When you get suspicious that your significant other is cheating, be careful not to appear to be paranoid. You have to walk a fine line — you don’t want to make false accusations. It’s a tricky situation and it’s hard to be sure if someone’s cheating, but here are some red flags that may signal that your significant other is cheating:
Related article: 5 Signs He Might Be Cheating
1. Less Sex
Unless he’s Superman, he can only have so much sex. So, if he’s getting it from another source, you might notice. Whether it’s another woman or a porn addiction — even if he’s not cheating — a decrease in sex signals serious issues in the relationship. If your partner who is normally voracious when it comes to sex is now turning you down when you make a move, it’s good to ask why. Approach this delicately and see if it may have to do with hormones, mental health, additional stresses in their lives — or something or someone else.
2. Jumpy Cell Phone Habits and Their Phone Becomes “Off-Limits” Suddenly
In a perfect world, we’d be open about sharing our correspondence with our significant others. Most of the time, we trust that we don’t have to worry about who is texting or calling them. But, if you notice that he is getting protective and/or nervous when he gets calls or texts, it may be cause for alarm.
Your phone and computer should be fairly private things. But when you’re dating someone, it’s inevitable that they’ll have to use your devices at some point. So if your partner starts to guard their devices in a territorial way, you might have reason to be suspicious.
“It’s not unusual for a person to be on the phone a lot. However, if your partner appears to guard the phone when you’re around (e.g. shields it from view while texting or hides it when you walk by), then it’s a possibility he or she is hiding something,” Jonathan Bennett, counselor and co-author of the blog The Popular Man
3. Gushing or Talking About Someone Suddenly
You know that exhilarating feeling you get when you meet someone new and exciting? You want to tell the world about him. One of my exes began talking about a guy a lot near the end of our relationship — he just always seemed to be at her social gatherings that I didn’t happen to attend. Sure enough, after she dumped me, she began dating him.
Even though relationships ebb and flow naturally, if you’re sensing that he’s drawing away from you, then there may be someone else. Emotional disconnect should be investigated regardless of whether it’s caused by cheating. There’s a problem if he’s not laughing or seeming as passionate as usual. It’s hard to spread love/passion between two people, so the person who used to have it will feel it slipping away if it’s being given to someone else.
A more obvious tell-tale sign, according to Shaw, is when your partner starts to distance themselves from you emotionally and intimately.
“Emotional distance can’t be as easily explained by stress or busyness,” she said. “And it can present itself in many ways.
“So if you’re starting to feel maybe your sex life is less than it has been, or you have been the subject of more anger and complaints than seem reasonable in the circumstances, or like your partner has been looking for fault in you… these can certainly all be signs of an affair.”
When asked if partners could be more loving or affectionate due to feelings of guilt, Shaw said in her experience it was more likely to be the opposite.
“I think where there is the one-off betrayal, that’s the thing that can lead to some unexpected presents, because the person is feeling guilty and worried,” she said. “In fact sometimes it can serve as a wake up call and can cause the person to think ‘my heavens, what am I doing?’
“However where someone is sustaining a parallel relationship, in my experience they are more likely to go to a place of distance with their primary partner. More fights are picked, they’re not having sex, not having date nights, going to bed at different times… some of these things can definitely be signs.”
5. He’s Pulling Houdinis
If he’s disappearing, traveling, or unavailable to the point where you are starting to wonder, then he could be cheating. Also, these times tend to take on a pattern because it’s tough to synch up schedules, especially in secret.
Our partners can travel for a million different reasons and it should not be cause for concern. But if your homebody partner is now racking up tons of frequent flier miles, you may want to find out why. This can also apply to you: If your partner is suddenly encouraging you to get out of the house (or even the country), they may be making time to cheat.
“If your partner suddenly becomes permissive of you going out more, working late, and taking trips without any indication that they will miss you while you’re away — and this is a strikingly different response — then they may be using their free time to cheat,” relationship expert Weena Cullins
6. Friends Acting Strange
His friends will certainly remain loyal to him in most cases. They will not let you know what’s going on, but they will definitely be racked with guilt, and their behavior may change slightly when they are around you while protecting his secret.
7. Caught in Other Lies About Other Things
If you catch him in a lie, your trust will naturally be damaged. Don’t hold a grudge — forgiveness is a good thing. You can forgive, but don’t forget. If he consistently breaches your trust, it’s establishing a pattern of behavior that leads to cheating. Do yourself a favor: If he keeps lying, whether these lies are big or small, get out while you can and don’t let him talk his way back in.
8. Been There, Done That
I always say: “Once a cheater, always a cheater.” If he’s done it before, he’s definitely capable of doing it again. It has nothing to do with you, which is why you can’t say that he cheated on his previous lover because she didn’t keep him happy. Cheating is a self-serving act in which the cheater doesn’t take his significant other into consideration. If someone is upfront with you that he’s made mistakes in the past, maybe give them a chance — but make it a long probationary period before you let your guard down.
9. Your Gut Tells You So
Don’t ignore your sixth sense. People are gifted at sensing when something doesn’t feel right. Whether there are red flags in your relationship that are clueing you in or not, if something feels off, don’t ignore this feeling. Usually that feeling is right, and something intangible may have led to you figuring it all out.
Do you have any red flags that you’d add to this list? Would you say that you’re generally good at figuring cheaters out, or do you seem to find yourself getting cheated on often? What sorts of behaviors do you think are characteristic of someone who could be a cheater?