Gaslighting is a manipulative tactic employed by certain individuals to make others question their own knowledge, memory, or perception of reality. It's a way for them to gain the upper hand and control. In the context of cheating, this could involve denying the act, placing the blame solely on the betrayed partner, or, in this instance, labeling the partner's reaction as unreasonable. By calling you insecure, they want you to think that these feelings you're having are crazy, when that couldn't be further from the truth.
The cheater intentionally plants seeds of doubt, causing their partner to question themselves and feel inadequate. This kind of denial inflicts significant harm on the betrayed partner. Gaslighting can be a form of abuse, and if you start recognizing these patterns, it may be a clear sign that this relationship is no longer a healthy environment for you.
"It was never physical."
Affairs come in various forms, and not all of them involve physical intimacy. What defines an affair is the clandestine nature of the relationship, meaning emotional affairs can be just as devastating. If your partner is investing time and energy in someone you're unaware of, while deceitfully concealing how they spend their time, it's infidelity.
Highlighting that it's not physical doesn't diminish the gravity of the situation. Deception itself is a fundamental betrayal of trust. Whether it's emotional or physical, the impact it can have on a partner and a relationship is immeasurable.
"It will never happen again."
When it comes to promises of change and fidelity after infidelity, it's crucial to approach them with caution. While they may be offered as a way to regain trust and save the relationship, it's important to remember that rebuilding that trust takes time and consistent, genuine effort. It's not something that happens overnight.
Engaging in couples therapy or counseling can be incredibly helpful in tackling the root causes of the infidelity and working towards rebuilding a stronger foundation. These professional resources provide valuable tools to address the underlying issues and foster the healing process. Even more important, though, is effort coming from both sides. If your partner agrees to couples therapy as a last-ditch effort to get away with their actions, it will become clear pretty quickly when they also refuse to do any of the work asked of them.
Talking It Out
You might have noticed that many of the solutions, the advice, the 'things the cheater should have done besides cheating' quips are about communication. That's because open, trusting, and loving communication really is key in a relationship.
Any pair of partners should be frequently discussing the state of the relationship, any worries that have come up, any new boundaries, any doubts. It might feel strange at first, but by keeping everything on the table, both halves will feel safe bringing up issues instead of letting them fester.
Preventative measures are the best ward against cheating. If cheating does happen, now you're armed with the cheater's most common excuses, so you're prepared to refute whatever they throw your way.