Heartbreak

10 Blink-And-You'll-Miss Signs Your Spouse Is Cheating On You

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Couple arguing about infidelity

How do you know if your spouse is cheating on you?

Often, the first sign of a cheating spouse is your gut instinct telling you that something is wrong. So if you're asking yourself, "Is he cheating?" or "Is she having an affair?" then you've probably already noticed a few signs of cheating in your marriage, even if you're not sure what they are exactly.

Usually, if you’re asking these questions, you already suspect that you’re the victim of infidelity, or at the very least that something is amiss in your relationship.

The signs of cheating look different in every relationship, of course, but there are some common threads that you can look for if you think that your spouse is being unfaithful.

First and foremost, I will tell you this: If your gut tells you that your spouse is cheating, it may be right.

That said, you may want to gather other evidence before you confront your significant other about their suspect behavior.

RELATED: The Age Your Partner Will Most Likely Cheat On You, According To Research

Here are 10 blink-and-you'll-miss signs your spouse is cheating on you:

1. Improved appearance

If your significant other 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 Mr. Sweatpants-Are-Just-Fine-at-a-Party starts wearing slacks with matching socks and a fashionable shirt, or Ms. I-Can’t-Help-It-If-I-Smell-Like-Our-Son’s-Poopy-Diapers suddenly smells like Chanel No. 5, that may indicate an affair.

Ditto for a new haircut and new underwear — especially if your significant other looks the same around you, but significantly better for work or certain social events.

2. Secretive phone or computer use

Cheaters tend to use their phones and computers more frequently than before and guard them as if their lives depended on them. 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. Honestly, what could possibly be there — other than information about your surprise birthday — that they would want to keep secret?

   

   

3. Periods where your significant other is unreachable

If your partner is cheating on you, they are less likely to answer your calls and respond to your texts. You may hear legitimate-sounding excuses like they were in a meeting, they were driving, they were in a “dead zone” and didn’t know you were trying to get in touch.

If your partner is unreachable while working late or on a business trip, that’s a bad sign.

RELATED: Why Cheating Has Sadly Become Much More Common, According To Research

4. Significantly less, or more, or different intimacy in your relationship

Both decreased and increased levels of intimate activity in your relationship can be a sign of infidelity. Less intimacy occurs because your partner is focused on someone else; more intimacy occurs because they are trying to cover that up. Another possible sign of cheating is that the intimacy you and your partner are having feels less emotionally connected.

Yet another possible sign is that your partner is introducing new techniques and activities into your intimate life. As much as you might enjoy that, it’s possible that they are learning new tricks outside of your relationship.

5. Your partner is hostile toward you and your relationship

Cheaters tend to rationalize their behavior (in their own minds). One way they do this is to push the blame onto you. They tell themselves that you don’t look the way you did when they married you, or you’re not adventurous enough in the bedroom, or you don’t appreciate all the wonderful things they do for you, so they deserve to have a little fun elsewhere.

Often, their internal justifications for cheating leak out, and they behave judgmentally toward you and your relationship. If it suddenly seems like nothing you do is right, or that things that used to not bother your partner suddenly do, or as if you’re getting pushed away, that could be a strong indication of cheating.

6. An altered schedule

When your significant other — who never once worked late — suddenly needs to work late, and that starts to happen more and more frequently, they may be lying. If your spouse has never been away on a business trip and suddenly finds a need to travel for work, that could be a sign that they are having weekend getaways with an affair partner.

   

   

Flat tires, dead batteries, traffic jams, spending extra time at the gym, and similar excuses for being late or absent altogether might also signal infidelity. A cheating partner might also suddenly be forgetful about picking up the kids, birthdays, and other important events.

RELATED: The One Factor In Every Marriage Where Someone Cheats

7. Friends seem uncomfortable around you

With infidelity, you, the betrayed partner, are nearly always the last person to find out. The cheater’s friends often know about the infidelity right from the start, and your own friends are likely to find out long before you do. This knowledge typically causes these individuals to feel uncomfortable around you.

The cheater’s friends might try to avoid you or to be overly nice to you. Your own friends may try to avoid conversations about your relationship, and they might overcompensate by being extra nice.

8. Unexplained expenses

If there are odd charges on your partner’s credit cards, or there is suddenly less money in your or your partner’s bank accounts, retirement accounts, investment accounts, etc., that’s a possible sign of infidelity. If you ask your partner about these expenses, and their answers seem untrue, it’s likely that they are untrue.

Infidelity costs money: Gifts, trips, wine and dinners, hotel rooms, and so on. The costs of cheating can add up very quickly. If you see large cash withdrawals or evidence of purchases from places you rarely or never frequent, that’s not a good sign.

9. Emotional intimacy has faded

After a few years, no relationship is as intense as it was in the first few months. That said, people do tend to bond and securely attach over time, learning to trust one another with their secrets, desires, and other important aspects of their lives. That process is known as building emotional intimacy.

And emotional intimacy is what keeps you bonded to your significant other long after the bloom is off the rose, so to speak. So, if your partner suddenly seems less emotionally vulnerable and intimate with you and does not seem to want you to be emotionally vulnerable and intimate, that’s a strong indication that their focus has shifted — most likely to an affair partner.

10. When you ask about cheating, your partner deflects and avoids it

If your spouse is cheating on you, the absolute last thing in the world that they want to do is talk about it with you. So when you introduce this topic in conversation, they may try to deflect and avoid it. In short, your partner will do everything possible to steer you onto another topic, or they will shift blame for what you’re thinking and feeling onto you.

If you’ve confronted your partner about infidelity and been rebuffed, maybe with a message like, “If you trusted me a little more, maybe things would be better between us,” you should not let that override your gut sense that something is wrong in your relationship. Nor should you automatically accept your partner’s assertion that you are at fault. As stated earlier, if your gut tells you that your significant other is cheating on you, you’re probably right.

Please note: Your significant other could display all ten of these signs and still not be cheating, but these remain indications that something is wrong in their life and/or your relationship. It might not be cheating, but there is almost certainly something that you and your significant other to talk about.

At the same time, your mate could be exhibiting none of these ten signs and still be cheating. Either way, the good news is that learning about infidelity does not automatically signal the end of your relationship. It simply means your partner has a lot of work to do if they want to restore relationship trust, make things right, and re-establish emotional and physical intimacy.

If you learn that your partner has cheated on you, I strongly suggest that you not sit alone with that information. If you don’t feel comfortable confronting your partner, talk to a trusted friend, your pastor, or a therapist. Just don’t sit there alone with your fears and feelings. Reach out and find empathetic support.

RELATED: What It Means When Your Partner Cheats On You, According To Research

Dr. Robert Weiss LCSW, CSAT has been an educator, author, and licensed clinician for nearly 30 years. He has served as a subject-matter expert for numerous major media outlets, including CNN, NPR, and The New York Times, among others.

This article was originally published at Psychology Today. Reprinted with permission from the author.