You suspect they're cheating, but they deny it. They're texting behind your back. Is it a problem?
How do you know if he's been cheating? Your intuition tells you that something's not quite right. Yet things seem fine on the surface. You feel happy in your relationship, so you can't imagine why he would cheat on you. He comes home at night, he calls you from work. He tells you he loves you, you have sex on a regular basis, and the sex is good. But you know the statistics. More than half of everyone cheats at some point in their relationship. You watch the news, you see the tabloids. And you're starting to feel suspicious. He seems distracted and he talks on his phone more often than usual. He sends texts and emails at odd hours and works late into the night.
All the advice in magazine and self help guides say that if you suspect he's cheating you should communicate, be honest, and ask directly if he's having an affair. So you ask,
"Have you been cheating on me?"
When they deny it, you press further,
"I've been feeling uncomfortable lately, I feel like something is going on being my back. I would feel so much more comfortable if you would be honest with me and tell me the truth."
But he looks you in the eye and swears that nothing is happening. And you want to believe him. So you disregard that little voice inside, your intuition, that doubts what he's saying. You turn the other way when he texts, and you try not to listen when his cell phone rings. You don't ask where he's been when he comes home late. And when he calls from the office and says he has a late meeting, you tell him you will keep dinner warm and remind him to drive home safely.
But more often, you lie in bed and wonder, is he cheating?
One sign that he might be having an affair is something that you can check right now.
Is he hiding his cell phone?
When you try to borrow his phone to make a call, does he deny you access? Does he refuse to lend you his phone? When you try and see what he's doing on his phone, does he hide his texts and his voicemail messages?
If he is hiding his cell phone, it could be a sign he's cheating.
If all signs are pointing to an affair, but you still aren't sure, ask him if you can take a look at his phone. Tell him you're feeling insecure, and that seeing his phone would help you to decrease some of your fears. Ask him for his password. Then check his messages, his texts and his voicemail. If there is anything that gives you pause, or makes you wonder who he's talking to on the phone, ask him about these particular people. Have an open and honest conversation about your questions or fears.
If he refuses to give you access to his phone, trust your intuition; there is something he doesn't want you to see.
And this doesn’t apply to just men. One study shows that up to one-half of married women have at least one lover after they are married before the age of 40. (Intimate Partners Maggie Scarf, 1987 Random House, 1996 Valentine; Adultery, Annette Lawson, 1989 Basic Books.) If you're wondering if your female partner is cheating, ask her for the same transparency — ask her to show you her phone. Even she denies you access or creates an argument instead, then you might have an affair in your relationship.
Preventing an affair is really simple. The author of the Myth of Monogamy, Peggy Vaughn, says that to prevent cheating in your relationship, be honest about your feelings with your spouse, be open about your concerns, and talk about your feelings before they turn into something more.
Honesty is the key. Communicate with your partner before anything happens. If you or your partner is concerned ahout cheating, have an open conversation and check in about how things are going in the relationship. Make it a priority, and be kind.
Tammy Nelson, PhD is a sex and relationship expert and the author of Getting the Sex You Want; Shed Your Inhibitions and Reach New Heights of Passion Together, as well as the upcoming book The New Monogamy; Erotic Recovery after Infidelity.
More Infidelity Advice from YourTango: