What are the warning signs of a cheating spouse?
Use the form below to see the types of behaviors that are often associated with cheating based on type of relationship you have with your spouse.
I also offer some practical advice about looking at such lists:
• Signs of cheating are not necessarily the same thing as proof of cheating. Without proof, few cheating spouses will admit the truth.
• Human perception is biased. Any behavior, or change in behavior, can be interpreted in many different ways. If you trust your spouse, you’re likely to overlook obvious signs of infidelity. But, if you’re suspicious, you are more likely to notice signs of cheating everywhere you look (even if they are not there). These lists can become like a Rorschach test, where people see what they want to see. With this in mind, it may be wise to approach these lists with some degree of caution.
Take a Look at the Five Different Warning Lists:
• physical infidelity only – spouse had a one night stand
• polite disengagement – spouse doesn’t want to hurt you
• hostile disengagement – spouse wants out of the relationship
• confused disengagement – spouse loves you and someone else
• feeling trapped – spouse wants out, but feels resigned to stay
• Signs of infidelity – a list generated by my readers.
Sexual Cues Only – Warning Signs of Sexual Infidelity
Unfortunately, there are very few signs that a spouse is just having a sexual affair — an encounter that entails no emotional involvement; essentially, a one night stand.
• Unaccounted for use of erectile dysfunction medications (e.g., Viagra)
• Unaccounted for use of birth control (e.g., missing condoms)
• Unexplained discovery or loss of items of clothing
• Unexplained hiding of clothes or sudden interest in doing the laundry
• Unexplained stains in underwear
• Unaccounted for or unexplainable loss of time
And on some occasions:
• a temporary increase or sudden interest in having sex
• a sudden change in sexual behavior (e.g., wanting to experiment, etc.).
Polite Disengagement – Warning Signs of Emotional Cheating
The following behaviors may indicate that a spouse is in love with someone else, but still has feelings for you.
• May seem to need more space, privacy, autonomy, or time to self
• May seem bored with you, family, work, or home life
• May seem emotionally distant or checked out
• May not say “I love you” as much or express affection
• Less excitement to see you or enjoyment to be around you
• May express concerns about being in love or the relationship
• May seem reluctant to make future commitments and plans
• May offer excuses about not planning future trips, vacations, and family visits
• May try to avoid conflict, fighting or arguments
• Less interest in having sex or sex is less passionate
• May feel like your partner is going through the motions or seem distant during sex
• Less expression or sharing of feeling
• Sudden changes in schedule is making it difficult to spend time together
• Partner may seem depressed, distant, confused, or caught day dreaming
• Unusual mood swings
• Unusual phone activity or text messaging
• Suddenly keeps cell phone away from you
• May try to fix perceived insecurities (e.g. lose weight, workout, new clothes)
• May be more difficult to reach or get a hold of than before
• Phone calls might not be returned right away
Essentially, a spouse or partner who acts like this may be in love with someone else, but does not want to hurt you.
Hostile Disengagement – Warning Signs of Emotional Cheating with Intent to Leave
The following behaviors may indicate that a spouse is trying to end a relationship due to an affair.
• More willing to pick fights, arguments, and conflicts
• Less forgiving, understanding, and accepting
• Very critical, hostile, or maybe abusive
• Not sharing new information or feelings
• Reluctant to do things together or spend time together
• May become less gentle, polite, or concerned
• Little, or no, interest in sex
• Sex becomes more physical than emotional
• May refuse to have sex
• Develops interest in new activities, hobbies, or interests
• Sudden changes in clothing, exercise routine, and other self-improvements
• Suggests that things are not working or that there are problems
• May mention that how he or she is not happy or satisfied
• May forget anniversaries, birthdays, and special occasions
• Unwilling to make future commitments and plans
• Changes in work habits, schedule, and spending of free time
• More conflict over money and finances
• Disinterested in things around home and family
• Loss of interest in doing things together or spending time together
Essentially, a spouse or partner who acts like this may be in love with someone else and is looking for a way out.
Confused Engagement – Warning Signs of Emotional Cheating
The following behaviors may indicate that a spouse has feelings for you, but is also in love with someone else.
• Drastic mood swings and may seem emotionally unstable
• Partner seems distracted, confused, detached, or distant
• Alternates between sexual interest and lack of interest
• Sex may be much more emotional
• May suggest new things sexually then loss interest
• Exaggerated displays of affection and love followed by quiet periods
• Overly affectionate and passionate at times
• Increased expressions of love
• Sudden changes in clothing, appearance, or interest in getting in shape
• Sudden change in habits, hobbies, or schedules
• Increased reference or talking about the third party
• Unusual phone activity or text messaging
• Suddenly keeps cell phone away from you
Essentially, a spouse or partner who acts like this may be in love with two people and very confused about what to do.
Feeling Trapped – Warning Signs of Emotional Cheating – No Way Out
The following behaviors may indicate that a spouse is in love with someone else, but does not see a way to get out of his or her marriage.
• Seems annoyed, frustrated, or unhappy
• Quick to display anger, hostility, criticism, and perhaps abuse
• Lack of interest in sex or affection
• Less intimacy, sharing, talking, and disclosures
• May be difficult to start fight with partner, because he or she does not care
• Spouse or partner does his or her own thing and becomes indifferent to doing things together
• Frequent time out of the house and away from home
• May miss or cancel events with you
• Little regard for your feelings, wants and concerns
• You may feel like you are being avoided, ignored, or dismissed
• Will avoid having sex – just goes through motions or lack of interest
• Does not respond to “I love you” or other forms of affection
• Sudden need for privacy, space, autonomy, or freedom
• May fight more over money
• Little interest in things around the house
• Develops active life outside of home and relationship
• Spends a lot of time on the computer, phone, or text messaging
• Unavailable, unpredictable, and hard to get a hold of
• Erratic changes in work schedule
• Sudden change or concern with appearance, interests and hobbies
• Forgets anniversaries, birthdays, and special occasions
Essentially, a spouse or partner who acts like this may be in love with someone else, but does not see way out of their current relationship.
How to Catch a Cheating Spouse
How can I find out if my husband or wife, boyfriend or girlfriend is cheating on me?
It can be very difficult to catch a cheating spouse.
Understandably, most people do not know how to investigate a spouse. Tips, resources and advice to help you discover the truth can be found at the.
If you want to catch a cheater, it often helps to understand the nature of the problem at hand.
Why is it so difficult to catch a cheating husband or wife?
Catching a cheating partner is difficult because cheaters have an unfair advantage when it comes to infidelity. In fact, most infidelity goes undetected, or unproven, because the rules of the game tend to favor those who cheat.
How does this work?
Most people have a strong desire to believe what a partner has to say. Trusting a partner creates a sense of security and comfort. No one really wants to think that a spouse may be lying, especially when it comes to infidelity.
Rather than assume the worst, it’s often easier to believe a “pleasant lie” than to acknowledge a “devastating truth.”
In fact, some people work very hard to overlook a spouse’s infidelity, because to acknowledge the alternative is much too painful. This helps explain why the spouse is typically the last to know.
Cheating spouses take advantage of this. Cheaters often exploit their partner’s desire to trust by telling their partners exactly what they want to hear (“I would never cheat on you.”).
Signs of a Cheating Partner
Cheating spouses not only exploit their partner’s desire to trust, but there are few hard and fast signs of infidelity.
Cues of infidelity vary widely, from situation to situation, and from relationship to relationship; making it impossible to provide a list of behaviors that is useful with a high degree of accuracy. Though in hindsight, the warnings signs are always obvious.
In fact, there are so many “telltale” lists of infidelity cues that it is hard to know what to believe.
Given all the different lists that exist, it helps to keep the following in mind.
Providing a list of the signs of cheating is often counterproductive. First, any given behavior is open to multiple interpretations. Does a spouse’s sudden interest in losing weight signal infidelity? Could it be due to some other reason?
The explanation for any behavior is never as clear-cut as we would like to believe.
Furthermore, looking for signs of infidelity tends to fuels one’s suspicion. For instance, does your spouse clear his or her call log after each call? Dwelling on such matters tends to make people more suspicious. The way people generally handle their suspicion ends up helping a cheating spouse.
Suspicion Tends to Help Cheaters
Suspicion is a very strong emotion and it’s difficult to hide. Suspicious individuals tend to signal their doubts by making accusations, acting anxiously, being overly inquisitive, and so on.
A cheating spouse’s worst fear is getting caught. So, cheating spouses constantly monitor their partners for signs of suspicion. If a cheating spouse detects suspicion, he/she will adjust his/her behavior to better hide and conceal the affair.
Simply speaking, suspicion tends to help cheaters cheat more effectively. If your spouse is cheating, and you signal your doubts and suspicions, it’s going to be much more difficult to discover the truth.
When you put it all together, cheaters have the advantage: Both, trust and suspicion, tend to work in their favor.
So, how can you catch a cheating spouse?
If you suspect infidelity, do not confront your spouse until you have proof.
While it is helpful to talk to partners about most relationship problems, this is NOT the case when it comes to infidelity. A cheating spouse will almost never admit to infidelity, unless presented with evidence to the contrary.
Along the same line, while there are many tactics that you can use to get a partner to be more truthful, these tactics fail to work when it comes to infidelity.
Despite these problems, there are several practical methods for catching a cheating spouse.
All of these methods rely on some form of surveillance and careful observation. While these methods can raise some ethical issues, they also tend to be very effective.
These methods allow you to establish proof of an affair. No matter what your situation might be, there is most likely a way to discover the truth.
What Counts as Cheating?
In a very broad sense, cheating involves betraying a partner’s expectations about the type of contact they have with others.
When a husband or wife, boyfriend or girlfriend, violates one’s expectations about what is appropriate, people feel betrayed. Keep in mind that relationships are not based on logic, but they are influenced by our emotions.
Accordingly, cheating is difficult to define because people differ in the type of contact they feel it is appropriate for a partner to have with someone else.
For example, some people believe that it is unacceptable for a partner to:
• Flirt with others
• Engage in sexual talk with someone else
• Exchange personal e-mails or text messages
• Deny being married or in a relationship
• Spend time with specific individuals
• Engage in specific types of contact – sleeping in the same bed with another person
• Purchase intimate gifts and presents for others
• Chat online with someone else (online affairs)
• Have sexual contact with someone else (physical infidelity)
• Become emotionally involved with someone else (emotional infidelity)
• Develop a crush or feelings for another individual
• Share their most private thoughts and feelings with someone else
• Become best friends with someone of the opposite sex
• And the list could go on and on….
Again, the main point is that individuals differ in what they consider to be an acceptable form of contact with other people.
At one extreme, some couples think it is acceptable to have sex and fall in love with someone else, while some people view flirting with another person as being inappropriate.
Cheating is complex because the definition varies so wildly. However, when someone violates a partner’s expectations, the emotional outcome is the same – their partner feels betrayed and rejected.
Cheating is also problematic because couples rarely discuss exactly what their expectations are.
So in any given relationship, what one person considers to be acceptable may differ from what a partner thinks is appropriate. Many problems arise in relationships because people do not see eye-to-eye on this issue.
And to make matters more problematic, many people do not like to define what counts as cheating. Many people prefer not to define what counts as cheating because by keeping the rules vague and ambiguous, it makes it easier to cheat. If you don’t know what the rules are, you really can’t break them – or so people like to think.
It is a lot easier to deceive one’s self, and a partner about cheating, when the rules are not clear.