11 Signs of Cheating

How to Tell If Your Partner Might Be Cheating

Problems in the relationship
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Infidelity can be traumatic and is one of the more challenging problems faced in a relationship. While many people are blindsided if and when they find out about a spouse or partner cheating, others may suspect infidelity because of actions that are out of the norm.

Eleven common signs of cheating include:

  • Changes in communication
  • Increased interest in appearance
  • More time spent away from home
  • Attitude changes
  • Lying
  • Avoidance
  • They accuse you of cheating
  • Indifference
  • Changes in your sex life
  • Money issues
  • Change in technology use

As you can see, some of these signs actually are at odds with one another. This range of possibilities, which is certainly not all-inclusive of everything, shows just how different signs can be from one person to the next.

And realize that while there are certain behavioral changes, curious actions, and odd occurrences that, together, may back up your unfortunate hunch, none of the following are guaranteed signs that your partner is cheating.

Changes in Communication

A breakdown in communication is never a positive sign. If you can't get your spouse to communicate (or even fight) with you, they no longer share their day with you, or the words "I love you" are no longer spoken, there's likely an underlying issue.

The following signs of stonewalling, which involves refusing to listen to, respond to, or accept what you're saying, may also signal infidelity:

  • Ignores what you say
  • Changes the subject to avoid an uncomfortable topic
  • Storms off without a word
  • Comes up with reasons why they can't talk
  • Refuses to answer questions
  • Makes accusations rather than talking about the current problem
  • Uses dismissive body language such as rolling or closing their eyes
  • Acts in a passive-aggressive manner (stalling or procrastinating to avoid talking)

In one piece of research, subjects more accurately determined who was cheating in a relationship based on their lower voice pitch. Thus, researchers concluded that "the human voice can be of value as a cheater detection tool."

Increased Interest in Appearance

Certainly, taking care of yourself can be positive, but when combined with other suspicious behaviors, this may also be cause for concern. If your spouse or partner has an increased interest in their appearance, this could be a sign of cheating.

Other appearance-related signs of cheating include:

  • Dressing nicer than normal
  • Wearing a different style of clothing
  • Wearing clothing you've never seen

More Time Spent Away From Home

There are times when other areas of our life take up more of our day. This equates to less time at home. However, if time spent elsewhere continues to rise or remains elevated for long periods, this may be one of the first signs of cheating or that your partner is spending time with someone else.

Here are a few things to watch for:

  • Your spouse picks up a new hobby that requires a few hours of commitment per day.
  • When you ask about their time away, they're vague about what they're doing.
  • When you show interest in their new hobby, they brush you off.
  • Your mate is working longer and longer hours at work.

Attitude Changes

Your spouse may experience work stress or problems with other relationships that can lead to changes in attitude. The following might be signs of infidelity, but they could also signal other issues.

  • Your spouse exhibits signs of low self-esteem.
  • You notice your spouse has a sense of confusion about him or herself.
  • Your spouse seems to want danger or thrills in their life.
  • Your spouse is more negative than before.
  • Your spouse becomes more critical of you.
  • Your spouse seems to be picking fights more often.
  • Your spouse gets very defensive if you mention infidelity or affairs.
  • When you ask for reassurance about cheating, you do not feel satisfied with the response.

Lying

Dishonesty in a marriage is a red flag. This dishonesty can involve lying about cheating itself, or your partner may lie about other things as well. Potential signs of cheating related to lying include:

  • You find your partner has been lying to you about a variety of things.
  • When you ask your partner questions about who they were with or what they were doing, their nervousness increases.
  • Your spouse's friends seem anxious around you.
  • Your spouse seems more secretive.

Interestingly, studies have found that people who have cheated on their partners tend to be better at detecting lies and deception themselves.

Avoidance

If your partner is avoidant, this can be a sign of infidelity. Sometimes people who cheat avoid their spouses or partners so they don't have to face uncomfortable questions about where they were or who they were with. Other times, they want to avoid the feelings of guilt they have for stepping out on the relationship.

These avoidance strategies may indicate that your spouse may be cheating:

  • You feel as if you are being avoided.
  • They don't want to go places or do things with you anymore.
  • Your partner abandons religious faith.
  • Your spouse's wandering eye seems out of control.

They Accuse You of Cheating

When someone feels guilty about something they've done, they might transfer those feelings of guilt onto the other person, accusing them of doing the same thing. In this case, your partner may accuse you of cheating—even though you've given them no reason to think this.

If your spouse is cheating, you may notice these signs:

  • You face constant cheating accusations from your spouse.
  • Every time you question them, they start to question you instead.
  • When they engage in questionable behavior, they insist that you are the one who is "being shady."

If your spouse constantly accuses you of cheating, even when you're not, this can also be a sign of emotional abuse.

Indifference

When your spouse shows apathy or lack of interest in things that they used to love, communicate with them to see if there is another reason for the change in engagement. But if you also suspect infidelity, these changes may be a further indication of an affair.

  • Your spouse seems bored with you, their job, your children, hobbies, or even life in general.
  • Your spouse has become lazy, especially around the house.
  • Your spouse doesn't show any jealousy about you, no matter what you say.
  • Your spouse is indifferent to family events like birthdays and holidays.

Changes in Your Sex Life

It is not uncommon for there to be fluctuations in the frequency of sex in your marriage. But research has also connected showing too little or even too much interest in sexual activity as potentially leading to infidelity in romantic relationships.

These signs may indicate the possibility of an affair:

  • There is considerably less intimacy or connection in your relationship.
  • Your sex life is practically non-existent.
  • There are lots of new things introduced in sex that were never before.
  • You learn that you have a sexually transmitted infection and you have not strayed.

Money Issues

Almost all marriages undergo some kind of financial stress at one time or another. But you may want to investigate certain money issues when you notice them in your marriage. Signs of cheating to watch for include:

  • You notice charges on credit card statements that don't make sense.
  • Money becomes more of an issue between the two of you.
  • Your spouse stops planning for large purchases (such as a trip, buying a house, starting a renovation, etc.)

A 2021 study found that financial problems are one of the main predictors of marital infidelity.

A Change in Technology Use

Infidelity is often revealed online. In fact, internet infidelity is a common phenomenon. Your partner's cell phone may also reveal signs of cheating, such as in your spouse's text or phone messages.

A change in technology use can also signal infidelity. These tech changes may warrant concern:

  • Your spouse is suddenly unreachable at certain times of the day.
  • Your spouse changed their password or won't share it with you.
  • Your spouse is always texting or sneaking off to take phone calls.
  • You notice cloud sharing has suddenly been switched off on your devices.
  • Your spouse stops using shared devices altogether.
  • Your spouse reduces their use of social media.
  • Your partner clears the browser history on the home computer.
  • Your spouse's fitness tracker shows exercise at odd times and hours.

How to Deal With a Lying Spouse

In most cases, even when you confront your partner with accusations of cheating, it will be denied. Unless you have hard evidence or irrefutable proof, many people will not admit to infidelity.

There are a few ways that you can tell if your spouse is lying. If you keep getting denial and push-back when trying to discuss your concerns with your partner, you may need to get professional help to sort through things. A couples' counselor will be neutral and can help you gain insight into what exactly is going on in your marriage.

If your partner refuses to attend, consider individual counseling to help process the mixture of feelings like hurt, shock, fear, depression, shame, and mistrust you're likely experiencing.

Caring for your own mental and physical health is essential during this stressful time. In addition to emotional distress, you may be experiencing physical reactions like sleep and eating disturbances (too little or too much), gastrointestinal problems (nausea or diarrhea), and trouble concentrating. To keep up your strength and resolve, try your best to drink plenty of water, exercise, stick to a regular sleep schedule, and eat a healthful diet.

A Word From Verywell

Again, there is no definitive way to tell if your partner is cheating without asking directly or catching them in the act. What may be a warning sign in one relationship may be nothing to be concerned about in another relationship. In fact, most signs of infidelity are quite subtle. It is only when the lies and stories stop adding up that the cheating usually comes to light.

Don't try to get through coping with unfaithfulness alone. Before you make any decisions about whether or not to end your marriage, it's wise to seek relationship therapy either together or alone. You can even try an online program that may be more convenient.

Get Help Now

We've tried, tested, and written unbiased reviews of the best online therapy programs including Talkspace, Betterhelp, and Regain. Find out which option is the best for you.

8 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  4. University of Rochester Medical Center. Recognizing emotional abuse.

  5. Kaur K. Infidelity: The double-edged sword. College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.

  6. Atapour N, Reza Falsafinejad M, Ahmadi K, Khodabakhsi-Koolaee A. A study of the processes and contextual factors of marital infidelity. Pract Clin Psychol. 2021;9(3):211-226. doi:10.32598/jpcp.9.3.758.2

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By Sheri Stritof
Sheri Stritof has written about marriage and relationships for 20+ years. She's the co-author of The Everything Great Marriage Book.