Is your partner cheating? We explore the signs

If you overwhelmingly feel that things are out of order, take care to find out what is wrong.

If you overwhelmingly feel that things are out of order, take care to find out what is wrong.

What you need to know:

  • He might narrow his definition of cheating, start to make justifications about why someone else cheated, or appear more open towards flirtatious and extra sexual interactions that he was previously opposed to
  • You should not just ride along if your partner suddenly injects new sexual techniques into your relationship, especially if he has not displayed any willingness to improve on your bedroom activities previously.
  • There is a big tendency for people who are having affairs to also suspect their partners of doing the same.

Signs of cheating are not easy to spot because the red flags are usually subtle.

Here are some of the most prominent red flags that your man is cheating.

Physical fitness and dressing

This is the most prominent red flag. Dr. Douglas Kenrick, a social psychologist and the author of The Rational Animal, says that you should get concerned if your partner suddenly becomes obsessed with their image, physical fitness, and masculinity. “One of the tell-tale signs is when he suddenly or increasingly pays attention to his body image, starts to spend too much money on clothing that enhance his image or buying items and gadgets that enhance his masculinity and financial capabilities,” he says.

Sexual frequency and techniques

Too much sex or very little sexual intercourse is another symptom of infidelity. “Less sex will be because his focus and mind are on the person he is cheating with. Too much sex will be because he is attempting to cover his philandering ways,” says Robert Weiss, the author of Out of the Doghouse, a handbook for men caught cheating. In addition, less sex could be due to loss of interest, especially if they have found more sexual energy in their affair or want to limit their sexual experience to their cheat partner. Nairobi-based psychologist Patrick Musau says that you should not just ride along if your partner suddenly injects new sexual techniques into your relationship, especially if he has not displayed any willingness to improve on your bedroom activities previously or if your intimacy has largely followed a routine. “It will be naïve of you not to critically consider the source of all the sudden energy in your bedroom, especially when it is not accompanied by a reasonable explanation or curiosity,” says Musau.

Sexual outlook

The possibility that he has found a new catch will be high if his perspective on sex outside the primary relationship changes suddenly. This change could be a deviation from sexual perspectives – such as no sex or flirtations outside the relationship – that were mutually compatible. “He might narrow his definition of cheating, start to make justifications about why someone else cheated, or appear more open towards flirtatious and extra sexual interactions that he was previously opposed to,” he says. He might start to reason that the male species are evolutionarily wired to have multiple partners to suggest that cheating is innate and men who go out of their marriage or relationship once or twice should not be overly condemned. According to Musau, this will be a subconscious attempt aimed at prepping you in the event you eventually discover that he has a side chic or has been having an affair. “It is the same as reasoning that monogamy is unnatural and every man will either have a second spouse or a side chic hidden somewhere,” says Musau.

Constant accusation

There is a big tendency for people who are having affairs to also suspect their partners of doing the same. “When an affair is taking place, your partner realises that affairs do happen and they can occur to them too. This thought will provoke them to constantly accuse or question if you are having an affair,” says Musau. The accusations will be solely based on their own insecurities and the guilt of having an affair. Subconsciously, they might wish for you to get involved in an affair to even the score.

Social media

Social media is one of the channels through which cheating might germinate. “Digital flirtation and intimacy are at the heart of this new kind of cheating,” says Dr. Andrea Bonior, a psychologist and the author of The Friendship Fix.  Dr. Bonoir says flirtation or intimacy might be taking place if your partner is in the habit of sharing sexual or intimacy-oriented jokes with certain members of the opposite sex whom he gets defensive over. “It will be a bad sign if someone is all over your partner’s social media, and seems to show a level of intimacy and humuor with him that puts you off,” she says.  She also says being physically possessive of his phone or tablet, late-night communication, and counter-accusations are red flags. This is echoed by Scott Haltzman, the author of The Secrets of Surviving Infidelity. “Most men will not always let you access their gadgets to read emails or see their text messages. But they will also not necessarily try too much to hide them,” he says. On a platform such as Facebook, they will change passwords, turn off buttons that allow you to see their friends, or view people they have mutual friends with. They might even block you and reason that they do not want to expose their relationship on social media. However, while this might be the case, it is often meant to cover their tracks on social media by preventing you from seeing who they regularly follow, chat with, and express emotions with.

Instincts

If you overwhelmingly feel that things are out of order, take care to find out what is wrong. Psychologist Dr. Chris Hart says that you can always tell when cheating is taking place because cheaters usually portray a subconscious desire to get caught when they’re cheating. However, do not fly off the handle, just in case your instincts were not wholly correct, and, or your relationship is still salvageable.

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