So, you think that your partner might be cheating on you and getting involved with someone else? Maybe you think they have met someone at work, at the gym, at college or online? You just have that feeling that something isn’t quite right, and things just aren’t how they used to be?
It’s a horrible and heart-crushing feeling to suspect your partner of cheating. You may cycle through emotions of anxiety, distress, fear and anger or you may be questioning yourself and your own sanity, beating yourself up for being so suspicious.
The thought of that person we love and have built what we thought was a worthwhile and trusting relationship with, being with someone else, touching someone else and even thinking of someone else is heartbreaking. Once those thoughts and suspicions get into your head, it’s very hard to think of anything else or to go back to having that full trust you had before for the significant person in your life.
There is absolutely nothing wrong in trusting your gut instinct and responding when it suggests alarm bells should be ringing. Evolution has taught us an instinct to protect ourselves from threat and harm and its often a reliable source of information.
If you know that you don’t generally have trust issues and are normally quite a stable and secure person, its likely that your instincts are a good indicator that something is up. If you are aware that you can be quite a suspicious or even paranoid person, then maybe just take a step back and reflect before acting or going further down that thought rabbit hole!
If you really have this nagging doubt and fear that your partner might be cheating and you can’t get it out of your head, its best to come at this from a practical and rational perspective.
Look for evidence to support or disregard your worries; be objective and balanced in your pursuit of this and perhaps even making a list of evidence for and against to ensure that you remain rationale and analytical. If you suspect your partner is cheating you may also want to consider hiring a private investigator.
You can gather evidence yourself though and can do this by looking for the signs below that indicate cheating but remember that there can be other explanations for these behaviours and that if they are only showing one or two there may be another perfectly reasonable situation going on for your partner.
Signs your partner could be cheating
The most important thing in any relationship is to be able to communicate openly and respectfully with each other and this is probably a good place to start addressing any issues if you have noticed any of the below going on in your relationship:
- Increased mobile phone or online use: your partner may be texting or using social media or the internet more than they were. They could be making and receiving calls to a greater extent than was the norm. Maybe they are being secretive about this and going out of your gaze or earshot to use their phone or computer and shutting this down when you approach. You might have noticed that they don’t leave their phone or computer lying around like they used to or even, if you have access to billing, that a particular number keeps showing up time and time again.
- Making more of an effort in their appearance: maybe you have noticed that your partner is looking better when they go out to work, the gym, college, a night out with friends etc and making significantly more effort around this than they had been. They may have lost weight, worked on their physique, bought new clothes, had their hair done or started applying more make-up. If this is different behaviour to that which they were displaying before it could be an indicator that they are trying to impress someone else.
- Making less effort with you: it could be that your partner has wanted to spend less time with you or do activities with you. They are showing less interest in doing stuff as a couple such as date nights or even the weekly shop and are finding reasons and excuses to get out of this. Maybe the compliments have stopped, or the texts or phone calls have reduced? Are they responding to your attempts to check in with them less, not answering your calls or texts like they used to?
- Suddenly making more effort with you: the reverse of the above might happen if your partner is cheating. They might feel guilt or be wanting to put you off the scent of any infidelity and may buy you impromptu gifts that they never gave before or be sending you more texts or communications about their day to make you feel like you know exactly what they are up to and couldn’t possibly be cheating?
- Being less available or going out more: does your partner have less time to spend with you and you feel like you are seeing less and less of them? Are they going out more or working late all the time suddenly? Are they late for important events or arrangements you have made, or do they cancel with an excuse? It may be that they are spending their time with someone else.
- Increased mentioning of someone else: does one name keep cropping up in your partner’s conversation? Do they keep on referring to a particular friend, work colleague or individual? This will be inadvertent on your partner’s behalf and they probably won’t even realise they are doing it but this person is clearly at the forefront of your partner’s name if they can’t stop name dropping…..
- Your partner’s reaction when they see the other person: maybe you have noticed that when a particular person is around, your partner lights up and switches on the charm? They probably don’t even realise they are doing this or are consciously aware of their behaviour but they can’t help trying to attract this person. They may even be downright flirty. They may watch this person, turn their body towards them, mimic their body language or be intently interested in everything they have to say. They may just smile more! You notice the same behaviours and endearing actions that your partner used when you first met them on you, but now they are directed towards someone else. Who are they trying to impress?
- Reduced interest in you: has your partner stopped asking how your day was or showing interest or care when you tell them something important about an event or how you are feeling? Do they seem more distant and aloof then they were and lack focus on you when they are with you? Maybe your partner has stopped being sexually interested in you and intimacy has reduced or stopped; they touch you less and don’t initiate sexual activity as much as they used to or are tired or disinterested when you do. They could be continuing to engage in sexual acts with you but somehow seem less attuned or attentive during these and somewhat mechanical or detached during sex.
- Irritability or argumentative behaviour: having an affair is stressful! It puts pressure on a person, and they may be confused or anxious about their own behaviours or the chance of getting caught. Maybe they are finding it hard to be away from their new love and you are now an inconvenient part of their life who doesn’t cut it like their new interest (harsh I know but an unfortunate possibility). Maybe they don’t know what to do next or how to get themselves out of this hole. This could cause your partner to become more irritable or hostile, to find fault in you that they didn’t see before and to create conflict unnecessarily. This isn’t your fault; this is all about them and the situation they have created by cheating.
- Accusing you of cheating: you have never cheated; you love your partner and have always proclaimed your respect for monogamy but suddenly and out of the blue they are accusing you of cheating. This may be more about their behaviour and guilt then yours.
- Revenge cheating: Have you cheated and your partner become aware? It may well be that they feel the need to get their own back in an attempt to reduce the hurt and betrayal they felt from your actions. If the trust has been broken once, there’s a definite potential that long term damage and a precedent for behaviours has been set.
The above are just a few indicators that your partner MAY be cheating – its important to approach any suspicion on a rational and non-emotional basis and to consider the alternatives.
There may be something completely different to cheating going on for your partner and maybe they are feeling emotionally low, physically unwell, under stress in work or maybe the spark has just gone in your relationship and there is no one else involved.
There are lots of things you can try if you think your relationship is dying or your partner is cheating but, without doubt, the most crucial thing is communication and respect. Talk to your partner in a non-accusatory way about how you are feeling. If they aren’t willing to listen and understand and try and work to make things better, maybe its time to move on……