After a year of dragging Tanuj to therapy, Shweta finally called the relationship off last week. On the night of breaking up with her boyfriend of three years, she wanted to go out for a drink. I happily obliged. Break ups are always tough, but for Shweta, it was particularly taxing because she spent the last three years proving her loyalty to a man who could never trust her. Like she said that night when I asked her how she was doing, ‘Can’t be with a boyfriend who thinks I’m cheating on him, man!’
Trust is fundamental to the health of a relationship. But, in this day and age of casual dating, NSA hookups and novelty a right swipe away, it’s harder to trust than ever before. That being said, according to this study, trust in a relationship continues to stem from three fundamental factors:
- Believing that your partner is reliable and predictable
- Knowing that your partner has your best interest at heart
- Being confident that the relationship you share is strong and solid
But sometimes, despite being a loving, reliable, patient, loyal, honest and understanding partner, you may end up with a boyfriend who thinks you’re cheating. And as in Shweta’s case, despite your best efforts, you may not be able to convince them otherwise.
If you’re currently struggling with a partner who thinks you’re cheating, you may want to consider if one of the following is the reason why:
You’ve cheated in the past
This is a pretty legitimate reason for your partner to not be able to trust you. If if you’ve never cheated on them, but have cheated on someone else in the past, they may wonder why things would be different with them. You may be clear that the infidelity was a one-off incident for you, but your boyfriend might need some time to believe it.
They’ve been cheated on in the past
It’s not easy to trust again once your trust has been broken. If someone has been betrayed, healing requires conscious effort and a lot of time. If your partner has been cheated on before, he may be transferring his insecurities, anger and hurt from the previous relationship to you. Address this with him, but give him time to heal.
They are possessive
Possessiveness comes from a desire to control your partner. If they suspect that you’re cheating, it could be because they want to be in charge of where you go and who you spend time with. If this is the case, you’ll probably see it manifest in other ways in your relationship too. Maybe your partner doesn’t like your friends, regardless of their sex. Maybe your partner likes to dictate how you should dress, how you should spend your money, where and what you should eat. If you see a controlling streak, the suspicious that you’re cheating could stem from the same place.
There has been some change in your behaviour recently
Relationship coach Melinda Carver told Bustle in an interview that a sudden change in your lifestyle or behaviour could be misinterpreted as a sign of cheating. Makes sense. If you’re in a long-term relationship, and have been dressing the same way for the last few years, but suddenly get a new wardrobe, your partner might wonder who you’re trying to impress. Similarly, if your daily routine has become longer by a few hours, or you’re travelling more often, this too, might raise an alarm.
You spend too much time glued to the phone
Ugh! The phone a.k.a. the devil of this century. Relationships getting impacted by the amount of time people spend on their phones has become such a common problem that there’s actually a name for it! It’s called phubbing. When you snub your partner so you can spend time on your phone, you are phubbing them. And phubbing has made many couples very unhappy recently.
Think about it – if you’re looking down at your phone all the time, taking it with you when you go to the kitchen to grab a bottle of water, or when you go to the loo to pee, at some point, your partner will wonder what’s up. How many Instagram reels can you possibly watch in a day? There must be something more than social media or games that’s keeping you hooked to your phone.
They are projecting
Has anybody ever told you that if someone is suspicious of you cheating, then chances are they are cheating themselves? This study proves the age old wisdom that a partner who is angry, hypercritical or suspicious, is probably projecting their own attraction to someone else on to you. Meaning, if your boyfriend has suddenly started thinking you’re cheating on him, maybe he’s the one with a wandering eye?
You don’t prioritise the relationship over other commitments
Of course, you shouldn’t put everything else on the back burner when you’re in a relationship. But, if you always have something that’s more important than bae, then they’re not really BAE, are they? It’s not okay to cancel on your friends and family, or bail out of work often. But, it’s okay to do it once in a while just to hang out with your partner.
You are hypercritical of them
‘I think you’re cheating on me’ is another way of saying, ‘I don’t think you love me or like me or respect me.’ If you’re hypercritical of your partner, maybe you make them feel inadequate and unlovable. Their suspicion then, may be coming from a place of not feeling good enough for you.
You fight too much and have too many unresolved issues
Remember the study I mentioned in the introduction that said that one of the pillars of trust in a relationship is believing that your relationship is strong. If you fight a lot, and never resolve those issues, then maybe your partner doesn’t believe that your relationship is strong enough to be protected from infidelity.
They are anxiously attached
And finally, they could be distrusting because of their attachment style. People who have anxious attachment style find it difficult to trust others because they don’t view closeness with other people as safe. One’s attachment style is the result of one’s childhood experiences. If your partner has trust issues with most people in their life, it may be because they didn’t have an adult figure growing up, they could rely on.
I write. I read. I do yoga. I hula hoop. I love cats and dogs in equal measure. I'd say the same for wine. My zen motto: "Eat kale for the body, cake for the soul." Find me on IG: @prachigangwani87