Is she cheating? That’s the $64,000 question for men suspecting their partner of getting a little something on the side. While women don’t stray as much as men, the numbers have risen over the decades.
But how do you know if your wife or girlfriend is playing it fast and loose? Many experts say that if your inner red flag is going off, chances are there’s something to worry about. It’s your gut instinct trying to alert you to potential pitfalls.
And there’s definitely something to that, but some people are naturally jealous due to personal insecurities which they project on others. If left unchecked, it can destroy a relationship. So, which is it? Are you just being paranoid, or is she really cheating?
Paranoia and Jealousy
Self-doubt and insecurity can make you far more ready to believe your partner is cheating. They are also the components that influence your jealousy.
If you have low self-esteem and are generally insecure, you tend to believe that you’re not worthy of the love and attention you receive, always putting into question just how much do they really care?
These same insecurities also lead people to believe that their partners will ultimately leave them, resulting in more jealousy and irrational behavior.
For the individual constantly having to defend their fidelity, this is absolutely exhausting and can eventually result in their throwing in the towel and exiting stage left.
Others will become so “over it” that they claim if they’re going to constantly be accused of it, they might as well be doing it. So, essentially, you’re driving them into the arms of someone else. While still a weak excuse for cheating, it does happen.
Ways to Work Through It
If deep down you recognize you have issues with self-doubt, insecurity, or low self-esteem, it may be time to seek counseling to deal with it. Introspection like this can lead to stronger, healthier relationships with everyone, not just a mate.
It can also lead to a better relationship with yourself where you can finally see and accept your self-worth. That’s got to be worth the price of counseling alone.
And if cost is a factor to your seeking guidance, many cities have facilities that take patients on a sliding-scale basis where they are charged according to their income.
Still not convinced?
Professionals suggest that the behaviors that brought down your previous relationships will persist in any new ones you form. So, if you don’t want to drag all of that baggage around with you, and you are looking for success the next time around, it might be a good idea to consider it.
Finally, there is absolutely no shame in trying to better oneself through self-examination. It can help you to come to terms with an awful lot of negative behavior you might not even realize is present within you.
Mental health is paramount to leading a healthy, happy life, so don’t be too quick to dismiss the importance of it.
Signs of Cheating
Assuming you’re not just being paranoid, what are the signs to look for once you suspect someone of being unfaithful? Quite honestly, most of the tell-tale signs of women cheating are the same as those for men. After all, people are people. Here is a list of some of the signs she’s cheating that men exhibit, too.
Yes, it’s ironic, isn’t it? Only this is more along the lines of outward appearance, not emotional housekeeping. When men and women cheat, they often start paying more attention to their fitness and weight. Going to the gym more or joining one, taking up jogging, or anything else that puts them in better shape are things a lot of straying adults do. It’s about presenting as a more alluring person.
At the same time, this could be in response to feeling tired and out of condition, present or future health concerns, a way of dealing with stress, etc. In other words, your partner’s sudden or increased interest in physical self-improvement could be based on almost anything. If none of those things apply to your situation, then you can always casually ask what it’s about while being supportive of them.
2. A New Wardrobe
A new wardrobe is a further example of questionable conduct on the part of cheaters. Again, it’s all about appearance, and men and women have both been known to do it when embarking on affairs. If out of nowhere your mate becomes concerned with their looks, they’re likely worried that you’re losing interest in them, or they’re interested in someone else.
It’s been said that a woman who is about to cheat or who is currently cheating will go out and buy all new lingerie and lacy undergarments.
If she’s recently splurged at Victoria’s Secret on bras, panties, thongs, garters, thigh-high stockings, or teddies, ask yourself if she’s just due (all things wear out eventually) or if maybe she’s depressed and needs a pick-me-up. Either is reasonable. If she’s never worn these types of garments before, is she merely trying to get your attention?
Sometimes people are just attempting to break out of a fuddy-duddy rut they recognize themselves in. Don’t jump to conclusions too quickly.
3. A New Hairstyle/Cut
A new cut or hairstyle is another thing cheaters are said to have in common. Changing hairstyles out of the blue is admittedly a jolt, if they’ve been sporting the same ‘do as long as you’ve known them.
But some women mix it up so often it’s hard to keep track. If that’s the case, her new beach waves won’t tell you anything. Males will sometimes become preoccupied with hair loss and start using Rogaine or talking about plugs when they’re stepping out on someone.
It should come as no surprise then that women might begin thinking of their hair, too. But this could also stem from the same desire to just want to freshen things up or be perceived as more desirable to a significant other. Again, don’t freak just yet.
4. Experimenting With New Makeup
A sudden desire to experiment with makeup can be another item on the checklist of “what’s up with that?” If she seldom or never wears it but is now, you might wonder why—and with good reason. Ask yourself if you’ve been neglectful recently or if she’s been down in the dumps. It could explain it.
While none of these taken alone is a real sign of anything, a combination of them is definitely signaling something. Before any wild speculation, try to tactfully find out why the changes are occurring. Don’t be judgmental or accusatory, and remember that their feelings are valid, even if you wouldn’t handle whatever they’re going through the same way.
Emotional Changes in a Relationship
And those are just the outward appearance displays sometimes cited as being indicators of unfaithfulness. The other signs are emotionally based. If your partner has become detached or emotionally withdrawn, something is definitely up.
But, again, it’s not definitive proof of cheating. It’s just proof that you need to find out what’s going on. They may be hurting on the inside. They may have found something out recently that they’re trying to spare you of until they’ve sorted it out for themselves.
Talking Through It
Frequently, partners just don’t want to worry one another. But if you’re living with someone who normally has no problem verbalizing and they suddenly clam up and shut you out, pull your head out of the sand and take note.
Withdrawing from a life partner is a major indicator something is wrong somewhere. If left unaddressed for too long, nothing good comes of it.
If you press, and they ask for space, respect their wishes. But let them know your inquiries are based on a genuine concern for their happiness and welfare and that of your relationship. You should also try to set a mental time limit for when to revisit the subject if there’s no improvement. You don’t want to push them or make them feel pressured, but you can’t go around walking on egg shells forever. They could be depressed, or just stalling while they make up their minds about their future living situation.
Here are a few more signs of emotional withdrawal to keep a lookout for.
Eye rolling at your partner is said to be a sign you are mentally checking out of a relationship. And, whether you recognize it or not, you’re merely paving the way for that to happen by doing so. Now, nearly everyone has eye rolled someone at one time or another. It’s called exasperation. But once it starts to become a habit, you need to check yourself and ask yourself why it’s happening.
Eye rolling is dismissive behavior. In essence, you’re non-verbally sending the message that what someone is saying is not valid. Throw in a lip curl and it’s bordering on outright contempt.
2. Ceasing to Share
Ceasing to share is another sign all is not well. And we’re not talking about ice cream or French fries, but when people stop sharing on an intimate level. It can be something as simple as no longer filling you in on the day-to-day workings of their life.
Sometimes, it can also be things like no longer sharing views and opinions on the here and now. It could be a cessation of sharing future goals or outlooks. They’re basically shutting you out, which is another symptom of withdrawing.
3. Being Defensive
Being defensive, easily agitated, or a recent lack of patience are bad omens if nothing negative between you has preceded their onset. Unless they have a medical condition you’re unaware of, or they’ve been fired from their job, this is not normal.
Anyone can be experiencing stress, which can make people behave deplorably toward one another.
But if it’s unusual for your wife or girlfriend to act in any of these ways from an emotional standpoint, it’s time to investigate the root cause. These emotional indicators are warning signs marriage therapists use to predict divorce, and they say “Fix these things or get ready to say goodbye.”
Is She Cheating on Me?
In addition to all of this craziness, there’s other stuff to look for when fidelity is in question. Men are often sloppy about their affairs and leave a trail of breadcrumbs behind a child could practically follow.
Women, on the other hand, are usually not as careless, making them better at covering their tracks. Because of this, checking credit card statements for unexplained hotel rooms and expensive dinners probably isn’t how you’ll catch her.
She’s also not liable to come home late covered in glitter, lipstick, or reeking of someone else’s perfume.
There are other behaviors cheaters share that you can take into account, though, and they include recent changes in your sex life (hint: she’s not interested).
Red Flags of a Cheater
#1: Unexplained Absences
Unexplained absences are problematic, particularly when they occur with increasing frequency or are accompanied by far-fetched explanations. There are only so many times he or she should have to dash off to mediate a family feud or come to the boss’s rescue in any given month. If there really is that much drama, they need to separate themselves from it or find another job.
#2: Unexplained Phone Calls
Unexpected phone calls at odd hours or secretive behavior regarding mobile devices is trouble. If they’ve begun locking their phone, deleting text messages, or clearing their phone log, something is definitely wrong. Another item that should pique your curiosity is an unwillingness to take a call in your presence—especially if there’s no noise in the room that could impact the quality of their conversation. Awkward!
#3: Endless Excuses
Endless excuses for everything under the rainbow never bode well. There’s always a reason they forgot half the items on the store list or were late picking up the kids or they left work early. Whatever the situation may be, if they’ve got an answer for everything and nothing is adding up, it’s probably time for a sit-down.
#4: Lie of Omission
Another reason for a heart-to-heart is “forgetting” to mention what they dismiss as “minor details” that paint a broader picture. Either there’s an early onset of dementia or there’s something they’re likely hiding. With any luck, it’s a surprise party for you, but don’t count on it—particularly if your birthday, graduation, or retirement is nowhere in sight.
#5: Easily Distracted
The state of being easily distracted or off in another world such as daydreaming frequently could prove dicey as well. Again, is there a medical reason attached to this, or are they just somewhere else because they’re emotionally off with someone else?
At the risk of being repetitive, taken individually, all of these things can be explained. Taken as a whole, however, chances are there is something pretty significant going on in your lives.
It doesn’t cement your case for adultery, but somewhere along the line you have to face the facts that there is a problem. The elephant in the room can’t be ignored forever. And the longer you wait, the less probability your relationship stands of recovering from the damage occurring.
How to Catch Someone Cheating
So, you’ve stepped back and examined your motives, and you don’t believe you’re being paranoid or insecure. You’ve also determined that too many boxes have been checked on the suspicious behavior list.
The only thing left to do is confront her in a calm, non-confrontational manner. That means not accusing her but asking if there is something going on that you should be aware of.
What If She Won’t Admit It?
If she denies it but you’re still not convinced, there are some measures you can take, but they’re pretty extreme and not necessarily recommended. We’re not suggesting calling “Cheaters” or taking her on “Springer.”
It involves spying beyond snooping through her phone, social media accounts, or emails. Some people will turn to hiring a private detective to get the proof they require. It’s fairly pricey, though, and if she finds out and she’s innocent, all hell is going to break loose.
The alternative is spying on her yourself, and you can do this through a variety of inexpensive methods. You can check the odometer on her car to see if she’s putting on added miles lately that are unexplained.
Start surfing Tinder for their profile. You can also try the unannounced pop-in at places she’s supposed to be under the guise of wanting to surprise her. But this could look suspicious, particularly if you’ve recently had “the talk,” and will only create more friction.
These next two will almost assuredly yield results, but they’re every bit as drastic as hiring the private dick. They are putting a LoJack-type tracking device on her car or spyware on her phone or computer.
Invasive and offensive? You betcha! Could it cost you the relationship if you’re wrong? Absolutely! Is it worth it? Only you know the answer to that, but you’d better be pretty darn certain to stoop to these levels.
So, proceed with caution, because the question of “is she cheating?” could get explosive in a hurry, and once trust is lost it’s extremely difficult to get it back. If you’re in this situation, it’s recommended you seek couple’s counseling immediately, instead.