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In the absence of hard evidence, a nosy friend, or the money to pay a private detective there are universal telltale signs that may suggest it is worth asking questions.

Be prepared for anger at the lack of trust if your partner manages to prove your suspicions wrong, but also be prepared for the consequences if the response is the one you really don’t want to hear.

When a man or woman gets a new love interest on the side, the increased hormonal activity in the brain causes behavioural changes. These may be subtle changes to their daily habits or new habits that are designed to try to cover up normal daily routine.

Routine changes: any change in behaviours that have been part of your life as a couple indicate a driving force outside of the home; a man starts doing his own washing; arm armchairs TV addict joins a gym; your partners stops wearing a wedding rings or starts locking drawers.

Sex changes: there may be a subtle change in regularity or style of doing the horizontal hula, but they should not be ignored. If they want to try things they’ve never tried done with you before, there may be someone else coaching or influencing a newfound passion, sensitivity or expertise. There may also be a sudden lack of wanting to have sex at all.

Appearance changes: dieting, new clothes, showers the minute they walk in the door, him shaving twice a day, her getting a new hairstyle or cutting or hair.

Business trips: increased trips away, more than the usual number of overnighters, secrecy or vagueness about schedules, failure to share flight or hotel information, not being where they are supposed to be. Alternatively, they might start working late into the evening , or you may notice their workmates are uncomfortable around you.

Nervous reactions : when the phone rings or when you mention a certain person at their work. Also look out for talking in their sleep, erratic mood swings and increased criticism of you.

Conversation changes: in the case of cheating at work, someone who was mentioned in passing as part of their nmews of the day either figures more prominently – ‘Had lunch with …’ or ‘Was chatting to … today’ – or disappears from discussion altogether. A man will often repeat the same stories, because he’s forgotten who’s been told what.

Technology changes: you start to notice that your partner prefers to email you rather than call you. When they call you, conversations are ekpt short, end abruptly or are whipsered, all signs that someone else may be present. They have constant excuses to go for a walk with their mobile phone – for example bad reception where you are sitting – or they go to the toilet too often for too long. When you are together, they don’t want to pick up certain incoming calls in your presence. They are constantly online, even when with you, checking emails, and if you approach, the window on the computer is suddenly closed. Their BlackBerry is never left lying around where you might see it. Their computer and phone suddenly have a password.

New friends: they have new work buddies you never get to meet. They call them from time to time but calls are always short; they say they’ll call back or that they don’t have the information right now. If you find out that their friends are cheaters, it may be a cheater’s support group. Like attracts like.

Edited extract from “Why Men Want Sex and Women Need Love” by Allan and Barbara Pease; rrp: $29.95; Available now.

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