Suspecting that your partner is cheating on you may be one of the worst feelings in the world. While you may be very tempted to look through your partner's phone or maybe even catfish them with a fake dating profile, those might not be the healthiest solutions to your problem.
Here's what the experts do recommend you do when you suspect your partner may be cheating.
Take a step back and see if your suspicions are valid.Jordan Madison, LGMFT, says to evaluate whether your suspicions of your partner are valid or whether or not you're letting your insecurities get the best of you. If you don't really have reason to suspect that your partner is cheating, but you start treating them like one, that can cause separate problems.
Don't invade their privacy.It might be tempting to go through their phone to look for evidence that you're not crazy, but Madison says this isn't a good idea. If they're not cheating but find out that you've snooped, it could make them trust you less.
Talk to them."Give them the option to show you the truth," says Madison. Ask to see their phone and see what they say. If they do show you, you can move on from there depending on what you do or don't find. If they don't want to show you, then that also tells you something about the relationship.
Understand that if you do snoop, you should be ready for any potential drawbacks.As QuaVaundra Perry, PhD, and licensed psychologist explains, snooping can often raise more questions than it answers. You might find information that could be misinterpreted without context, or you might find something that increases your doubts.
Think ahead as to how you'll respond.Just the inkling of being cheated on can open lots of insecurities. If you ask your partner if they've been unfaithful and they confirm your suspicions, it's best to plan for the worst case scenario so you're not blindsided. As Perry points out, it might feel good to blast your cheating ex on social media after they admit any wrongdoing, but you may regret it in the future.
Leave it to the pros.If you're really curious, hire a PI. Lisa Ribacoff, a private investigator at IIGPI, explains: "There are things that PI’s can do that are legal and within our scope of licenses where as if you do it on your own, it could be considered stalking and harassment." She also adds that an upside of being a professional PI means that they can submit any evidence and findings to attorneys and judges and have it be considered more legit than if you just found it on your own.
Have an exit strategy.If you're married or share assets, look into getting a divorce lawyer. Alton L. Abramowitz, a divorce attorney with SSRGA, suggests creating a separate email address used only to communicate with your lawyer. This way, he explains, you can freely talk to your lawyer without fear that your partner will learn what you've told your lawyer in confidence.
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This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.