How do I stop obsessively checking if my boyfriend is cheating?

My dad cheated on my mom for 13 years. I cannot stop obsessing over the fact that my boyfriend might be cheating on me even when I know he isn't. I have full access to his phone, social media, and e-mails. I never find anything, but I'm obsessed with constantly checking just in case. How do I stop this? It's driving a wedge between us.

Lynda Martens
Lynda Martens
Marriage & Family Therapist, MSc, RP, RMFT

Hi Greenville, I respect that you're owning your own overreactions, and that you want to give your boyfriend the respect he deserves. The truth is that some people cheat, and some don't, and our partners deserve the benefit of the doubt unless they show signs they can't be trusted.

The answer here is in two different areas. Basically, if you want to feel differently (more trusting, in your case), you look at your thoughts, and your behaviours.

Your thoughts are stuck... like tires in deep ruts in the road. These thoughts are only habits, they don't reflect the truth. Fear is probably whispering in your ear things like "everyone cheats", or " you're not enough for him". Once you figure out what fear is trying to tell you, picture those words in red next time they come up. Ask yourself what the evidence is that supports that thought (there won't be much...perhaps none), and what is the evidence that doesn't support it (I know lots of good men, I know I deserve love and loyalty, there is no sign of infidelity...). You're learning to refute the thoughts that are connected to the fear. That's the first half. Practise these thoughts.

The rest of the work is in your behaviours. Act as though you trust him. Force yourself to not check or interrogate, and the less you check, the less obsessive and untrusting you will feel. Acting "as if" something if true strangely helps us believe it.

It's possible to change the way we think, and this is turn changes the way we feel. Try this to start, and see a therapist for support and cognitive behavioural therapy if you want to dive more deeply into why this is happening and how to stop it. Good luck!

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

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