Accurately detecting infidelity is more difficult than you might first suppose. On the one hand, if you trust your partner implicitly then you may be blind to the signs that you are being cheated on. On the other hand, trust is an essential ingredient of a healthy relationship, and if you accuse your partner of cheating when they are not doing so then you may inadvertently end the relationship by making such an offensive claim. Read on to discover the eleven most common signs that your partner really is seeing someone else, and find out how to discuss the subject of cheating if you find yourself gravely concerned about your partner’s ability to stay faithful.
1. It is becoming increasingly difficult to get straight answers: When someone is cheating on their partner, it can quickly become difficult for them to keep track of all the lies and half-truths. If you find that your other half is evasive and defensive when you ask simple or fair questions about where they have been, what they plan to do today or whether they had a good night out, this is a warning sign that they may be seeing someone else. Slow or awkward responses may indicate scrambling to make up a suitable story, while irritable responses may indicate feelings of guilt.
2. Your partner is treating you as though you are always in the wrong: People who cheat are seldom remorseless and can be highly confused about their own motivations. As a result, the guilt and other conflicting emotions can sometimes lead them to make desperate attempts to justify the fact they are betraying someone who trusts them. It is particularly common for cheating partners to convince themselves that their drive or need to cheat was caused by serious flaws in their primary partner, and this belief can manifest itself in criticizing, nagging and starting arguments at home.
3. Work suddenly seems to be taking up a disproportionate amount of your partner’s time: Firstly, it is important to remember that there will often be perfectly innocent reasons for spending more time at work. Perhaps a deadline is approaching, or your partner has been asked to take on extra work because someone else is ill. However, if your partner has been spending longer hours at work (or going into work at particularly unusual times) for a long while and has not explained this to your satisfaction, there is reason to suspect that they may be seeing someone else. They could be spending time with a romantic interest they met at the workplace, or your partner could simply be claiming to be at work when they are actually visiting their lover’s home.
4. You notice other new habits that are hard to explain: If your partner’s movements have recently become somewhat erratic or baffling and you are finding it hard to explain these changes, this suggests that something significant is being hidden from you. While it may not be the case that your partner is seeing someone else, you are entitled to expect to be told the full story behind such actions and are within your rights to be both concerned and upset if you are not satisfied by your partner’s story. Cheating partners often leave the house for an event much earlier than is required, stay out later than they claimed they would, and go on vaguely described ‘errands’ that take at least an hour.
5. You are not allowed to touch your partner’s personal items: When someone is trying to keep track of two relationships and one is clandestine, the easiest and least noticeable way to schedule secret meetings and stay in touch is to use email or text messaging. If you have an honest and open dynamic with your partner, it should be acceptable to ask to use their phone or computer if you need to. If your partner appears to panic or becomes outwardly hostile when you want to use one of their personal devices, this is a warning sign that they feel guilty about something that you could see on that device. You should be especially concerned if your partner used to be more flexible and gracious about sharing property.
6. There are unexplained and negative changes in your sex life: It is perfectly normal and healthy for couples to be less interested in having sex at certain times. However, you may start to wonder whether someone else is in the picture if your partner is the one avoiding sex and if you cannot understand why. It may be the case that they are embarrassed about a medical problem. However, if there is no evidence of this then you should be suspicious of any attempts to offer lame or insincere excuses that are offered as reasons why you should not sleep together. You should also be concerned if your partner seems distracted, bored or dispassionate when you have sex.
7. Your partner seems to want to avoid your family and close friends: If your partner is seeing someone else, they may be feeling an enormous amount of guilt and discomfort about this. As a result, they might try to avoid people who are close to you, as they will serve as a reminder that other people still believe you are in an admirable and committed relationship. Even if a cheating partner does not feel guilty, they may well feel frightened and unnerved at family events or dinners with friends when they remember just how many people would want to defend you if the affair was discovered.
8. You notice that your partner seems to be newly preoccupied by concerns about appearance: Self-confidence problems may cause your partner to display a new interest in their looks, but if they seem entirely unconcerned by what you think of their appearance then this is a warning sign that there is someone else that they want to impress. Take note if your partner is constantly buying new clothes without any interest in whether you find them attractive, or if they are spending a long time trying to get ready for mundane trips that does not require looking particularly sharp.
9. You discover a different form of birth control: If you do not use birth control because you are trying to have children or because one of you is infertile, finding birth control is an obvious warning sign that your partner is seeing someone else. You should also be concerned if you find condoms at a time when hormonal birth control is your regular form of contraception.
10. You are feeling ignored or unappreciated: Many problems in a relationship can lead to one party feeling as though it is difficult to get attention, but cheating is certainly one of those problems. If your partner is seeing someone else, they are probably doing so in part because of intense feelings of infatuation, and these can lead a person to ignore everything else. If your partner simply does not notice when you put on an attractive new outfit or try to make your home look nice, it is important to ask them to be honest about what is causing the distraction.
11.You notice a new interest in hygiene: Finally, if your partner is seeing someone else then you may be aware of the fact that they have changed their showering schedule. For example, they may head straight for the shower after arriving home from ‘going to the store’. Your partner might be consciously nervous that you will smell another person’s scent, or may unconsciously feel that showering is a cathartic way to wash away guilt. If you want to talk to your partner about whether they are seeing someone else, the first thing you should do is make a sincere and subtle effort to find out whether the concerning behaviours could be explained by something other than infidelity. If you are not convinced by what you learn, sit down with your partner and explain that you want to discuss a very important and sensitive topic. Preface what you say by admitting that you know you may be wrong, and then present your evidence that they are seeing someone else. If your partner admits to seeing someone else but promises to stop and wants to continue the relationship with you, this means you will have to make a very difficult choice. At this juncture, many people find that seeing a relationship counsellor can help them to work through their emotions and figure out the best course of action.