Loving relationships are best built on trust, so when one partner suspects the other of cheating, it could signal trouble in the relationship. "Psychology Today" magazine reveals that about 22 percent of men and 13 percent of women cheat. With such figures in mind, it's important to determine whether your suspicions are grounded in reality or rooted in unfounded fears.
Know yourself. Have you ever been suspicious or jealous without justification? If so, determine the reason for your distrust. If you've been betrayed or hurt in the past, you might be projecting residual negative emotions onto your current relationship. Becoming aware of this dynamic might help you place your feelings into perspective.
Review your previous relationships. If you've been betrayed in the past, you might be expecting this boyfriend to act the same. Make a list of the differences between your current guy and the previous ones. Remind yourself that your new guy deserves to be judged by what he says and does and not by what someone else did to you in the past.
List the reasons for your suspicions and examine the list objectively. Share the list with a trusted friend. An impartial sounding board can help give you balanced insight into your suspicions.
Check your reasons for being suspicious against commonly accepted signs of cheating. Diana Kirschner, Ph.D., psychologist and relationship expert, suggests the following behaviors are indicative of a boyfriend cheating: taking trips without you; working late; new, solitary hobbies; strange phone calls with frequent hanging up; credit card bills with hotel or gift-store charges; less interest in sex; and argumentative behavior.
Speak to your friends about your suspicions. They can probably see the situation more clearly than you. If they are aware of his cheating, they might share the information they have.
Have an honest conversation with your boyfriend and tell him why you're feeling suspicious. Try to stay calm. Although he's unlikely to confess if he is indeed cheating, you might feel better after you express your feelings. If he is innocent, he might have a good explanation for his behavior.
Decide how you want the relationship to continue. If he was cheating but still wants to be with you, can you forgive him and move forward? If your anger and hurt is too great for you to forgive and forget, it might be best for both of you to break off the relationship.
Take comfort in knowing that "once a cheater always a cheater" isn't necessarily true. According to Kirschner, writing for "Psychology Today" magazine, it's possible to overcome the devastation of betrayal and repair a relationship after cheating has been exposed and the affair is over.
- George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images