Last week, you found a trace of lipstick on your narcissistic partner’s shirt collar, a receipt for flowers you never received, and a series of text messages from a woman you’ve never met.
You don’t want to jump to conclusions, but how many explanations can there be?
It seems obvious that your partner is cheating (again), which means you have to figure out how to confront him.
It’s a daunting situation and one that requires some preparation.
In this article, we’ll explore some effective strategies to use when confronting a cheating narcissist, including reverse psychology, boosting their ego, and avoiding blame.
I’ll also give you a few examples of what you should and shouldn’t say if you want to uncover the truth and get a narcissist to confess.
How to Confront a Narcissist about Cheating?
#1 Work Through Your Emotions
Before initiating a confrontation, you must process your emotions and find inner composure.
Having someone cheat on you can provoke a whirlwind of unpleasant emotions, from betrayal to anger, shock to disappointment.
Dealing with these emotions will enable you to approach the situation with clarity and assertiveness, so you’ll stay focused and be strong enough to withstand the Narcissist’s manipulation.
#2 Gather Evidence
The more evidence you have to support your suspicions, your case strengthens.
Collect tangible proof such as receipts, text messages, or testimonies from credible sources who may have witnessed your partner’s infidelity.
The more evidence you have to prove your narcissistic partner’s been cheating, the better your chances of getting them to fess up.
Reinforce your case by highlighting changes in their behavior that align with cheating. Have they been away from home more than usual, less attentive in bed, or more distant?
Use examples like these to back up your concrete evidence and create a complete picture of how you came to suspect them of cheating.
#3 Plan Your Approach
No narcissist will take accusations of cheating lying down, and you should expect them to employ numerous defense mechanisms, from denial to gaslighting.
They may retaliate by accusing you of cheating first or fly off the handle in a narcissistic rage.
Anticipating these responses will help you remain calm and focused during the confrontation.
#4 Try Reverse Psychology
Reverse psychology is a persuasion tactic that involves influencing someone’s behavior by suggesting or encouraging the opposite of what is desired.
It’s a technique often used successfully on people with a love of power and control, so it tends to work effectively with narcissists.
Consider this: Why would a narcissist confess to cheating? Because it makes them look good, of course!
Using reverse psychology to get a narcissist to admit to cheating might involve saying something like,
“I know you would never cheat on me because you value the relationship so much, but that’s why your recent behavior has been so confusing for me.”
By implying that their loyalty and commitment are unquestionable, you reinforce their perfect self-image, which will make them feel more comfortable and could push them into revealing the truth.
#5 Boost Their Ego
Appealing to a narcissist’s inflated ego can create an environment where they feel more comfortable admitting their transgressions.
Compliments or acknowledgments of their strength and resilience might lead them to boast about their actions and confess to their cheating.
Saying something like,
“Most people I know would try to hide the truth in a situation like this, but I know you’re strong enough to handle the truth no matter what,”
can be very effective.
Alternatively, you might compliment them to lull them into a false sense of security. Something like,
“I’m so lucky to be with someone so sensitive and attentive in bed,”
may encourage them to brag about their other sexual conquests and come clean about their cheating ways.
#6 Avoid Blame
Instead of accusing the Narcissist directly, focus on expressing how their behavior has affected you emotionally.
Using “I” statements rather than “you” statements helps keep the conversation centered on your feelings and prevents them from becoming defensive.
Don’t forget narcissists are incredibly adept at deflecting blame and could quickly turn the situation around if you’re too confrontational.
You’ll find more tips like this in my article 6 Honest Ways To Make A Narcissist Tell The Truth.
How will the Narcissist Respond to your Cheating Accusation?
When confronted about cheating, a narcissist’s reaction can vary, depending on the individual.
However, certain traits associated with narcissistic personality disorder influence how they respond.
Whatever happens, stay composed and seek support from trusted individuals to ensure your safety during intense encounters.
Narcissists have a complicated relationship with the truth out of necessity. Their grandiose self-perception can only survive if all unpleasant feelings, thoughts, and events are ignored or suppressed.
Sadly, that means a narcissist will probably deny an affair even if you have evidence to prove it.
They may create elaborate lies to explain the indiscretions, saying the flowers they bought were for a sick colleague rather than a lover or that the text messages you discovered were completely innocent.
By this point, you’re probably wondering, “Will a narcissist ever admit they cheated?” The truth is, it’s unlikely.
For narcissists to admit they cheated, they would have to admit they’re not perfect, which would challenge their grandiose self-perception and expose their underlying insecurities.
Nevertheless, presenting them with evidence of their infidelity may force them to confront the truth, which could lead to them admitting their wrongdoing.
Narcissists employ projection as a defense mechanism to evade responsibility for unwanted traits or actions. When accused of cheating, they counter-accuse, claiming innocence and shifting blame.
If you accuse a narcissist of cheating, they are likely to retaliate with their own accusations.
They might say something like,
“Cheating? How dare you accuse me of such a thing! I’m offended that you’d even question my loyalty. Maybe you’re the one who has been unfaithful and are just projecting your guilt onto me.”
Narcissists project their imperfections or wrongdoings onto someone else so they don’t have to deal with them or the injury they inflict on their perfect self-image.
Some narcissists refuse to engage when you confront them about cheating and respond by giving you the silent treatment.
They don’t even try to deny your allegations – they clam up and present you with a cold shoulder.
By refusing to engage, they can regain control of the situation, knowing that their silence will cause you to doubt yourself, making you vulnerable to emotional manipulation.
If faced with stonewalling, the best course of action is to withdraw your attention, prioritize self-care, and consider your next steps.
Narcissists struggle to control their anger; negative comments or criticisms can cause them to fly off the handle.
If your partner goes into a narcissistic rage, you could be faced with an explosion of angry outbursts or a passive-aggressive response full of hidden resentment and tortuous silences.
Either way, it can be a dangerous situation, so I would advise you to stay calm and avoid direct accusations.
If you fear the confrontation could provoke a narcissistic rage, you might want to get a third-party involved to secure your personal safety.
Having a neutral person present can make communication easier and prevent the situation from getting out of control.
To better understand narcissistic rage, check out my article What Is Narcissistic Rage? How To Deal With An Angry Narcissist?
Gaslighting is one the narcissists’ favorite manipulation techniques, so they’ll likely utilize it as soon as you confront them. Narcissists use gaslighting to make their victims question their own reality and sanity.
If you confront a narcissist about their cheating, and they respond by saying,
“I always knew you had a vivid imagination, but now you’re making things up! Are you feeling OK? Your behavior’s getting increasingly erratic, and this accusation is the final straw. I really think you should get some professional help before this gets any worse,”
they’re gaslighting you.
The only way to deal with this situation is to hold onto your own truth and trust your narrative.
Talking to trusted friends, family members, or even a professional counselor about your suspicions can help you develop a more concrete narrative that will keep you grounded in the face of the most aggressive gaslighting attempts.
Consider reading my article about Narcissists and how they use Gaslighting.
Shifting the Blame
The Narcissist might respond to your accusations by blaming you for their wrongdoings.
They might claim you never gave them the love or attention they needed, so they are forced to seek it elsewhere. They will make it sound as if they had no option but to cheat and that you forced them into it.
This immediately makes the Narcissist the victim, so it turns you into the offender.
This role reversal helps the Narcissist justify their behavior and maintain their perfect self-image.
If you’re not prepared for this manipulation tactic, you might even find yourself apologizing to them for their indiscretions!
Refusal to Accept Wrongdoing
Narcissists are very good at manipulating situations to make themselves look good, even if that means lying.
If you confront a narcissist about cheating, they may admit to the act but claim they didn’t know they were cheating.
They may act as if they weren’t aware that what they were doing was wrong and that, as far as they’re concerned, their actions were justified and acceptable.
The only way to counter this is to point out that even if such behavior is acceptable to them, it isn’t to you, and you would never have embarked on the relationship if you’d realized your values were so incompatible.
4 Things to Say to a Cheating Narcissist
So, what to say to a cheating narcissist to get them to reveal the truth?
Here a few examples of how you might best phrase your concerns to avoid confrontation and get the Narcissist to admit to cheating:
“I know you would never cheat on me because you value our relationship and our trust. That’s why I wanted to talk to you. I suspect you’re involved with someone else, and I wanted to give you a chance to explain. I trust your judgment, and I believe we can be open and honest with each other.”
“I feel so lucky to be with someone who is so sensitive and attentive in bed and can fully understand why someone else might want a relationship with you, but if that’s the case, we need to have an honest and open conversation about our relationship and how we see it developing in the future.”
“I need to understand what caused you to cheat and what led to this behavior. I feel hurt and betrayed by the things you’ve done, and would be grateful if you could explain the situation to me so we can find a way to move forward together.”
“I’ve always believed that loyalty, trust, and honesty are the foundation of any successful relationship. I feel that cheating breaches those fundamental values and want to know if you share my feelings.”
5 Things You Should Not Say to a Cheating Narcissist
When confronting a narcissist, you should avoid some things, especially if you want the discussion to be open and constructive.
Attacking the Narcissist will only provoke rage and place you in a potentially dangerous situation.
To keep yourself safe (and sane) avoid saying the following things when confronting a cheating narcissist:
“You’re so self-obsessed, you never think about anyone but yourself, so I’m not surprised you think cheating on me is acceptable behavior.”
“You’ve brought nothing of value to this relationship, so it’s no surprise you resorted to cheating.”
“I knew you’d do this to me. The way you treat me shows a lack of respect and consideration for my feelings and our commitment to each other.”
“Everyone warned me about this, but I foolishly believed you were capable of change. I was wrong. Once a cheater, always a cheater.”
“This is all your fault. You love attention so much you just had to find someone else to supply it, didn’t you?”
Are All Cheaters Narcissists?
Not all cheaters are narcissists, but narcissists are more likely to cheat and to do so in a typically narcissistic manner.
When narcissists cheat, they rarely show remorse or guilt, distinguishing them from other cheaters.
The fact that they can justify their behavior means they’re more likely to cheat again, making it difficult for their partners to trust them.
Why do Narcissists Cheat so Much?
Narcissists have an exaggerated sense of self and entitlement, making them believe they are above the law, enabling them to engage in behaviors that others find unacceptable.
They need constant admiration and attention and may struggle to find one narcissistic source capable of providing this in the quantities they demand, so seeking an alternative source seems completely justifiable in their minds.
Narcissists believe themselves to be superior, so may feel that a monogamous relationship is too ordinary for them and that they are justified in seeking a bit of excitement by cheating on their partners.
Will a Narcissist ever Admit they Cheated?
In most instances, a narcissist will refuse to admit they cheated because they can’t accept that they’re anything less than perfect.
They will use denial, blame-shifting, projection, and gaslighting to avoid taking responsibility for their actions.
Can you Get a Narcissist to Reveal Themselves?
While getting a narcissist to reveal their true colors isn’t easy, it is possible if you stick to your guns and maintain your composure.
In time, the Narcissist’s mask will fall, especially if they realize you’re no longer giving them the admiration and attention they deserve.
To speed up the process, you can try calling them out on their lies and inconsistencies, validating yourself when they gaslight you, and focusing on yourself and your development rather than letting them be the center of attention.