False accusations can be hurtful and hard to deal with, especially coming from your spouse.
And it’s hurtful because when people don’t feel trusted, they effectively don’t feel loved.
So when a relationship enters this kind of territory, it can be difficult for the two partners to get back on a healthy track.
Yet, how healthy was your relationship before the accusations?
Often, trust issues and assumed betrayal of trust indicate that the bond between spouses needs to be addressed and worked on.
Look at recent dynamics between the two of you. Have you both been communicating well? Has either of you recently suffered from stress or anxiety?
Note: Ellen Evans is a professional Psychotherapist with 10+ years of experience in counseling.
Understading a false accusation’s damage
“Pain changes people. It makes them trust less, overthink more, and shut people out.”
This quote amplifies what I’m trying to relay – how pain can damage trust and cause people to shut off, whether before or after a false accusation is made.
In psychological terms, there is a term called attachment injury, which occurs when one person suffers from a lack of secure attachment with someone else.
This usually manifests when a primary caregiver failed to provide enough love and attention to them when they were a child.
If accusations of having an affair reactivate an old attachment trauma, a minefield of painful (and related) issues could erupt.
For example, a man’s accusation that his wife is seeing someone else may flag up earlier childhood wounds for the wife.
So, no matter what she does – whether she defends herself or tries to provide enough evidence of her “goodness” – she may feel deeply disrespected, unseen, and betrayed.
The minefield of infidelity or mistrust may also involve the twisted but true notion that lack of trust grows lack of trust.
In other words, if one partner stops trusting the other, the partner who is being prosecuted may, in turn, start to question their spouse’s motives and perceptions.
How to deal with your spouse’s false accusations
Everyone carries wounds, and typically these are attachment wounds. So, be sensitive when dealing with whatever rises for both parties.
The more compassionate you are with yourself, the more you will be towards your partner. Empathy and understanding both help create emotional bridges and heal the deepest of wounds.
Own your pain. For example, you may say to your spouse -“You thinking that I am having an affair brings up an old wound of when I didn’t feel seen by my mother.”
Besides the option of seeking a couple’s counselor to deal with relationship issues, you may wish to pursue a qualified therapist to help you access and process your feelings.
Make sure you are gentle as well as reflective if you decide to cope alone.
Take some slow, deep breaths, become mindful of your reactions, and start thinking of a way forward.
Focus on your partner
Perhaps your partner has been triggered by your actions or by some other reason, and their perception of you has changed.
They are no doubt feeling insecure and in need of some reassurance. Talk to each other, and seek help as a couple and individually.
In sum, know that some hurt (or old hurt) is likely being activated. Assuming that your marriage is on firm ground, try to be open and inquiring rather than defensive.
You know that you haven’t had an affair. You know your truth. Speak it to yourself and your partner.
Remember that relationships are where we love and risk betrayal (of any kind) simultaneously.
However, intimacy can deepen and solidify when we allow for it, especially when this intimacy is challenged and overcome.
Recommended: What Is Couples Therapy & Is It Right For You?