You may have a sixth sense that something isn’t quite right with your husband…
… and you may suspect he is cheating on you.
Your gut is telling you… something is off.
… Maybe your husband is sprucing up a bit more before going to work.
… Or, he has gone from a depressive state to elated—for no apparent reason.
If you suspect your husband is cheating, you may feel torn about confronting him with your suspicions.
If your woman’s intuition is telling you something is not right, you know what will happen: you will not get any rest or peace of mind until you get answers.
It’s just how we’re wired.
It’s rare that a person says “I don’t want to know either way” and can move forward with their life without having a concrete answer.
There are many women who have questions about the fidelity of their partners.
One of the best ways to start a relationship is by defining what cheating is in your own relationship so that surprises don’t happen later.
Because what you consider cheating may not be what he considers cheating and to avoid hurt feelings and broken trust it’s time to figure out what is and isn’t cheating.
Once you both have the boundaries established you should probably understand that unless caught red-handed, he’s not going to own up to his behavior. And, even sometimes with his hand in the cookie jar, he’ll reflexively deny that he’s cheating.
So, it’s your responsibility to keep your eye out for the signs that he’s straying from the nest. Not that you need to watch him like a hawk, but if those telltale signs show up, it’s time to be proactive instead of reactive.
In this article I give you a very detailed overview of what cheating is, and alert you to things you probably hadn’t considered but really should.
Review the information below to help you answer the question: “Is he cheating on me or am I just overreacting or feeling insecure?”
Define Cheating in a Relationship
Not everyone defines cheating the same way and the differences are especially different between men and women. For instance, men are more likely to believe that kissing a woman who is not his partner to be ok but women will not.
And cheating doesn’t necessarily include sex.
So how is cheating defined exactly?
In the first place it’s important that you and your partner define cheating in the same way. Society may have one definition, but it might not be the same one that you and your partner operate by.
Have a heart-to-heart talk and be sure that you’ve answered questions that will define cheating in your relationship so there aren’t any surprises later.
Here are situations that may or may not be considered cheating in your relationship:
- Looking at porn
- Getting a lap dance
- Kissing someone at a party
- Phone sex
- Deepening friendship with a person of the opposite sex
- Having sexual thoughts about a specific person
- Taking a long look at someone you find attractive
- Masturbating to porn
- Going to a strip club
- Going dancing with someone you find attractive
- Cuddling with someone
- Getting naked without having sex
- Having sex without getting naked
- Oral sex
- Sleeping in the same bed with someone not your partner
- Getting or receiving a foot massage
- Getting or receiving a full body massage
- Buying expensive gifts for someone you are attracted to
- Getting or receiving a hickey
- Having sex with or without an orgasm
- Heavy petting with someone who is not your partner
Your boundaries may be different from your partners and different from your friends.
It’s important that you and your partner – not best friend or counselor – outline the boundaries within your own relationship and not rely on the idea that you both believe the same thing without talking about it first.
Communication is the cornerstone to any good relationship and defining where the line is drawn to define cheating is an important conversation to have.
Because it is rare that someone would intentionally cheat on their partner with forethought, it’s important that the boundaries and line in the sand is drawn together.
Remember that you can’t force your boundaries on your partner.
They will either agree with your idea about cheating or they won’t.
But, with full knowledge of their definition you can make the decision about whether you can live with their definition and their ‘freedom’ in your relationship.
It is also important to talk about honesty, commitment and discussions before you are faced with a situation you may have otherwise not encountered if your boundaries were the same.
What is Cheating All About
There are a variety of reasons why cheating may be as common today as it is. However, whether the rate of cheating is higher today than it was in decades past is another story.
Today there are whole membership websites that are committed to helping men and women cheat on their partners. The numbers of partners cheating in the past is not clear but the ability to do it today is easier than it has ever been.
When asked, more women than men agreed that infidelity when married is wrong but the number has increased by approximately 10% since the 1970s until 2010.
This means that over time more men and women believe that infidelity while married is wrong, but that hasn’t necessarily changed how many do cheat.
As you may have guessed, more men are likely to cheat than women.
The American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy state that 25% of men and 15% of wives have had sex while married but that number could be higher in reality since many don’t like admitting they’ve been unfaithful.
However, cheating is not necessarily about having sex.
Cheating happens when a person lusts after or pursues a relationship of any type with someone outside the boundaries of their marriage in order to receive emotional or physical benefits that would normally be expected inside marriage.
In most cases cheating is not necessarily about looks either.
Often, when men and women cheat it’s about problems at home and not about being attracted to someone outside the marriage. The new partner is often someone who is available, and expresses interest in the other person.
They ‘appear’ to have everything that the partner has lost in the relationship.
However, while most people don’t overtly choose the person they will be cheating with, most men will not tell their wives they’ve been cheating and will lie if confronted with the facts.
But, while men don’t usually tell, they are also not forgiving if their wives cheated with another man.
The numbers were just as low, under 30 percent, of women who said they would forgive their man if he cheated with another woman.
Most men don’t hate their marriage but they do experience a lack of respect and feeling that their marriage is neutral – not good and not bad.
Women have the same experience.
Those who found their marriage to be ‘pretty happy’ or ‘very happy’ were much less likely to cheat than those who felt their relationships were not good, but also not bad.
Women are more apt to use an affair to get out of an unhappy marriage where men are more likely to cheat once or twice without turning the affair into a real relationship.
But, while both will cheat and both express dissatisfaction with the idea of cheating, both also will experience guilt about infidelity.
Men won’t usually feel guilty about kissing another woman but will about having sex and women feel worse about an emotional betrayal – whether their own or their partner’s.
Recognize The Myths About Cheaters
Cheating in a relationship is how you and your partner define fidelity.
Some couples are interested in an open relationship, where they are free to explore other people and others hold to more traditional values which reduce the probability of jealousy and poor communication.
But, which ever end of the spectrum in which your relationship falls, there are myths about cheating that may help you and your partner to outline the boundaries that define your relationship.
For the most part, both partners will approach a relationship with different ideas about what being in a committed relationship will mean.
When one person goes outside the relationship looking for physical or emotional intimacy, the other partner will often make assumptions about why their partner strayed or what motivated their behavior.
In our culture the negative emotional and physical outcomes in a relationship are usually kept under wraps and rarely discussed openly. But, without knowledge we are destined to repeat mistakes that may otherwise change the outcome of our lives.
Not every couple who experiences infidelity will permanently end their relationship.
It is rare to hear of the success stories because those who successfully repair the relationship don’t often talk about how infidelity affected their relationship. Once people have repaired their relationship, they often have learned new skills that make their relationship even stronger than it was before the cheating.
It is also important that you talk with your partner about what may or may not be infidelity. This also means that you both have defined what infidelity “is” in your personal relationship. What may not be infidelity for some can be a huge rip in the trust level of another.
Truth is a powerful tool that will help your relationship to recover, if you both determine that recovery is what you want.
For the most part, men may have an extramarital affair just to have sex while many women are looking for a way out of an unhappy marriage. If you are the woman you may be able to forgive and forget sex but many men have more trouble forgiving an emotional attachment to someone other than themselves.
The truth of the matter is that most marriages have their ups and downs. There are problems, issues and challenges which do not always result in one partner looking outside the marriage relationship in order to fulfill their needs.
But, when those issues are not addressed and dealt with openly and honestly, the marriage is more likely to fall apart and infidelity to rear it’s ugly head.
Having problems is NOT a justification for cheating.
Most of the time these affairs happen to people who are not necessarily looking for it, but are dissatisfied with the relationship in which they currently find them self. The idea is to keep your mind and mouth open so your relationship doesn’t suffer.
Watch for the people at work and friends with whom you are developing a comfortable and deeper relationship. The coziness encourages you to share secrets which shifts the relationship from an emotional connection to a full-blown affair.
Remember that truth is the first step toward healing a relationship after cheating. Not everyone who cheats is evil and many times an affair is a one and done type of thing.
But, it’s what happens after the affair that either sets the relationship up for success or dooms it to failure.
Signs of a Cheating Partner in a Relationship
One of the primary ways that you can tell if your guy is cheating is if he is using projection. This is a pretty interesting behavior in which the person who is doing the cheating will ascribe that same flaw on others.
In other words, he may accuse you of cheating or believe that your friends, family or someone in your inner circle is cheating.
Another good indication is that while he may think that your best friends are cheating, he’ll be showering you with gifts, flowers, nights out, movies and doing the dishes.
He is doing this out of guilt.
He knows he’s doing something that would hurt you and to make it all ok in HIS mind, he’s taking better care of you than he ever did.
Is he being more affectionate than normal?
This might be the time to be cautious and keep track of his behavior and movements.
Men who are cheating need to get out of the house. Unless their cheating involves an addiction to pornography, cheating with a real woman involves real time.
Watch for his social or work patterns that suddenly change.
Suddenly he needs to stay late at work, put in a couple hours on Saturday or Sunday.
He may develop new friends who he’s going to games with or playing cards with on specific nights of the week.
And, if you pay close attention, you may notice a pattern to his behavior changes that match the schedule of his lover.
When people are cheating they often have a difficult time keeping their lies straight. A tangled web of deceit will lead to tangled stories and poor lies.
If you happen to come across a couple of stories that don’t match up, it’s time to start looking for actual proof.
Take a quick gut check right now.
Is your natural intuition telling you to look harder at your guys actions?
It’s time to listen!
Unfortunately, there are situations in which your gut may be in overdrive. If you’ve ever been cheated on before, been the one cheating, suspected you were being cheated on or have been tempted to cheat, you may be feeling guilty yourself and projecting your guilt into the situation.
Men who are cheating will often take a brand new approach to their appearance.
Hairstyle, clothing, workouts, weight loss and tanning salons may all suddenly appear in his life and your credit card.
When you ask about the new behavior you’ll get evasive answers and possibly be defensive about the questions. You might feel closed out of his life or feel he’s been keeping secrets.
In the same vein, he may also express unpredictable mood swings, especially when he’s looking for a reason to get out of the house.
Getting angry or being especially nice, so he has a reason to leave the home, is one great way of getting away to meet his lover. Although many of us need time alone, we will usually express that desire and sometimes just retreat to another room instead of making excuses to leave the home or not come home.
Men who are cheating will not only change the way they look, dress and eat but also what they want or expect in bed.
They may stop initiating sex with you or express themselves differently than they had before without talking about wanting to do things differently.
They often feel more masculine and virile because they’re bedding another female and that behavior comes out in your bedroom.
Men who are cheating will also become more secretive with their technology. You can’t use their phone, see their email or use their computer. What has been useful to communicate to bosses and loved ones has suddenly become a way to keep his new love life alive and well.
Don’t confront your guy until you have evidence of his cheating.
For the most part, he’ll deny it initially so it helps if you can prove it. Approach the situation gently and with some finesse, especially if you have some hope of repairing the relationship.
It is so easy to say things in anger that you wish you could take back later.
Is he Cheating on You? 15 Ways to Tell He’s Cheating
Here are some more specific signs to look for that can indicate he just might be straying from home.
Although each man has different habits and different tastes, most of the time when they are cheating they exhibit some of the same behaviors. When you can identify some of those behaviors you’ll be able to more fully assess the situation and confront him with better potential for a truthful answer.
Although there are a few telltale signs, you have to be looking for them and not ignore them completely hoping that he is as faithful as you hoped he would be. It is far better to discover the indiscretion yourself and address the issue so YOU are in control of the situation, than to let it go and be deceived.
1) He has his phone on airplane mode so you don’t hear or see the text messages coming in.
2) He changes the security code on his phone so you can’t use it to check your email or text a friend.
3) He takes his phone with him when he goes to the bathroom. This is often to text his girlfriend or see porn.
4) His phone battery dies frequently so it’s difficult to keep in touch. This can be because of the text messaging he’s doing with others or watching porn on the phone.
5) He takes a sudden interest in his appearance. He buys new clothes and learns about new fashions.
6) He takes a new interest in his physique and fitness level. He joins a gym or starts working with a personal trainer.
7) He works late frequently but when you try to reach him his phone is dead or his co-workers are telling you he’s not reachable.
8) He takes business trips and you are never invited to come along.
9) He doesn’t seem interested in sex any more.
10) He seems to lie about random things or inconsequential things that don’t seem to matter.
11) He takes out large quantities of cash from the bank for his expenses. How you define “large quantities” in your relationship can vary.
12) He has a credit card that only he carries and pays the bill for.
13) He has a number or two on his phone saved that aren’t attached to names or are only first or last names.
14) If you calmly and sincerely approach him that something seems off in the relationship, he lashes out at you and makes you feel insecure or insane. He’s deflecting because he is hiding something and is afraid you’ll find out.
15) He starts bringing you gifts or flowers for no reason. This is often because he feels guilty about his affair.
A man may have one, two or three of these signs and NOT be cheating.
It is the combination of signs and your gut that should tell you that it’s time to look further and have a frank discussion with your partner.
Don’t Make These Mistakes When Confronting Him About The Cheating
It’s easy to jump the gun if you think your husband is cheating.
You are hurt and it feels like your whole world just came crashing in on you.
Without question, this is one of the more challenging emotional hurdles you’ll have to cross in your life.
But, before you go charging at him with accusations and tearful eyes, get ready.
This is not the time to start a conversation for which you aren’t prepared or ready to finish.
Remember also that this won’t be one conversation but rather a journey that you and your partner will be taking. Where you start will have some bearing on where you end up.
The first mistake that people make is that they react to their suspicions without confirming them with fact.
Your emotions will run away with you when you THINK your guy is cheating, but it’s important that you do NOT DO IT. It might be a natural reaction, but this is definitely a time for you to remember that your feelings do not run your life.
You control your feelings.
Take a deep breath and let it out.
Feel the hurt and pain but put it away quickly so you can concentrate on confirming these suspicions before you go ballistic and destroy a relationship that may not be on the path to destruction.
Check the signs that he’s cheating and find real facts to support your accusations.
Look at his credit card bills, read his phone, know where he is and where he’s going . . . look for all the things that you think you HAVE to do in order to get at the truth before you talk with your guy.
It’s time to get armed with the proof that he is cheating so you have it in hand when you talk.
Here’s the raw truth about men.
When confronted with infidelity about which they feel guilty, they will deny it even in the face of concrete proof.
“It isn’t what you think it is.”
“It’s not how it looks.”
“I can’t believe you’d think I would cheat.”
“How dare you spy on me?”
From denial to accusations that YOU shouldn’t be spying on them, you’ll hear it all.
You can stay solid without screaming, yelling or crying. It’s time to just let him jabber on and on and wait for him to stop.
Then simply present the facts and ask…
“How long has this been going on?”
Another important mistake you might make is confronting the other woman.
While you might want to claw her eyes out, it takes two to tango.
Your relationship is with your guy and not her.
She has nothing to do with why he cheated.
Your relationship or his character are the two reasons he’s cheated. You can change your relationship and improve your part in it but you can’t make a change in his character.
Not all men who cheat are cheaters.
Some men are looking for something they aren’t getting at home and realistically, you are the one not giving it to him. Most frequently that little something is not sex.
You might think that an extramarital affair is all about sex, but more often it’s about getting an emotional connection, respect and honor for who they are as men – the sex is just a bonus.
How to Approach Your Cheating Husband
Once you know, or are relatively sure, that your husband is cheating, it’s important to have a plan.
Without a plan you lose the upper hand in the conversation and allow him to storm out in order to get his story straight or turn the anger around on you, blaming you for snooping and spying on him.
By starting with a plan you have a better chance of repairing the relationship if that’s what you want, or of getting out of the relationship gracefully.
Ultimately, you’ll want the truth so you have a better chance of understanding what went wrong in order to prevent it from happening again.
In the majority of cases your man is going to completely deny that he’s been having an affair.
He’s seen all the movies and television shows.
He’s basing his behavior on websites, fantasy and wishful thinking.
In his mind you don’t really KNOW about his cheating, you are only guessing – and if you are guessing then he can deny it until the day he dies and you’ll never have an idea if he’s lying.
Before approaching him, get some definitive proof of his cheating.
There will be receipts to lunches and hotels you never were at, business meetings that his co-workers didn’t attend, nights when he left because he was angry when you can follow surreptitiously and gather proof.
Whatever needs to be done to document his infidelity, it will be helpful in your conversation and help in divorce court if it gets that far.
In your first conversation he’ll be caught unaware and not have had the time to make a decision about whether or not he wants to tell you.
If he admits to the affair he’ll have to end it – and he probably hasn’t thought that far ahead either.
How he’s going to tell you will depend upon his personality and how attached he’s become to this new lover.
This is when having strong physical proof will help you defend against him deflecting his anger on you.
AND, if you wrongly accuse him of cheating and insist that he is when he isn’t you can very well destroy the relationship.
During the conversation, stay calm, cool and collected.
He’ll be out of sorts, angry, frustrated, and scared. This is a DIFFICULT thing to do when you are facing the man you love and learning first hand that he’s been cheating on you.
You are hurt, in pain and your whole world is crumbling before you – how do you stay calm?
Remember that it will be the facts and not your emotions that should control you. If you attack him, scream or get irrational he’ll have time to get out of the house and get his story straight.
Don’t let him turn this around to you snooping or spying on him – he’s the one who did something wrong and you just found out about it.
He’ll want to flip the tables and blame you for being crazy, stupid or childish.
Do NOT let him do that!
Instead, acknowledge his statement and ask the burning question he doesn’t want to answer – “OK, I’m childish.
Now, who is she and how long have you been cheating on me?”
Don’t get caught up in name calling – just let him do it and move past it.
It’s not the name calling that’s causing this rift in your relationship, it’s his cheating.
So, keep your eye on the ball and move forward.
Be sure you get an explanation from him. If he asks you a question like, “why would I look for sex outside our relationship?” don’t answer.
Do NOT come up with a reason for him.
Just look him in the eye and wait for him to answer you.
And remember, that although you are in pain and can’t believe the amount of hurt you are feeling, an affair does not have to signal the end of your relationship.
An affair is a symptom of something wrong in your relationship and ending it will only mean that you bring those same issues to your next relationship.
Surviving an affair requires honesty, work and transparency that you both have to work towards.
Are you suspicious that your husband is cheating? Have you confronted or accused him? Please leave a comment and share your personal experiences.