How Do Cheaters React When Accused? (12 Little-Known Ways)

by April Maccario

Have you ever caught your partner cheating? What was their reaction? Did it confuse you? Did it leave you feeling unsure of yourself? If it did, then that’s precisely what he was going for. No philanderer wants to get caught in the act, and like a kid who’s stolen some candy, he’ll look for ways to get out of the situation.

Studies show that generally speaking, men cheat more than women, with 20% of men reporting that they have carried on an extramarital affair as opposed to 13% of women. So, it’s possible that your man has cheated on you and is looking for ways to hide the fact. So, what do you do if you’re suspicious? Well, the natural inclination would be to confront your partner, but how can you tell if he is lying or not? How do people act when they are confronted? 

Those are the questions we’ll answer with this article because if your partner is cheating, you deserve to know so you know the next step to take. Below, we’ll examine some of the common reactions of cheats when they are caught and what their response means.

Ways A Cheating Partner Responds When Confronted 

1. They deny

This one is a classic for a lot of men out there, you confront him with his infidelity, and he says he didn’t do it. Not only that, but he’ll aggressively state that he did nothing wrong and try to make you feel bad for bringing it up in the first place. This is usually very difficult to refute, especially if you have no evidence and are working off a sign of cheating that you’ve noticed. 

Denial is a form of self-preservation because admitting to cheating is making it real, so by rejecting a notion, it stays as a supposition rather than a fact. This is what your partner will try to do to keep things in the realm of ‘maybe’ rather than ‘is.’ Cheats always look for a way out, and denial is the easiest escape route possible. Unless, of course, you caught him in the physical activity, in which case he might ‘it’s not what it looks like.’ 

2. They gaslight

This usually accompanies denial as a handmaiden of sorts, and it is a valuable resource for cheats looking to cover up their infidelity. Gaslighting is a term to describe the act of sowing seeds of doubt in a person’s mind about their opinion or perception of someone or something. As a result, the person starts to doubt their memory or the things they’ve seen. 

For example, you find text messages from someone else on his phone that is pretty suggestive, and you confront him about it, the next thing you hear is ‘you’re overthinking it, it’s not what you think’ Furthermore, they try to make you feel you’re hurting them by not trusting them enough. 

What’s actually happening is that your partner is looking to take the focus away from what you’re accusing him of and turning it against you. So, be careful when dealing with a cheat as he’ll say all sorts of things to make you feel bad, weak, or even crazy. 

3. They try to turn the tables

No one wants to be caught cheating, and unrepentant cheats sometimes get angry and try to escape the situation by changing the narrative. So, instead of owning up to what they did wrong, they try to turn the tables and make you the bad guy. For instance, they ask questions like ‘where were you last night?’ They probably know exactly where you were, but are trying to get you in the defensive rather than the offensive. 

Hence, before you know it, you’re defending yourself, and the argument is no longer about his infidelity but rather who is doing what in the relationship. This tactic is pretty terrible as it tries to make you the villain and question your loyalty. So, he might claim that he knows you’re cheating on him and that he can’t believe that you'll accuse him after what you’ve done. 

If your partner does this, ensure to end the conversation immediately as it is clear that he isn’t willing to have a mature conversation. Don’t get sucked in as it is not an argument you’ll be able to win. 

4. They make it about them

This is another form of deflection that some cheats use to escape responsibility and blame. So, while the accusation is about what they did to you and how it hurt, they try to make it about them. An example is complaining about how badly your sex life has been going recently and that it hurt him and made him suffer

This way, he is looking to justify his infidelity and insinuate that you are somehow at fault for what happened. Firstly, your partner’s infidelity in a relationship is never your fault, so don’t let him convince you of this. So, if he plays this card and tries to act like the victim, you should make it clear that you are not to blame. 

Sex is important in any relationship, and it might be true that your intimacy has suffered a dip for one reason or the other, but that is never an excuse to cheat, and you should make this clear to him. 

5. They lie about the frequency

In this case, he might admit that he has indeed been with someone other than you but claim that it’s a one-time thing that happened during a moment of weakness. This is in a bid to make it seem less than it is and convince you that it can be notched off as a lapse in judgment by doing it just once. 

Here’s the thing; this could be a lie, and it could also be the truth, but, regardless of what it is, trying to diminish what he did is a jerk move and should worry you. This is because whether he cheated once, ten times, or a hundred times, they all hurt, and it shouldn’t have been done in the first place. 

So, anything less than an admission of guilt and a willingness to do better is unacceptable

6. They say it won’t happen again

If you go through your man’s cell phone records and find evidence that he’s been cheating and confront him about it, he might admit to it and claim he’ll never do it again. In such a situation, it’s imperative that he admits to it rather than deny or gaslight you, but how much can you trust his assertion? 

The unfortunate truth is that studies show that men who have cheated before are likely to cheat again, so why would he be so different? This is why when he apologizes and makes this claim, you need to be wary, as while he might have the best intentions, he may not be able to follow through. 

You may also like to observe his behavior afterward to see if anything comes up as a red flag. Lastly, if you believe in your spouse, and have faith in his potential to be better, then you can give him another chance and see how things play out.

7. They blame the other party

This reaction is particularly abhorrent, so, you find out that your partner cheated in the relationship and confront him about it. However, instead of taking responsibility, he instead blames the other party. For instance, he might say things like ‘she came onto me first,’ or ‘she made me do it.’ These are all statements that seek to deflect the situation and lay blame at the feet of someone else. 

It is possible that the third party made moves, or initiated the affair, but except she assaulted your partner, his involvement suggests complicity. Also, trying to place the blame elsewhere is a cowardly move, and it shows that he is unworthy of trust. 

They blame the other party

Furthermore, this tactic tends to turn you against the wrong person while absolving the culprit of blame, which is why it is unfortunate when two women clash over a guy while he faces no repercussions. If he cheated on you, no matter how willing the other participant was, he is ultimately to blame. 

8. They claim that they weren’t happy

Just as we discussed above, this is a tactic that seeks to make you the bad guy. So, he makes a statement like, ‘but you know I haven’t been happy for a while,’ or ‘You haven’t been making me happy.’ Whatever form this takes, it is a means to protect oneself from guilt and make it seem like your fault. 

Indeed, couples sometimes experience unhappiness along the line, and this could be caused by several factors, including stress, mental state, and so on. However, there are many ways to go about reigniting the spark, and if you man really cared, he’d have tried one of these methods, instead of cheating.

Moreover, if he believed that he was no longer happy with you, he could also have ended it rather than cheating. Therefore, the point is that there is no excuse for what he did, and he shouldn’t try to make this your fault.

9. They break things off

For some men, getting caught is exactly what they want as it gives them a way out of the relationship. In such a case, getting caught is a relief, and you might hear things like ‘I didn’t want to hurt you,’ or ‘I haven’t been happy for a while, maybe it’s better that we end it.’ This tactic is pretty difficult to deal with because your boyfriend isn’t being defiant; you might even see himself breaking up with you as some sort of kindness

As for the cheater, it is a way to assuage their guilt a little and hopefully make amends. Furthermore, it’s heartbreaking when your spouse is caught cheating, apologizes about it, but isn’t willing or trying to work on the relationship, it might make you feel like you don’t matter. 

If he does this, then it’s clear that there’s nothing more to be done, and it might be time to walk away, as painful as that sounds. You won’t be blamed for walking away, plus, if you try to work things out, it won’t work as he’ll either reject you again or cheat with someone else. 

10. It’s just sex

This is perhaps the most annoying reaction you can get from your boyfriend. If he says ‘It was just sex, it didn’t mean anything’ that is not only a lie but a vicious attack against your relationship and what it represents. 

Sex is an essential part of any relationship, and it is a time of vulnerability between the couple. So, for him to say that such an act means nothing, then it shows that he has no regard for you. Does he mean the sex he had with you also meant nothing? 

In addition, it is important to note that by sleeping with someone else, he admits that he felt some sort of connection because they must have talked and flirted before taking things further. So if your boyfriend says its just sex, then he might not be worth the trouble

11. They try to minimize the situation

Cheating means different things to different people, for example, some people believe that buying food for the opposite sex counts as cheating. For others, cheating only applies when there has been a physical encounter between two parties. In truth, all of these are valid, and the most important factor is communication. 

However, because many couples don’t communicate about what cheating means to them, cheats take advantage of it and make it less than it seems. For instance, he might claim that they didn’t have sex, and say the phone records that show him making calls to someone else were just flirting. 

Or maybe they’ve even sexted a couple of times, and he doesn’t consider it as cheating. This is his attempt to foist his values on you, which is unacceptable. So what should you do? First, you should always define what cheating means to you early in the relationship, so there is no confusion. 

However, even when you don’t define the terms of cheating, ensure your significant other realizes that whether he considers it cheating or not, what he did hurt you. If he understands that, then he should apologize and do better; otherwise, there’s no use carrying on with the relationship.

12. They apologize and show remorse

This is perhaps the best outcome of a terrible situation, if you confront your boyfriend of cheating and he apologizes without reservation and purports to do better, maybe it’s worth giving it a shot. As mentioned previously, you should be wary even with an apology as studies show that people who have cheated are likely to do it again. However, if you obverse true remorse and a willingness to do better, then maybe there’s hope for the relationship. 

Your boyfriend may also show his seriousness about doing better by becoming less secretive, letting you have his phone records, exhibiting honesty about his whereabouts, and so on. If he’s able to do any of these, it could be a sign that he is remorseful and serious about never doing it again. 

FAQs

How do cheaters act when confronted?

As mentioned above, there are different reactions, but one of the most common ones is to deny it. Some will try to gaslight you, or in some cases, own up to it and do better moving forward. 

How do cheaters feel when caught?

For a lot of them, the prevailing feeling is guilt because they know they have done something wrong. A good boyfriend will try to do better and, most of all, feel remorseful for the hurt they have caused. On the other hand, some people feel relief as they finally have a way out of the relationship.

How do guilty cheaters act?

Guilty cheats usually act aggressively when they deny it. Sometimes, they don’t answer the allegation, but instead, retort with statements like ‘I can’t believe you don’t trust me.’ This way, they can place some doubt in your mind and act like they did nothing wrong. 

What to do when you are falsely accused?

It’s important to know what brought about the accusation, for instance, your boyfriend might accuse you of cheating because your behavior has changed somehow. If so, reassure him and explain why there has been a change. However, if the accusation is because he’s trying to take attention away from something he’s doing, then it’s better to end the conversation.

Do cheaters feel guilty?

Yes, most cheats realize that they are hurting you by sleeping with someone that’s not you, they probably feel guilty for it. However, people respond to guilt differently, for some, they push it down and deny it, and for others, they own up to it and show remorse.

To Conclude

I hope you enjoyed the list. If you have any thoughts you’d like to share, then please leave a comment. If you found this article helpful, would you mind sharing it? Lastly, you don’t deserve to be cheated on, neither is it your fault, always remember that.

April Maccario
I'm a huge nerd when it comes to understanding how relationships between men and women work, and what drives a certain behavior. I spend much of my time getting into the nitty-gritty and try to share my findings on this site with the hope of making life a little easier for women that are struggling in their relationships or love life.

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