As a marriage and family therapist, I often see couples who unknowingly step into the minefield of each other’s old wounds. False indictments of having an affair or being attracted to other men or women or other bogus accusations can reactivate old traumas. It’s impossible to defend oneself when the accuser’s mind is made up. There’s no way to produce evidence of one’s innocence. Continued protestations fall flat when a partner insists that they’re right and that you’re in denial.
How can we deal with such a quandary? Responding defensively to false accusations may only add fuel to the unfounded attacks. But saying nothing may convey that we’re guilty as charged.
Here are some guidelines that may help soften the cycle of accusations and defensiveness, and the resulting isolation and loneliness. And, of course, couples therapy may be helpful when couples reach such an impasse.