Don’t be the last to know…
It seems like we’re always hearing about new ways for people to cheat.
The latest trending term is “micro-cheating” – small betrayals that add up to one partner being emotionally invested outside the relationship. Think: constantly liking and commenting on someone’s Facebook or Instagram posts, texting them without your partner knowing, or pretending you’re single when you’re not.
When you compare these behaviors with what we think of as a full-blown affair – meeting up, exchanging bodily fluids, making secret plans, that sort of thing – they might seem pretty tame. The thing is, these small things are what lead to bigger, more serious affairs.
Affairs happen on a spectrum, from “micro-cheating” to emotional affairs to physical affairs. But betrayal is betrayal: if the motive is to do something behind your partner’s back, it’s all cheating. The following seven behaviors are signs that your partner could be having an affair – whether he’s micro-cheating or getting ready to leave you for another woman.
1. He’s secretive about his phone
Being in a relationship doesn’t mean giving up your privacy – but if your boyfriend turns his phone screen away from you when he’s using it, keeps his passcode a secret, and generally acts weird about his phone, something is up. In a healthy relationship, partners know each other’s passcodes, use each other’s phones, and don’t get paranoid about it – because there’s nothing to hide.
2. He picks fights for seemingly no reason
You never used to fight, and now he’s constantly picking on you, getting upset, and starting arguments over nothing. It’s almost like he wants you to break up with him. Often, a guy who’s too cowardly to end things may instead make life unpleasant for you, hoping he won’t have to be the one to end things. Other times, his guilty conscience makes him so miserable that he can’t help picking fights.
3. He suddenly changes his appearance
We all do it when we’re happy in our relationships: we get a little soft around the middle, wear our favorite sweatpants to brunch, and stop fixating on our appearance. It’s called being comfortable. We relax around each other and stop trying to be perfect. If your partner suddenly starts going to the gym obsessively, buying new clothes, and borrowing your skin care serums, something is probably up.
4. He accuses you of cheating
This one is a dead giveaway, and it often takes people by surprise. In the middle of a fight, he’ll suddenly accuse you of lying, cheating, keeping secrets, or whatever nefarious behavior he is actually guilty of – with absolutely no reasoning to back up his claim. When you’re messing around, you think everyone else is messing around, too. A guilty conscience breeds a suspicious mind.
5. He’s very busy with work
It’s a cliché, but it’s true: men who are having affairs often need to work a lot of long hours, go on business trips, even sleep at the office. It’s such a classic sign of infidelity that you might be tempted to laugh at yourself for being suspicious. Don’t overlook it just because it’s so obvious. If you aren’t 100 percent certain of what’s keeping him so busy at work, it’s best to start a conversation and get to the bottom of it. A change in his workload without an accompanying change in position or another clear-cut reason is worth looking into.
6. He doesn’t want to have sex – or suddenly wants a lot of it
Men who are playing around tend to go one of two ways: they either avoid having sex with you, or they want to have sex with you all the time. The ones who lose interest might be actually in love with the person they’re having an affair with, and therefore feel bad about “cheating” on them with you. That, or their guilt dampens their libido. The ones whose sex drives ramp up are usually driven by the “the more you get, the more you want” phenomenon. His testosterone is on overdrive, causing him to be ready to go at all times. Or possibly, his guilt makes him want to make it up to you, and he’s extra sweet and romantic as a result.
7. You can’t shake that bad feeling…
Whether you see any of these signs or not, you’ve got to trust your gut. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. That’s not to say there couldn’t be another explanation for that worm of discomfort in your stomach, but you’ve got to get to the bottom of it. Too many times, we try to talk ourselves out of our suspicions, and then down the road, we think, “how could I not have known?” Your instincts are probably more spot-on than you give them credit for.
Whether you have a bad gut feeling, or you see something on this list that raises a red flag, the thing to do is not to stalk him online, interrogate of your mutual friends, or hire a private investigator. You need to talk to him. If your partner has nothing to hide, this shouldn’t be a problem. Don’t come in with guns blazing, accusing him of anything – just share that you’re feeling uneasy, and why. A person who cares about you and who isn’t doing anything wrong will be concerned, not defensive.
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Comment: Have you ever suspected your partner was having an affair?