Here are some signs that your partner may be cheating on you. Almost nothing can end a relationship faster than cheating on your partner. People often name common habits and personality changes as surefire signs that a partner is cheating, but the truth is that you can never know for sure that someone is being unfaithful without cold, hard proof.
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Infidelity can be very bad for a relationship, so it can be helpful to know some of the signs, such as sudden changes in routine, keeping things secret, and less sexual closeness. If you think your partner might be cheating on you, the only way to know for sure is to talk to them about it in a healthy way so that you can both move on, both as individuals and as a couple.
Signs of Cheating
Infidelity is generally thought of as any physical, virtual, sexual, or emotional affair that goes against what a couple has agreed to in their relationship.1 There are some signs of cheating that are the same no matter what country, ethnicity, gender, sexual identity, or type of relationship you are in. Depending on the type of cheating, how often it happens, and your partner’s normal behavior or habits, there may be subtle changes in their behavior, routine, communication, sexual interest, or desire.
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On the other hand, some people have affairs in full view of their partner. They may use gaslighting, defensiveness, stonewalling, or denial, even if they are caught in the act. Cheating can also happen in non-monogamous, polyamourous, or open relationships when one partner abuses, misuses, or breaks the rules or consent of their main relationship.
1. They can’t stop talking about a new person.
When a partner starts talking about a new neighbor, friend, running partner, or other person, it could be a sign of cheating or a step toward cheating. “There’s always a chance that your partner is just happy to meet someone new and nothing wrong is going on. “But it’s also important to remember that cheating is a spectrum, and there are many different kinds of it,” says Murphy. “It’s not unusual for a new connection with someone to get stronger in a way that at first seems harmless, but then crosses the line into something that is pretty clearly outside the bounds of a committed relationship.”
2. There are fewer feelings of closeness than there used to be.
Any good relationship needs to talk and be honest about how you feel, which leads to emotional closeness. Clinical psychologist Ellen Kenner, Ph.D., tells Woman’s Day that one key sign of an affair is that your partner isn’t personally connecting with you and is instead making excuses to be away from you. Being mentally unavailable is not always a sign of cheating. It can also be a sign of problems in the relationship as a whole. But most of the time, these problems can be fixed with the right amount of work and, in many cases, relationship therapy.
3. They show more love all of a sudden.
Even though it might not be the first thing you think of, a partner who goes above and beyond, whether with public shows of affection, “just because” gifts, or extra housework, can also be a warning sign. Kenner says that your partner may be more “affectionate” toward you because of guilt and the need to hide the affair. “Flowers on their way to you? Gifts? You may smell a rat.”
4. They are making more of an attempt with how they look.
Changes in the way someone looks can be a sign of cheating. For example, if your partner is dressed better, working out more, taking better care of their appearance, or putting on perfume or cologne more often than usual, it could be to attract someone else. Kenner tells you that your partner wants to impress someone. And if it’s not you, they might be cheating on their partner.
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5. They leave more often now than they did before.
Just like looking better than normal is a classic sign of an affair, so is being gone more often. Kenner says, “Your partner seems to have a lot more work that goes late into the night and more calls on the weekend to be at work or on a “business trip.” But what they’re really doing is making time for someone else. Even if your partner isn’t cheating on you, spending less time with each other can be a bad sign that you’re falling out of love.
6. They say that you cheated.
It might sound crazy, but a common way for a partner who has been cheating on their partner to hide it is to try to accuse you of cheating. Suzannah Weiss, a certified sex educator and love guide, tells Woman’s Day, “This can be a way to take the blame off of them and also make them look like someone who really values fidelity and would never cheat on themselves.” But it’s not always about being able to trick someone. “They may really be suspicious because they’ve seen for themselves that cheating can work.”
7. They are taking out a lot of cash.
As expected, money talks. If your partner takes money out of your joint account that is outside of his or her regular spending limit or pattern, you should be worried. Weiss says, “They might pay for their dates with someone else in cash so that their activities can’t be tracked.” At the very least, you should tell your partner where the money is going.
8. They can’t remember what they’ve told you already.
When your partner starts talking to a new person about personal things, it can be hard for them to remember who they’ve talked to. Be careful if they keep asking, “Have I already told you this?” Weiss says, “They may be telling you less because they’ve found a new confidant.”
9. They seem too interested in what you do and where you go.
Weiss says that another sign that someone is cheating is if they ask you a lot of questions about your plan and where you’ll be and when. When do you plan to get home? When are you going to hang out with your girls? You can know where your partner is most of the time, or you can find small amounts of time to hang out with someone else. “They might be trying to make sure they don’t get caught,” says Weiss.
10. They become more protective of the things they own.
“The person who is cheating can sometimes become too sensitive about his or her own things that aren’t shared, like his or her phone, car, or living space,” Lauren Peacock is an expert on relationships and the author of the book Female. Woman’s Day says that Comes with Dog: Stories about Divorce, Dating, and Saying “I Do” is a good book. “For example, if he or she used to leave their phone out while taking a shower, they may start to bring it into the bathroom with them or get very angry when their partner asks to look at a funny video or something else on the phone.” When someone is so protective, it can be a sign that they are trying to hide something — or someone.
11. When you ask if they’re stealing, they lie to you.
If you tell your partner what you think is wrong and they get very angry, that’s not a good sign. “The biggest sign that a partner is cheating is when they are confronted about it and try to deny it by putting the blame on their partner,” says Peacock. “They might say that their partner has “crazy thoughts” because they watch too much TV, but in reality, they’ve just figured out what’s been going on behind their back.”
12. Your nose is trying to tell you something.
Kenner says that a person’s sense of smell can be just the thing they need to figure out if their partner is cheating or not. “It can be a sign if your partner smells interesting or different,” she says. If you smell perfume on your partner that you didn’t put on yourself, there may be something wrong.
13. You start to catch your partner telling small, harmless lies.
Briony Leo, a licensed psychologist and head coach at the relationship coaching company Relish, tells Woman’s Day, “Lies might start up about other, less important things.” Even though stealing might be the biggest lie, your partner might also have to tell a few small lies to hide the affair. “These things could be small, like stopping to get groceries, or they could be big, time-consuming tasks at work.” Of course, your partner could be lying for another reason. But no matter what, something should be done about a trend like that.
14. Sexual intimacy just doesn’t feel the same.
In a good relationship, sex can be a great way to bond. It can also be the first place you notice trouble if one partner cheats. “If you have sex, your partner may give you that thousand-mile look when they’re excited,” says Kenner. You might notice that your partner feels distant even when you’re both naked, or that they have bursts of sexual energy that don’t seem to be related to you. “Your partner is thinking about their lover, not you.”
15. Things just don’t bother them as much anymore.
If you and your partner used to fight a lot, and then all of a sudden they stop, it could be a sign that they’ve given up on you and are interested in someone else. “When you have other things to do, relationship troubles don’t bother you as much. “This is often mistaken for someone getting more patient, but it usually means they are thinking about someone else,” a psychologist in Houston, Texas, named Nicholas Hardy, tells Woman’s Day.
16. They stop talking about what will happen in the future.
“The future is for you and the people you see yourself with,” says Hardy. If your partner has started seeing someone else, that person may no longer be you. “When someone asks if you will be a part of their future, they talk less about their own future with you.”
17. Something doesn’t feel right.
Look, clear signs are great, but sometimes your gut just tells you something is wrong in a relationship. “You know your partner and their ‘tells’ better than anyone else! “So trust your gut,” says Murphy. “If something seems off, like if your partner sounds strange in a way that makes you curious and gives you a funny feeling in your stomach when they talk about that new person they met at the [wherever], it could be a sign that they’re just having a crush, but it could also be a sign that there’s a lot more going on than just a crush.
Are there sure signs that someone is cheating?
There are no sure signs that your partner is cheating unless you catch them in the act. This is why it’s important to trust yourself enough to talk to your partner about any strange things they do that make you feel uneasy. Changes in behavior can sometimes be caused by mental or emotional stress, but they can also be signs of unhappiness or cheating. If you don’t talk about it, you might not find out unless your partner tells you or you catch them in the act.
How to Act if You Think Your Partner Is Cheating
If you think your partner is cheating because of one or two suspicious signs, you should take a step back, figure out if the sign could be caused by something else, and calm down before having a hard talk with your partner.
If you think your partner is cheating, here are some ways to talk to them:
- Get checked for STIs/STDs
- Check to see why you feel this way. Is it your partner’s behavior that worries you, or is it your own fear, nervousness, or bad memories?
- Talk with your partner about what you’ve seen and how it makes you feel.
- Talk to a friend you can trust who will keep your secret.
- Get help and advice from a professional
- Read articles or self-help books by experts you can trust about relationships, cheating, and betrayal.
What to Do If Your Partner Cheats on You
If you find out your partner is cheating on you, you are likely to feel hurt and angry. It’s important to think about how you feel before you talk to your partner. Don’t rush to talk to them until you’ve thought about how you feel and how you want to show it. You might want to talk to a trusted friend or a mental health professional for support and help getting over being cheated on, especially if you’re asking yourself, “Why do I always get cheated on?” and it seems to be a pattern in your relationships.
Do not feel like you have to make big decisions when you are feeling upset. This can make you do things you might regret, like cheating on someone out of anger. There are several direct and polite ways to talk to your partner about their cheating, whether you want to save your relationship or not.
One Last Thing
There is no one way to define “infidelity,” but it usually means a relationship that breaks people’s trust and rules. If you notice that your partner is acting in a way that seems sudden or out of character, or in a way that seems to go against what you and your partner agree is faithful behavior, you should talk about it to make sure it is cheating. If your partner cheated on you, talk to people you trust and think about going to therapy to help you deal with your feelings.
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