Isn't always easy to spot a cheater. When you're looking for a partner, you want to protect yourself against getting involved with someone who might hurt you, but there's not a tried-and-tested rule to know who will cheat. Every relationship is different, and people's reasons for cheating are vary too. And, relationship therapist Aimee Hartstein, LCSW, tells Bustle, that there are so many different of types of cheaters.
"The first type of cheater is a compulsive cheater who really gives their behavior much thought," says Harstein. "They don't have much impulse control or much empathy and awareness of others. They are likely to cheat in their first relationship and many subsequent relationships. However, there are people who are young and a bit thoughtless who cheat early on but not always. They can learn from their experiences and relationships and have capacity to change. They may not always be cheaters. They may also have considered their first relationship to be more casual with loser boundaries but feel and behave differently when in something that they consider more serious."
But while there might be different ways to cheat — and different kinds of cheaters — there are also some habits that cheaters may be more likely to share. So there are some helpful things to be on the lookout for, according to experts.
1. They're Always Initiating Sex With You
Contrary to popular belief, cheating usually isn't paired with a dry spell at home. "Often, when a partner is cheating, they will become more sexual than they have in a long time," BetterHelp telehealth counselor and psychologist Nikki Martinez tells Bustle. So actually making more advances on their partner is a common habit among cheaters.
2. They Act Suspicious Of You
Cheaters may often make it a habit to keep close tabs on you — or even get aggressive about it. "If your partner all of a sudden becomes overly protective and jealous out of nowhere, chances are they are projecting," life coach Kali Rogers tells Bustle. "If they can violate the trust between you two, then it's only natural for them to assume you could as well." Which means they can end up being really nosy and possessive.
3. The Engage In Phone Shade
Keeping their phones close — and confidential — is a habit of necessity for a cheater. They need to make sure you're not getting a glimpse. "If you notice a change in phone habits — like suddenly on silent all the time," that's not good, Marina Sbrochi, IPPY award-winning author of Stop Looking for a Husband: Find the Love of Your Life tells Bustle. If they use their phone in the bathroom or never leave it in a common space, that habit might be saying something.
4. They're On Their Phone 24/7
Being glued to their phone is such a common habit among cheaters that it gets two spots on the list. Because, in addition to being shady with their phone, they're often phone addicts. "One clue is that their cell phone will be glued to their hands and their text and call history will always be clean," relationship coach Chris Armstrong tells Bustle. I mean, they're trying to keep two — or more — relationships on the go at once. That means a lot of phone time.
5. They Lie About Other Things
No surprise here, but it's still relevant. Cheaters are often OK with deceit, meaning lying may be a normal part of their routine. "If you catch your partner in one hurtful lie, chances are that's not the only one," Rogers says.
6. They've Changed Their Grooming Habits
When people are cheating, they often have much better grooming and maintenance habits. "For instance: your girlfriend, who never shaves her legs, starts shaving her legs everyday; or your boyfriend starts working out like he expects to win a gold medal at the summer Olympics," relationship coach and psychic medium Cindi Sansone-Braff, author of Why Good People Can't Leave Bad Relationships, tells Bustle. A lot of cheaters will make it a point to spend a lot of time on their appearance, whether a makeup routine or just a lot of exercise.
7. They're Overly Affectionate
A cheating partner wants to keep you in the dark — and probably feels some guilt — so being overly affectionate isn't uncommon. "I think the one beginning sign you partner is cheating could be that they are overly affectionate to you," Rob Alex, who created Sexy Challenges and Mission Date Night with his wife, tells Bustle. "If all of the sudden, they start acting totally different in their affection toward you, it could be a sign."
There might not be one universal reason people cheat or one way they behave, but there are some habits that come up again and again with people who cheat. It helps to know the signs, because it makes it a lot easier to protect yourself against them.