7 reasons why narcissists accuse you of cheating

Relationships with a narcissist are rarely smooth sailing. They may start off blissful and full of romance, but the tide will quickly change.

Before long, you’ll be riding an intense wave, while trying to stay afloat as your ship slowly sinks. 

As this relationship progresses, you’ll probably be hit with plenty of surprises. This wonderful person you fell in love with is suddenly cold and distant, picking fights at every turn.

During these fights, they might even hit you with accusations of cheating. Why would they accuse you of this with no evidence?

Don’t worry. The narcissist doesn’t need evidence. They have plenty of reasons to accuse you of cheating, and they don’t need to explain themselves! 

Reasons for the accusations

There are a handful of reasons the narcissist might accuse you of cheating. When they make the accusation, it’s probably for one of the reasons below. 


This is probably the first thing you should consider when the narcissist accuses you of cheating. Narcissists cannot cope with their own flaws and mistakes, so they project them onto others.

This means that if they’re cheating, they can’t take accountability for this bad behavior. Instead, they’ll project it onto you, by accusing you of cheating.

Deep down, they have a guilty conscience they cannot face. They feel better about themselves when they attribute the cheating behavior to you, instead. 

In some cases, the narcissist isn’t necessarily cheating, but they could be projecting their fears of cheating onto you. If they struggle internally with abandonment fears, they’ll accuse you of cheating, even if they have no evidence. 

As a form of gaslighting

Narcissists need you to be unsure of yourself so they can continue to control you. They can achieve this by gaslighting, which occurs when they make you question your own perception of reality. 

Accusing someone of cheating when there is no evidence of such is a form of gaslighting.

When the narcissist accuses you of cheating, you may begin to wonder if you actually did something wrong. Worried that you’re somehow falling short as a partner, you’ll make every attempt to be especially attentive and caring toward the narcissist.

This allows the narcissist to get what they want from you. You’re second guessing yourself, and you no longer trust your own judgment.

So, when the narcissist asks you to do something or convinces you something is true, you’ll listen. You don’t even trust yourself anymore, so the narcissist must be right. 

In reality, this isn’t true, but the narcissist needs you to believe it! 

Dealing with jealousy

Envy is the narcissist’s middle name. Difficulties related to envy are one of the core features of narcissistic personality disorder. 

Narcissists tend to be jealous of others and assume others are also jealous of them. So, they’re entirely convinced that other people are jealous of their relationship.

This leaves them worried that you have other potential suitors, and that these people may sweep you away.

At the same time, because narcissists are so jealous of others, they worry that anyone is a threat to their relationship. This means that coworkers, friends, and even acquaintances are threatening to the narcissist. 

When the narcissist is overcome with a wave of jealousy, they might just accuse you of cheating.

Underlying insecurity 

The superior facade a narcissist presents to the rest of the world is a coverup for their underlying insecurities. 

Beneath the charm and grandiosity, the narcissist has a fragile ego and uncertainty about their worth as a person. Since they’re insecure, they worry that they’re not good enough for you.

The narcissist’s insecurities lead them to believe that you’ll eventually leave them for someone else. They’ll accuse you of cheating because this is what they expect to happen based on their insecurities.

Trust issues

Narcissism is often a byproduct of a traumatic or challenging childhood. Many narcissistic people grew up with absent, abusive, or inconsistent parents. 

As a result, they learn to believe that they cannot trust people. If they can’t trust their parents to care for them, why should they trust anyone else? 

Based on their distrust of humankind, narcissists are unlikely to trust their significant others in relationships. At no fault of your own, they don’t trust you to be faithful to them. 

When something triggers the narcissist’s distrust, expect the accusations of cheating to come flying your way. 


The narcissist would rather you have no life outside of them and their needs. When you try to branch out and enjoy other relationships or interests, they won’t care much for it.

So, even if you’re enjoying a night out with platonic friends, or you’re simply working a longer day at the office, they’ll find a way to punish you.

Rather than respecting your time and allowing you to have interests outside the relationship, they’ll accuse you of cheating.

This is a form of punishment because you’re left anxious and defensive. Because of how it makes you feel, you’ll go to great lengths to avoid this accusation in the future. 

In this way, the accusation is a punishment that controls your behavior. You’ll now avoid doing whatever led to the accusation in the first place. 

To manipulate you 

Narcissists rely on manipulation to get what they want from you. They’ll accuse you of cheating as an act of manipulation.

The accusation introduces drama and tension into the relationship. It also confuses you and leads to self-doubt.

The narcissist may even convince you that harmless or innocent actions constitute cheating.

This manipulative accusation will leave you feeling confused and quite undermined. Now, you’ll be easier to control.

Since the narcissist has convinced you that you cannot be trusted, you’re more likely to conform to their excessive expectations. 

How to respond

When you’re accused of cheating, your first instinct might be to apologize or admit to being wrong. With a narcissist, this isn’t the best option. 

Instead, follow the strategies below.

Remain calm 

Yelling or becoming upset will only escalate the situation. The narcissist may even take this as a sign that you are actually cheating.

Take a deep breath, count to ten if needed, and stay calm.

Set a firm boundary

Tell the narcissist that you cannot accept unfounded accusations of cheating. Remind them that it’s unhealthy to accuse someone of cheating without evidence.

Avoid entering a debate

Firmly state that you’re not cheating and do not appreciate the accusation. Beyond this, you do not have to enter a debate with the narcissist.

They might try to throw tidbits of evidence your way, but you don’t have to get sucked in. Remind them you’re not cheating, and move on.

Seek support

Continued, baseless accusations of cheating can take a toll on your mental health. If you’re struggling, there is no shame in reaching out to a counselor to help you process your feelings.

Make some decisions about the future 

You don’t have to tolerate repeated accusations of cheating. If this behavior continues, you might need to decide whether this type of relationship is what you want for yourself in the coming years.

You have every right to walk away from a narcissist who accuses you of cheating with no evidence. 

Related Articles