How Do We Cope if My Wife Thinks I Cheated on Her but I Didn't?

by Kathryn Rateliff Barr

Many marriages experience infidelity, accounting for approximately 50 percent of couples entering marital counseling, according to “Infidelity” on the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy website. Infidelity can harm a marriage and the mental health of the partners, but so can a false accusation of infidelity, according to the legal firm of Doyle and Doyle in “Ten Signs of a Cheating Spouse.”

Ask Why She’s Accusing You

You could be doing one or more things that cause your wife to believe you are cheating, such as having meals or drinks with a female co-worker or friend, engaging in private conversations or texts on your phone, hiding your internet activities or working late more often than normal, suggests Doyle and Doyle. If your wife sees you kiss, hug or financially support another woman, she might also interpret that as cheating, according to a 2013 study in the “Evolutionary Psychology” journal. Other reasons include that she’s looking for an exit from your marriage, wanting attention and emotional support from others, or looking for a way to control you, suggests clinical psychologist Dr Tara J. Palmatier, Psy.D., on the website. If you know why she is accusing you, you can decide how to approach and reassure her.

Become an Open Book

Open your life to your wife if there are things she has identified as reasons why she thinks you are cheating, such as letting her peruse your email and chat history, your cell phone and credit card statements and your time log at work, suggests the Nationally Healthy Marriage Resource Center in “Rebuilding Trust in Your Marriage After an Affair.” Demonstrate that your activities are innocent and she has nothing to fear. Unfortunately, if she has no desire to look at the evidence objectively or is looking for a way out, no amount of concrete proof could change her mind, according to clinical psychologist Dr. George Simon, Ph.D., in “Delusional Jealousy: Husband Wrongfully Suspects Me of Cheating.”

Seek Marital Counseling

Ask your wife to attend marital counseling with you to work on whatever issues cause her to accuse you of cheating, suggests marriage counselor Kim Leatherdale, L.P.C. in “Accused of Cheating and You’re Not?” If she’s an accomplished liar, she might convince the therapist that you’re cheating, writes Palmatier, so you might want to bring whatever proof you have of your honesty. The therapist could determine that your wife is delusional, trying to punish you or deflecting attention toward you because she is cheating or wants to.

Exit the Marriage

If counseling doesn’t put an end to the false accusations, you might decide that a divorce is the best way to proceed to save your sanity, reputation and job. Don’t let her accusations spur you into cheating, believing that if you’re going to be accused you might as well do it, suggests Leatherdale. You’re better off out of the relationship than remaining in a relationship where you can’t win.

About the Author

Rev. Kathryn Rateliff Barr has taught birth, parenting, vaccinations and alternative medicine classes since 1994. She is a pastoral family counselor and has parented birth, step, adopted and foster children. She holds bachelor's degrees in English and history from Centenary College of Louisiana. Studies include midwifery, naturopathy and other alternative therapies.

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