Many times, the signs that someone is being unfaithful can be pretty obvious. After all, some people will be able to tell when a partner is growing distant, or seems to be confiding in someone else more often. Then again, there are signs of cheating that are easy to miss.
"Any changes in typical behavior that aren’t attributable to something else can be signs of cheating," Tara Vossenkemper, founder and therapist with The Counseling Hub, tells Bustle. For instance, if your partner never has been one to hide their phone and suddenly they're very into their personal space and privacy, that can be quite alarming. Vossenkemper says changes in your sex life can also indicate an affair. Regardless of what happens, there's going to be distance. "If your partner is disconnecting from you emotionally (and it’s not attributable to something else, like extra stress at work), it could be cheating," she says.
Unfortunately, Alexa Bauman, relationship expert at Kiwi Searches, tells Bustle, it's "probably impossible" to cheat-proof any relationship. "The closest most people will get is having completely open communication, without any judgement from either side," Bauman says. "You don't necessarily have to keep track of where you both are at all times, but you should be open about everything that's going on in your lives."
More often than not, your partner's infidelity will take you by surprise. So here are some signs of cheating that are easy to miss, according to experts.
1Being An Overly-Attentive Partner
This may come as a surprise, but Karina Wallace, relationship and betrayal trauma-focused life coach, tells Bustle that an increase in attention and affection can signal cheating. "This is due to guilt and regret even if they don't choose to stop the behavior," Wallace says. This is typically hard to see as a possible indicator because most people don't think their partner will increase affection if they're cheating. But as she says this only lasts until they become more comfortable with the fact that they won't get away with their behavior.
Besides that, counselor and therapist, Dr. Tracey Phillips, tells Bustle, when your partner starts calling you multiple times a day “just to hear your voice” out of nowhere, that may not be as sweet or romantic as you think. "What they may actually be doing is checking your whereabouts to make sure you are not somewhere that you can catch them," she says. Although an increase in affection doesn't always signal cheating, speaking with your partner if you have any suspicions may be difficult, but it's the best way to clear the air.
2Unexplained Mood Swings
If your partner gets super hot and cold with you during the week, or lashes out at you for no real reason, Caleb Backe, Health and Wellness Expert for Maple Holistics, tells Bustle, that could be a sign of cheating. It's important to note that your partner may be going through something and that could be the cause for their mood swings. But if your partner is reluctant to explore the reason why or just writes it off as a "bad day," Backe says that's something to take notice of, and ask them about.
3Your Partner Having Noticeable Preference Changes
Any preference changes in general should be looked at, in particular their style, things they like in the bedroom, or the music they like to listen to. "They may play it off as just a preference but if you have been together a long time and this is not normal then its something to pay attention to," Wallace says. "It alone is not saying they are cheating, but it can be a good indicator if there are a few things changing concurrently." Because this might not be the most clear indicator, talking to your partner about what might have sparked these preference changes can give you a clearer picture of what's going on with them.
4Things That Used To Annoy Them Don't Seem To Bother Them Anymore
If your partner is suddenly cool with that one thing you do that typically annoys them without you making any changes at all, that may be a sign of cheating. They may not be putting as much importance on the relationship since they are focusing elsewhere, Backe says. This isn't necessarily always the case, but communicating openly will be the easiest way to find out.
5Changes In Your Partner's Grooming Habits
Take note if your partner changes any of their grooming habits, especially their showering habits. "If your partner comes home and jumps right into a long shower, they may be washing away any evidence of cheating," Dr. Phillips says. She also says the same is true if they immediately wash their clothes when they get home. There's nothing wrong with wanting to be clean. But again, if it's a major change in their behavior, it's something to take notice.
6They Hide Their Phone When You're Around
If they tend to leave their cell phone in their car when you're together, Dr. Phillips says that's a typical cheating sign to be aware of. "They could be trying to avoid receiving any questionable calls or texts in your presence," she says. "And, if you call them and they say that they didn’t answer because their phone was in the car," take notice. According to her, there's really no way to prevent infidelity in a relationship. Basically, you can provide all that your partner says they need, but if they want to cheat, they will find a way. "The best you can do is to be aware of the signs and act accordingly," she says.
7There's A Particular Room They Want You To Avoid
Everyone's entitled to their privacy and personal space. But if you're over at your partner's place and they find sneaky ways to keep you from going into a room or into a certain drawer, that's something to be aware of. "When you walk into an area of the room, do they consistently bring on the charm only to lead you out of the room, away from access to certain information or clues to their activities? Is there a pile of paperwork they absolutely don't want you to get close to?" certified coach, Shirley Arteaga, tells Bustle. If you just notice your partner start to become hyper-vigilant over their car, their clothes, or any of their things, they could be trying to hide something. If this is a major departure from how they acted previously, it may be time for a talk.
8Changes In PDA
As your relationship moves forward, things like public displays of affection may change. It may not be as much as it used to be and that's totally common. But if you notice significant changes while you're out together, it's important to be aware of them. "If they do not hold your hand when they usually do or would usually invite you out but no longer do, they may be pulling away emotionally and physically," Wallace says. If you happen to notice that your partner gets irritated when you bring up going with them somewhere, Wallace says, it might mean the other person they're interested in will be there as well.
The biggest way to foster an environment of fidelity or recuperate after cheating is through communication. And conversely the worst thing for a relationship is unhealthy communication. Have rules for fighting fair, have boundaries for your relationship and have your expectations out there so that you both are happy and fulfilled.
9You Just Feel Like Something Is Off
Sometimes even the most obvious signs that your partner is cheating can be hard to miss because you may choose to ignore them. But when it comes to your relationship, going with your gut is important. If you feel like something is off, don't write it off. Figure out why. "The human body is amazing in its capacity for discerning the truth in others," Arteaga says. "There are usually signs of a cheating partner, and if you trust your gut, you will be able to learn the answer quickly."
These are definitely signs that can be hard to miss. But if you do catch your partner cheating, Dr. Phillips says it's important to stay calm. "My recommendation is to take a day or two to let the anger subside and then decide what you really want to happen before confronting the cheating partner," she says. "If you want to stay together, then you can work on that as well as the cheating. If you want to end the relationship then a couple of extra days won’t make a difference."
Unfortunately, anyone is capable of cheating. There's really no one way to know for sure whether or not your partner is cheating unless you actually catch them doing it. Everyone should be able to trust their partner. But if you suspect that something is up, be sure to watch out for those obvious and less than obvious signs that your partner may be unfaithful, and speak to them about it.