Whether it begins with a gut feeling, a sneaking suspicion or a change in behaviour, it’s not uncommon to worry about your partner cheating – here’s how to spot the signs.
Every time a famous personality makes headlines for cheating (ahem, Adam Levine and Ned Fulmer), it breaks the internet and everyone takes sides or rushes to judge. But cheating is more common than you may think. Stats suggest that infidelity occurs in approximately 25% of marriages. How can you tell if your suspicions are right and your partner has betrayed your trust? Let’s talk about the red flags of an unfaithful partner.
How do you know your partner is unfaithful?
You may be going off your instincts, but there are usually a few distinct signs that your partner is cheating on you. These fall into three core categories: physical, emotional and indirect. Each can be a subtle indicator.
The physical signs of cheating are the most obvious. This includes spending more time with friends and less with you, avoiding sex, having a random or significantly changed schedule, and changes in their appearance.
Emotional signs are harder to detect but they can give the relationship a feeling of being “off.” Your partner may show subtle changes like becoming less intimate or emotionally distant. They may also pick fights for no reason or be indifferent to you and your relationship.
Indirect signs go under the radar, though they may arouse your suspicions. Your partner may significantly change how they communicate, show a big change in their attitude, or lie about where they are and who they talk to.
Sometimes, cheating signs are obvious. However, most of the time, it’s hard to tell. Perhaps they’re just going through a tough time at work or having a mid-life crisis. But if you notice one or more of these changes in behaviour, you might want to take a closer look at your relationship.
Red flags: Signs your partner may be cheating on you
1. You don’t talk anymore
If your partner’s methods of communication change noticeably in a short period of time, it might be a sign that they’re cheating. This can show up as things like texting when they used to call, calling less, letting your calls go to voicemail, or being unavailable to chat. They may also change how they interact with you: yelling often during fights or talking more with friends and less with you. However, it’s worth noting that these behaviours can stem from other reasons like a busy season at work, mental health struggles, or other underlying issues in the relationship.
2. Everything’s suddenly a secret
If your partner usually shares everything with you but all of a sudden doesn’t want to talk about their day, or throws up a wall in conversation, it might be an indication of infidelity. Hiding where they’re going, who they’re talking to, and generally being secretive for no apparent reason is one of the biggest signs of cheating.
3. They’re possessive over their phone
Ever wonder who they’re texting when you’re sitting together having dinner or watching Netflix? Constant communication with someone else can be a big red flag, especially if it’s not normal for your partner. This can also show up as “hoarding”, where they’ll add or change the password to their phone, take it with them everywhere, or make sure you never see what they’re doing.
4. The routine becomes unpredictable
Schedules can be erratic, but they usually mellow over time. Even if there’s a change in your partner’s schedule, there’ll likely be a good reason for it. So if they start giving you flimsy excuses more often – like traffic jams, flat tires or extra work – they might be up to something that involves infidelity.
5. Vanity is the name of the game
Sometimes, cheaters will make big changes to their appearance. Perhaps they’re putting on makeup for work when they didn’t use to, bulking up or losing weight at the gym, or dressing more stylishly. If they don’t have a catalyst for making a change (like a health scare or a New Year’s resolution), that might be a sign of interest in someone else.
6. Their credit card bill is off the charts
Adjustments in spending habits can happen for good reasons. So when do you pay attention? Perhaps they’re spending more on small purchases like getting coffee from a cafe instead of making it at home. Or going to the extreme and buying an entirely new wardrobe, a fancy car, or expensive jewellery. Raise the red flag if they’re spending a lot more money in places they usually wouldn’t – and they can’t explain why.
So you’re sure they’re cheating: What now?
If nothing adds up and you’re sure your suspicions are right, it’s time to choose your next step. Infidelity is one of the most common causes of breakups: 85.5% of people who cheat break up eventually. Here’s what to consider when you find out you’ve been cheated on.
Talk the talk
Confronting your partner can be challenging, but it’s crucial to talk – even if you’re unsure it’ll work out. Make sure you feel safe and comfortable enough to have an open conversation with your partner about their behaviour.
Breathe in, breathe out
There’s no happy outcome when you’ve been cheated on. You may have already built a family and a life together, so it’s important to make the best long-term decision. Instead of letting your anger take over, give yourself time and space to think before deciding what you want to do.
Always remember that you’re #1
Even if you stay together, self-care is essential. Give yourself a break and do something you enjoy. Everything will feel crappy for a while, so it’s important to go easy on yourself and know it’s not your fault.
Sadly, cheating is common and causes many relationships to end. If you think your partner may be cheating, find out the truth. Once you know, take the time to make a decision and stick with it. If you need help from the pros, look to relationship counsellors for advice.