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How to Respond To False Accusations In A Relationship

Respond False Accusations In Relationship

Figuring out how to deal with false accusations in a relationship can be upsetting and stressful, as there has been a breach of trust. So here are some tips, if this happened with you or someone you know. These measures you help to repair the relationship.

What to do when you’re falsely accused.

You’re enjoying a meal at a restaurant and your partner accuses you of being attracted to someone nearby. There’s been an uneasy distance in your relationship and your partner says you’re having an affair. You’re late for a date and your partner accuses you of being with another man or woman.

These or similar accusations may leave you feeling powerless, angry, or confused. Some accusations are more ghastly than others. Being falsely accused of a crime is an Orwellian nightmare of unimaginable proportions. The rate of wrongful convictions in the United States has been estimated to be between 2 and 10 percent, which means between 46,000 and 230,000 of an estimated 2.3 million prisoners have been falsely incarcerated.

How to Deal With False Accusations in a Relationship

This article explores some things to consider when you’ve been falsely accused within the context of a romantic relationship.

How to Respond To False Accusations In A Relationship
How to Respond To False Accusations in a Relationship

Being human means we’re wired with a longing to be seen and understood. It’s exasperating to be accused of something we’re not doing, especially when there’s no surefire way to defend ourselves.

The perception that we’re being unfaithful can feel very real to a person who has an anxious, insecure attachment style, which means not feeling secure in a relationship. If there was a betrayal of trust in the past, it is understandable how the slightest evidence can be amplified in our partner’s psyche. Trust is a fragile thing—hard to build, easy to break.

An anxious attachment style might also be due to past attachment injuries. If we didn’t feel safely connected with our early caregivers, we might be living with the narrative that people can’t be trusted. If a parent had an affair, we may live with the fear that our partner will do the same.

If we haven’t felt securely bonded with a parent, we might view the world through the lens of not feeling worthy or deserving. We might habitually look for evidence that confirms our narrative that a secure relationship isn’t possible for us. It’s not difficult to find evidence that confirms one’s worst fears.

Related: How To Not Let An Ex’s Infidelity Sabotage Your New Relationship

Responding To A False Accusation

If your partner is accusing you of things you’re clearly not doing, here are some things to consider:

It’s important to be honest with yourself. This article assumes that what you are being accused of is indeed untrue. If there is truth in the accusation, even if partially, then it behooves you to acknowledge the truth to yourself and find a way to communicate about it in an authentic and skillful way.

You may not be having an affair, but there may be something that your partner is sensing. Perhaps you’ve become emotionally connected to someone in a way that is diluting the connection with your partner. If so, it’s understandable how your partner might leap to an untrue conclusion. If this is happening, you might explore whether there is something that is creating distance in your partnership, which may be drawing you to look elsewhere for comfort or connection.

Perhaps your partner is voicing the uneasy distance that has been growing between you—and is trying to make sense of it in the only way they know how—”you’re having an affair!” Maybe the kernel of truth is that there is an erosion of intimacy taking place.

A willingness to communicate in an open, heartfelt way may be needed to address the growing distance. Both of you might need to summon the courage to voice what you’ve been missing in the relationship or ways you’ve been feeling hurt, afraid, or neglected.

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John Amodeo

John Amodeo, Ph.D, MFT, has been a psychotherapist in California for forty years. He is a popular blogger for Psychology Today and the author of Dancing with Fire and Love & Betrayal. He has conducted workshops and lectured at universities internationally and has appeared on many television and radio programs.View Author posts