When you think about cheating, the first thing that probably comes to mind are all the negative changes that tend to occur, as your partner goes behind your back. They might hide their phone, seem less present, or pick fights, usually in an effort to push you away. But did you know positive changes can also be a
sign of cheating?
This is especially true if the changes are massively out of character or seem to come out of the blue. If they weren't super affectionate before, for example, their sudden desire to cuddle
can be a red flag, especially if other areas of your relationship aren't great. It is important, however, not to jump to conclusions.
Instead, "list the possible different reasons for the positive changes they are making," Holly Zink, a relationship expert for
Safeguarde, tells Bustle. "If after some time, your suspicions don't go away and there are many other positive and possibly negative changes that arise, then you should talk to your partner."
How they react can serve as another clue. "When you ask them about some of these behaviors do they seem fidgety or anxious?"
psychotherapist Dr. Jennifer Howard, asks. "Or [do they get defensive] and try to blow you off?" This might be sign they've got something to hide.
Read on below for some positive ways your relationship might change, or how your partner might act differently if
they are cheating, according to experts.
It's great to surprise each other with romantic gestures as a way of showing you care. But if your partner is laying it on thick — possibly by giving you expensive gifts, or sending giant bouquets of flowers to your office — take note.
While it may feel good, this change could be motivated by guilt, be an intentional attempt to throw you off their tracks, or a way to gaslight you into feeling like things are going well,
clinical psychologist Dr. Helen Odessky tells Bustle, even though they're really not.
If they continue to be weirdly romantic, and you've noticed other
signs of cheating, it may be a good idea to share your concerns with your partner.
Your Sex Life Is Amazing
It can be exciting and fun if your partner wants to
have more sex than usual, or suddenly asks you to be more experimental in bed. But this positive change can, in some cases, be a sign they're cheating.
As Dr. Odessky says, "Although the sexual attention may seem flattering, it can be a manipulative
attempt to gaslight you into not suspecting them of cheating." After all, why would you think they're cheating if your sex life is passionate and great?
Don't jump to conclusions, though. There's a good chance your partner just wants to
keep your sex life fresh. And there's nothing wrong with that.
They're Putting More Effort Into Their Appearance
There's no need to worry if your partner gets a great haircut, or decides to improve their health by
going to the gym. But if they're making grand, sweeping changes to their appearance — and it's totally unlike them — it could be a sign something's up.
"For example, your partner starts to go to the gym every day when they only used to go to the gym once a month," Zink says. Or maybe they're showering more often before going out, or putting on makeup.
It's also a red flag if they buy a whole new wardrobe, or start
dressing completely differently. It might cause you to wonder what sparked the change, Zink says. And in some cases, it's because they're trying to impress someone new.
They're Cleaning Up Around The House
There are a million and one reasons why your partner might take a shine to cleaning. Maybe they've decided to be neater and more organized, or simply want to make a positive change around the house.
It could, however, be a way for them to cover their tracks,
psychotherapist Tina B. Tessina, LMFT, PhD, tells Bustle, especially if they used to be quite careless with their belongings.
"This may be to hide clues and make sure nothing suspicious is left around," she says. So if it makes you feel uneasy, and you can't shake the bad feeling, it may be a good idea to
have a conversation.
They Check In More Often
Another sweet change that can, in some cases, be a red flag, is if your partner suddenly texts more often, wants to know where you are, or is eager to know when you'll be home. As Dr. Howard says, this could actually be their way of figuring out where you are and what your schedule looks like, so they can more easily make plans with somebody else.
They Offer To Run Errands
If your partner offers to run errands for you, go ahead and let them do it. It's likely their way of helping out and showing they care. And yet, if this change comes along with
other red flags, you may want to look into the deeper meaning.
As Dr. Howard says, running errands could be a way for them to get out of the house, so they can take a phone call from someone else without getting caught.
Of course, it's not necessary to jump to conclusions if it happens once or twice. If your partner is leaving the house all the time, though, and always has a weird reason for doing so, you may want to
voice your concerns.
They Want To Work Later
Your partner may be staying later at work in order to make more money or get a great promotion, which can bring all sorts of positive benefits to your relationship. But in some instances, this change could indicate they're meeting someone on the side, and thus need to spend more time away from home.
"If work hours have suddenly become extended, this could be a signal something else is going on," Justin Lavelle, relationship expert and chief communications officer for
BeenVerified, tells Bustle. "Any major changes in activity could be a sign your partner is cheating."
"It is counter-intuitive but if your 'bad' relationship suddenly gets better that could be a sign that your partner is cheating," Lavelle says. Sure, it may seem like a miracle that you're no longer arguing. But there may be a reason they no longer care.
"This can actually occur because the person that is cheating is both happier and also feeling guilty," Lavelle says. And, it can be a sign they've already started
checking out of the relationship, and therefore no longer feel the need to fix things.
They're Really Affectionate
It may also be a red flag if your typically unaffectionate partner is suddenly glued to your side, or if they're going out of their way to make you happy.
If they're cheating, "they will start to feel a sense of guilt, and try to compensate that guilt with giving you the false sense of comfort and enthusiasm in the relationship," Mackenzie Riel, a sex and wellness educator for
TooTimid, tells Bustle.
They Keep Asking How You Feel
While it may seem nice that your partner suddenly wants to know all about your day, or seems extra interested in your feelings, it can be a sign of cheating if they start to go overboard.
"This can be a
sign of panic and anxiety that there is something they don't want you to figure out," Riel says. "If they can distract from their guilty feelings by being focused on yours, they won't have as much of a hard time trying to remain calm about the infidelity."
They Want To Send You On Vacation
If your partner offers to send you away for the weekend, or keeps suggesting you go on vacation with a friend, it can seem like they're focusing on your needs. And yet, Dr. Howard says you may want to pause and think about
why they're being so nice.
If they have never offered to do something like this before, it might be their way of getting you out of town for a couple days, so they can cheat without getting caught.
It's important to keep in mind, though, that none of these changes
definitely mean your partner is cheating. It's 100 percent OK for them to make improvements, be extra nice, and show they care — even if it comes out of the blue.
That said, if you notice random positive changes, and they occur right along with other
red flags of cheating, you may want to trust your gut. Give it some time, monitor the situation, and if you still feel uneasy, let your partner know.