Heartbreak

How To Tell If He's Cheating (Or If You're Just Paranoid)

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man texting with jealous woman

Recently, you've gotten this sick feeling in your stomach that your spouse may be smitten with someone else, and that he may be cheating on you. His eyes light up when he talks about this new girl at work, and you notice that they're spending a lot of time together.

But it's work, right? Or so he says ...

Late at night, she texts him and they have some funny banter. You think to yourself, When was the last time he was this excited around me?

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Here's how to tell if he's cheating — or if you're just paranoid:

You begin to worry that this other woman has stolen his heart. He's getting dressed up to go to work, and he comes alive when he talks about her. You feel uptight and anxious, but you question whether you have a right to say something about it. What if you're just being jealous and insecure?

You're not sure what to do or how to tell if your husband is, indeed, having an affair.

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You take the plunge and ask him if he has any feelings for her. You mention that he seems very friendly with her, which does not feel comfortable for you.

When you question him, he tells you that you're being jealous and insecure and need to back off. He tells you that he feels controlled by you and he can talk to whoever he wants, saying you have an insecurity problem. You shamefully back off, feeling silly for overreacting.

You begin doubting and asking yourself that maybe you are being jealous and imagining everything. So, you ignore the signs he's cheating and don't let them get to you, thinking that maybe you're just paranoid.

Then, all of a sudden his phone rings, while he's in the shower, and you notice that it's her. You look at his phone and discover they've been sexting each other, exchanging nude photos and that he has been the one actively chasing her.

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All of a sudden, you realize that you are not going crazy and you are not imagining things. You are being cheated on by your partner.

When someone gets angry with you in order to defend their relationship with someone else, there is a strong likelihood that something is going on.

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If nothing else, he's probably interested in her and wants to protect that potential relationship by getting you to back off.

If his fear is of getting caught and losing the relationship with the other woman, then his loyalties are not with you or how you are feeling. This is a big red flag that he's prioritizing the other woman.

Sometimes we ignore our gut feeling that something isn't right. We don't want to believe it when we see something happening before our eyes. So we tell ourselves it's nothing and that we're imagining things.

If someone isn't cheating on you, they will respect the boundaries of your relationship and not cross them.

At the same time, it's true that it can be easy to build up a fantasy that your husband is cheating on you when nothing is actually happening at all.

If your feelings and anxieties are in your head, with no evidence of obvious flirting behavior, then chances are, you could be imagining things that are not happening. This happens if you have deep fears of rejection and expect your partner to leave you.

If you are jealous for no reason, then it's a good idea to learn how to stop being jealous.

The first step is to look at the reason why you doubt yourself and think you're not good enough. Be careful about projecting these feelings and insecurities onto your partner. Avoid thinking that you're not good enough for him so he will find someone better.

Seeing a relationship therapist can also help you deal with these insecurities, so they do not get in the way of your healthy relationship.

If you discover that your partner is cheating on you, you can still work things out if they are willing to be accountable for their actions rather than sticking to defending themselves and their affair.

If they hide their actions and protect the affair, then perhaps you need to ask yourself why you allow yourself to be treated this way.

RELATED: What Having A Cheating Father Taught Me About Men

Nancy Carbone is a relationship counselor who specializes in infidelity and mistrust issues.

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