Signs Your Spouse Could 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.

Consider the following possible signs that your partner is not being faithful. 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 definitely indicate 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)

Appearance and Hobbies

Certainly, taking care of yourself and devoting yourself to new hobbies and passions or even your work can be positive, but when combined with other suspicious behaviors, the following changes may be cause for concern.

  • Your spouse is dressing nicer or has a sudden increase in interest in their appearance.
  • Your spouse picks up a new hobby that requires a few hours of commitment per day. When you show interest in their new hobby, their answer seems vague or 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 and Avoidance

Dishonesty in a marriage is a red flag. 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.
  • You find your partner has been lying to you about a variety of things.
  • Your spouse's friends seem anxious around you.
  • Your spouse seems more secretive.
  • Your partner abandons religious faith.
  • Your spouse's wandering eye seems out of control.
  • Your spouse accuses you of cheating on them.

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 further indication of an affair.

  • Your spouse seems bored with you, a 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 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.

  • 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 Change in Technology Use

Infidelity is often revealed online, in text messages, or phone messages. 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.

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  1. American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. About marriage and family therapists.