Red Flags: How To Tell If Your Partner Is Cheating
Relationships can come with many different challenges, but one that can change the entire dynamic is cheating. When one partner is unfaithful, it can bring painful feelings, a sense of betrayal, and a loss of trust. All too often, cheaters are discovered completely by accident. However, there are a few red flags that can point toward infidelity in a relationship. If your partner is guilty of any of the following behaviors outlined in this article, it’s possible they could be cheating.
Sign Of Cheating #1: They Suddenly Need Secrecy
Someone who is cheating often makes it a priority to cover up their tracks. If your significant other is suddenly hiding their phone screen from your view, locking doors to the rooms they are in, or clicking out of emails or internet pages when you enter their space, they might be guilty of an affair.
They may install passwords on their cell phone, computer, or other devices without telling you or become intensely preoccupied with your schedule. In extreme cases, they might suggest signing up for a home monitoring system or phone tracking app. Their goal with this type of behavior is usually to ensure you don't catch them in the act of cheating.
Sign Of Cheating #2: They Change
Cheating can be stressful, and that stress often manifests itself through sudden personality or mood changes. If your significant other is not acting like themselves, it might be time to start asking questions. It can be common for a partner who is cheating to suddenly become more angry, negative, critical, or even unusually cheerful.
Changes do not happen just on the inside, though. Your partner may also change how they look, how they dress, or even how they talk. Their interests and hobbies might suddenly shift too. While it's normal for someone's preferences to change over time, any rapid or extreme transformation could mean they are trying to connect with someone else.
Sign Of Cheating #3: Strange Behavior
If something about your partner's schedule no longer adds up, they might be guilty of cheating. Did it used to take them half an hour to get home, but now it's almost an hour? Are they starting to claim they must stay late at work every night without there being any difference in their professional life? These could be signs they’re stopping elsewhere before returning home. Other clues like having to put gas in their tank more often than usual, or extra miles adding up on their car could also indicate they are taking trips behind your back.
Sign Of Cheating #4: Their Finances Seem Off
Keep an eye out for transactions at restaurants, hotels, flower shops, or jewelry stores. Purchases made in these places while you are not around could encourage you to look deeper into the situation.
While infidelity can be hard to prove if you keep your finances separate, watch for small clues like a change in spending habits or extra secrecy surrounding their funds. If your once frugal partner is suddenly driving around in an expensive car or wearing pricey jewelry, but their financial picture has not changed, this may warrant further investigation. They might be spending their money lavishly to show-off for someone else, or they might be receiving these things as gifts from that person.
Sign Of Cheating #5: They Are Always Gone
Does it seem like your significant other suddenly always has someplace else to be? Are they making short or frequent trips to the "grocery store" or "appointments," but returning with nothing to show? A partner who is guilty of cheating will often try to find spare time in their day to spend with their lover.
Someone who is particularly confident in their ability to keep their affair secret may stay away from home for long periods of time. If your partner's job suddenly seems to take them away on the weekends or overnight trips, you may want to start assessing the situation.
Sign Of Cheating #6: They Are All Dressed Up
When someone cheats, they tend to go into dating mode. Think of how most people act when they are trying to attract a partner. New clothes, fresh haircuts, and fancy cologne may all be part of the picture. If your partner takes a new interest in their appearance for no apparent reason, they may be trying to catch the eye of someone else.
It can be a major red flag when the changes in grooming happen in areas most people do not see. If they are suddenly preoccupied with how their body looks, or how well-kept their body hair is, they might be trying to impress someone who is looking underneath their clothes.
Sign Of Cheating #7: They Become Glued To Their Phone
If it seems like your partner always needs to be on their phone or any other technological device, you might want to ask them about where they are directing their attention. If they’ve never been one to be on their phone a lot, a sudden change in that behavior could signal they’re trying to stay connected to someone else.
Sign Of Cheating #8: They Ward Off Intimacy And Sex
A partner who is getting all their intimate needs met elsewhere may lack the willingness to have them met where they're supposed to. If your partner no longer expresses an interest in physical touches like hand-holding, kissing, or even sex, you may be dealing with one of the major signs that your partner is cheating. Often, this lack of intimacy goes beyond the bedroom. If it is challenging to have a long, meaningful conversation with your partner or if they seem like they don’t even want to be around you, it might be time to find out if they are meeting their needs for affection elsewhere.
Sign Of Cheating #9: Their Morals And Behaviors Change
If your partner has a sudden change of heart about a moral issue, you may want to ask questions. For example, if they used to believe that sex before marriage was wrong, or that having kids out-of-wedlock was taboo, but suddenly they are becoming much more accepting of different ideas, try to find out why.
If their moral views surrounding relationships, marriage, sex, and loyalty change significantly, they might be trying to justify or excuse their behavior. This can be especially important for partners who used to attend church or religious events frequently, but no longer show interest. They may be avoiding these settings out of guilt or shame.
Sign Of Cheating #10: They Treat You Differently
A partner who is cheating may naturally be drawn to the positive aspects of their new lover. This might make you seem like second-best in their eyes. If your partner is suddenly critical about your looks, your behavior, or the things you do for them, you might want to start questioning whether they are comparing you to someone else.
Likewise, an unfaithful partner may try to take the heat off their guilt by turning the accusations back on you. If your partner has accused you of cheating, not being emotionally or physically available, or changing too much, they might be trying to project their guilt onto you. Sometimes a partner will cheat if they believe their significant other is cheating first so that both parties are in the wrong. Regardless, try to stay far from mind games and watch their behavior closely.
Sign Of Cheating #11: You Have An STD From Sex
If you are showing signs or are diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease, it is time to confront your partner. At this point, their behavior is putting you at risk. If your partner is selfish enough to jeopardize your health for their affair, it is time to take a stand.
If Your Partner Is Cheating…
Some relationships survive infidelity, and others do not. Only you can decide what is right for you and your situation. Regardless of which option you decide to pursue, seeking help from a licensed counselor can be incredibly beneficial. They will be able to help you repair the damage to your relationship if you decide to stay together or walk you through the challenges that come with separation or divorce.
Online Counseling With Regain
Trying to determine whether your partner is cheating can be stressful enough as it is. The last thing you may want to worry about is organizing another appointment to drive to. This is where online counseling services like Regain can be helpful. Online counseling cuts out the need for long drives and inconvenient appointment times. Instead, you have the freedom to reach out to your counselor whenever and wherever you want to. Whether you want to attend counseling sessions alone or with your partner, Regain provides an option for each scenario. Working with your therapist, you can discover the power of healthy communication and learn how to make your relationship stronger and more satisfying.
The Efficacy Of Online Counseling
If you find out that your partner has cheated, and you want to stay together, pursuing couples therapy has been shown to increase marital satisfaction and strengthen the relationship after infidelity. In one study, researchers found that online couples counseling delivered via videoconferencing was “a viable alternative to face-to-face interventions, especially for those couples who may not have connection to the treatment they require.” Results from this study also showed that participants experienced improvements in their relationship satisfaction, mental health, and all other outcome scores over time.
"Jeff has been valuable to our relationship recovery from infidelity and rebuilding a new relationship. His experience and confidence in our recovery were important."
"I would highly recommend Yetunde. I felt a strong connection with her and appreciate her knowledge, expertise and manner in which she worked with my former partner and I. She handled the challenging dynamics of our relationship, and through our work I was able to leave a relationship that was hurting and hindering me. I came to that conclusion not through any direct encouragement, but through doing the work."
If you suspect that your partner might be cheating, it can leave you with a pit of despair in your stomach that doesn't ever seem to go away. Working through these feelings and suspicions can be vital to your mental health. Despite how lonely, confused, or betrayed you may be feeling, working with a professional therapist can help you move forward knowing that someone has your back. With the support and guidance of a Regain therapist, you can make decisions that honor the life you’d like to live and the type of relationship you desire to have.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How to tell if someone or your partner has cheated or is currently cheating?
There can be subtle signs when your partner is cheating. One of the signs of a cheating partner could be more emotional distance in the relationship or becoming increasingly evasive. If your chatty partner suddenly becomes quiet or nervous around you, they could be struggling with feelings of guilt. Sometimes, they may even get angry with you for no serious reason or become overly critical of your actions. If you notice your partner has developed a negative or hostile attitude towards you, then a reasonable explanation may be cheating, although in some instances, other factors could be responsible for this change.
What are the first signs of cheating?
One of the most common signs of infidelity is that your partner no longer gives you as much attention as they used to do. Intimacy may become forced and awkward, and they might act indifferent to being affectionate with you. Some of the other signs that your partner may be cheating include:
- Your partner starts becoming more conscious of their looks and physical appearance and paying more attention or money to beauty. This could be a sign that they are trying to impress someone else and may be cheating.
- When your partner changes their attitude toward technology, like their computer or phone, either by changing passwords on their computer or stepping out when receiving phone calls.
- When your partner starts hanging out with people late or developing habits or behaviors at odds with their personality or beliefs.
- When your partner no longer enjoys going or hanging out with you and would rather spend time with their friends or away from you.
- Your partner discovers a new hobby or activity that they don't want to talk about, but that they give a lot of time and attention to.
- Your partner avoids intimacy and sex with you.
What do you do if you think your husband or partner is cheating?
If you think your partner is cheating, it can be important that you try to seek clarity without holding yourself responsible for their infidelity. However, since most people deny cheating, it may not be enough to take their word for it. Gathering evidence without jumping to conclusions can help you determine whether your husband or partner may be cheating. Open communication about your suspicions can be vital.
Should I forgive a cheater for cheating?
People cheat for different reasons, and while there is no justification for cheating in a relationship, the decision to end the relationship or stick it out is a personal one. Not every couple that experiences infidelity will stay together, but many do. Even if a relationship continues, it may not be the same, and there’s often a lot of effort required to make it healthy again. This effort must come from both partners.
Below are some questions you can ask yourself before making your decision:
- Is this the first time your partner has been unfaithful?
- Was the infidelity a one-time incident, or did the cheating go on for a lengthy period?
- Has your partner accepted responsibility for cheating and apologized for it?
- Have they shown sincere remorse and regret about being unfaithful?
- Has your partner discontinued their relationship with the person they were cheating on you with?
- How close are you and your partner to the person they were cheating on you with?
- Does it matter how many people are aware that your partner had an affair?
- Does your partner understand how much they have hurt you with their infidelity?
- Is your partner open to counseling or any form of professional assistance in resolving some of the issues that led to the infidelity in your relationship?
- Is your relationship and love worth saving?
- Are you always going to think about the infidelity, and would it affect how you relate to your partner?
- Is your partner able to move on from the infidelity and grow as a person?
- Can you trust your partner to remain faithful henceforth after the infidelity?
Your answers to these questions can help you arrive at the right course of action to take after your partner has come clean about cheating.
How can you tell if someone is guilty of cheating?
If you are suspicious that someone may be guilty of cheating, you may be onto something. In the aftermath of infidelity, feelings of shame and regret could spring up, and this could play out in different ways. Sometimes, your partner's attitude may seem different than usual. Just as how your partner may choose to keep to themselves more because they can't bear their own betrayal, a cheating partner could also become overly attentive in a bid to ease their guilt. However, feelings of guilt may not always translate to remorse, and your partner may even feel emboldened to be more carefree about their affair. One way this can manifest is when they feel comfortable chatting with the other person when they are around you. With the rise of social media and online dating services, your partner may even be cheating online with someone they aren't planning to have a long-term relationship with.
How can you tell if your spouse or husband is lying?
If your partner becomes wary of leaving their devices around you or glosses over certain details about their day and who they were with, this may be because there is someone new in their life that they don't want you to know about. Dishonesty is often a sign of cheating, and when your partner's actions don’t match the things they say, then there's a chance they aren't telling you all you need to know. You could also try speaking with some of your partner's closest friends to see if they can corroborate your partner's version of events. If you find out that your partner has been inconsistent about a variety of things, then this could mean they have been lying.
How do you get someone to tell the truth about cheating?
If you suspect your spouse is cheating, it can be important not to jump to conclusions. Before accusing them of cheating, be sure you have all of the facts in order. Try to practice open communication and speak with your partner about your suspicions. During this conversation, you can seek assurance about their commitment to the relationship. A cheating partner may become defensive when you bring up matters relating to infidelity. If their responses to your questions about infidelity are unsatisfactory or suggest a shift in their stance against affairs, then it may be the closest you will get to them admitting they have been cheating. Unless you have some evidence or proof that your partner has been unfaithful, it may be difficult getting them to admit they have been cheating on you. If you have found solid evidence of cheating or know for sure that they’ve been unfaithful, making this known to them may make them come clean.
How do you tell someone you know they are cheating?
If you’ve discovered evidence that someone has been cheating, it can be vital not to jump to conclusions. If, however, you have solid evidence of their infidelity, you can let them know directly that you know they’ve been cheating. Of course, ensure your safety while having these types of conversations. If you’re not sure how the other person will react, tread with caution. Having the conversation in a safe space and being honest about your fears and feelings can be essential to getting to the bottom of the situation. Don’t be afraid to have an impartial party help you work through these issues.
How do you tell if she has cheated or is cheating?
Cheating can come in many forms including emotional, physical, financial, and more. There may be signs that a person has cheated. This could include perceived guiltiness or shame or being overly apologetic for the mundane day to day life things that don’t need an apology. If your partner is being secretive or won’t let you see their phone, that may be a sign that she’s cheating. If you catch your partner in a lie about where they’ve been and who they’ve been with, it could signal infidelity. Every situation is different, and it can be important to be open about the suspicions you have while not accusing your partner of anything.
Is texting someone else cheating?
Since we’re surrounded by technology, texting is a normal part of most people’s lives. If someone spends a lot of time during the day texting someone else, it could be a sign of infidelity. If one of the main aspects of their day is dedicated to engaging in a dialogue with someone other than their partner, that could also be a sign of cheating. However, there are many other explanations for someone being on their phone or texting a lot, so it can be important not to jump to conclusions.
Is it true once a cheater always a cheater?
Some people who cheat do it repeatedly. Others learn from the experience and grow as individuals, never cheating again. Every person and situation are different. If someone can show remorse for their actions and commit to choosing a different path, they may prove faithful after all. Some relationships can survive cheating, while others cannot—it all depends on the specific circumstances surrounding what’s occurred.
Why do people end up cheating in a relationship?
People cheat for different reasons. It could be that the relationship gets boring or there’s something lacking in it. The person could have low self-esteem and desire more attention from another person. Maybe they find that the aspects of their day are filled with fantasizing about being with someone else. The idea of something dangerous or forbidden can become exciting. Sometimes, unmet needs within a relationship can cause someone to cheat. People may seek to have emotional or physical desires met by getting with someone other than their partner. There are many reasons someone might cheat, but none justify it.
What makes a person cheat?
Someone may choose to cheat for several different reasons. Perhaps their relationship feels stagnant, or they no longer feel in love with their partner. Maybe they have physical or emotional needs that their partner won’t or can’t meet, so the person goes searching for those desires to be fulfilled elsewhere. When a person cheats, it may have more to do with their internal conflict than with anything their partner is doing. If you have been cheated on, it’s not your fault, and you are not alone. If you have cheated on your partner, it’s possible to break the cycle. In both instances, therapy can help mediate the problems between two people in pain and help them decide whether to save the relationship.
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