Although you and your husband promised to love, promise and cherish each other throughout your marriage, as Amy Wilkins and Cristen Dalessandro of the University of Colorado-Boulder attest in their 2013 study published in Gender & Society, everyone has a cheating story. Knowing whether your husband is still talking to an old girlfriend may be as simple as asking, but you can also find out by examining his daily behaviors and looking introspectively into your own relationship. Even if you firmly believe that your husband is talking to an old girlfriend, it is important not to jump to conclusions about his intentions. His change in behavior may also be the cause of stress, increased duties at work or numerous other situations external to your relationship.
Your husband may still be talking to an old girlfriend, but it may not necessarily spell the end of your marriage. There are numerous viable reasons that your husband may have for talking to an old girlfriend. His boss might have paired him with her on a group project at work, or may have previously committed to planning his high-school reunion with her. Nevertheless, casually asking, "So, do you ever still talk to Brandi?" can bring up the subject in a non-accusatory way. While your husband can deny the fact, even if he is still talking to her, this will give him the chance to be honest about talking to his ex.
Behaviors to Look For
If your husband is talking to a former flame, he may attempt to cover his tracks with otherwise excusable behaviors. Some examples of these behaviors can include being guarded around his phone, keeping his home computer locked with a password, working extended hours, sneaking away to take calls and going on more or longer business trips than normal. Other behaviors to look for can include radically changing his wardrobe or grooming habits or even frequently bringing up his ex-girlfriend's name in conversation. While these behaviors on their own are not necessarily incriminating, they can be a sign that something out of the ordinary is occurring in your husband's life.
Changes in Your Relationship
If you have noticed that your husband no longer shows affection, struggles to remain intimate and takes you out on fewer dates, it may be a sign that he is spending time with someone else. Becoming emotionally distant, such as avoiding eye contact, avoiding physical contact, limiting conversation and acting excessively moody may be a sign that there may be something awry in your personal relationship. If your husband has recently started comparing you to his ex-girlfriend, or shows an improved mood when talking about her, it may also indicate that she has recently reentered his life.
His Digital Presence
A change in your husband's digital presence may indicate that he is talking to an ex. The first sign that he may be talking to an ex is if he is friends with her online. Recently changing his profile photo, or deleting photos of you and your children may be an indication that he is talking to a former flame, and possibly concealing the fact that he has a family. If your husband frequently uses social media, it may be suspicious if he suddenly stops frequenting his favorite sites or disables his profile. Other suspicious activities that may indicate he is talking to an old girlfriend or someone else can include having multiple profiles on the same social media service, cleaning his Internet search history frequently, password protecting his phone or constantly deleting text messages.
A Grain of Salt
While your husband becoming emotionally distant, working late and deleting his social media accounts can be signs that he is talking to an old girlfriend, they can also be signs of numerous other events in your husband's life. He may be working late to make extra money for your ten-year anniversary, or he could be acting emotionally distant because he feels that there is a problem in your relationship that he does not know how to handle. It is not always safe to assume that he is talking to an old girlfriend, even if one has recently shown up in his life via work, school or other social obligations. Rather than give in to assumptions, ask your husband how things are going. Tell him that you know that he's stressed out from working late, or that you've noticed him becoming distant lately. Bringing your concerns to the surface may help to identify the source of the problem, regardless of if his ex-girlfriend is not in the picture.
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Anthony Oster is a licensed professional counselor who earned his Master of Science in counseling psychology at the University of Southern Mississippi. He has served as a writer and lead video editor for a small, South Louisiana-based video production company since 2007. Oster is the co-owner of a professional photography business and advises the owner on hardware and software acquisitions for the company.