Accusations of cheating in relationships have existed as long as cheating has existed. Making accusations of cheating existed long before the internet, the telephone or even the pony express. Ancient legal codes often contained remedies for both cheating and accusations of cheating. The Egyptian, Roman, Hindu and Hebrew codes have specific penalties and remedies for dealing with both adultery and the false accusations of adultery. Even Hammurabi’s code of ancient Babylon, addresses the topic. The existence of such laws indicates that cheating and making accusations of cheating have been around a long time. When marriage is sanctioned by law, the law has remedies for false accusations. Despite the long history of cheating, modern society continues struggling with cheating and accusations of cheating.
False accusations have always been problematic, especially with cheating. Once the accusation is made, it seems that people often assume that you are guilty of that behavior. Even in nations where one is innocent until proven guilty, the accusation of cheating somehow carries with it the burden of proving your innocence.
Slander and libel laws are often used as a remedy to false accusations of cheating which come from outside the family. (In terms of legal definitions, libel is anydefamationthat can be seen, such as a writing, printing, effigy, movie, or statue. Slander is any defamation that is spoken and heard.) When accusations are made by your wife or girlfriend they are challenging for you to deal with. The mere accusation carries with it the burden of proving that nothing happened. Even though you may have done nothing wrong, you have the extra burden of proving it.
In the event that you are accused of cheating, proving that you are innocent is sometimes not enough. When the accuser has a different definition of cheating than you do, there are some significant problems. Most couples have different definitions of what constitutes ‘cheating’. Since there is no standard definition of what cheating is, proving that you did not do it poses some difficulties. The accuser may be making their accusation on what they feel or alienated affections, yet you may have a narrow definition of cheating that is limited to coitus with another person.
Assuming that you are innocent the following options are worth considering:
- Hear them out. Then calmly produce evidence proving your innocence.
- Make sure that you and the accused are using the same definition of what defines cheating.
- Character is often a factor. If you have a history of cheating or stretching the limits of what is acceptable, you have an additional burden. Make sure that your reputation or character backs up your claim of innocence. If you have a habit of lying, this is when it comes back to haunt you. Even if you are a liar who tells people what they want to hear in order to avoid conflict, it is bad news.
- Produce witnesses and evidence which back up your claims of innocence.
- Find out what is behind the accusations. If they are being coached by a lawyer or lawyer want to be, there may be another motive at work.
- Reassure them of your commitment and find the sources of their fears.
When you accused, there are some options that you do not want to exercise. These options may sound good at the time, yet the consequences are often disastrous.
1. Ignore the accusations
2. Treat the accusation as a joke
3. Get defensive about the accusation.
4. Attack the accuser to take attention off of yourself.
5. Accuse the accuser of lying, especially in public.
The accusation of cheating may be a sign of something more sinister going on. In such cases, the accusations may be a projection of the accuser’s wishes.
The accusation of cheating may be them projecting their own desires on you. This amounts to them accusing you of something they have been thinking about. When they assume that you are cheating they may be wishing that they themselves were cheating or have been fantasizing about you cheating. Since you are dealing with the ‘desire’ to cheat, the ground rules get weird. They are not always cheating themselves. It could be that they want to cheat, but deny wanting to. It could be that this desire is a part of their own mind that they do not want to acknowledge. Turning the tables on them and making accusations that they are cheating may blow up in your face and be met with a denial of such desires.
In some cases, the accusation of cheating may have a secondary purpose. They may want to make you look bad, in order to dirty your reputation. They may know that you did not cheat. In court room situations, people are often accused of behaviors they are innocent of for the sake of making them look defensive or questionable. It is not unusual for such accusations to occur with contested child custody situations or Parent Alienation Syndrome situations.
Making you look bad may also be part of a plan to get you fired. When people can not be fired for poor performance or drug abuse, people have been known to make up accusations of cheating. Knowing how cheating creates questions in the minds of onlookers, the mere accusation has been known to ruin reputations. The Bible mentions ‘avoiding the appearance of evil’. That advice is important if you want to maintain a good relationship at work. That means you will want to avoid questionable jokes, or making advances that could be misinterpreted. When your business reputation is at stake, it is more a matter of what people think than what you have done. You may want to assume that what others think is no matter to you, when it comes to your business reputation, it does.
When someone close to you makes accusations of cheating, if you want to save the relationship, you will need to take the accusations seriously. Take actions to contain and detoxify the situation as soon as you can. When it comes to accusations, waiting makes matters worse more often than it makes them better.