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signs your partner is cheating

Updated on February 17, 2011

Tell Tale Signs of Cheating

Besides the actual demise of a relationship, there is seemingly nothing more hurtful in a relationship than infidelity. I must preface my points by saying that ultimately, there are a wealth of relationships in which infidelity was just the straw that broke the camel's back. In other words, there exists a smorgasbord of two people together who regretfully so, need to not be with each other. It is with my sincerest hopes that if you are in a relationship doomed by significant interpersonal boundary issues such as abuse, alcoholism, or gambling, etc., that you first ask yourself "is this relationship worth saving?". By all means, if your partner has consistently and repetitively overstepped boundaries unacceptable to you in a relationship or as a human being, your time would best be served asking yourself if the relationship should continue at all; regardless of any prospective infidelities.

Having said that, infidelity and the sneaking gut feeling that so often accompanies same is a life robbing and soul draining experience. Akin to actually finding out that your partner has indeed cheated, the paths leading you to the discovery is time consuming and often times, emotionally warping. We all know when our inner flags go up and begin to protest; whether immediately or in retrospect. Often times, I have heard a great deal of women and men alike profess that they had absolutely no signs of cheating in their relationship other than a "feeling". I can personally attest that your "feeling" needs investigation! You know your partner better than anyone; therefore when your partner starts to step outside of themselves, suddenly a different "them" is at home and your feelings are off kilter.

Please don't be offended if you have been cheated on and recognized absolutely zero to zilch signs of the betrayal and was blindsided by all truths. It's perfectly understandable to not be able to detect cheating or infidelity in your relationship, but at least you can say after reading further is that should betrayal ever rear it's ugly head again, you'll have a greater awareness of the signs.

Like everything in life, often times there are completely rational and truthful explanations for another human being's personality, appearance, attitude, and daily habits to change. (depression, stress, etc.) Other times, there are not. Unfortunately, the cold truth is that it is up to your partner to either slip up or get caught when it comes to infidelity. I would give you the good news, but I digress.

Having been there, done that, and got the broken heart to prove it, pay close attention to the following list of signs of cheating in a relationship. Again, take everything you read with a grain of salt, but never discard that gut feeling. That sneaky little intuition is there for a reason.


In order to be more appealing to another woman/man or to become more appealing to same, usually one of the first things that will often times be noted by betrayed partners is that the appearance of their partner has changed. If you can find no real reason why your partner's appearance seems to be spiraling to the mirror more often than not, they just may be cheating on you. Appearance signs are vast, but some of the most common and not so common are:

  • An increase in showering or bathing. If all the sudden your partner goes from never showering in the morning to constantly showering in the morning, something may be aloof. Pay particular attention to when they are showering or bathing. Are they squeaky clean right before you come home? Have they suddenly starting bathing more during their work week but tend to slack off when they are home with you on weekends?
  • Buying new cologne/perfume. Of course it is not a crime to buy either of those two items, but again particular attention must be paid to when they are using the scents they purchased. It's normal for all of us in relationships to want to smell good for our partners, but again if you find yourself next to a partner who only smells good when they leave the home, you may have to wonder who they are trying to impress.
  • Hair and facial hair changes. If all the sudden your mate goes from baby faced to something resembling a lumberjack, your suspicions deserve to be raised. While women have somewhat of an urge to please even strangers by looking good, be wary of the woman who suddenly takes a keen interest in her hair, underarm hair, bikini area, etc.
  • Sudden desire to lose weight, become more buff, etc. So you've been in a relationship one, two, ten, or thirty years. Out of the blue, your partner decides to lose weight. That's great and its not always a sign of cheating, but sometimes... it is. Unless your partner is preparing for a the next marathon in town, usually couples decide on healthy changes together. This is not to say that it's not untypical or even unhealthy for couples to do their own thing when it comes to exercise and health issues, because that is quite contrary to my point. However, when you have stared at the same flabby abs on your partner for quite some time and they become suddenly obsessed with losing that weight, an eyebrow or two should be raised.
  • A new wardrobe. Again, there is absolutely nothing wrong with buying a new wardrobe or even deciding to dress differently. We are human beings and we are ever evolving. However, pay attention to when the items are being worn. If the only time you see the brand new shirt your partner just bought is when they are leaving, it's time to cut holes in the shirt. I'm just kidding, of course... maybe. Most importantly, pay attention to their personal items such as boxers, briefs, socks, etc. Are you seeing them in them?


Are you all the sudden with someone new? Do you find yourself glancing at them when they aren't looking, asking yourself "what's different?" If appearance doesn't jump right out there and give away your partner's philandering ways; attitude, behaviors and personality will. Cheaters can inadvertently carry over a behavior or personality they are showing their other man or woman... to you. Cheaters fail miserably at being two people at once. Why, they have to swing back and forth from swooning the new partner to settling back into the normal routine of you two as a couple. Carry over , as I call it, is often times a tell tale sign of cheating. If you find yourself constantly questioning where the person you met has gone, my guess is going to be: astray. Signs to look for in appearance, behaviors and personality are also very vast. Here are a few to get you started:

  • Their laugh changes. While you may not think this is important, it is. We are diverse creatures, and often times more than not when trying to impress someone, we change ourselves. We may laugh louder, harder, longer. In fact, your partner may be laughing like their other woman or man does.
  • They begin to use certain catch phrases that you have never heard them use. Sure, we all bust out with something cute or catchy once in a while. Perhaps we heard it in a movie, or even from a line in a song. Hey, I remember the days when I said "talk to the hand" . Who didn't? The line was everywhere. Pay close attention to what your partner is saying, and how often they say it. A lot of times, a cheating partner will sort of become a chameleon. In order to blend into his cheating lifestyle ( or with his cheating partner), he or she will often times begin to take on the personality of their cheating partner.
  • Their attitude towards you changes. Out of absolutely nowhere, you are detested for reasons unbeknown to you. Or on the other hand, you are being smothered with affection whereas this was generally not the case earlier in your relationship. A lot of the time, guilt will cause a cheating partner to become overly nice. However, that same guilt can also turn them into a monster- constantly comparing you with "what could be", not to mention secretly blaming you for what they are doing wrong.
  • Their ipod/mp3/etc., all the sudden turns into a plethora of music you have never heard before, and are pretty sure they have never had an interest in. Spare yourself the grief in asking why there is a new interest in music. They either heard something new on the radio, which is a perfectly plausible reason, or they are interested in their cheating partner's music. Downloading entire albums of music you are pretty darn certain your partner has never listened to, especially when the genre is just totally wrong for them, is suspicious enough.
  • They kiss different. Kissing is a part of my so coined carry over. If you spend five years parting your hair to the left and suddenly decide to part it to the right, two things are going to happen: One- someone is going to notice because its different and Two: It's not going to feel right.
  • Bedroom behaviors change. Without going into great detail, if something in the bedroom changes it is usually because something outside of it changed. This of course doesn't always mean infidelity, and if it is a stand alone sign, it is usually a pretty weak one. The day to day struggles of finances, the ever slinking economy and general stress we all must face is enough to curb the bedroom appetite. However, if all the sudden you feel as though you are competing with someone not in the room... you might just be.
  • Emails and cell phone go on lock down. There are quite a few people that constantly have their cell phone on lock, and it means generally nothing other than privacy. If your partner has generally always been a private person... remaining a private person is usually not a sign of infidelity; but oh how it could be! If you are in a monogamous relationship with someone and living with them, I find it important that passwords and cell phone data be open to each other. To not stray completely off topic; if all the sudden you can no longer access your partner's email and you can't remember the last time you didn't find their cell phone glued to their pocket, pay attention to these signs. Also, if you are used to being able to hear alerts from your partner's phone and now you hear delicate little vibrations, this is also cause for concern. Charging the phone in a locked car that you do not have access to is also another red flag. Again, if something changes- it usually changed for a reason.
  • Relationship etiquette changes. Believe it or not, we all have this. They are merely just unspoken rules or habits that couples get into with each other. If, for example, your partner has never opened your car door but suddenly makes it a habit to kill himself reaching your door before you do, the dynamics of the relationship have started to change. Again, relationship etiquette can often times start to change due to the "carry over" effect of cheating. In order to impress his mistress, your partner may open her door, open restaurant doors, and perhaps even help to seat her. Has your relationship etiquette changed? How? Examine, examine, examine.



In order to cheat, one must have time to cheat. Unfortunately, many cheating partners have found a way to cheat and still be home on time. Furthermore, many other cheating partners have come up with brilliant excuses to get out of the house. More and more affairs are happening at work and colleges today than probably anywhere else. As long as there is time to cheat, there is always opportunity so I consider that they go hand in hand. I doubt that a bullet list of examples will be of any use here as the topic is pretty self explanatory. If you have read through the above list and shook your head yes at almost everything that you have read thus far, please don't be skewed thinking your partner doesn't have time for an affair.

Gut Instinct

Ah, that sneaky little intuition. It can crop up on you when least expected, and when least wanted. Again, this is another tale tell sign that doesn't set itself up for a bullet list, as it is generally a stand alone topic. Most of the time however, betrayed partners will say to me "I knew that something wasn't right, but I couldn't put my finger on it." The rule (if there ever was any) about life should be this: if something feels wrong, it probably is. The same should hold true in relationships then. If something seems different, aloof, or "off", it more than likely is. Your intuition is a valuable tool and one to investigate fully. I would have to venture so far as to say since you have found my article, your gut instinct is already alerting you to something, so listen to it. In fact, listen to everything; including yourself. No matter how many times during life we want to tell ourselves "no, it can't be", that little gut feeling is there to remind you that "yes, yes it can be". What you do with your gut feeling is totally your call. I wouldn't recommend spending your life snooping every hour of the day, but a bit of detective work never hurt anyone.

It is my sincerest wish that monogamous relationships would remain just that. Unfortunately, my wish has gone ignored.

Add your thoughts below! Did you catch your partner cheating? What set you off to find out? How did you find out?

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    • profile image


      5 years ago

      This article is right on . i just found out my wife of 14 yrs is cheating on me. we have 4 kids also. she filed for a divorce but is in denial of her cheating and is a compulsive liar about everything. its so sick and disgusting. She has also turned me into the bad guy making up lies about how terrible she's been treated.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      As a former cheating spouse, I can confirm these signs are right on the money. If my spouse was to detect my affair, these are exactly the areas in which it could be done. Finally, when the affair was discovered, these were all areas in which she had noticed things being amiss and were confirmed in retrospect. This list is an excellent tool set because it is nearly impossible for a human being maintain normalcy when things are not normal. Bleed through, cross over, or "carry over" is impossible to control. Liars don't have the luxury of truth to rely on, so they must play "God" by creating a false reality which, frankly, no one can do perfectly for long. It is exhausting work and slip ups, overcompensations and moments of panic are inevitable. Trying to be "there" for your spouse when you are on the roller coaster of being "love drunk" one moment and hating yourself to the point of suicide the next is impossible. Counterfeits are always detectable by someone with the proper exposure and training. I'm so glad that chapter of our lives is over and the work of repair underway. The intoxicating experience of it all was fleeting and not worth the pain and devastation that has been a long, hard road to walk.

    • ladylovebug profile image

      Shavonne Laubscher 

      5 years ago from Cape Town

      i agree with this after observing my sister's divorce and what led to eat -every fact is true .Im glad you shared to help everyone out there .

    • Zedraine profile image


      6 years ago

      Very insightful article! Everything in here makes sense, and having someone who has cheated on me in the past, nearly all the signs were mentioned here. The change in appearance, phone on lockdown, and the extremely nice behavior towards me.


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