Would you know if your partner was about to cheat on you?
Most of us like to think we would but the signs are sometimes less obvious that you’d think.
While on their own these behaviours could be innocent, if you’re answering ‘yes’ to more than six things on this list, it’s definitely time for a talk about your relationship.
Relationship expert Tracey Cox reveals the 14 signs that could mean your partner is going to cheat – or already has
He’s talking a lot about someone new
People shut up once they’re having an affair but during the infatuation period when they think it’s innocent and nothing would ever happen, it’s very much ‘She said this and then she did that’.
Picture a school kid with a crush on their teacher – and sometimes it is just a harmless crush.
But if they abruptly stop mentioning them, it could mean one or both of them has crossed the line from friendship to romance and they’ve either stopped the friendship because of it or it’s fast moved into an affair.
There’s something missing in your relationship
Both men and women have affairs to get something they’re not getting from the relationship they’re in.
If you haven’t had sex for the last two years, it’s pretty obvious the cute redhead at your partner’s workplace who flirts with him is going to be damn tempting.
If your partner’s a workaholic and never around and your self-esteem’s at rock bottom, you might cheat to get some attention and to boost your self-confidence.
Tracey says that if you answer ‘Yes’ to six or more from this list it’s time to have a discussion with your partner
Other people cheat on ‘perfect’ partners for that reason alone: their partner’s perfection makes them feel less than perfect.
Some people are searching for something they lacked as a child, others for lost youth.
Whatever it is, few of us realise that’s what we’re really after while we’ve got our legs in the air in the hotel room or broom cupboard.
Has your partner talked about something not being quite right? Could be they’re about to find what they’re looking for elsewhere.
He was irritable or down and now he’s suspiciously cheery
It might be because he was questioning your relationship and has cheered himself up by flirting/sexting someone else.
Is your partner more or less affectionate than usual?
More could mean he feels guilty about something, less that he’s withdrawing from you.
You’re doing all the work in the relationship
The person who gives the most in the relationship – really looks after it and nurtures it – is the person less likely to have an affair or cheat.
Problem is, they can become so fixated on ‘the relationship’ – building a nice home and financial future – they forget the person they’re building it with.
The partner then feels neglected and seeks attention elsewhere.
‘I was astonished when my husband told me he’d had an affair,’ said one woman I counselled.
‘I couldn’t have been any more supportive as a wife. But he said I’d stopped seeing him, as a person. I treated him like a husband not ‘Jonathan’. He was probably right.’
Your instincts tell you something’s wrong
Most people who seriously suspect their partner is cheating turn out to be right.
If you can’t put your finger on it, but you know something’s not the same and worry your partner’s being tempted elsewhere, trust your instincts.
Finding a ‘clue’ such as unexplained receipts is a more obvious indicator that they could be playing away
Particularly listen to your intuition if you’re a woman who doesn’t have a problem with jealousy. We’ve got great inner radars.
He’s talking less
If he’s less interested in talking generally, it could be because he’s scared of slipping up.
If he’s just become interested in someone else, he’ll start volunteering less information about what he’s up to when you aren’t around.
He’s changed his routine or habits
If your boyfriend used to run at 5am and now he’s running at 7 pm, with aftershave on, you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure out something’s going on – or about to.
He’s changed his appearance
Forget the obvious (the wedding ring’s accidentally replaced on the wrong finger or they dropped it down a drain) – look for subtle changes.
Has he suddenly lost those few extra kilos?
Is he hitting the gym and revamping his wardrobe without a word of criticism or encouragement from you? Could be he’s out to impress someone who’s caught their eye.
He’s wanting more sex than usual
If you’re having great sex, your partner can’t possibly be cheating, right?
This is called ‘the hydraulic pump theory’: you only have so much energy for sex, so if you’re getting it elsewhere, you won’t want it at home.
Some people are more passionate at home when they’re having sex on the side because the affair arouses them.
However, this alone doesn’t mean he’s cheating – more sex could also mean your partner has decided to make a bit of effort!
You’ve found a clue
A box of matches from an unfamiliar restaurant coupled with a guilty reaction.
Unexplained purchases on their bank statement to places you’ve not been to or florist bills for flowers you haven’t received.
ARE YOU OVERREACTING?
Some people will answer ‘yes’ to all of the above without any reason to do so.
Totally innocent acts can take on ominous overtones if you’ve got a history or family background of infidelity.
Even if you don’t have a troubled background, some people mistakenly think love means never doing anything apart.
If their partner wants to do something solo, it must mean they’re having an affair (it doesn’t).
If you’ve got low self-esteem, you’re also far more likely to think your partner is being unfaithful.
Who could blame them for sleeping around when you’re boring/fat/stupid/unsexy/ unattractive?
The easiest way to find out if you’re being rightfully suspicious or ridiculously paranoid is to ask yourself this: is it normal for me to think my partner might be about to play around or is it unusual for me to mistrust someone?
If it’s the latter, keep your eyes open.
The friend who calls to say they haven’t seen your partner in ages yet they were supposed to be out to dinner with them the night before.
All are warning signs they’re about to cheat or already have.
If they’re serious about the person they’re about to cheat with, sometimes your partner will deliberately leave clues, hoping to be discovered.
Or the person they’re flirting with will.
It’s rumoured Jackie O found a pair of women’s knickers stuffed into her pillowcase at the White House while she was married to Kennedy.
He smells differently
If your partner smells impossibly fresh and clean after a hard day at the office, could be the affair has already started (he’s had a shower after sex at their lover’s place).
He smells of a perfume you don’t wear? He might well be rubbing up against someone else.
There are too many weird conversations
Is your partner always saying ‘I’ll have to call you back’ when the phone rings while you’re together?
Do they look shifty and the tone of their voice changes when they take some calls? Being secretive with their phone when they normally aren’t is a huge red flag.
It’s also not a great sign if your partner’s always ‘popping out for a few minutes’.
Be especially suspicious if their phone is engaged the whole time they’re gone: they’re calling the other person.
One friend of mine dashed down to the shops when she couldn’t get through to her partner to tell him to get a vital ingredient.
She saw him talking on his mobile and something told her to sneak up rather than announce her presence.
Her suspicions were confirmed: he was whispering sweet nothings to a lover.
Your friends drop hints
If your partner’s been seen with someone else or confided to a friend who’s then told their partner, friends may try to warn you.
Men are more likely to cover up for each other; women feel obliged to give some sort of warning, no matter how subtle.
While few people will blurt the news out, many give themselves away by making indirect comments.
That passing remark from a friend (‘I was reading a story today about infidelity. God, you just never know, do you?’) could be a warning.
You find yourself deliberately not thinking about ‘it’
A lot of people know when their partners are about to be unfaithful – they just don’t want to admit it to themselves.
But what you don’t know can hurt you – both physically and mentally.
If your partner’s not practising safe sex, you’re at risk of contracting an STD or, worse, HIV.
If you’re crying ‘for no reason’, getting headaches, feeling rundown – again, it’s your body’s way of saying, ‘Hey, you might not want to admit it. But I know you think they’re about to cheat and I’m suffering for it.’
Confrontation might not be your strong point but in this instance, it really is crucial.
Visit traceycox.com for more of Tracey’s advice on sex and relationships and for her product range.