Discovering a partner’s infidelity is easier than ever before in history. Via text messages, emails and online credit card statements, a careless cheating spouse is likely to leave an electronic trail detailing their affair that’s over a gigabyte long.
If you can get your hands on such physical signs and evidence that your husband or wife is cheating, that type of digital proof is the best way to bust a cheater for sure.
Unfortunately, it’s not always so simple.
While most people know the typical telltale signs of cheating — weight loss, new music or food interests, and large, uncharacteristic purchases of things like a new wardrobe — if you want to know how to tell if your wife (or husband, boyfriend or girlfriend, of course) is cheating, there are more subtle signs you should be aware of and look for.
If your infidelity radar is on high-alert and your partner’s behavior feels off, here are 13 not-so-obvious signs he or she is cheating that many men and women overlook.
1. Time stamping
Optimizing precious moments with a lover is a balancing act, so he’s counting minutes.
“It won’t raise any red flags if I’m home by 6:00 pm on the dot,” he rationalizes. Or, “If I call her every day at noon, she won’t get suspicious.”
He’s drawing timelines in the sand, and being uncharacteristically prompt or oddly ritualized with his schedule may be one way he does that.
2. New lingo
A friend of mine’s suspicions grew when he heard his wife irritably yell, “Good Christ!” — an expression neither one of them had ever used, and one she typically would have found offensive.
If your husband or wife is spending enough time with their lover, they’re sure to pick up some of their verbal expressions.
3. Changing things up
Every evening — like clockwork — he comes home, asks about dinner and walks the dog. But suddenly, that ritual is being messed with.
He needs a shower as soon as he walks in the door. Or he pours himself two fingers of scotch when that’s usually reserved for weekends only.
Something is quite possibly going on.
4. Driving alone
Typically, you’d hop in the car together and be on your way. But recently, she finds a myriad of reasons to have a few minutes alone — and a need to take her own car to an event you’ll both be attending.
“I have to stop at Sephora, and I don’t want to bore you!” she says, time and again.
5. Wearing a lampshade
“Let’s go out and get wasted tonight,” he atypically and enthusiastically suggests, and you know he hasn’t said anything like that since he was pledging a fraternity.
Having an affair, it’s no secret, can make people feel young and impulsive again, and that can spill over into other behaviors.
6. Wanting you to strut your stuff
What’s this? A little something from Vicky’s Secret just for you? Funny, he’s always claimed that lingerie doesn’t do much for him.
His affair has reawakened his libido and, ironically, he’d like it to do the same for you.
7. You’re clearly up to no good
You smile at the waiter and he goes off. He knows you’re a friendly sort — he always loved that about you — but recently, that innocent cordiality seems to antagonize him in ways it never did.
Now that he’s having an affair, he knows it’s not so far-fetched that you might, too.
8. No harm in looking, right?
“Did you see our cute neighbor checking out your butt?” she asks with a big smile.
“That flight attendant is really your type!” she teases, leaving you wondering what happened to her jealous streak.
No mystery. She’s on an affair-fueled, guilt-mitigating mission to casually justify her own extramarital attraction.
9. Affairs? No biggie
You sadly report the news that your best friend’s husband is cheating. Instead of sharing your dismay, he becomes defensive.
“Well, he hasn’t been happy in that marriage,” or “People have affairs. That’s life.”
Condemning others would mean condemning himself, and he’s not about to go there.
10. Won’t watch it
Plot lines that would have formerly piqued her interest now make her visibly uncomfortable.
If there’s an affair involved, you won’t be watching it together.
11. All nerves
Many folks experience atypical bouts of depression and anxiety as the guilt of the affair and the stress of keeping such a huge secret take a visible toll.
Symptoms may include insomnia, disinterest in eating or an unshakeable blue mood.
12. Suddenly an expert
“Did you know the U.S. has the highest dog population in the world?”
She starts spewing facts about things she’s never shown interest in before. Heck, she never even liked dogs that much.
Could be she’s absorbing her lover’s interests and finding a way to talk about them without saying as much.
13. Signature blank stare
The guy who always had an answer now seems lost for words. His brain is fried with the details of the lies he’s told and excuses he’s made.
When you innocently inquire about his last trip to Home Depot, you can almost see the wheels turning in his head.
“Did I tell her I went to Home Depot? What did I tell her I was shopping for? Is she trying to trap me in a lie?”
While he entertains these possibilities, you’re on the receiving end of that strange, faraway look in his eyes you’ve been seeing all too often.