Affairs aren't the only form of cheating.
By Lisa Thomson
When we think of cheating in a marriage, we automatically think of extra-marital affairs.
When a friend announces their marriage is over, one of the first things we wonder is was he having an affair? But what we don’t consider is the multitude of ways disloyalty creeps into a marriage causing equal devastation.
He can cheat on you without having sex with anyone else. That’s right. Disloyalty in a marriage is a form of cheating and it isn’t about sex.
In fact, I would say that it’s a slow, marital death. While an extra-marital affair is like a shot in the heart, consistent disloyalty is like arrows in your back.
Here are 10 ways he’s cheating on you without having an affair:
1. He talks about you behind your back.
How do you know? There are subtle changes in the people around you. Whether it’s friends, his co-workers or his family, you notice a gradual change in their attitude toward you. They may begin to treat you with less respect and more sarcasm. They may begin showing signs of unwarranted aggression toward you. You’re confused because you used to have a solid relationship with this person (people).
It’s not you; it’s a sure sign someone is complaining about you behind your back.
2. He gambles the family money away.
His gambling habit has become a hobby. You have no idea how much money is actually lost in the black hole of his gambling habit. Who knows how much time he’s spending gambling for example, card playing, betting on sports events, going to the casino or betting on his own sports skills.
Here’s the thing. He’s gambling away your and the children’s future. I can hardly think of anything more disloyal than that.
3. He makes unilateral decisions.
Has your husband ever made an important decision that affects the whole family, without consulting you? Mine did and here’s how I found out:
My husband and I went on holiday with our good friends who were Ethel and Fred to our Lucy and Ricky. Somehow the topic of having more babies came up. I said to Ethel and Fred that we were definitely going to have one more baby. That’s when the conversation took a bizarre turn. The Mertzs' began asking, "Why do you want more? You’ve got one of each. No, you shouldn’t have anymore. It would be a mistake."
Much to my horror, my husband sat silently nodding in agreement with them! Apparently he didn’t want another baby. I felt betrayed.
Here’s the thing, the conversation about whether to have another baby should be one of the most intimate and private conversations you have with your spouse. How did these friends get into this decision and why did they have so much weight on something that had nothing to do with them?
4. He places higher importance on his friends, job or acquaintances.
As in the above example, placing more importance on what the Mertz's' thought than his own wife, my ex failed to create or respect any relationship boundaries.
So if given a choice and your husband often chooses other people or events over you, it’s only a matter of time before you feel cheated. It’s especially concerning if he’s easily enamored and eager to impress others, leaving you in the dust.
5. He is Houdini.
When I sprained my ankle, my husband went to the drug store and picked up some crutches for me. Nice, right? Wrong. They were too big for me and if you’ve ever used crutches, you know if they don’t fit properly they’re uncomfortable as h**l. The moment he brought them home, he turned on his heel and went out to his club - leaving me home with the children all day. When I needed him, he disappeared.
6. He blurts out embarrassing things about you in a social setting.
Hey, we all have skeletons and the last thing we need is for our spouse to bring them up with our friends and family at random, unexpected moments. Maybe he does this to build himself up at your expense. But whatever the reason, you’re the one with your belly exposed. Isn’t that a breach of trust?
7. He spends time with people you don’t know.
Of course, we all have some friends that our spouse isn’t involved with. I’m not saying a person shouldn’t have their own friends; I am saying, however, that if your spouse goes to lengths to keep you separate from that person(s), it’s a red flag. He may be hiding something from you.
8. He often breaks promises.
He finds reasons for why he didn’t get around to doing something he promised. All. The. Time.
This could be small things or big things, but either way you’re left feeling cheated. Actions or lack thereof, speak louder than words and that’s a fact.
9. His business is vague.
His business associates, meetings, and out-of-town trips are vague. If he isn’t discussing his business with you in any fashion, what is he hiding? Plus, this could apply to other secrets as well. Although it’s not unnatural to have some secrets from your spouse, you shouldn’t feel your spouse is an enigma.
10. He’s an addict.
He has an addiction to any of the following: drugs, alcohol, gambling, golf, pornography or work. An addiction always comes first for the addict at the cost of everything and everyone else. An addict betrays trust and is disloyal to the ones closest to him. Although, it can be overcome in some cases, often it is the spouse and loved ones that really suffer.
So, cheating and disloyalty aren’t always about sex, after all.
We can’t say "he was a decent man because he didn’t have an affair." No, because if he is doing any of these 10 things, he is cheating. He’s cheating you out of your trust, faith and friendship. Disloyalty is one of the subtlest yet cruelest ways a spouse cheats.
What can we learn from this?
We can spot early warning signs of disloyalty. Instead of worrying about another woman, we can understand that cheating can happen without sex. We can learn what to look for in our next relationship to make it last. We know now, our new partner should provide protection instead of exposure, reverence instead of disdain, respect instead of contempt and trust instead of suspicion.
If indifference breeds disloyalty, then it’s love that allows for fidelity.
Note: I have used the male pronoun in this article, but it can easily be substituted with the female pronoun.
This article was originally published at BlogHer. Reprinted with permission from the author.