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5 Passive-Aggressive Comments That Could Mean Your Partner Is Cheating

Therapists advise listening closely if they catch a tone with you.

As much as we wish there were, there's no how-to guide to know if your partner is cheating. Sure, you can look for the telltale tip-offs: things like being touchy with their technology, disappearing for extended periods of time, and developing a newfound consistency at "the gym." However, there's no one "sign" that will instantly give your partner away and confirm your suspicions. Because of that, you'll want to pay attention to the details, including what your significant other says. Here, therapists tell us the passive-aggressive comments someone might make if they're cheating. Consider them massive red flags.

READ THIS NEXT: 5 Questions Your Partner May Ask If They're Cheating, Therapists Say.

"You're paranoid."

Unhappy couple having an argument
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If you accuse your partner of cheating—and they are, in fact, being unfaithful—there's a high chance they'll accuse you of being paranoid.

"This statement is often used to try and invalidate the partner's suspicions and deflect from any questions that could lead to the discovery of the affair," says Joni Ogle, LCSW, CSAT, licensed clinical social worker and CEO of The Heights Treatment. "The cheater may be trying to make their partner feel silly and insecure for even thinking that they could be cheating."

It's a way to avoid confrontation and keep the charade going for longer. This comment could also look like, "you're crazy—you have nothing to worry about," "you always read too far into things," and other blame-ridden phrases.

"You're just not meeting my needs."

Couple sitting on opposite ends of bed
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This comment might make you feel unworthy, unattractive, and uninteresting—and that's exactly what it's meant to do when it comes from a partner who is cheating.

"They might say this to shift the blame onto their partner and create a justification for their cheating," says Claudia Delgado, LCSW, an infidelity therapist. "By making their partner feel inadequate, they might hope to avoid any confrontation or questions about their infidelity."

You'll be so busy wondering how you failed your partner that you'll be less likely to notice their sneaky behaviors.

"I need 'me time.'"

Couple arguing on the cough with one another
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Your partner might insist on "me time" as a way to spend more time apart from you.

"It implies that the time spent apart is for their own benefit and not anything else," says Megan Harrison, LMFT, of Couples Candy. "In other words, they are indicating that any activities outside of the relationship are solely meant for themselves and do not involve anyone else—even if this isn't actually true."

They can spend more time with their affair partner while making you question if you're being too needy or clingy.

"I don't need to explain myself to you."

couple fighting and not talking

If you confront a person who's cheating about their sketchy behaviors, they might hit you with this line.

"This statement is often used as an attempt to shut down any further questioning from the partner," says Ogle. "It can also be a sign of defensiveness, which can be an indication of cheating."

An honest partner would be concerned about why you thought they were cheating and talk openly with you about your feelings.

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"You're the cheater."

Couple holding hands at a table having a serious conversation.
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The ultimate passive-aggressive comment a cheater might make is to accuse their partner of cheating or acting in a way that could indicate cheating.

"This is either an intentional ploy from a manipulative narcissist or a projected guilty conscious of a cheater," says Caroline Madden, MFT, a therapist at Counseling With Caroline. "The cheater wants you to be unbalanced and worried more about what you might be doing to give them the impression you are cheating."

Again, the more preoccupied you are, the less likely you'll be to notice their actual infidelity.

Juliana LaBianca
Juliana is an experienced features editor and writer. Read more
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