Is he cheating?

This is a question millions of women ask themselves every day. You don’t know for sure, and you’re not even sure you really want to know, but deep down, unless you love living in delusion and denial, you really do need to know—for a number of reasons.

Facing infidelity can bring on a myriad of conflicted emotions, leaving you feeling more than just a bit confused, but if there are signs he is cheating, put your big girl pants on and check it out!  

Is he cheating? An infographic

Among couples, cheating is sadly one of the most common reasons why men and women fight, somewhere behind money, sharing household duties, and raising kids.

When things come to light, assuming the injured party is able to forgive the infraction, it can take years to get over and regain trust—and the trust part may never be regained.

This is the price you pay for cheating.

Unfortunately, in our current society where right and wrong is often blurred, what one person considers cheating might be considered fair play by their partner.

This is where communication pays off big. Agreeing beforehand can save you both a lot of heartache and misery, but it won’t guarantee he won’t cheat.

Regardless, at least you’ve set the ground rules, and you both know what you’re going into upfront.

What Is Cheating?

If a couple is in an exclusive relationship, most people would say that cheating comprises any action that has a romantic intention directed at a person other than their partner, bearing in mind there’s a lot of grey area on the subject today. 

For some couples, it’s all right to:

  • flirt with people, as long as it doesn’t go beyond that 
  • maintain communication with an ex 
  • have close friendships with members of the opposite sex
  • go to strip clubs or view porn
  • openly check out other men/women

As long as there is no touching involved, these behaviors aren’t a big deal to a lot of folks. They are secure in themselves and not jealous by nature. But are these actions emotional cheating? 

Emotional Cheating

What if your partner told you that he’d cut off all of his friendships with his female friends, but you know darn well he’s still chatting it up with them or, worse yet, sneaking off to lunch or the gym to meet up? Besides being a liar, is he cheating?

Sure, he’s kept it in his pants, presumably, but if he’s committing these acts behind your back, what does that say about him and the state of your relationship? 

So you see, cheating is a bit complicated and can vary from couple to couple. What’s important is that both parties clearly understand the boundaries and agree to them.

Couple Upset On Bench

Anything beyond those boundaries is considered cheating. Also, if your guy demands you have no other male friends, then he should practice what he preaches.

It’s a two-way street, after all, or it should be.  If he’s unwilling to live by the rules that he lays down for you, it’s time to re-evaluate the relationship.

Basically, cheating is lying. It is when you are being dishonest to your partner by going against your agreed commitment to the relationship—whatever that is. 

Signs He is Cheating

You say, I’m crazy, ‘cause you don’t think I know what you’ve done. But when you call me “baby”, I know I’m not the only one. 

– Sam Smith, I’m Not the Only One

Women’s intuition is a real thing. If your gut is telling you that your guy is cheating, then there’s a good chance that he is. But before you confront him about it, you should first try to confirm your suspicions.

Person Holding Phone

After all, the last thing you want to do is have a nuclear meltdown and come across as a jealous, irrational shrew if it’s nothing.

So, take a deep breath and try to calm yourself. Then check out the following telltale signs he is cheating for a better idea of what to look for before going ballistic. 

Phone Etiquette 

You should be suspicious if any of these is a new behavior concerning his cell phone etiquette. 

  • Is his phone suddenly on lock down? If he never used the lock phone feature before, something is definitely up.
  • Does he take his phone with him to the bathroom or anywhere else typically considered unusual for him where he can send and receive text messages unobserved? 
  • Does he set his phone on airplane mode when you borrow it? Text messages are blocked when in airplane mode. So while you’re holding his phone, no unexpected texts will be coming in, leaving him in the clear. 
  • Does his phone frequently “die” these days?  When you ask why his phone is unreachable or why he doesn’t reply to your messages, he says his battery was died. Sure. A typical smartphone battery lasts an entire day with regular use. Unless his job entails playing online games or watching videos to the point of draining his phone, you should definitely think twice—or buy him a spare battery.
  • Does it take him forever to reply to your texts now? Even when someone is busy, it takes only a few seconds to answer a text message. But you have to be reasonable here. If he’s at work, it could be legit. 
  • Does he look tense around you when his phone rings and then stuffs it in his pocket or claims it’s work and excuse himself from the room to “take the call”? Never a good sign. 

If any of this is new behavior, it’s time to start sleuthing.

How to Tell if He’s Cheating

And that’s just his phone. There are lots of other signs to look out for when trying to determine is he cheating on you or not. .

Here is a list of things to take note of:

  • He recently avoids having you around his friends. There are many possible reasons for this, and none of them are good. The two most likely are he’s seeing someone else and he’s afraid one of his friends may slip up and let the cat out of the bag, or he’s considering breaking up with you. You can always hope he’s planning a surprise party and he doesn’t want his friends to blow it, but don’t count on it.
  • He always says he’s busy but is vague about what he’s doing. Also, he says he might have to stay late at work—AGAIN. He says you’ll be bored and it would be better if you didn’t go. He says it’s just going to be the boys and so on. You get the point.
  • He’s become defensive about his whereabouts and instead of just answering directly he asks you why you are interrogating him. He accuses of you of being jealous and clingy.
  • He becomes combative and starts fights easily. This can often be followed by storming off, using his anger of frustration as his excuse for exiting. It’s just that, an excuse.
  • When you confront him about his recent behavior he tries to turn the situation around and accuses you instead.
  • A recent lack of passion could signal trouble. Sure, you still have physical intimacy but he just isn’t as into it as he was before or he has also stopped initiating sex. Something is going on, and you should get to the bottom of it.
  • He’s recently become concerned with his appearance, like going to the gym, new wardrobe, different haircut, or experimenting with creative facial hair, colognes, etc.
  • He comes home covered in glitter, smelling of perfume, smudged with lipstick and you’ve got trouble.
  • Unexplained hotel or credit card receipts is another huge red flag.
  • Finding jewelry, undergarments, makeup, or anything else that doesn’t belong to you in his car is also cause for alarm.
  • Discovering condoms on his person, in his belongings, or in his vehicle when the two of you don’t use them is never a good sign, especially if it’s an empty wrapper.

A Reminder

Granted, none of these things is 100 percent conclusive that he’s cheating on you. But if you can tick off more than two or three—particularly the last one—you’ve likely got cause for concern.

Why Do Men Cheat?

Which excuse do you want? According to one very old theory, men are not naturally monogamous. They have a tendency to play the field in search of a good mate in order to ensure the continuation of their genetic line. This is no excuse for lying and immoral behavior, but it’s the best cheaters can scrape up. 

Man Smiling On Computer

Of course, this doesn’t mean that every man will cheat. Many of them do have self-control and will stay loyal at all costs.

University of Washington professor David Barash wrote in his book on polygamy, Out of Eden, that just because monogamy is not natural to men doesn’t mean they can’t do it. 

Monogamous Relationships

That said how do you know whether your man is likely to stay faithful?

There is no ironclad guarantee, but here are a few things to take into account when weighing his propensity to cheat.

  • Too Much Social Media — Studies have shown that the rise in popularity of social media apps has also paved the way for a higher incidence of cheating among people in a relationship.
  • He Still has Active Accounts on Dating Sites — Is he cheating? Quite possibly. Or it’s also possible that he just forgot to deactivate his account once you two became exclusive. 
  • Fake Accounts If you ask him about it, he may say he uses accounts with fake names just for trolling the Internet and other online fun. Of course, we all know there’s a real possibility that he is also using them to cheat.
  • History of Cheating — Again, this isn’t conclusive, but a history of infidelity never bodes well for a new relationship. Once a cheat…
  • Never Been Married — If he’s 40 or older and never been married there’s always the question of “why?” It may mean nothing at all, but it could also be one of those missed or ignored red flags. You may want to find out his reasons for not settling down before now, though.
  • History of Secrecy — If he has a record of immediately deleting his emails, DMs, IMs, texts messages, what have you, since you’ve known him, that’s definitely suspicious—unless he’s a secret agent, of course. But then you wouldn’t know that, anyways. Assuming he’s not, at the very least he’s distrustful—or, worse yet, paranoid—and there could be some cause for concern.
  • Steamy Pictures — Men who are regularly posting beefcake selfies to boost their egos or still surfing around thumb’s upping/liking racy images of women are likely still playing the field in their mind. Yes, fellas need some validation just like the ladies do, so it’s all right for him to post sexy pictures from time to time. But if you know that voguing or sending genital shots is his regular MO it might be a warning sign. 

Consider all the Evidence

As stated before, taken alone none of these signs is conclusive evidence that a man is a cheat or that he soon will be. They are, nonetheless, most definitely food for thought if you want to go into this with your eyes wide open.

Is he cheating just because he has an insatiable appetite for scantily clad women and his ego needs stroking? No, of course not, most men do. It’s the cumulative data that you have to take as a whole, so try not to jump to conclusions. Get the facts.

Is He Cheating?

Before you go any further in answering the question, you need to ask yourself how much you really want to know. Even if you decide to bury your head in the sand and avoid all the gory, heartbreaking details, you still have to do something about it, like it or not.

Why? Because your life depends on it, that’s why. So don’t blow this next part off.

What to Do If He Is Cheating

So, the unthinkable happens, the thing you’ve been dreading most. You’ve confirmed that he is indeed cheating, and it’s gut wrenching.

What’s the next step? You probably are not thinking very clearly right now, that’s a given under the circumstance. This guide can help you get through it one step at a time. 

Get Tested Immediately!

Whether you stay with him or not, you need to love yourself enough to care about and protect yourself. This means taking certain precautions. For example, if you’re staying, start using condoms, whether he (or even you) likes it or not.

Also, consult your doctor as to whether or not you should be put on Truvada for PrEP® (pre-exposure prophylaxis), a new prescription medicine that can help reduce the risk of getting HIV-1 through sex. 

What to do if he is cheating

Scary? Yes, but it’s the reality you’ll be living with if you choose to stay with a philanderer. While you’re there have a full battery of STD tests performed, something your doctor will likely recommend regardless. 

According to recent studies, the number one way for African-American women to contract HIV is through their partner, many of whom are suspected of being “on the down low” in their private lives.

As it currently stands, black women (29.4 percent) have seen the highest rates of the disease among all women in the United States.

Cry it Out

Everybody deals with grief differently, so you need to find the best way for you to get through the trying times ahead. Burying your anger and despair is not always the healthiest path to healing.

Of course you should let the tears roll, if that’s your style, but try and keep yourself busy for the first few months after your betrayal.

The realization of an affair can be devastating, but you don’t have to let it destroy you.

Support Network

Surround yourself with supportive, yet unbiased, friends who can remain neutral, despite the circumstances. They can help you put things in perspective. Accept their help when offered.

If it’s not, seek it out. Having a strong support network can make all the difference in the face of an affair.

Avoid Social Media

It can be extremely tempting to lash out at your partner by posting a scathing Facebook status.

Women Staring At Lake

It can be equally tempting to post fake happy selfies to show him that you don’t care, when you are actually crumbling inside. But people don’t need to know your personal issues—besides, you might make up. Avoid posting anything and focus on yourself for the moment.

Give it Time

If you act impulsively, you might do something that you will regret later on. Take some time to think about the situation, understand why your partner cheated, and figure out what would be best for you.

Consider whether your partner’s infidelity is worth forgiving or not. Once you have thought things through and sought wise counsel then you can decide whether to stay together or break it off.

Have a Calm Discussion

This can be easier said than done, especially when there are still a lot of emotions raging inside you. Just do your best to stay peaceful.

If you decide on staying together, you have to be able to forgive him, and he should vow not do it again and counseling is definitely in order. If you absolutely can’t forgive him, then you should part ways as civilly as possible. 

Take Care of Yourself

You feel terrible at the moment, but know that you will get through this! From the time you ask the question, is he cheating, there will be inevitable changes in your relationship.

Woman in Field of Sunflowers

Sometimes the changes will be good, sometimes not so much. You will just have to make adjustments and navigate as best you can. 

Remember that our experiences, good or bad, all serve as learning opportunities to make us stronger. And finally, if you take nothing else away from this post, please protect yourself and know that you are not alone.

Good luck!