Signs your partner may be cheating on you

The sneaking suspicion that you’ve been cheated on is one of the worst feelings in the world. To experience a hunch that an affair is still going on may be even worse. It can feel like the ground is shifting under you as you question everything you knew about your relationship—plus, wondering whether you’re making it all up in your head can erode your mental health.

But how can you tell when your partner is lying about cheating, or “casually” trying to cover their tracks? Whether you have a fleeting concern about new behaviors or you’re seriously worried that your partner could be cheating with someone else, here are some of the signs of cheating to watch out for.

You feel it in your gut.

First and foremost, if your gut tells you that your partner is cheating, it may be right.

This doesn’t pertain to people who are often jealous in general, and thus prone to suspicion when there’s little cause for it. But when you know, you (usually) know. It’s not necessarily a psychic connection, but rather nonverbal cues that you’re picking up.

Of course, there could always be a simple explanation for a switch in your partner’s demeanor that has little to do with cheating. But if these actions feel familiar, and you have no idea why, it’s time to ask the tough questions.

Their phone habits have changed.

Cheaters tend to use their phones more frequently than before and guard them as if their lives depend on it.

If your partner’s phone and laptop never required a password before, and now they do, that’s not a good sign. If your partner suddenly starts deleting texts and clearing their browser history on a daily basis, that’s not a good sign. If your partner never relinquishes possession of their phone, even taking it into the bathroom when they shower, that’s not a good sign. If you ask to review your partner’s phone, and they say no, that’s also a problem.

They pay more attention to their looks now.

If your partner suddenly starts exercising and eating healthier, that could be a sign that they are trying to appear more attractive to someone (possibly you, but possibly an affair partner).

If your partner is suddenly wearing cologne or spending a lot of money on new clothes, and it was never their thing in the past, that may indicate an affair. If your significant other looks the same around you, but significantly better for work or certain social events, it’s “not unreasonable to inquire why”. And if their answer doesn’t make sense, it should raise a red flag.

There’s more emotional distance.

Any strong relationship requires conversation and emotional honesty, which leads to emotional intimacy. When you see that your partner is not emotionally connecting with you, but making excuses to be away from you, that is one key sign of an affair.

A partner being emotionally unavailable can also be a sign of general relationship problems, not just infidelity. However, with the right amount of work and, in many cases, relationship counseling, those problems are often fixable.

They accuse you of cheating.

It might sound wild, but one go-to strategy of guilty cheating partners hoping to hide their infidelity is to flip the conversation around and try to accuse you of cheating. This can be a way to deflect the blame off of them and also to make them look like someone who really values fidelity and would never cheat themselves.

But it’s not always about manipulation, either. They may genuinely be suspicious because they’ve seen firsthand that it’s possible to get away with cheating.

You start catching your partner in little white lies.

While cheating might be the big, overarching lie, there might be several minor lies your partner has to tell in order to conceal the affair. These might be minor things like stopping off to buy groceries, or a major assignment at work that is taking a lot of time.

Of course, your partner may have another reason for lying. But either way, a pattern like that should be addressed.

They’re on top of your schedule.

It can feel a little odd when your partner keeps asking when you will and won’t be home—and it should. The cheater needs to know the time slots when they can have the freedom and flexibility to spend time with their new romantic interest.

Basically, they work hard not to get caught.

They get irate when you try to confront them.

Someone who hasn’t cheated will likely have a good explanation for their suspicious behavior and do what it takes for you to feel confident. A cheater, however, may get defensive because you’ve blown their cover.

It is very common for cheaters to deflect responsibility and get irritated by your questions. They often try and shut you down and even criticize you for being too controlling or suspicious.

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