Anyone who’s ever been cheated on knows how painful the experience can be. While sometimes there are obvious signs to the person in the relationship, it isn’t always as clear. Chances are, however, if you are having suspicions, something is going on in your relationship, whether it is cheating or not. These are some signs that might tip you off that your partner is a cheater, and how to confront them about it.
How To Spot A Cheater
Cheating in a relationship can be devastating and trust-shattering. While some cheaters may exhibit obvious signs of infidelity, others may unknowingly display certain behaviors that can raise suspicion. Let’s look at 10 common behaviors exhibited by cheaters without their knowledge. These behaviors, when observed consistently, can serve as warning signs that your partner may be cheating on you. (1, 2)
1. Increased Secretiveness
One red flag that often goes unnoticed is when a partner becomes unusually secretive. They may start guarding their phone, password-protecting their devices, or being cautious about their online activities. While privacy is important in any relationship, a sudden change in how private or secretive they are could be a bad sign. Moreover, an extreme level of secrecy could indicate that your partner is involved in something they don’t want you to know, such as an affair.
2. Excessive Defensiveness
People who have done nothing wrong don’t get defensive when questioned. When confronted with innocent questions or concerns, cheaters might become overly defensive. They may react aggressively or become evasive, deflecting the conversation away from the topic at hand. This defensiveness is often a subconscious defense mechanism, as they instinctively try to protect their secrets and avoid suspicion.
3. Change in Routine
Cheaters often need to rearrange their schedules to accommodate their illicit activities. After all, they are now trying to fit another person into their life – without you finding out about it. This can look at longer hours at the office where they used to never stay late. It could also look like a sudden increase in social activities, either with the same people or different people, that they never did before. Also, they never once mention inviting you to these outings. If your partner suddenly starts making unexplained changes to their daily routine or frequently stays out late without providing a valid reason, it could be an indication that they are engaged in behaviors they should not be.
4. Lack of Emotional Intimacy
We all know the feeling: Someone we once felt connected to suddenly feels a million miles away. Where you used to have regular conversations about your lives, dreams, and goals, you now feel like you barely know them. A cheating partner may become emotionally distant and detached. They might withdraw from conversations, avoid discussions about the future, or stop participating in shared activities. As they invest more emotional energy into their affair, they may inadvertently neglect the emotional bond they once shared with their partner.
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5. Sudden Increase in Criticism
A certain amount of constructive criticism or feedback can have a positive impact in a relationship. It shows that you can go to that person for honest advice, and they can guide you gently rather than with harsh criticisms. A sudden uptick in criticism towards their partner, however, can be a means for cheaters to justify their infidelity. By criticizing their partner’s appearance, behavior, or choices, they create a psychological distance between them. This distancing allows the cheater to rationalize their actions and alleviate their guilt.
6. Frequent Accusations of Cheating
In an ironic twist, cheaters often project their own guilt onto their partners by frequently accusing them of infidelity. By constantly raising suspicions and questioning their partner’s loyalty, a cheater can divert attention away from their own misdeeds. This tactic manipulates the situation and causes the victim to question their own intuition.
7. Unexplained Expenses
Infidelity can be an expensive affair. If your partner starts exhibiting lavish spending habits without a valid explanation, it could indicate that they are using financial resources to support their extramarital activities. Unexplained charges on credit card statements, sudden cash withdrawals, or unusual shopping patterns may reflect a hidden affair.
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8. Decreased Sex Drive
A sudden decline in sexual intimacy can be a sign that your partner is getting their needs fulfilled elsewhere. Cheaters may lose interest in physical intimacy with their partners as they divert their energy towards their affairs. Alternatively, you could notice a sudden increase in their desire to be intimate with you. This, however, is likely out of guilt and trying to compensate for it. A noticeable and unexplained change in your sexual relationship should raise suspicions and prompt a deeper conversation.
9. Secret Online Presence
The digital age has provided cheaters with new avenues for deception. They may create secret social media accounts, use encrypted messaging apps, or engage in online dating platforms. A partner who exhibits secretive online behavior swiftly exits the room when on their device, or fiercely guards their online presence may be hiding something.
10. Intuition and Gut Feeling
Finally, one of the most powerful indicators of infidelity is your own intuition. Often, deep down, you may sense that something is off in your relationship. While it’s crucial not to jump to conclusions based solely on intuition, it can serve as a catalyst for open and honest communication with your partner.
Confronting Your Partner
If you suspect your partner may be cheating, it is essential to approach the situation with a calm and collected demeanor. Find a suitable time and place for an honest conversation. Express your concerns and observations without accusations or hostility. Allow your partner to respond and provide them an opportunity to explain their behavior. In some cases, couples therapy may be beneficial in rebuilding trust and working through the underlying issues contributing to the lack of faithfulness.
Often, cheaters exhibit certain behaviors unknowingly. Increased secretiveness, excessive defensiveness, changes in routine, lack of emotional intimacy, sudden criticism, and unexplained expenses are all potential signs of infidelity. Additionally, decreased sex drive, secret online presence, and your own intuition can serve as red flags. If you suspect your partner is cheating, open and honest communication is key to addressing the issue.
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- “10 Signs Your Spouse Is Cheating.” Psychology Today. Robert Weiss Ph.D., LCSW, CSAT. December 10, 2018.
- “11 Things Nobody Tells You About The Way Cheaters Think.” Bustle. Eva Taylor Grant. September 6, 2018.