15 Signs Your Partner is About to Cheat
No one likes to think their relationship could fall victim to infidelity, but statistics would argue that very few relationships today find both partners to be entirely faithful. From emotional cheating to physical affairs, the end result is always painful; and to those who are blindsided by the betrayal, often emotionally scarring. Worried you might be missing some major red flags? We’ve enlisted some expert sources to help you spot the 15 signs that your partner may be tempted to cheat.
DistancingRelationship coach, motivational speaker and bestselling author Grace Cirocco says one of the biggest indicators that a partner may be tempted to cheat (if they aren’t already) has to do with distancing. “If your partner is spending less and less time with you," it could be a major red flag, notes Cirocco. "If your partner is making excuses not to be alone with you… In my experience, there is a distancing that happens for one person.”
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HostilityIn an online article by Psychology Today, one partner’s sudden and inexplicable hostility towards another is often found as a sign of infidelity or a partner who is seriously considering it. Relationship author Robert Weiss says, “If it suddenly seems like nothing you do is right, or that things that used to not bother your partner suddenly do, or as if you’re getting pushed away, that could be a strong indication of cheating.”
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Changes in phone and computer useOf cheating, registered psychotherapist Holly Behiels says, “Most often people do not sit in their kitchens and think 'I want to have an affair,' but opportunity presents itself and sometimes people engage.” Of one sign that a partner may be tempted or engaging in an affair, Behiels notes specific behaviours in phone and/or computer usage: “Suddenly password protecting their phone, deleting text messages or emails entirely (or partially) or rushing to empty their email recycle bin.”
To this point on sudden and new behaviours, Behiels adds, “While many people may dedicate a great deal of time to work, have password protected phones and make their workout routine a priority, the significance worth noting is when several of these signs are new and align around the same time.”
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Change in personal appearanceCan’t quite figure out why the sudden change in your partner’s physical appearance? Registered psychotherapist Holly Behiels says, “Typically, people want to look their best if they are (considering) or continuing in an affair. This may include: purchasing new clothes, an increased time at the gym, sudden desire to work out, or paying more attention to aspects of their appearance that did not happen in the past.”
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Emotional disconnectOutside of your partner physically distancing themselves from you, an emotional disconnect can be just as indicative of trouble in your relationship – not to mention hurtful. Of an emotional disconnect, relationship therapist Jennifer Pepper tells us, “When the friendship, laughter and companionship are gone, couples may be drawn to other people to feel that closeness and connection.”
Though many couples who find themselves dealing with issues in infidelity choose to call it quits, Pepper says it doesn’t always have to be this way, as long as both partners are willing to put in the work: “Therapy can help couples to take responsibility for and heal from the pain caused by infidelity. I have seen couples build relationships post-affair that are more fulfilling than they would have thought possible before the affair happened.”
Dissatisfaction with lifeA partner’s sudden shift toward feelings of unhappiness and constant expression of disappointment with one’s life may be an indicator of thoughts of infidelity. When asked for her thoughts, noted couples therapist, author and psychotherapist Vikki Stark directed us to her book Runaway Husbands. In it, Stark discusses the many warning signs of trouble in a marriage, one of which is when a partner expresses dissatisfaction with his or her life. One passage says: “Does he seem suddenly unhappy with his life, even if the complaints he is raising are not related to your marriage? It’s a sign that he may be rethinking things.”
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Recurring names mentioned in conversationFrom a section of her book Runaway Husbands, psychotherapist Vikki Stark advises concerned partners to look for trends in names mentioned. Writes Stark, “Has he started to frequently mention a woman at work, tell you about her in an innocent way?” While it’s important never to make assumptions, it is crucial that if your gut has you questioning your partner, you pay attention and do your best to read between the lines or risk getting blindsided by what might come next.
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Drastic change in intimacyPsychotherapist and couples counsellor Chamin Ajjan tells Health: “If there is a dramatic change in the sexual activity between you and your partner, for better or worse, you may want to explore the cause.” This does not always exclusively mean a diminished level of intimacy, but can also present itself as a sudden spike in sexual activity initiated by your partner. Ultimately, any drastic shift in your sex life with your partner that strikes you as suspect is reason enough to dig deeper.
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Gut feeling about your partner's outside relationshipsNever ignore those gut feelings. Relationship coach Grace Cirocco says, “If your significant other has a relationship that leaves you with unsettling feelings, your intuition could be a sign.” Also take note if your partner “refuses to change or end this relationship, despite knowing how uncomfortable it may make you and therefore is damaging your relationship.”
While we tend to brush off many of our gut feelings as paranoia, there is something to be said for trusting in your intuition. Have faith that you know yourself well enough to go with your gut and at the very least, get to the root cause of what has you feeling unsettled; and if your partner may in fact be to blame for your sudden feelings of mistrust and unease.
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Career-related temptationsIn her book Runaway Husbands, psychotherapist Vikki Stark cites specific career traits that might leave one’s partner more susceptible to opportunities for infidelity. Vikki asks readers to consider the following: “Does he work in a career in which he is in a position of power of authority, such as a professor, pastor or business executive where young women may look up to him?” While your partner’s career path may not always be a factor in their willingness to cheat, it is commonly noted by cheaters that work was where the initial spark of an affair took place.
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Midlife crisisTherapist David Lechnyr notes the classic “midlife crisis” as one of the most common signs that an affair may be near. Says Lechnyr, “There are concerns about aging, time left, and a rush to focus on new interests, ideas, places, and changes in personality.” These factors, cites Lechnyr, are indicative of a midlife crisis and may signal that your partner is at their most vulnerable when it comes to engaging in opportunities outside of the relationship.
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Unusual credit card chargesFamily lawyer Christine P. Leatherberry has seen her share of couples post-infidelity and knows a thing or two about the warning signs. In an article for Connatser Family Law, Leatherberry advises suspicious partners to follow the paper trail, citing unusual credit card behaviour as a major red flag. Says Christine, “While you would think a cheater wouldn’t charge gifts, hotel stays or fancy dinners for his or her lover on a credit card you share, it happens all the time.”
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Social media triggersIn an article for The Gottman Institute, certified therapists Don and Carrie Cole discuss emotional infidelity and some of the key triggers, in particular, social media. Says Don and Carrie, “Social media can play a big role in the cascade toward emotional infidelity, especially in today’s day and age. Reconnecting with old high school and college friends or sweethearts can begin with a desire to 'catch up.' Unfortunately, all too often it moves way beyond that. It can escalate very quickly.”
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Hints from friendsIn an article for Medical Daily, licensed marriage and family therapist Holly LaBarbera says not to discount the input of mutual friends in your social circle. LaBarbera says, “Do not ignore signs you get from those around you. There is a great chance that they know something that you may not. If they genuinely care for you, they may make attempts to warn you in subtle ways, if not an outright confrontation.”
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A combination of subtle signsEveryday Health cites a recent study that shows 50-60% of married men engage in an affair during their relationship, with 70% of women who are being cheated on reporting that they had no idea their partners were being disloyal. While some red flags are hard to miss, often it’s the subtle warning signs that will tell you what you need to know. The article mentions specific personality quirks, family dynamics and past relationships as areas to watch for.
Los Angeles-based psychologist Leslie Seppinni says in the article, “Any one sign won’t tell you that your man is cheating,” but advises that you keep a look out for a combination of indicators. Says Seppinni, “Pay attention if you notice three or more signs.” Adding, “They’re hints that he has pulled away from you and is moving toward someone else.”
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