If you think your
partner is cheating, it's always a good idea to trust your gut so you don't end up getting hurt. Of course, that doesn't mean you need to assume the worst or jump to conclusions. But you still might want to do like private investigators do, and gather more information.
"It's important to note that any of these on their own aren't signs someone is cheating,"
Dr. Perpetua Neo, a psychologist and former private detective, tells Bustle. "[For example], if someone is cagey about their thoughts or values privacy all the time, it may simply be their personality. But if there is a big change, then that's when you might start to be suspicious." And once a few red flags start piling up, it may mean your suspicions were right all along.
Once you feel like you can make a case, it'll be important to talk to your partner to find out for sure and decide what to do next. "If you think your [partner] is cheating, the next step is to talk to them about it and what you want to do with your relationship,"
Mari Moss, a principal private investigator and founder of BOSS Inc., tells Bustle. "Ask them if you want to seek counseling to salvage the relationship or if it is the ultimate end of the relationship. That will tell you what steps to take next."
Here are a few signs private investigators say may point to cheating, especially if they seem new, different, or extremely out of character for your partner.
1.Their Behavior Suddenly Changes
so many reasons why a cheating partner may begin to act differently, whether it's due to guilt, the heaviness of keeping a secret, or simply because they're picking up behaviors from their new significant other.
But the bottom line is — you'll notice. As Moss says, "If they've become a total stranger to you, then obviously something's going on."
They Have Brand New Interests
If your partner wants to go to a pottery class on Sundays, or is suddenly all about a new movie genre, that's awesome. You shouldn't immediately assume all new interests are a sign that they're cheating, but should instead be supportive and interested in their new hobbies.
Do, however, take note if they're suddenly an expert in something they never previously liked. "If someone doesn't really care about the details of food, and is suddenly talking about flavor profiles, it's a tell-tale sign the person they are spending a lot of time with is rubbing off on them," Dr. Neo says. "Also, we tend to get more intense when we pick something new, and they may be trying to impress the new person. "
They've Stopped Arguing With You
A small amount of bickering is healthy for a relationship, as it shows you both still care and want to work on areas that need improving. So if your partner suddenly gives up and becomes apathetic about everything, take note.
"While for some couples, the guilt from cheating may intensify into moody anger issues that escalate existing relationship problems, for others the cheater is on Cloud 9 and/or no longer interested in your existing relationship," Dr. Neo says. "Things that used to irk them no longer trigger them. It's a mixture of apathy and feeling 'generous' enough to let it all slide."
They Seem Strangely Happy
Is your partner whistling happily as they go about their day? If so, that's great. Part of being in a relationship is being supportive and happy for your partner's happiness, and taking joy in their joy.
It can be a warning sign, though, if they're suddenly a little
too happy and you can't figure out why. "Their absentminded happy smile may be because they're thinking of their new partner," Dr. Neo says. "The honeymoon phase of a new relationship coupled with the thrill can make someone almost euphoric." If you notice this sign and it makes you uncomfortable, speak up.
They've Been Staying At Work Later & Later
If your partner is happy in the relationship, they’ll make an effort to be home, be available for dates, etc. So “if they’re suddenly always out or always at work, then that’s an indication that they’re probably cheating," Moss says.
Of course, there are a million and one exceptions. Did their boss ask them to work late? Are they making an extra effort to get a raise? Are they trying to be more social with old friends? If you can rule these signs out, then rule them out. But if there isn't a reasonable explanation, it may be a good idea to bring your concerns to your partner's attention.
Their Style Has Drastically Changed
If your partner buys a new coat or wants to try a new haircut, that's one thing. But if they come home one day with a drastically different style, that may be something else entirely.
"It's not that they dress better necessarily or that they dress worse; it's just different," Moss says, adding that this might even be a sign your partner is copying their new interest's style.
They're Having Off-The-Wall Conversations
Moss says it's also important to pay attention to "off-the-wall conversations" that seem out of character. For example, if your partner's go-to conversation topics have drastically changed, or they're suddenly super passionate about topics they've never showed interest in before, it may be a sign they're hanging around someone new.
They're Being Rude & Disrespectful
Has your partner been argumentative and rude as of late? "If suddenly everything you're doing is wrong, you're not good enough, you're screwing up everything, [and] they're being hypercritical of you, that's another dead giveaway," Moss says.
When someone is having an affair, they may begin to look for reasons to justify their actions, which is why cheaters tend to hold their partner's every move under a magnifying glass. They
want to be mad so that they can feel less guilty. But they also may be rude because it's stressful to live a secretive life.
They're Suddenly Busy During Holidays
Another change to watch out for is how your partner handles holidays. "If every ... Valentine's Day [you were] getting cards and flowers and suddenly they're nonchalant about whether or not they want to go out with you," it's a major sign, Moss says. When this is out of character, it could be a sign that they're spending time with someone else, or that they're trying to create distance in your relationship. And it's certainly something you'll want to talk about, ASAP.
They're Suddenly Way More Secretive
Everyone has a right to privacy, so don't panic if your partner has a password on their phone, or reacts negatively if you look at their emails. You may want to be curious, though, if they're suddenly extra secretive about their phone, their whereabouts, or who they're texting.
"You know your [partner] better than anyone," Whitney Joy Smith, president of
The Smith Investigation Agency, tells Bustle. "Did they all [of a] sudden start to hide their phone or add a password?" Again, major behavioral changes can be a sign someone is living a double life.
The Seem Different During Sex
If your partner acts different during sex, suddenly wants to try new positions, or doesn't seem as connected emotionally, it may be worth looking into. "We see many people who say that intimately they could tell their partner was with someone else as the way they were intimate before had changed," Smith says.
Again, it's essential not to jump to conclusions after noticing one tiny thing. People grow and change, and it's important to be supportive of your partner's desire to try a new hobby, switch up their style, or pursue a promotion.
But if you feel like something is wrong — or have that gut feeling you just can't shake — don't let it continue on without saying something. Sure, it could be all in your head. But you won't know until you sit down with your partner, lay out the signs, and ask.