The Most Common Excuses Cheaters Make To Their Partner When They're Sneaking Off To Have An Affair

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When you're in a monogamous relationship — even one that's healthy and happy — it's normal to fear the possibility that, one day in the future, you could find signs that your partner is cheating on you. While it's not healthy to be paranoid about cheating, that doesn't mean you shouldn't still be aware of the common signs of cheating, and feel comfortable communicating with your partner when you feel a boundary has been crossed. And while every couple might have their own definition of what constitutes cheating, there's one thing that all kinds of cheating have in common: an element of deception.

"Cheating is a deceptive act of hiding or not telling the full truth to a partner," life coach Nina Rubin tells Bustle. "A good way to know if you are cheating is by asking yourself if you’d be uncomfortable getting caught. If the answer is yes, it’s likely cheating. And if you suspect your partner is cheating, ask. Even though it’s a difficult conversation, it’s better to know."

If you doubt your partner's fidelity, the best thing to do is communicate your concerns in a non-accusatory way — because making unfounded accusations of cheating can really damage a relationship. But, if you have a gut feeling that something in your relationship is off, there's one behavior that can be extremely telling: if your partner always seems to have an excuse for sneaking off, that could be a red flag to watch out for.

Thanks to new research from Victoria Milan — a dating site for married and attached people looking to have an extramarital affair — we now have some insight into the common excuses cheaters use to sneak out. In a survey, Victoria Milan asked over 7,500 active members about the excuses they use to sneak away from their families/partners in order to rendezvous with their affair partners — here are the five that are most common.

1They Need Something From The Grocery Store

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According to the Victoria Milan survey, the number one line adulterers used to get out of the house was "I need to buy milk." Not that needing dairy is necessarily suspicious in and of itself, but an increase in random, spur-of-the-moment errands could be a sign that your partner is sneaking off elsewhere.

2They're Working Late

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Ahh, the classic "I have to work late" excuse. Of course, everyone can go through periods where their job requires more/later hours, but if your partner is suddenly spending every night at work without giving any real details about what they're working on — or who they're working with — that could be a red flag.

3Going To The Gym

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According to the Victoria Milan survey, the third most commonly used excuse adulterers used to sneak out of the house was "I'm going to the gym." There's nothing wrong with your partner wanting to work on their fitness — unless you're suspicious that your partner is really doing a much different kind of workout, that is.

4Meeting A Friend To Catch Up

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When Victoria Milan users wanted to buy some time away from home, the fourth most-used excuse was needing to "catch up" with an old friend. Of course, it's totally normal for your partner to want to hang out with their friends one-on-one sometimes, but it might be a red flag if they make a big show of not wanting to go somewhere, but insist on going anyway.

5Offering Emotional Support To A Friend/Family Member

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Life happens, and sometimes our friends and family really do need us to lean on when the going gets tough. But for Victoria Milan users, being a shoulder to cry on is also a convenient excuse for getting a few uninterrupted hours away from their partner.

Ultimately, it's up to you and your partner (and no one else) to set boundaries in your relationship and come to an agreement about what does and does not count as cheating. Unfortunately, there's no real way to guarantee that you won't ever be cheated on — so keep your eyes open to possible signs of cheating and be ready to communicate your fears and doubts to your partner if need be.