Red Flags: How To Tell If Your Partner Is Cheating

By: Mason Komay

Updated October 21, 2021

Medically Reviewed By: Richard Jackson

My Partner Has Been Unfaithful - What Do I Do?
We Can Help. Ask A Licensed Relationship Therapist Now.
This website is owned and operated by BetterHelp, who receives all fees associated with the platform.

Source: rawpixel.com

How to Tell if Someone is Cheating

There are many challenges in a relationship, but one that changes the entire dynamic is infidelity. When one partner is unfaithful, it is difficult to describe the pain and betrayal that come along with the loss of trust. All too often, cheaters are discovered completely by accident. However, there are a few red flags that point toward infidelity in a relationship. See if your partner is guilty of any of the following:

Sign of Cheating #1: They Suddenly Need Secrecy

Someone who is cheating makes it a priority to cover up their tracks. Going to great lengths to get privacy, especially when your partner was previously much more open about things, is a major red flag. 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.

Your partner may find a new interest in security, too, either to keep their items on lockdown or to keep an eye on how near or far you are. 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 just to make sure you don't catch them in the act of cheating.

Sign of Cheating #2: They Change

Cheating is stressful, and that stress often manifests itself through sudden personality changes. If your significant other is not acting like themselves, it might be time to start asking questions. It is pretty 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's interests.

Sign of Cheating #3: Acting Weird and Nothing They Do Makes Sense 

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 have to stay late every night without there being any difference in their professional life? These are signs they might be stopping elsewhere before they return home. Other clues like having to put gas 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: Do Their Finances Seem Off?

If you share a bank account and notice unexplainable transactions, it might be time to investigate why. Keep an eye out for transactions at restaurants, hotels, flower shops, or jewelry stores. Purchases made in these places while you are not around should encourage you to look deeper into the situation.

While infidelity will 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, look into things. 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.

Source: rawpixel.com

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 return 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. You know, new clothes, new haircuts, new cologne, etc. If your partner takes a new interest in their appearance for no reason, they may be trying to catch the eye of someone else.

It is 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

As advanced as our modern technology is, the privacy it offers creates a breeding ground for infidelity. With the ability to erase text messages, edit contact information, and assign special ringtones to certain people, your partner can easily hide an ongoing affair.

Features like text messaging, Facetime, and email mean your partner can have constant access to someone else without your knowledge. The conversation never has to stop unless they put the phone down. If it seems like your partner always needs to be on their phone or any other technology device, you might want to ask them about where they are directing their attention.

Sign of Cheating #7: They Ward Off Intimacy and Sex

A partner who is getting all their intimate needs met elsewhere usually lacks 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 are dealing with one of the major signs your partner is cheating.

Often, the lack of intimacy goes beyond the bedroom too. If it is challenging to have a long, meaningful conversation with your partner or if they do not 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 #7: Their Morals and Behaviors Change

If your partner has a sudden change of heart about a moral issue, you should 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 is 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 #8: They Treat You Different

A partner who is cheating is naturally 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 #9: 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. STDs can happen during infidelity for a variety of reasons, including a partner wanting to cover their tracks by refusing to buy protection. 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.

My Partner Has Been Unfaithful - What Do I Do?
We Can Help. Ask A Licensed Relationship Therapist Now.

Source: rawpixel.com

In the case of the latter, speaking with a licensed therapist can help you get through the breakup in the healthiest way possible. If you find out that your partner has actually cheated, and you want to stay together, pursuing couples therapy has been shown to increase marital satisfaction and strengthen the relationship after infidelity.

When to Get Help 

Trying to determine whether or not your partner is cheating is stressful enough as it is, and the last thing you should be dealing with is organizing another appointment to drive to. This is where online counseling services like ReGain offer solutions. With the guidance of one of our licensed therapists, 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. Below are some reviews of ReGain counselors for you to review, from people experiencing similar issues.

Counselor Reviews

"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."

How to Tell if Your Partner Is Cheating Conclusion 

If you suspect 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. However, our licensed counselors have your back, no matter how lonely and betrayed you might be feeling. With our guidance, you can work through your feelings of confusion and figure out exactly how to move forward, in the way that makes you the happiest and safest possible. Take the first step.

    •  


Previous Article

How To Get Over Your Breakup

Next Article

How To Be In A Relationship: What You Need To Know
For Additional Help & Support With Your Concerns
Speak with a Licensed Therapist Today
This website is owned and operated by BetterHelp, who receives all fees associated with the platform.
The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.