Why Am I Paranoid About My Partner Cheating? 5 Places Your Anxiety Might Be Coming From

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I’m a firm believer in trusting my gut, but that hasn't always been the case. I used to overthink everything. At the time, I didn't have the confidence to trust my own instincts and it got me into trouble on more than one occasion. There were a handful of times when I was paranoid about my partner cheating, but I got so caught up in my own head that I just ended up frozen in indecision on what to do about it. I wasted a lot of time that way. It was a tough lesson, but eventually I learned it.

The truth is, your gut is a useful tool because it's an excellent early warning sign detector of things being off in your relationship. The only problem is that it can also be an unreliable narrator. Instinct isn't always great about nuance, so while I do believe you should trust your gut, you do still need to temper it with some thought. When you start to feel that creeping paranoia that your SO may be cheating, it's important to take a beat and consider if there any extenuating circumstances that may be making you feel like not all is well in your romance, but don’t necessarily add up to their P in another V, if you know what I'm sayin.'

Here are 5 things the experts say may be the cause of your relationship anxiety.

1. You're Feeling Insecure In General

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Has something happened in your life recently that may be affecting your confidence? Change can be scary and sometimes, it can show up in a loss of security in your relationship, especially when they are things that may make you feel as though you’ve lost some control of your life, like health issues, losing a job, or the loss of a loved one. “Any of these factors can reduce your sense of inner stability. That can affect your overall confidence in a relationship,” says relationship expert Susan Winter.

2. You Were Cheated On In the Past

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Was a past partner unfaithful? If so, what you’re feeling may actually be projection, especially if your last partner’s infidelity caught you off guard. Being blindsided like that can really put a dent in your confidence and make everything your new partner does seem suspicious.

“When someone has been cheated on before, they kind of develop a bit of a PTSD where they are hyper sensitive to being cheated on again because it was such a painful experience,” says Celebrity Matchmaker Alessandra Conti. “Your partner may be displaying perfectly normal behavior, but if you have been cheated on previously, you may take those actions as red flags.”

3. You’re In A Sudden Sex Drought

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When you first started seeing each other, you couldn’t keep your pants on. And while everyone says it’s normal for that to slow down over time, you just can’t help but feel like it means they are looking elsewhere for it.

Dating coach and relationship expert Nora Dekeyser says that, despite your feeling that a slow down in the bedroom must be a sign that your SO is being unfaithful, it “is rarely the case." "It normally is just due to a busy life,” she says.

If you want things to pick back up, you can make that happen. “Don't always expect your partner to initiate. You can always initiate!" says Dekeyser.

4. You’re Spending More Time Apart

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Has your partner gotten really busy with work or school or had to do some traveling that put some miles between you? If so, that distance you feel from one another may literally just be physical distance.

No one could blame you for feeling like you’re disconnected when you can’t actually connect with one another, and if this is the cause of your anxiety, then Dekeyser suggests seeing if there is some way that you can get involved with that. She suggests looking into working remotely and making it “a work vacation trip for both of you!” If that’s not possible, just work to make the time you are together quality time.

5. Your SO Has Become Distant

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Feeling your partner pull away is a scary business. Why, when you used to be so close and spend all your time together, are they suddenly pushing away? Of course, your mind goes to cheating; who’s wouldn’t? But here’s the thing: It doesn’t have to. Needing a little more personal space is not a sign that someone isn’t still in love with you; sometimes it’s just that. “Not everyone wants to be in constant communication; there are many men and women who just need more time to themselves to unwind after a long work day,” says Conti.

But what do you do if you’re still unsure? Every expert I spoke with gave me the same advice: Talk to your partner about what you’re feeling! Also don’t just jump to conclusions. “Before you assume, get your facts. Do you have any conclusive evidence that your partner is cheating? Are you watching patterns of behavior you recognize as red flags? If so, be brave. Ask your partner directly,” says Winter. Depending on how their answers make you feel, it may be time to check in with your gut again. If it still sounds the alarm, it may be time to heed it and start considering your next steps.

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