How do you know if your spouse is cheating on you? When it comes to domestic cases for Private Investigators this is the one question that we get asked the most. Unfortunately, if you are wondering about this subject, you must be already suspecting that something is wrong with the relationship and, as it’s often the case, you are very likely to be already the victim of infidelity. The gut feeling is a very good indication when it comes to the matters of the heart however, most people don’t (and shouldn’t) rely solely on unproven or unsupported information.
The following list identifies common red flags to be on the lookout for when you suspect that your spouse may be cheating. It is important to keep in mind that one or two of those signs on their own may have simple and innocent explanations, however as their number grows, so does their strength. When combined with the gut feeling that triggered the whole situation in the first place, the more indications that you observe from this list, the more likely it is that your partner is having an affair.
During the initial stages of a relationship, both parties are trying to look their best and impress each other. The following signs can indicate that your partner had entered the “new dating phase” with someone else:
- Change in habits – If your spouse quit smoking, started to work out, showed a sudden change in music tastes or developed interest in topics that they weren’t interested in before, those could be indications that your partner is trying to improve him/herself to be a better catch or appear more interesting for someone else.
- Change in appearance – New clothes or clothing styles, changed in haircut and/or makeup styles and extra effort in grooming demonstrate a strong desire to please, attract, and provide good first and lasting impressions.
- Forgotten wedding ring at home or work – Rarely do spouses wear their wedding bands when they are seeing someone else; increased frequency of forgetting the ring at home or work; as well as an increase in excuses for not wearing one (ex: swollen fingers, being afraid to scratch it or lose it) could be indications that your spouse may be trying to hide their current relationship status.
Seeing someone on the side is time-consuming and expensive. The following signs can indicate that your partner is spending time away with someone else:
- Increased unexplained expenses – Dinners, gifts, fun activities, and going to secret getaways and hotels are (unfortunately) necessary expenses during an affair.
- Secret accounts – To keep the above-mentioned expenses a secret, your partner may open a new separate account or get a new credit card.
- Unusual changes in work schedule – Coming back late from work and leaving early, weekend work and unusual overtime, as well as an increase in business trips, could all be excuses to be someplace else (with someone else)
- Increased interest in your plans – Avoiding bad surprises and running into their current spouse is a constant fear during an affair. If your partner is getting unusually interested in your schedule and whereabouts, it may be a sign that they are planning something around those times.
- Periods of being unreachable – When your partner is not answering text messages or calls within reasonable delays and becomes hard to reach for no apparent or a vague reason; it may indicate that they are purposefully avoiding communication with you.
- Perfume scent – New and unknown scents or lipstick marks on your partner’s clothes are the classic signs that they may be having an affair.
- Secretive around their phone or have a second phone – When your partner puts extra effort to hide their phone from you or to conceal the screen during texting; they are actively trying to void showing you compromising information.
Affairs are emotionally draining for the guilty partner; the lies and stress of being caught will eventually reveal themselves in your partner’s behavior. Additionally, they may feel guilty about their actions and may try to find reasons and justifications that might make them feel better about what they did.
- They comment regarding cheating and open relationships – When your spouse comments positively about those subjects (when watching television or reading a magazine article for example) they may try to gauge your reaction and try to ease you into the topic and find justification or approval for their behavior.
- They accuse you of cheating – deflection is a very common occurrence; very often the guilty party will be the first one to bring out the subject of infidelity and try to shift the blame on the other party by justifying their actions with “they cheated only because they thought that you were”.
- They shower you with gifts and/or are being overly affectionate – To compensate for their wrongdoings, your spouse may try to mask their actions by “buying” your affection and demonstrating excessively how much they still love and care for you.
- They look for any small faults on your part – To make their actions seem more acceptable, the guilty party often looks for excuses to justify their behavior and thus may become extremely picky and look for any tiny faults in you or your actions to ease their guilt.
- They compare you to another person – When the “why can’t you more like…” phrase is being brought up often in conversations it is a solid indication that your partner has someone else on their mind.
While all relationships become less intense over time, the bond between the individuals, the attachment, the security, and the trust that were developed should remain strong. When those crucial elements of a healthy marriage become weaker, they may serve as signs that something is amiss as affairs usually change the way your partner interacts with you.
- Annoyed with you and picks fights – When one party knows they are doing something inappropriate and they know that the other party doesn’t, they may feel angry at themselves for succumbing to temptation and resent the other party for remaining faithful. This results in having a display of anger and annoyance as well as an increase in fights over seemingly mundane things.
- Change in frequency of physical intimacy – A decrease in intimacy can occur because your partner is focused on someone else and has less energy or desire for you. On the other hand, an increase in intimacy may occur because they are trying to cover that up.
- A decrease in emotional intimacy – If your partner suddenly seems less emotionally vulnerable and intimate with you and does not seem to want any emotional proximity, it is a strong indication that their focus has shifted, most likely, to an affair partner.
An affair will also have an impact on your social circle. It’s not just you who will sense that something is off but your or your partner’s friends and family will do as well. Sooner or later the truth will come out either by accident or from the guilty party’s overcoming guilt and desire to come clean to someone:
- Friends and family are unconformable around you – Very often the spouse is the last person to find out about the affair; with close friends being ones of the first ones to know the truth either because they were asked to cover for your partner or your partner confined in them out of guilt. Whether they found out about the affair by accident or not, this knowledge will make them behave differently around you.
- The gut feeling – The one sensation that was telling you that something wasn’t right but was pushed away either by your or your friends because no one wanted to face the harsh truth, often indicates that multiple signs were already previously noticed (either subconsciously or consciously) that gave you reasons to doubt your partner’s fidelity in the first place.
In most cases, even when you confront your partner with accusations of cheating, they will be denied. Unless you have hard evidence or irrefutable proof, many will not admit to infidelity. If you keep getting denial and push-back when trying to discuss your concerns with your partner, you may need to get professional help to sort through things.