One of the worst feelings in the world is the feeling of betrayal. When it’s a loved one that betrays you it’s even that much worse. Relationships are built on love, respect and trust, or at least they should be. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for everyone. Cheating happens. It happens even to the best relationships. I always say that given the right opportunity and circumstances anyone is capable of cheating. If you recall I wrote an article a while back where I was asked to Define Cheating. In it I spoke about three types of cheating – Physical, Emotional and Mental. So cheating, as we all know, isn’t only about having a sexual encounter with someone. There are different components to it. But how do you know when your partner has crossed the line from being “friendly” with someone else and actually “cheating”? Is he cheating? Well, let’s find out!
Dear Single Dating Diva,
My husband has been talking to a female friend for a while now, the same one. They have quite a close friendship and it makes me very uncomfortable. Why I am uncomfortable with it is because he shows her lots of affection, even more than he shows me at times. He also buys her gifts. When I previously confronted him about it he got very defensive and angry and said that there was nothing between them, that he felt bad for her and that’s why he’s extra nice to her. I don’t buy it. This situation is making me extremely sad and I’m afraid to confront him again because he gets so angry when I mention her. I don’t know if they’ve taken their “friendship” to the next level or not, but either way this isn’t fair to me nor is it respectful. I need to know if I’m just being paranoid or is he cheating on me? How do I confront him again or should I just leave well enough alone?
At The Last Straw
Dear At The Last Straw,
Thank you for your question and I’m sorry you’re feeling this way. It’s certainly not an easy situation that you’re in. I can definitely understand your frustration and sadness. You definitely have every right to feel this way. Relationships should be built on trust and respect and it seems that you’re relationship is suffering as are you. While he’s making this other woman feel special and better about herself, he’s doing the complete opposite to you. The question is, are you just imagining things or is his behavior inappropriate? Is he cheating or not?
Is He Cheating?
Well, as I said earlier cheating doesn’t have to be physical. It can also be emotional and even mental. But how emotionally involved is he with her? It could very well be that they are just good friends and there would be nothing wrong with that. What’s more wrong with this situation, in my opinion, is that he is completely discounting your feelings. He seems not to care what you think or feel about the situation and that’s the real problem. He got defensive when you confronted him the last time because he knew what he was doing wasn’t right. Someone who isn’t doing anything wrong won’t get defensive. Now, this doesn’t mean he’s been physically intimate with her, but he knows that his actions aren’t right. You should be first in his life and it seems that you’re competing for his affections. But the fact that he’s not keeping it a secret is a good sign. At least he’s not sneaking around so he feels he has nothing to hide. He doesn’t feel that he needs to be questioned about his actions.
What you need to do is NOT confront your partner, you need to communicate with him if you feel a line has been crossed and that you are uncomfortable with your spouse’s friendship with this woman. Do not be unreasonable and do not attack, just calmly mention how their actions are making you feel and why. Don’t make it about him, make it about your feelings. Essentially, you need to say that “when you do this, it makes me feel like that”. When you calmly communicate with him about your concerns he won’t be defensive and he won’t respond in a negative way. Speak about how you value your relationship and your marriage and don’t want to see anything get in the way of your happiness. When you approach in the right way you get your message across. Remember that you get more bees with honey.
If he still doesn’t respect your wishes and you truly feel like he’s crossed a line then you need to decide what the right next steps are for you. No one can decide that except you. Just make sure not to make an irrational decision based on emotions. You don’t want to come off as the “crazy lady”, you want to remain calm with him at all times. Don’t give him a reason to lash out at you. Is he cheating or not, well, it’s hard to tell, but he is definitely crossing a line he shouldn’t be crossing and upsetting you in the process. That is the real issue.
I hope this helps!
Readers, what do you think? Is he cheating? Or is this just an innocent friendship? What should she do? I would love your input in the comments below!
Your Sister in Dating Bliss,
Single Dating Diva
Copyright Single Dating Diva
Gets angry when confronted about her? Buys her gifts? I hear a fat lady singing…
so your vote is for “cheating” huh?
Whether he’s cheating on you or not is irrelevant. his actions are inappropriate and he needs to know they won’t be tolerated. Set down firm boundaries and if he wont’ stick to them, then it’s obvious where his priorities are (i.e. not with you). That’s when you have some decisions to make.
Thanks Aaron. There definitely needs to be a discussion about the situation. You’re right, at this point it’s definitely become inappropriate behavior.
Why does he have to hide a lady friend if its an innocent relationship? Its because he knows that this not what he would want his spouse to do to him. Its not right. Receiving gifts from other men is ok, ONLY when those men who are in a relationship have their partners ok to do so. Just looks bad. I mean the other women should really think about what if that happened to her. Would she tolerate that? This guy needs to put his money and effort into his family. If not his wife or girlfriend, then his kids if he has any.
Thanks Apples. A conversation definitely has to be had and intentions clarified. I agree, he definitely should be focusing his attention on what should be his priorities which is his family.
Communication is what needs to happen, not confrontation. Confrontation would put anyone on the defensive! Regardless of whether or not he’s cheating, he’s being an A$$! Treating you the way he is and completely ignoring your feelings about the situation, while building up this other woman’s feelings and self-esteem is wrong. I’d address that issue more so than “is he cheating”.
Bingo! Communication and NOT confrontation is the key. This is about respect and not cheating, whether he is doing anything “sexual” with this “friend” or not isn’t the real question, it’s the disregard for he wife’s feeling that’s the problem.
IMO, cheating is defined by the couple. If she feels that what he’s doing is cheating then he needs to either disagree and move on with his life or comply. Some people are just insecure, so everyone can’t be pleased. However what was described above goes a little farther than friendship in my personal opinion.
I completely agree Q. It is crossing a line, and boundaries aren’t being respected.
There’s a little saying, “trust your instincts”. If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Confronting or communicating will still make a cheating man defensive. Most men don’t think they have cheated until it’s physical but it doesn’t make it right and emotional connections are more devastating to the person being cheated on.
Thanks Kelly. I agree that gut instincts are always the best indicator that something is off. I do have to say that communicating is important, because she has to make him realize how his actions are making her feel. It’s not about the cheating it’s about the relationship dynamic. Thanks again!
While the act of ‘cheating’ is the surface issue, there may be more here then that. The bigger issue seems to be a lack of communication and further more, the knowledge of how to effectively do so. The bottom line is, spend the time to learn to effectively communicate and this situation would never present itself.
Thanks Tristatedate. You make a great point … relationships take work and open communication at all times and that helps you avoid potential problems like the one presented here.
I agree that the issue is how he is discounting her feelings. We can speculate all day about whether or not he is cheating, but we only know one side of the story. This is defending him, we just don’t know the other half of the story. With that said, he shouldn’t just pass off his wife’s feelings. Since it is still bothering you, you need to bring it up again. Holding it in is just asking for bad news. You are going to reach your boiling point and say and do things you will later regret. Sit him down and tell him how you feel. As the author said, make it about you….”I feel like this when X happens” etc. Hopefully, he’ll realize that you are hurting and will do what he needs to do in order to keep the marriage going and strengthen it too.
I think the line was crossed with buying gifts. Fine if they do it as a couple but when he is buying alone there is definitely more there then just friendship. I look at it as if you can’t share what you talk about with your spouse then there is a level of cheating.
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