Of course, if your partner comes home late at night reeking of another person’s signature scent, it seems pretty obvious that something is amiss. But often, the signs of cheating are far more subtle.
Whether you have a fleeting concern about new behaviors or are seriously worried that your spouse could be having an affair, experts advise these signals you should watch out for.
1. They’re reluctant to make any big joint purchases.
“Commitments like buying a house or car indicate that the other person is in the relationship for the long run,” says licensed family therapist David Klow and author of You Are Not Crazy: Letters From Your Therapist. And, while it’s possible that your partner’s hesitancy is just due to financial concerns, it can also be a tip-off that they’re cheating—especially if this wasn’t an issue in the past.
“A major commitment makes it more difficult to pull out of a relationship quickly,” adds licensed clinical psychologist Ramani Durvasula, Ph.D., author of Should I Stay or Should I Go?. If your partner gets weird about this, don’t be afraid ask what’s behind the hesitation. If they get flustered, and it’s not about the money, it could suggest that something isn’t right.
2. They “forgot” to mention a night out.
People who are cheating “tend to engage in sins of omission,” Durvasula says. “They operate on a ‘need to know’ basis, which is not healthy for a relationship.” Although neglecting to mention that time they grabbed drinks with co-workers could be completely innocuous—maybe happy hour just wasn’t that memorable—if the behavior persists, it could reflect general dishonesty, Klow says.
3. The phone goes everywhere with them—even the bathroom.
First, a caveat: Some people are seriously hooked on their phones and tote them along out of habit, or boredom—that doesn’t mean they’re cheating, Klow says. The issue arises if this is suddenly a new thing for your partner.
That’s definitely more concerning, according to Durvasula. “They know that messages from the other person can come at any time,” she says, so if they’ve always relied on the bathroom stash of magazines to get them through their quiet time, and suddenly they’re relying on their phone, it might be worth keeping an eye on.
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