If Your Partner Has Betrayed You In These 11 Small Ways, They’re More Likely To Cheat
There is no such thing as the perfect relationship. And that's OK. But if your partner consistently betrays you in little ways — possibly by letting you down, telling little white lies, keeping their emotions a secret, and so on — it might be a sign your partner will cheat. That's because trust and truthfulness are everything, when it comes to creating a healthy relationship.
If your partner has certain habits, or the type of personality where they justify their wrongdoings, more serious problems can follow. After all, "the biggest predictor of future behavior is past behavior," Jonathan Bennett, dating expert and founder of Double Trust Dating, tells Bustle. "So, if your partner has a history of lying, manipulation, and unfaithfulness in other matters, it’s not a giant leap to think that it will happen in matters of the heart, too."
The moment you notice small betrayals, it'll be important to speak up. "The best course of action is to talk to your partner about behaviors that bother you and avoid putting up with them just because they seem small," Bennett says. "Little patterns of bad behavior can lead to bigger betrayals down the line, like cheating." Here are a few examples of small betrayals experts say can lead to larger problems — so try to address them ASAP.
1. Lying About Money
If you discover that your parter isn't being honest about their spending habits, it can show a lack of trust and loyalty in the relationship — especially if you share a bank account. And that can lead to other problems down the road.
That's not to say money is easy to talk about. It's not — even for the healthiest of couples. But financial infidelity is a thing, and can be the start of a pattern.
This "happens when one partner [keeps] the other in the dark about financial matters," Bennett says. "This could be stashing away money, secret spending, or any form of lying or manipulation about money ... It indicates a pattern of dishonesty."
2. Staying In Contact With Exes
It's not a betrayal if your partner keeps in contact with their ex, as long as they're open and honest about it. But if they're doing so as a way of keeping this person in their "back pocket" — possibly to date them again in the future — it can be a sign they're way more likely to cheat.
"Many people keep exes or ... friends as 'back burner' relationships 'just in case,'" Bennett says. "However, having fallback options can create easy opportunities to cheat, especially if the relationship enters a rough patch." So if you aren't comfortable with your partner's friendships, talk about it. Why do they want to remain friends with their ex? What kind of a relationship is it? By talking to them, you may get to the bottom of whatever they're craving, in terms of connection.
3. Telling Lots Of White Lies
Everyone tells the occasional white lie. And that's OK. But if your partner makes a habit out of it, it may be an early indication that they're not going to be trustworthy down the road.
"Someone who really doesn’t seem to be bothered by telling fibs — even small ones to prevent problems or arguments in the relationship — may be more likely to cheat," Joshua Klapow, PhD, clinical psychologist and host of The Kurre and Klapow Show, tells Bustle. "That's because the easier they are able to lie, the easier they will be able to manage a much larger betrayal of cheating."
4. Turning To Others For Emotional Support
It's healthy for couples to have friends and family they can talk to outside their relationship. But having a few great friends to vent to is way different than turning to others in a way that could be labeled an "emotional affair."
"If your partner develops a strong emotional connection to another person and keeps it a secret from you, it’s very possible it will lead to actual cheating later," Bennett says. "Even if a bond seems insignificant, if your partner is evasive or secretive about it, it’s a red flag."
People often form these types of relationships as a way of avoiding tough convos with their partner. When things aren't 100 percent in the relationship, "it's often easier for a [partner] who is dissatisfied ... to transfer affection to someone else than to take the emotional risk of talking to a partner about dissatisfaction," Tina B. Tessina, PhD, a psychotherapist and author of How to Be a Couple and Still Be Free 4th Edition, tells Bustle.
But emotional affairs can be avoided by having open and honest conversations. Most relationship dissatisfaction is not difficult to fix, Dr. Tessina says, if both partners are willing to talk about it.
5. Getting Jealous Easily
It's perfectly fine to experience a small amount of jealousy in a relationship. But if your partner is acting super jealous at every turn, it could mean an affair is in their future.
"Jealousy often leads to anxiousness, which may also be a sign that your partner is more likely to cheat," Samantha Daniels, dating expert and founder of Samantha’s Table Matchmaking, tells Bustle. "If your partner gets jealous easily and lashes out then this may be a sign that they are more likely to cheat."
6. Flirting Online
While it's obviously fine to chat with friends online, it can be a slippery slope of betrayal if your partner takes to flirting with others behind your back.
Even though it may not seem like a big deal at first, "if they’re flirting with someone on [social media] or a dating app, with the excuse that they’re just chatting and not meeting ... that’s an emotional betrayal that could magnetize to something more serious," dating coach Julie Spira, CEO of Cyber-Dating Expert, tells Bustle. So if it bothers you, talk about it ASAP.
7. Guarding Their Phone
In a healthy, stable relationship, you shouldn't really have anything to hide. While it's fine to have some privacy — and a life with friends outside the relationship — that doesn't include secrecy or lying.
If your partner has become super protective of their phone, it may be an early warning sign of cheating. As Daniels says, "If your partner has something to hide and starts to add more passcodes and boundaries surrounding their phone and computer, then this may be a sign they are more likely to cheat."
8. Withholding Emotional Support
If your partner doesn't offer emotional support when you're feeling down, it may be a sign they're not completely emotionally invested in the relationship.
"A person who can’t/won’t join with you when you are in moments of despair is more likely to cheat," Dr. Klapow says. "They aren’t able to listen to your dilemma, offer physical comfort, console you, or know what to do when you are upset. They are not there for you emotionally when you need them the most."
9. Focusing Mostly On Themselves
In order to keep a relationship healthy, it's important to maintain your own lives, have your own friends and hobbies, and enjoy some personal space. That said, it's not a great sign for the future of your relationship if your partner puts themselves first 100 percent of the time.
"They put themselves in front of you on small life decisions that have no significant consequence [and] show that their priority is themselves," Dr. Klapow says. "Maybe it’s where they want to eat dinner, maybe it’s changing the temperature in the house to suit their needs, maybe it’s the music in the car." If they don't have that "we" mentality, but instead focus on themselves, they may be more likely to cheat.
10. Being Tough To Contact
Someone who is "all in" in their relationship, so to speak, will be available emotionally and physically. So take note if your partner disappears off the map, and doesn't seem to take your feelings into consideration.
"If your partner does not answer calls, texts, or emails but you know they are available," and they're generally difficult to get ahold of, they may be more likely to cheat, therapist Kimberly Hershenson, LMSW tells Bustle.
So don't let it go undiscussed. "It is important to communicate about how their actions make you feel," Hershenson says. "Express your needs and give feedback and what you need to change. If they are unwilling to meet your needs it may be time to move on."
11. Checking Out Other People
While it's natural to notice other people, it's not a great sign for the future health of your relationship if your partner is constantly checking out everyone who walks by.
If you see your partner looking at other people in a sexual way, Hershenson says they may be more likely to cheat in the future. It's not a guarantee, of course, but it's important to take note of these little red flags.
"These actions and characteristics describe a person who is more likely to avoid conflict in the relationship, to not be intimately bonded with you, to have less empathy, and to put their needs first," Dr. Klapow says. "While this doesn’t mean that they will cheat, it does mean that if there is conflict in the relationship or if they are attracted to someone outside of the relationship they are going to be more tempted to take the 'easy route' for them, which is to satisfy their needs." Not all cheating can be prevented, but you can discuss your concerns with your partner, and try to get on the same page before an affair occurs.