3 Subtle Signs You're Cheating (Without Even Realizing It)

You might think you're devoted to your partner, but are you, really?

woman and man in bed Oleksandr Nagaiets / Shutterstock

If you've been cheated on before, you know how earth-shattering this experience can be. Apart from a loved one's death, infidelity is probably the most emotionally painful experience. 

An affair is a real threat that can destroy any relationship. The problem is, it's not always so clear when you or your partner crosses that blurry line into inappropriate behavior.

For many people, cheating begins (almost) innocently with emotional infidelity, which can occur in certain friendships, flirtations with coworkers, or even strangers. 


The straying partner might not mean to at first, but it soon crosses platonic boundaries that are damaging to a relationship.

Research has found that emotional infidelity and online relationships are considered real acts of betrayal and are just as damaging as physical cheating.

So, let's get rid of the confusion. 

RELATED: 8 Things Chronic Cheaters Have In Common


Here are three subtle signs you're cheating — and not even realizing it:

1. You tell your friend things that should only be discussed with your partner

Is the first person you think to share some big news with your partner, or a "friend?" Do you vent about your significant other to your cute coworker?

You and your partner need to protect your relationship with a "couple bubble." Basically, you have to create safety, security, and trust. By going to someone else with big news, personal information, or private relationship issues, you're bursting that bubble.

2. You're constantly thinking about the next time you'll get to see your friend

Are you dressing differently, wearing more makeup, or applying perfume in hopes of bumping into your coworker in the break room?

If you find yourself fantasizing about seeing a coworker or someone in your social circle, that's a good indication you're crossing the line. It's natural to find other people physically attractive, but you typically know when it's more than that — be honest with yourself.


Instead of straying, reflect on what's going on in your relationship. Are you feeling disconnected? The answer isn't to cheat, but rather to communicate with your partner about the needs you have that aren't being met. 

RELATED: The Surprising Reason People Cheat (And Why It's Happening Now More Than Ever Before)

3. You find yourself keeping secrets or hiding conversations you had with your friend

When communicating with a friend or coworker, do you hide your phone, message only in private, or minimize your email when your partner is around?

This is a giant red flag that what you're doing is inappropriate, and this relationship is not platonic. 


Unless you're talking about a work project with a big deadline, there's no need to be texting with a coworker at midnight. 

Take responsibility and assert stronger boundaries. If you don't feel comfortable with your partner overhearing or reading your private conversations, you probably shouldn't be having them.

Ultimately, every couple has to define their own fidelity boundaries and get on the same page, and you shouldn't agree to behaviors that make you feel insecure, uncomfortable, or in your gut feels like a betrayal. 


It's important to talk about these issues proactively in order to protect and prioritize your relationship.  

RELATED: If You're Doing These 6 Things, You're For Sure Having An Emotional Affair

Samantha Burns is a licensed counselor, dating coach, and the love guru behind the free worksheet Reframing My Negative Thoughts About Love.