3 Signs Your Partner May Be Cheating And Ways To Go About The Situation

Have you wondered what a sudden, unexplained change in your partner's behavior could indicate?

By Jourdan Travers, LCSW | February 21, 2023

Cheating is an unfortunate fact of life. One study published in the Journal of Sex Research found that more than 50% of currently dating American couples engaged in at least one episode of cheating. Other research conducted in France found that one-third of French women admitted to having had sex with someone other than their partner while in a committed relationship.

What are the signs that your partner may be acting duplicitously? Sometimes, you might be able to tell something is awry based on changes in their communication style, changes in their use of technology, and/or their lack of explanation for spending less time with you. In other cases, the signs are more subtle.

Here, I'll talk about three less obvious signs of cheating in your relationship.

#1. There are unexplained changes in your sex life

Fluctuations in the frequency of sex over time in a relationship is not uncommon. In fact, it's normal. However, too little interest in sexual activity can be a sign of infidelity in romantic relationships. This is especially true when your attempts at intimacy are shut down without any explanation or emotional reciprocation.

#2. Your partner accuses you of cheating or harming the relationship in other ways

Guilt can be an overpowering emotion. When someone feels guilty about something they have done, they unwittingly transfer those feelings of guilt onto their partner, accusing them of doing the same thing or hinting that their actions are responsible for any untoward behavior they may have engaged in.

In situations like this, keep an eye out for the following signs:

  • You are irrationally and illogically accused by your partner of cheating
  • They are quick to turn a conversation into an argument
  • They become suspicious of your behavior and insist that you are the one who is acting strange or shady

When such accusations get out of hand, they often result in gaslighting, a form of emotional abuse where you end up (falsely) thinking that you were wrong and that you are the one who has the problem.

#3. Money has suddenly become a bone of contention

Almost all individuals in relationships undergo some amount of financial stress at one point or another. But certain financial problems may hint at a breakdown of trust brought on by an act of infidelity.

Some signs to watch for are:

  • When money becomes a big issue all of a sudden in your relationship
  • When your career ambitions are called into question
  • When prioritizing bigger investments such as taking yearly trips or buying a house take a backseat
  • When discussions about spending come to a standstill and your partner starts making decisions by themselves

How should you address cheating and infidelity?

In some cases, partners will deny any accusations of cheating when you try to confront them unless you have irrefutable evidence of their behavior. In other cases, partners will come clean on their terms and when they are ready.

The first step is always dialogue. If you keep getting denial and pushback every time you try to discuss your concerns with your partner, you may want to seek the support of a therapist or marriage counselor to mediate the discussion.

Emotional distress takes a toll on your physical health just as much as your mental and emotional health. Do not forget to practice self-care by getting that extra hour of sleep or sitting in the sun for a few extra minutes as you start your day. Move your body and stick to a regular sleep schedule. Eat a nutritious diet to combat distress. Do more of the things you love and know that the way you are feeling now won't last forever.

What if you're the one who's cheating or grappling with the temptation to cheat?

For those who struggle with the temptation to cheat, know that you are not alone and that there is nothing wrong with you. What is wrong is dishonesty.

The authors of a recent study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, have the following suggestions to manage the temptations you might be experiencing:

  • Check your influences. Couples in monogamous relationships who live in an environment where infidelity is common might seek counseling that encourages refocusing attention on one's primary partner. Counseling and couple's therapy can help strengthen the emotional and sexual bond you have with your partner. It is important that you become aware of the power of situations and the impact they may have on your decisions and behavior. Be mindful of your social influences and do your best to associate with people in your community who are committed to their partners.
  • Consider the fall-out. Some individuals find success using relationship-protective strategies such as ignoring suitors, perceiving them as less attractive than they are, or imagining all of the upsetting consequences that might follow from an indiscretion.
  • Redefine the boundaries of your relationship. Monogamy is the predominant method of partnering in our world but it is not the only method. Don't be afraid to redefine the boundaries of your relationship to make it work better for you and your partner.