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How Do Cheaters Act When Confronted (15 Ways)

In this article, we will look at how cheaters act when confronted and what to do if your partner cheated.

It is very devastating when you find your partner is cheating. Having a cheating partner will leave you with a roller coaster of emotions; you will feel anger, shock, and betrayal.

When you confront a cheater with their unfaithful behaviors, they will exhibit various behaviors often influenced by their personal characteristics, psychological factors, and relationship dynamics.

Confronting a cheater is hard. However, if you see signs of cheating from your partner, it is best to talk to them directly and address the issue immediately.

Understanding how cheaters act when confronted will help you handle the difficult situation.

Moreover, understanding a cheater’s reaction will help you protect yourself, your emotions, and the relationship.

Ways Cheaters Act When Confronted

It is a very emotional and uncomfortable situation for all involved when someone is confronted with cheating.

There are many ways a cheater can act when confronted, some of these ways include;

1. They Deny

One of the most common ways a cheater will act when confronted is to deny. When you confront a cheater, they will downplay their actions or deny them altogether.

Dr. Janice Levine, renowned psychologist and author of Why Do Fools Fall in Love?, says, “Denial and minimization can serve as defense mechanisms, allowing cheaters to protect themselves from the consequences of their actions.

By minimizing the severity of their infidelity, they may attempt to salvage their self-image and avoid feelings of guilt and shame.”

Most cheaters will deny having an affair even if you catch them red-handed. Some will say it is not their fault they cheated and attribute their actions to stress or something else. 

2. They Lie

A cheater will lie when confronted. They may not deny the affair but will lie about how many times it has happened, how it happened, or what it means to them.

A cheater will have an affair with someone for a long time, and when caught, they will say they just met the person, and it didn’t mean anything to them, while they have a whole other life with this person.

They may also lie about what the person means to them. A cheater will say it is just sex and doesn’t mean anything, while this is the person they open up to and complain about your relationship to.

Moreover, a cheater will lie about who the person is if you catch them in a compromising position.

For instance, I had a boyfriend who was cheating on me; I saw these photos of him, his parents, and another lady; when I asked, he told me the lady was a cousin.

A month later, I came to know the lady was his girlfriend who was, in fact, pregnant for him.

3. They Blame-shift

Have you ever had a partner who blames you for everything that goes wrong in the relationship? You are not alone. Some cheaters will blame their partners when they cheat.

For instance, they may say their partners do not satisfy their sexual needs or are no longer passionate and affectionate, so they went looking for other partners.

A blame shifter will blame you for anything and everything, even if it has nothing to do with you. You are always the scapegoat in the relationship.

For instance, I once had a boyfriend who cheated on me. When I asked why he did it, he said I was not adventurous, and I was too busy. Mind you, I was working an 8 to 5 job, and he was not working.

Cheaters will attempt to shift blame onto their partners, citing relationship deficiencies or faults as a justification for their infidelity, like in my case.

4. They Deflect

When you confront a cheater about their actions, they will deflect. When asked about their infidelity, a cheater will change the subject; instead of answering the questions, they will fire back with another question.

Moreover, when a cheater is confronted, they may start an argument about an unrelated problem to avoid discussing the issue.

For instance, when you ask them about their affairs, they say something like, “Why can’t you let me have a nice weekend with my friends? Do I ask you when you hang out with your friends?” Or “Why do you always have to pick fights over nothing.”

A cheater will pick a fight with you over a different issue to avoid talking about their actions.

5. They Get Angry

Some cheaters will get angry when confronted about their affairs. They will get defensive and lash out at you for confronting them.

A cheater will raise their voice, look irritated when you bring up the topic, or even snap at you. It is not surprising for a cheater to hit you when you confront them about their actions.  

Moreover, a cheater will get irritated when you introduce a topic that is mildly related to infidelity and will look for excuses to pick fights even when you don’t direct the accusations at them.

6. They Get Defensive

When you confront a cheater about his infidelity, they will get defensive. They will get aggressive and will try to protect their image.

When you confront a cheater, they will say they have not cheated; they will avoid taking responsibility for their actions because they want to protect their self-image.

The cheater may become confrontational or try to deflect the attention from themselves.

For instance, if you confront a cheater, they may say something like, “I can’t believe you would think I could do something like that.” Or “I already told you nothing happened; stop nagging me.”

7. They Avoid You

When you confront a cheater, they may avoid you because they don’t want to talk about their actions. A cheater will try to distance themselves from their partners physically and emotionally.

For instance, when you confront your partner for cheating, they may move away from you or go for several days without talking to you.

Moreover, if you confront a cheater, they will emotionally distance themselves from you; they will be there but rarely talk to you.

Moreover, they will not want to engage in physical or emotional intimacy. They are putting as much distance as possible between you because they do not want to talk about the problems in the relationship.

8. They Gaslight You

There is nothing as annoying as confronting a cheater who gaslights you. Cheaters are experts in manipulations and will make you think you are going crazy.

When you confront a cheater, they will try to gaslight you into thinking what you know to be true is not or what you saw is not real.

A cheater will deny the actions ever happening even if you caught them with their pants down.

A cheater will do everything possible to make you doubt what you saw or heard. They will minimize their actions, and if they can’t, they will make you doubt yourself and cast doubt on your story with other people.

For instance, if you confront a cheater, they will say nothing happened, and you are being too sensitive; you may start doubting what you saw and ask yourself if you are being too sensitive, as they say.

However, don’t fall for this; you know what you saw, and no, you are not crazy or too sensitive. The cheater is just trying to gaslight you into doubting your reality.

9. They Make Excuses

One other common way cheaters act when confronted is to make excuses. Cheaters will minimize the importance of their infidelity to help them cope with knowing they did something wrong.

According to a 2013 study, cheaters feel bad about their indiscretions but will try to feel better by reframing their infidelity as uncharacteristic behavior.  

One way to avoid taking responsibility for their actions is to make excuses. For example, a cheater will say they cheated because they were drunk or high. Some will say the person they cheated with came onto them.

Some will say they did it because they were stressed and didn’t know what came over them. “It is not like me; I don’t know what came over me; I think it is all the stress I have been under at work.”

A cheater will come up with every lame excuse in the book to try and justify why they cheated.

One of the many excuses men use is, “It’s a man’s thing; we can’t help it.”

10. They Minimize The Actions

This is the most annoying thing a cheater can do when confronted. They will try to make it look like cheating is not a big deal.

While this cheater will admit they cheated, they will make it look like it is not serious, and you should not be upset about it.

For instance, a cheater trying to minimize the action will say, “It is just sex; it means nothing.” Or “I love you, not them; it is just physical with them.”

Some cheaters will also say it only happened a couple of times, so it doesn’t count, or happened a long time ago.

It doesn’t matter what excuses they come up with or how much they want to make it seem like it’s not a big deal; cheating is serious, and it leads to the breakup of many relationships.

According to research, infidelity is the most common cause of breakups, so don’t let them minimize their actions.

11. They Play the Victim

Sometimes a cheater will admit they cheated and act hurt. It is normal for someone who cheated to feel remorseful about their actions; however, some cheaters will make their partners feel sorry for them.

On the other hand, they may try to make their partners feel guilty for being upset about their actions.

According to Tara Vossenkemper, a licensed professional counselor, cheaters will play victims by saying something like, “Why won’t you stop punishing me? I already feel bad about what happened.” Or “You are making me feel like I am a monster or something.”

When this happens, don’t fall for it, the cheater is trying to play the victim card to make you feel guilty for confronting them.

12. They Show Emotion and Remorse

Many cheaters do not show remorse when confronted; however, some have emotional displays.

When confronted about their actions, some cheaters will show remorse and emotions to elicit sympathy and forgiveness.

This emotional display can be a manipulation of the partner’s emotions and regain control of the situation. 

Genuine remorse involves:

  • Taking responsibility.
  • Expressing empathy for the pain caused.
  • Actively working towards repairing the relationship.

It is, therefore, important to distinguish between genuine remorse and manipulative behavior aimed at avoiding consequences.

13. They Take The Sympathy Card Route

Some cheaters may resort to taking the sympathy card route as a manipulative tactic when confronted with their infidelity.

By adopting a victim mentality, the cheater aims to garner empathy and understanding during the confrontation. 

The cheater may emphasize their own personal struggles, insecurities, or emotional turmoil, seeking to justify their actions as a desperate need for validation or emotional support. 

Through emotional manipulation, sob stories, and seeking validation, the cheater attempt to deflect responsibility and shift the focus away from their behavior.

14. They Accuse You of Cheating

It can be very hurtful when someone accuses you of cheating when you are innocent. However, some cheaters will turn the tables on you and accuse you of cheating if you confront them. 

This is a classic case of deflection. The cheaters want to take the attention away from their mistakes by claiming you are cheating even if they have no evidence backing up their claims. 

A cheater will say something like, “What about all the times you go out with your coworkers? Maybe I am the one who should be worried.”

They will accuse you of cheating so they can avoid talking about their infidelity, as you will now dwell on defending yourself.

15. They Can Confess and Apologize

In rare events, a cheater may confess and apologize when confronted. Sometimes a cheater will come clean about their affair when you confront them if they know you have enough evidence about their infidelity.

They may not come clean and apologize because they are sorry for their actions, but mostly because they are sorry they got caught.

As Rihanna says in her song Take a Bow, “Don’t tell me you’re sorry ’cause you’re not, Baby when I know you’re only sorry you got caught.”

So, if your partner confesses and apologizes, you should pay close attention to how they behave afterward. Do they change their behavior, or are they still cheating?

The best apology is to change behavior, so if your partner doesn’t change, they only confessed because they knew you had concrete evidence of their affairs.

In a sincere apology, your partner should take responsibility for their behavior and offer to improve things.

On the other hand, your partner may use the confession to tell you they are unhappy in the relationship and want to move on or make amends.

What To Do If Your Partner Cheated

This is a tricky question, and you have to find the answer yourself.

Many people say they would leave if their partners cheated because once a cheater, always a cheater, while others will stay and work on the relationship.

It is easy to judge when you are not in the relationship because you have not invested in it.

So, the decision whether to stay or leave is ultimately on the person in the relationship because they know what and how much they have invested in the relationship.

If you decide to stay, you should talk to your partner and set up boundaries in the relationship that you should both follow. You should address the underlying issues that led to the infidelity.

Additionally, you can talk to a professional to help you get past the relationship problems that led to the infidelity. They will also help you move past infidelity and forgive each other.

Bottom Line

Infidelity is the leading cause of relationship breakups. It is very frustrating to find out your partner is cheating on you, and you will want to confront them.

However, it would help if you first understood how cheaters act when confronted to know how to handle the situation.

Some ways cheaters act when confronted include; denying, lying, blame-shifting, gaslighting, minimizing their actions, and making excuses.

Moreover, when you confront a cheater, they will get angry and defensive, deflect, avoid you, make excuses, or play the victim card.

Additionally, some cheaters will show emotion and remorse, while others will confess and apologize. You can leave or work things out if you catch your partner cheating.

If you decide to work things out, you should talk to them, create boundaries, and speak to a professional.


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