The sneaking suspicion thatyou were deceivedIt's one of the worst feelings in the world. Experiencing a hunch that an affair isstill continuesit can be even worse. You can feel the ground shifting under you as you question everything you knew about your relationship; Also, wondering if you're making it all up in your head can erode your sanity.
But how can you know when yourpartner is lyingabout cheating or "casually" trying to cover their tracks (or so they think)? If your partner comes home late at night wearing someone else's perfume, it seems pretty obvious that something is wrong. Often, though, the warning signs of infidelity are much more subtle.
Before you can face the daunting task of what to do next, whether it be seeking couples therapy ordivorce filing, you need to find out if your concern is valid. Ultimately, the best way to know for sure is confirmation from your spouse or partner, the person you're cheating with, or both. That said, simply waiting around for an eventual confession won't ease the frantic worries in your head before then.
Whether you have a passing concern about new behaviors or you seriously worry your spouse is sleeping with someone else, here are some of the more unusual signs of cheating to look out for.
They are reluctant to make large joint purchases.
"Commitments like buying a house or a car indicate that the other person is in a long-term relationship," says licensed family therapist David Klow and author ofYou're Not Crazy: Letters from Your Therapist.And while your partner's indecisiveness could just be due to financial concerns, it could also be an indication that he's cheating, especially if this hasn't been an issue in the past.
"A big commitment makes it harder to get out of a relationship quickly," adds licensed clinical psychologist Ramani Durvasula, Ph.D., author ofShould I stay or should I go?.If your partner is awkward about this, don't be afraid to ask what's behind the hesitation. If they get nervous and it's not about the money, it could suggest that something isn't quite right.
They forgot"not to mention a night out.
People who cheat "tend to commit sins of omission," says Durvasula. "They operate on a 'need to know' basis, which is not healthy for a relationship." While he doesn't mention that the drinking moment with his co-workers might be completely innocuous—perhaps happy hour wasn't as memorable—if the behavior persists, it could reflect general dishonesty, says Klow.
The phone goes with them everywhere, even in the bathroom..
First, a word of caution: some people are seriously addicted to their phones and carry them around out of habit or boredom; it doesn't mean they're cheating, says Klow. The problem arises if this is suddenly something new for your partner.
This is definitely more concerning, according to Durvasula. “They know the other person's messages could come in at any time,” he says. So if someone who has always relied on stash of bathroom magazines to pass potty time suddenly starts to rely on their phone, it might be worth keeping an eye on.
And they are constantly texting.
Again, a change in behavior is key here. “Our minds are programmed to look for inconsistencies; it helps protect us from something unexpected happening,” says Klow.
"If your partner's actions start to change, this could be a sign of infidelity." It could also be that your friends are having a tough time or are busy at work. But if that sounds off to you, ask what's going on, says Klow. The way they respond can be revealing.
When you speak, they rock back and forth.
By now, the two of you should feel pretty comfortable talking. But when your cohort is hiding something, look for unusual (and often unconscious) habits, suggests a body language expert.lilian glass, Doctor. "Swinging back and forth shows they're nervous around you," she says.
In addition, they began to bow.
If your perfect posture suddenly gives out, that could be a red flag. “Slouching is withdrawing into the fetal position, something people do when they're embarrassed or know they've done something wrong,” says Glass.
You are receiving many gifts.
Cheaters do this to “cover the stench of guilt,” says Durvasula. Notice if your partner also seems more excited when you stack the gifts. “Sometimes people are in a better than usual mood when they cheat,” says Durvasula. "His cheerful demeanor, coupled with the need to please and deceive his partner, can result in a generous change in behavior."
Liars talk too much.
They are more focused on their appearance.
This could mean a change in hairstyle, a recent fixation with the gym, or spending money on new clothes. Sure, this could be part of a New Year's resolution or a desire to please him, but it's important to know that when people cheat, they're more aware of their appearance, says Durvasula.
They also changed the appearance of their underwear.
If you've noticed a switch from your husband's tattered boxers to briefs, or if your wife is wearing sexy lingerie for the first time in years, it's really a reason to wonder, says Susan Trombetti, matchmaker and CEO ofexclusive pairing.
"We all have that one bra we don't want anyone to see, or underwear with holes in it," she says. "When you change, it could mean something when combined with some of these other signs."
You want to know where they got itthatbed trick
This could be another case where your partner may have done some interesting research ongood foreplayand just wantspice things upfor you. In other cases, new sexual techniques may point to the fact that they learned from someone else. Other times, says Trombetti, "a change in frequency, meaning more or less sex, can give you a clue."
They share too much.
You asked how the office party went. They recited the full guest list, all the appetizers that were served (and when), and a minute-by-minute reenactment of what happened. This is TMI.
"Liars talk too much," says Durvasula. “When you tell the truth, you tend to be concise because it's easy. Cheaters often create long stories about strange stories and places they were that day to serve as an alibi."
Or they stop telling all the details.
Regularly hearing that their day was "okay" when you used to go into the details is enough to raise an eyebrow. With cheaters, "the most interesting aspects of your day can be related to your new crush," says Durvasula. "This can be more devastating than sexual infidelity, as it means the intimacy of everyday life is now being shared with someone new." Klow also calls this "a concern" as "having an open exchange of information helps people feel more secure in their relationships."
They are always on social media.
This is most noticeable when they regularly like posts from people you've never heard of. Feel free to ask who @SexyBae007 is and how he knows her. "Talk to your partner about the other people you interact with," says Klow. "Knowing this can help build a greater sense of security."
Suddenly, they develop different musical tastes or hobbies.
"Maybe it's bungee jumping and they're afraid of heights, or suddenly they start listening to classical music when it's always been heavy metal," says Trombetti. Sure, they could simply be expanding their horizons, but in Trombetti's experience, it could be because they're trying to impress the new person by matching their likes and dislikes.
"They also soak up every detail because they're crazy about the person they're cheating with and they're in that infatuation stage," adds Trombetti.
The ATM has been getting a lot of action.
Credit cards are easy to track; money is not, says Durvasula. If they used to be obsessed with racking up reward points and have now switched to paper, it's worth asking.
You just have this feeling.
This does not apply to people who areoften jealous in generaland therefore prone to suspicion when there is little cause for it. But in Trombetti's experience with clients, when you know, you (usually) know. "It's not necessarily a psychic connection, but non-verbal cues that you're picking up on," she says.
Of course, there can always be a simple explanation for a change in your partner's behavior that has little to do with cheating. But if these actions sound familiar and you have no idea why, it's time to ask the hard questions. I hope there's a good reason they're acting, well, shady. Either way, you have a right to know.
Korin Miller is a freelance writer specializing in general wellness, sexual health and relationships, and lifestyle trends, with work featured in Men's Health, Women's Health, Self, Glamor, and more. She has a master's degree from American University, lives on the beach and hopes to one day have a cup of tea and a taco truck.
Samantha Vincenty is the former Senior Editor of Oprah Daily.