IT CAN BE DIFFICULT TO CONFRONT a loved one who you suspect is being unfaithful to you. This is especially true if you are dealing with a highly narcissistic partner or someone with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) because they are likely to respond by blame-shifting, gaslighting, and a host of other tactics to escape being held to account.
To discern what’s really going on with a narcissistic partner often means learning to ignore what they say and watch what they do. But what exactly should you look for if you sense your partner may be cheating on you?
For answers, we turned to Genesis Games, a bilingual Licensed Mental Health Counselor and a Gottman trained couples therapist. She operates an online practice called Healing Connections, where she helps people navigate romance, friendship, and family relationships. She also works with high conflict couples, specializing in addiction, infidelity, mental illness, parenting, and divorce.
Genesis shares three ways to see past the smoke and mirrors narcissistic partners use to distract you from their infidelity.
1. Withholding Information
If you suspect your partner is withholding information, Genesis describes what to look for:
“A big indicator is the lack of transparency. Does your partner begin to omit information about their day to day life or expenses? Does your partner become very protective of their phone? Does your partner lie about their whereabouts? Do they tell you conflicting information? If your partner used to be open and communicative and all of a sudden it seems like they are keeping things from you this is a red flag.”
2. A change in language
Another subtle sign that your partner has emotionally checked out is a shift in the words they are using.
“They go from using ‘we’ language to ‘I.'” says Genesis, “Speaking in terms of ‘we’ is referring to us as a team and suggests that they are committed to building a life with you. Language is very powerful, if we notice this change in language we would want to explore the why.”
3. There is increasing distance
You may sense that your partner has somehow moved beyond your reach.
Genesis suggests, “If they begin to create distance, emotional and/or physical, this would also be a significant red flag. The distance might be created by sleeping on the couch, spending time in their home office instead of in common areas where you can interact, shutting down when you try to engage in conversation, flaking on plans you make together, and when you are together picking fights.”
Behavior never lies. If you want to understand what’s going on with a narcissistic partner, be observant, focus on their actions, and you will eventually arrive at the truth. So, how do you move forward, once you’re suspicions are confirmed?
“These are three major signs that something is “off” in the relationship that needs to further be explored, and often come up when infidelity is taking place.” Genesis explains.
If your partner is highly narcissistic or an NPD, confrontation is likely to lead to conflict. Instead, prioritize your mental health and reach out for support from a licensed mental health professional to help you determine the best way forward for you.
Confidential support is available 24/7/365 to anyone experiencing abuse.
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