Couple in bed, one texting someone else and the other can see

Common Signs of Cheating

by Eharmony Editorial Team - July 1, 2010

If you suspect you're being duped and deceived, here are signs to look for.

If you suspect you’re being duped and deceived, here are signs to look for.

Let’s face it — cheating is always going to be a hot topic for people who are dating. Why? Because nearly everyone has, at one time or another:
• Been cheated on
• Suspected they were being cheated on
• Been tempted to cheat
• Been guilty of cheating

If you don’t find yourself somewhere on that list, chances are you don’t get out much. But before we tackle the subject of how to tell if your partner may be cheating, let’s make sure everyone is speaking the same language. The Encarta Dictionary defines infidelity as “an act of unfaithfulness or disloyalty, especially to a sexual partner.” Some important ground rules are embedded in this definition.

First, cheating requires an “action.” Simply being attracted to someone else doesn’t count. Second, you need to have signed a “contract” or made a commitment in order to break it. In other words, it is necessary to explicitly pledge your faithfulness and loyalty before you can be unfaithful or disloyal. Implied exclusiveness in a relationship won’t get you a conviction for cheating. Finally, sexual intimacy is, in and of itself, a de facto pledge of exclusivity. If he or she is sleeping with you while secretly pursuing another relationship, it’s cheating.

If you suspect your partner is cheating, it might cause you to accuse yourself of paranoia or old-fashioned prudishness. If so, here are two more bits of information you need before we proceed:

Cheating is never okay.

By definition, infidelity involves deception and disloyalty, two things that are always toxic to relationships. No one can legitimately claim it is “harmless” — though cheaters often try.

You have a right to know. Keep asking until you are satisfied with the answer. Allowing yourself to be in the dark only puts a dark cloud over the entire relationship.

Now, on to some common signs that you are no longer someone’s “one and only”:

Cheating sign #1:

Your partner takes a brand-new interest in his or her appearance — but doesn’t seem to care whether you notice. An alluring new hairstyle, a sexy shift in wardrobe, hours at the tanning salon, countless hours at the gym — these are clues that the goods might be suddenly on display for someone else’s benefit. If your newly polished partner also deflects or downplays your compliments, beware. Sure, it might be that your partner just wants to spruce up his or her act, but it could be that the person is intent on impressing someone else.

Cheating sign #2:

Your partner gives evasive answers to simple questions. If your partner develops a new defensiveness or sensitivity to requests for information about where he/she has been, the person may be hiding something and is afraid you’ll put two and two together.

Cheating sign #3:

Your partner has become secretive. Do you feel closed out to certain aspects of your partner’s life? If so, you have to wonder what lies behind those cordoned-off areas. Secrets arouse suspicion—and often for good reason.

Cheating sign #4:

Your partner is suddenly less interested in physical intimacy with you. This item should be considered with a lot of caution. There are many reasons why someone might have a flagging libido — stress, sleep deprivation, health issues, hormonal cycles. The person might even be legitimately losing interest in the relationship. It happens. But if you’ve ruled out alternatives and this symptom persists, it may be time to keep your eyes peeled for other evidence as well.

If you fear your partner may be cheating, there is no substitute for direct communication. When the clues start to pile up, don’t be afraid to ask the hard questions—and to expect straight answers.