In every relationship there may come a time where you might have the thought that your partner is cheating. New habits or attitudes begin to appear and you start questioning what is happening in your relationship.
You may try to confront your partner about the issue, but you are met with defensiveness, anger, or responses that do not seem credible. You may even be met with righteous indignation where your spouse takes the position of “how dare you not trust me”.
The signs of cheating will look different in every relationship, of course, but there are some common threads that you can look for. I’ve put together this list of the top 5 signs that your spouse may be cheating, none of the following will constitute concrete evidence, but should serve as a direction to look for when asking the question “Is my spouse cheating”.
5 signs that your spouse is cheating
1. Your spouse has many unexplained absences.
These absences could be small amounts of time that are a deviation from normal patterns. For example your spouse is frequently late coming home from work with vague excuses that seem out of character for him or her.
In this case the amount time late could be as little as an hour or two or several hours. On a larger scale your spouse may be starting to attend conferences in other cities that were not previously done. Here again the explanations are often vague or sometimes even wont make sense.
2. Your spouse is withdrawn
Your spouse may have become withdrawn, more than usual either emotionally/intellectually or romantically.
You may experience “flat” evenings where conversation is strained or your partner seems to be in another world, not tuned into you.
3. Your spouse has picked up new habits
Your spouse has begun some new habits that seem uncharacteristic such as coming home smelling of alcohol during the week, dressing up more than usual for work or casual, or embarking on a intense fitness or diet regime particularly when they were adverse to doing so in the past.
4. Your spouse is spending differently.
You are noticing unexplained expenses on credit card statements, such as expenses for dinners and lunches out that were not there previously. When you inquiry about these expenses you find your spouse being defensive (especially if this is out of character for your spouse)
5. Your spouse is pre-occupied
Your spouse appears to be pre-occupied with either their cell phone or computer during home time. For example during a normal family time your spouse is busy texting and explains this as “business” . Your spouse may also now begin to keep their cell phone out of reach whereas before they left it lying around where anyone could pick it up and look at messages. You may have picked up your spouses phone and saw messages that look flirtatious if not sexual in content.
As I mentioned, at the beginning of this post, none of the above constitute concrete evidence that your spouse is having an affair. However, if you contrast your spouse’s response to your questions, to how they would have responded to you in the past and the response seems quite different to you, your partner may be trying to cover up something that they are quite certain would upset you.
The cover up could be that your partner is over confiding with a co worker, having frequent lunches or talks with them and in general developing a close relationship that although may not be romantic, is none the less intimate.
If your partner is engaging in this type of relationship they may not consider it betrayal if no sexual contact is involved, but on the other hand they know enough to know this would likely not exactly please you. Your partner could have also developed an intimate romantic relationship with someone and is still trying to keep this relationship and their marriage as well. In that case they are still trying to protect this other relationship and may or may not be ready to end it.
As you may have discovered, there is not an easy way to approach your partner about your suspicions as the normal response is denial or defensiveness.
You do have options.
1. Have an open dialogue, with committed listening
Instead of accusing your partner of having an affair, you can express concern about the behavior patterns and talk about how these patterns are affecting the marriage. It may sound the same but it is slightly different to say, “I am worried about the state of our relationship, you don’t seem as invested as you used to be”. You can at this point cite the unexplained absences, changes in behavior patterns etc. and let your spouse explain their point of view on the matter.
2. State your fears, by being blunt.
You can also be blunt and state your worst case fears. Then let your partner explain themselves.
Should your partner admit to an extra marital affair then I would suggest that you seek professional help as the road to recovery is tricky and you do not want this to be swept under the rug with promises to change.
Should your partner vehemently deny that they are having an affair you can still ask for marital counselling to address what is going on. Sometimes in the context of marital counselling people finally do admit the reason for their distance is another person. They can still be minimizing the impact of this other relationship to themselves and to you. In counselling however we would discuss the impact of having a triangle in the marriage (another person)