How Do You Know If Someone's Cheating On You? The Most Common Excuses People Give Their Partners When They're Having An Affair

It's hard to know the signs of cheating, because often the person cheating is doing everything they can to cover it up in an inconspicuous way. They want to make things look as normal as possible. But how do cheaters typically cover it? Well, Ashley Madison, a site dedicated to illicit encounters, looked into the excuses that people tell their partner. They asked nearly 1,500 men and women who use the site to find out what they were telling their partners.

The annoying thing, of course, is that most of the excuses people use are also totally legitimate things people do all the damn time. So you shouldn't freak out if your partner says that they're out with friends or working late because, you know, those things actually happen.

But the weirder part is that people tend to use the same excuse over and over. “Half of the members surveyed say they only switch up the excuse they use to meet an extramarital partner on occasion,” Isabella Mise, Director of Communications at Ashley Madison, tells Bustle. “I think it might be surprising for some to find that most members are not only using common habits like going to the gym or staying late at work to avoid being discovered, but that they are also sticking with that same excuse consistently."

You'd think that mixing it up would make things less obvious, but I'm not a seasoned cheater, so what do I know? And, men and women tended to use similar excuses. “They’re actually not as varied as you might think," Mise says. "For both men and women, going out with friends and working late are the top two excuses used when having an affair. Maybe this is because these excuses are the most believable and allow for more time out of the house compared to other common choices such as heading to the gym.”

So which excuses were the most believable? Here are the most popular:

1Working Late: 31%

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Thirty one percent— nearly a third of cheaters— used this old nugget. And you can see why. It's hard to argue with, it's difficult to check out, and it does really happen all the time.

2A Business Trip: 15%

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It turns out, cheating isn't just a one-day occurrence. Fifteen percent claimed they were on a business trip, which sounds like some multi-day adultery.

3Going Out With Friends: 14%

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Almost as popular was the friends option, with 14 percent using this excuse. This seems like a trickier one, because it seems too easy to get caught, but it's still used a lot.

4Going Out With Colleagues: 14%

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Just as popular as being out with friends was going out with colleagues. After work drinks aren't uncommon and there's also a sense of obligation, so, like work, it can be difficult to call them out on it.

5Going To The Gym: 9%

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Going to the gym didn't get as much use as I thought it would, with only nine percent saying they were pumping iron when they were actually pumping... well, you get it. But I guess the gym doesn't take very long usually, so it wouldn't always cover an extended tryst.

6A Friend Covers For Me: 8%

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Yikes. Eight percent of people have a friend who claims that they were with them to cover their tracks. That's a dedicated — and pehaps shady — friend.

7Gone Golfing: 6%

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Really, people?! Really? I am not even going to get into this one.

8Shopping: 5%

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Alright, by the end we're really getting to the people who just couldn't really be bothered to come up with a realistic excuse. How much shopping can one person do? Seriously.

9Watching TV/Movie With A Friend: 4%

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I'm guessing that they don't mention that this is a friend they are also having sex with.

10A Family Member Covers For Me: 1%

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Wow. So, definitely not as common as a friend — but one percent of respondents said that they had a family member who would be their alibi.

So, like I said, a lot of the excuses, at least the more popular ones, are really believable — and having to work late was the clear winner. But don't panic is you hear any of these thrown your way... a lot of people really do have to work late.