Hindsight is everything when it comes to cheating. When an affair comes to light, it’s easy to realize the signs were there all along—you just missed them. But signs of cheating, whether the affair is purely physical or emotional, are often subtle.
“Since cheating is cloaked in secrecy, the person is doing their best not to arouse suspicion in their partner,” says licensed marriage and family therapist Lesli Doares, author of Blueprint for a Lasting Marriage. “The cheater’s goal is to not get caught and then have to deal with the consequences. They strive to make everything appear normal.”
Finding out a partner has cheated is never easy - but most people would rather know the truth than remain in the dark about their significant other’s infidelities.
To catch an unfaithful partner in the act or confirm suspicions, people turn to the experts; private investigators, who make it their life’s work to uncover hidden relationships and illicit affairs.
At the same time, people tend to draw conclusions about their partner based on their pre-existing beliefs, says psychologist Paul Coleman, PsyD, author of Finding Peace When Your Heart Is In Pieces. So if you tend to be a trusting person, it can be easy to overlook the less-obvious signs of cheating. Keep an out for these warning signs.
(10) Changes in Your Sex Life
It is not uncommon for there to be fluctuations in the frequency of sex in your marriage. But these signs may indicate the possibility of an affair.
There is considerably less intimacy or connection in your relationship.
Your sex life is practically non-existent.
There are lots of new things introduced in sex that were never before.
You learn that you have an STD and you have not strayed.
(9) A man feels unessential.
A sign that a man is cheating on a woman is when he starts to feel unessential to her.
For a man, feeling essential to a woman is often what separates “like” from “love”. And feeling unessential is a common trigger for pulling away and exploring their options elsewhere.
Don’t get me wrong, no doubt your guy loves your strength and abilities to be independent. But he still wants to feel wanted and useful — not dispensable!
This is because men have a built in desire for something “greater” that goes beyond love or sex. It’s why men who seemingly have the “perfect girlfriend” are still unhappy and find themselves constantly searching for something else — or worst of all, someone else.
Simply put, men have a biological drive to feel needed, to feel important, and to provide for the woman he cares about.
So, when the hero instinct isn’t triggered, men are unlikely to commit to a relationship with any woman. He holds back because being in a relationship is a serious investment for him. And he won’t fully “invest” in you unless you give him a sense of meaning and purpose and make him feel essential.
(8) Their friends don't seem as friendly as they used to be
Cheaters tend to be less careful about covering their tracks in front of friends versus you. And, of course, people tend to confide in their friends. As a result, “there is a good chance your partner's friends may know what's really going on before you do,” Coleman says. Those friends may end up feeling uneasy and anxious around you because they know something you don’t.
(7) They're suddenly paying more attention to their appearance for no apparent reason
Sometimes people decide to focus on their appearance as part of a New Year’s resolution or want to lose weight for health reasons. But they’re usually pretty open about it. “The reasons and timing must make sense,” Coleman says. If your partner is suddenly wearing cologne or spending a lot of money on new clothes, and it was never their thing in the past, it’s “not unreasonable to inquire why,” Coleman says. If their answer doesn’t make sense, it should raise a red flag.
(6) Lying and Avoidance
Dishonesty in a marriage is a red flag. These avoidance strategies may indicate that your spouse may be cheating.
You feel as if you are being avoided.
They don't want to go anywhere or do anything with you anymore.
You find your partner has been lying to you about a variety of things.
Your spouse seems more secretive.
Your partner abandons religious faith.
(5) They don’t have much to say.
“One less-than-obvious sign is if your partner isn’t speaking to you much. It may be a sign they’re becoming more withdrawn and sharing less with you,” says marriage counselor Wyatt Fisher, PhD, who leads a couple’s retreat in Texas.
(4) Money Issues
Almost all marriages undergo some kind of financial stress at one time or another. But you may want to investigate certain money issues when you notice them in your marriage.
You notice charges on credit card statements that don't make sense.
Money becomes more of an issue between the two of you.
Your spouse stops planning for large purchases (such as a trip, buying a house, starting a renovation, etc.)
(3) They’re taking you to super lux places.
Over-compensating, hellooo: “When your partner starts buying you gifts or taking you out to extra luxurious places, they may be feeling guilty and trying to act like they’re so in love with you instead,” says relationship coach Sisanda CJ.
(2) They are angry and nervous around you
If your kind partner is suddenly angry and frustrated with you, know that it’s probably not you they are frustrated with.
Instead, they are projecting their own fears and insecurities on you.
It’s not always evident because some people change over time. Not everyone is who they first appeared to be and it does happen from time to time that one partner finds out the other partner is not who they said they were.
But if they have been in your life for a long time and are getting mad at you for things that don’t make sense, it could be a cover-up.
According to Lillian Glass, Ph.D. in Oprah Magazine, you can tell if your partner is hiding something if “they are rocking back and forth” when they are chatting with you.
This shows a sign of nervousness.
(1) They accuse you of cheating
This is a weird but common habit of cheaters—and there are a few reasons for it, Coleman says. By making your alleged behavior the issue, it puts you on the defensive and takes the focus off of them. It can also make you less likely to speak up about things that seem off because you don’t want to upset them, given that they're already "worried" that you're cheating. And it also gives them a reason to say they need “time away to think,” aka meet up with their lover.
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