Infidelity: Common Signs and What to Do About It
Romantic relationships would be so much easier if they came, not only with instructions, but also with a cheater meter that would alert you if your partner is being unfaithful. Sadly, no such technology exists, so it is up to you to remain vigilant about what is going on with your man and in your relationship. Men who cheat often inadvertently exhibit signs that an observant partner might pick up on. While none of these signs is a definite indicator of infidelity, paying attention to them can help you figure out whether or not your gut is leading you in the right direction.
A Change in How He Relates to You
Have you noticed a drastic change in the way your man relates to you? Maybe he is less physically affectionate with you, or he doesn’t talk to you or express himself the way he used to. Look for obvious changes in his behavior. If your man is suddenly acting differently around you or being less vocal about his feelings for you than he used to, it could indicate that something is wrong.
A Change in His Appearance
Has your man developed a new, sudden interest in getting into shape or changing his look in some significant way? Maybe he has begun to diet and exercise, upgrade his wardrobe, trim his body hair or change his hairstyle. If your man has always been a health nut or focused on his appearance, then going to the gym frequently or changing his wardrobe is probably nothing new. But if your man’s concern for his health or appearance is unusual for him, it could be a red flag that he's cheating.
A Change in the Bedroom
A decline in the frequency and quality of your sex life can spell trouble for your relationship, but so can a drastic change for the better. Have you noticed a sudden increase in your man’s libido? Has he been eager to try out new and bolder moves in the bedroom with you? The key to discovering a cheater is not so much in the particulars of a change as much as any change at all. Any radical deviation from the norm, both in and out of the bedroom, could be a hint that something is amiss in the relationship.
A Change in Spending Habits
Affairs do not come cheap. Men who are cheating often spend money on their mistress by buying them meals and gifts or paying for hotel rooms. A peek into your man’s financial habits can reveal a lot about what is going on with him. If you share accounts, look for frequent cash withdrawals or unexplained charges on credit card bills. If you don’t share accounts, keep out a sharp eye for receipts that might shed light on what he has been up to.
A Change in His Availability
Has your man suddenly started working a lot of overtime? Can you not reach him for prolonged periods of time? Affairs require men to invest not only their money but also their time. If your man’s routine has changed abruptly and resulted in his coming home later, going out with the guys more often or spending considerably less time at home, a possibility exists that he may be devoting that time to another woman instead.
A Change in His Level of Generosity
While it’s lovely for your man to bring you flowers or buy special gifts for no particular reason every now and then, unexpected changes in the frequency and type of gifts from your man could mean that he has a troubled conscience. Some men ease their guilt over an affair by showering their partner with expensive gifts and extra attention.
A Change in Technology Habits
Technology is a double-edged sword in that it helps people stay more connected than ever, but it also makes it easier to develop and maintain forbidden connections like affairs. Have you noticed that your man is using his phone more often or keeping closer tabs on it than he used to? Does he seem uncomfortable about giving you access to his phone or computer? Does he leave the room to take calls, or is he secretive about what he is doing on his phone? If your man’s technology habits have suddenly changed, it could be a sign that he is up to no good.
What to Do About Cheating
If only confronting a cheater were as easy as discovering one. It is never easy to address your man about concerns that he is being unfaithful, but sometimes the truth takes a little prodding to make it come out. If your man is exhibiting some of these signs, it may be time to devise a plan of action as to how you plan to handle the situation. If you are married and have children together, your first order of business should be to meet with an attorney for professional advice about your legal options regarding the marriage and the custody and care of your children. Even if you are hopeful that your marriage can survive the infidelity, it never hurts to know your options before moving forward.
Once you are ready to talk to your man about your suspicions, make sure to do so at the right time and in the right way. Tell him that you want to talk to him about something important and set a date and time that works for both of you. If you have children, make arrangements for them to be somewhere else while you and your man talk. Try to remain calm while you explain your concerns and ask him directly if he is being unfaithful. Pay close attention to how he reacts to your questions and concerns. If he becomes angry or overly defensive, your suspicions are likely correct, and you will need to decide whether or not you are willing to stay in the relationship.
- American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy: Infidelity
- Good Therapy: Infidelity/Affair Recovery
- 12 Subtle Signs You've Got a Cheating Spouse
- Should the Children Know You've Had an Affair?
- Infidelity or Emotional Affairs
- 10 Signs of Infidelity in Men
- Telltale signs that your husband or wife is cheating on you
- Signs of a Cheating Husband
Kristina Barroso earned a B.A. in Psychology from Florida International University. She is happily married, works full-time as a public school teacher and enjoys mothering her 5-year-old daughter and 14-year-old stepson. She has also fostered several children and loves writing about parenting, families, education and relationships on WorkingMother.com and TheClassroom.com.