20 signs your partner is cheating: Tracey Cox reveals the subtle red flags that you probably won’t pick up on
- Tracey Cox has revealed 20 not-so-obvious signs your partner is having an affair
- READ MORE: Tracey Cox reveals the REAL reasons you’re not in a relationship
We all know a partner being suddenly secretive with their phone is the biggest hint they might be playing away.
But what about the less obvious clues your partner could be having an affair?
It’s the subtle signs that people miss.
No-one wants to discover infidelity, so we all tend to give our partners the benefit of doubt. Trust is the foundation of a good relationship, after all.
And it should remain so. I’m not trying to whip you all up into a paranoid frenzy, there are other reasonable explanations for all these things.
But if a lot of them are happening and something doesn’t feel quite right, sit up and pay attention.
If you’re having more sex than usual and your partner’s spending habits change, it could mean your partner is having an affair (Stock image)
1. You’re having more sex than usual
If you’re having great sex, your partner can’t possibly be having an affair, right?
Not so fast. 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, isn’t correct. Some people are more passionate at home when they’re having sex on the side: the affair sexually arouses them. Some get a kick going straight from one bed to the next. Another clue: your partner’s more confident in bed and wants to try things they wouldn’t usually.
2. They’re being more loving or critical than usual
HOW DO YOU KNOW YOU AREN’T OVERREACTING?
Some people will answer ‘yes’ to all 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 tarnished 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’s playing around or is it unusual for me to mistrust someone? If it’s the latter, keep your eyes open.
Remember what it’s like to be infatuated? The world’s suddenly a wonderful place. Things that used to cause arguments between you now don’t – your partner is letting you ‘win’ because they’re no longer invested in the relationship.
Equally as likely is that they will become overly critical, pouncing on everything you do wrong and pointing out your many flaws. This justifies the affair to themselves: Of course I’m having an affair! I’m married to her/him!
3. They accuse YOU of cheating
It’s a sneaky tactic and a remarkably effective one. It sends a signal that they believe cheating is a bad thing and they must care about you, or they wouldn’t care less if you cheated. It’s often genuine: they’re getting away with seeing someone else, so could you be!
4. They avoid eye contact
Only a seasoned liar and hardened person can look directly into the eyes of someone they know loves them when they are betraying them.
In fact, research suggests if your partner can look you in eyes and touch you lovingly at the same time, it’s a good indication they aren’t up to anything. (The exception? Serial cheaters. If you’ve always cheated and see nothing wrong with it, you’ll accomplish this no problem at all.)
5. Their interests change
They used to love rom-coms, now they’re into serious documentaries. Before it was 90s pop, now it’s Indie. The guy who wouldn’t eat anything other than burgers, suddenly decides he loves Vietnamese.
The new person is changing or expanding their interests and hobbies.
6. Their spending habits change
If they are spending more, it usually means they’re going out more or buying gifts. Pay attention if they are withdrawing lots of cash: cash means you can’t see where they’ve been on bank or credit card statements.
Unexpected presents might come your way as well: guilt makes the most ungenerous person suddenly prone to buying flowers.
7. They experience mood swings
Affairs are turbulent. You oscillate between being unbearably excited to desperately guilty. One minute it’s off (they hate themselves for doing it to you) then it’s back on again (lust is hard to resist). It’s a rollercoaster of emotions that are impossible to hide completely.
8. They steer away from making future plans
If the affair is more than just a fling, they don’t want to discuss when to move house, book that dream holiday, whether to move an ageing parent in. They aren’t sure they’re going to be around.
9. They’re distant generally
Less engaged in conversations, distracted, preoccupied with their own thoughts and emotions: all these things suggest their attention has shifted elsewhere.
British sex expert Tracey Cox (pictured) has revealed 20 not-so-obvious signs your partner is having an affair
10. They go off radar when they didn’t before
Usually, they’d text back within 15 minutes, now it’s more like an hour. Being uncharacteristically unreachable is often the first definite clue something is happening.
Also beware background noises during calls that don’t seem to fit the location: they’re at a bar with their mates but there’s no loud banter; they’re at work but you hear a bus or train go past.
11. There’s a change in their routine
If your boyfriend used to run at 5am and now he’s running at 7pm and for twice as long, you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure out something’s going on.
Working late when it’s not usual for them; joining a book club when they’ve never shown interest in reading.
Watch if they’re paying more attention to your schedule as well. The more they know about where you’ll be and when, the safer they’ll be meeting in public and the easier it is to get away with things.
12. There’s a change in their appearance
Have they suddenly lost those few extra kilos? Are they hitting the gym and revamping their wardrobe without a word of criticism or encouragement from you?
All could be a sign they’re out to impress.
Showering when they come home – when they don’t usually – is another red flag. They’re trying to wash the scent of sex or perfume from their body.
13. They volunteer minimum information
If they used to be chatty but are less interested in talking generally, it could be because they’re scared of slipping up. If you’re trying to cover your tracks, you’ll offer the minimum of details in case you slip up.
Add some unexplained absences or vague explanations for where they’ve been, and an affair becomes even more likely.
14. There are lots of calls from a friend you’ve heard of but never met
It’s an old trick and a good one: they’ve saved the number of the person they’re having an affair with under the name of someone you won’t question them talking to.
Or this IS the person they are having the affair with.
The urge to talk about someone you’re infatuated with, does lead to some people constantly singing the praises of the person they’re having sex with to their spouse or partner. (Particularly common if it’s a work colleague, which it often is.)
Even more disturbing, is a surprisingly tendency to take this one step further…
15. A new ‘friend’ is suddenly invited into your home
It sounds bizarre and it is: to cover up an affair, some people introduce the person they’re having the affair with to their partners. (The logic being you won’t possibly suspect if it’s not hidden.) Often, it’s done to placate the bit-on-the-side: you’d be amazed how many mistresses insist on meeting the wife.
16. Your body warns you
Suddenly plagued by thrush and/or urinary tract infections? Having problems getting an erection? It could be because you’re suddenly exposed to your partner’s lover’s infections or your body’s accepted what your heart doesn’t want to.
17. Their body warns you
If they’re conflicted – they love you but also want to be with the new person – their body language will give them away. It’s stressful having an affair. They’ll be twitchy and ‘leak’ – inner emotions we’re trying to hide reveal themselves by a leg that bounces up and down, a new tendency to fiddle with things while talking to you.
Guilt causes us to sag: they might look weary, fold in on themselves, shoulders slouched. It’s quite possible they’ll seem nervous around you and hypervigilant: they’re on guard so you don’t catch them out. Lying is hard work and requires a very good memory.
18. You feel depressed and anxious
Most people know when their partners are unfaithful – they just don’t want to admit it to themselves. 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 cheating and I’m suffering for it.’
19. Your friends drop hints, their friends avoid you
Men tend 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.
Pay attention. That passing remark from a friend (‘I was reading a story today about infidelity. God, you just never know, do you?’) is sometimes a warning.
If their friends seem to be finding all sorts of excuses not to see you or talk to you, it could be they know what’s going on.
20. 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 up, call them on it. If you feel anxious and ‘not quite sure of them’, it could be a sign they’re distancing themselves. Particularly listen to your intuition if you’re female and don’t have a problem with jealousy. We’ve got great inner radars.
Visit traceycox.com for Tracey’s blog, books, podcast and product ranges
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