The ghost of past infidelities can be hard to exorcise.

Perhaps you’ve witnessed infidelities between your parents while growing up, or have seen plenty of friends’ and family members’ relationships crumble because of unfaithfulness. You may have even been cheated on yourself in previous relationships.

When you are haunted by the ghost of past fidelities, it can be hard to trust again—even if you are involved in a perfectly healthy relationship. It’s completely understandable that you’d feel apprehensive and reluctant to open your heart after witnessing relationship betrayal, but harboring paranoia about infidelity can be incredibly detrimental to your relationship.

Fear of infidelity can express itself in harmful behaviors and habits. You may feel constantly insecure and anxious, and start conflicts out of insecurity rather than concern for genuine issues. You may find yourself nervous when your partner goes out alone, and be tempted to search through their phone and emails.

An irrational fear of infidelities can crush even the healthiest relationships. If you find that you are plagued by a paranoia that a current or future partner may cheat on you, here are some tips on overcoming the fear of infidelity in your relationships:

Stop generalizing. It’s important to remember that every human being is different and unique. Just because a father, mother, or former partner was unfaithful in the past doesn’t mean your current partner will make the same mistakes. Give your partner a chance—don’t hold him or her responsible for someone else’s infidelity.

Talk about it. In relationships, we have an opportunity to help each other recover from hurts and heartbreaks of the past. If you can express your fears about infidelity to your partner, he or she can help you move on by listening to your issues and agreeing to do certain things to help you feel more secure in the relationship. For instance, your partner could agree to call you to check in before coming home late, or promise to try and say “I love you” more often.

Focus on what you want, rather than on what you don’t.  Instead of obsessing over the things you don’t want to happen in your relationship, think about what you do want. You and your partner both have a responsibility to keep each other happy and healthy by making an effort to communicate, listen, and spend time together. Focus on making positive changes, rather than fretting about your worries or concentrating on the negative. Simple changes—such as participating in a new class together or scheduling weekly date nights—can make a huge difference.

Seek professional help. If you are having difficulties shaking paranoia or irrational fears about infidelity, it may be a good idea to seek professional help in Portland relationship therapy. A relationship therapist can help you explore the reasons behind your fear, and give you the tools and techniques you need to overcome it.