How Do You Know If Your Significant Other Is Cheating? Science Says Trust Your Gut

We've always been told that there's nothing quite like a woman's intuition, but it seems this applies to all genders as well. A new study from Brigham Young University suggests that people can tell when their significant other is cheating. In the study, two BYU psychologists, along with one from Florida State University, observed 35 women and 16 men, all of whom were involved in romantic relationships. The psychologists first asked the men and women about their significant others, as well as whether or not they'd cheated or been cheated on. The next step was to video tape interactions between the participants and their significant others. The psychologists then showed these three to four minute tapes to a number of third-party observers, who proceeded to conclude whether any of the participants, or their significant others, had ever cheated.

The conclusions were stunningly accurate, with the observers correctly identifying the cheating individuals from among the bunch. This confirmed the psychologists' hypothesis that men and women can in fact detect when their spouse or significant other is being unfaithful, even if we may often feel like it's all in our heads. Of course, further tests will need to be performed in order to confirm whether this instinct is always reliable, but the BYU study does offer promising evidence.


The reliability of intuition, however, extends beyond simply detecting another's infidelity. By trusting our gut, we might also be able to determine things like social status or personality traits. The BYU study cites another 2010 experiment, among others, as evidence of our strong intuitive capacities:

The data indicate that this ability to predict outcomes from brief observations is more intuitive than deliberatively cognitive, leading scholars to believe that the ability to accurately predict is 'hard-wired and occur[s] relatively automatically' (Ambady, 2010, p. 271).

That is to say, both men and women are inherently intuitive beings, and we should honor this natural ability. As women, however, this proves difficult. Too often the figure of the psycho wife or girlfriend is parodied in film and television, leading us to believe that we're "crazy" for suspecting our significant other of cheating

Now that science is on our side, however, we need to start respecting the validity of our instincts, no matter the consequences. If it turns out your man is cheating, this could be the very wake-up call your relationship needs, or a signal that it's time to move on. Either way, why resist an instinct that's hard-wired into our brains? Of course, it's important to be wary of making snap judgments, and not fly off the handle at the first sign of infidelity. Although this may sound like it's bordering on the metaphysical, I'd argue that you'll know when you know.

So the next time you feel yourself overcome by that sinking suspicion that something's amiss in your relationship, try to trust your intuition rather than ignore it. The important thing is to be honest with yourself, and avoid opening up your thoughts to self-doubt. Because if women are in fact masters of intuition, we can just as easily become masters of honoring that intuition as well. 

Images: Brian Wolfe/Flickr; Giphy 

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