Kate is a former youth counselor who holds a special interest in interpersonal relationships and fostering healthy personal growth.
Are you worried that your husband is cheating on you? You could try to get to the bottom of the matter by spying on him, but wouldn't that be a betrayal of his trust? Here are expert clues to spotting infidelity in your marriage without doing something sneaky yourself.
Here are seven clues to watch out for, according to relationship experts.
7 Signs Your Husband May Be Cheating On You
- He's spending less time spent with you and more time with his "friends."
- He's working more often and spending less time at home with family.
- He comes home with surprise flowers, gifts and love notes for no special occasion.
- He seems especially anxious and irritable.
- He spends more time spent worrying about his appearance.
- His sex drive suddenly seems much higher or lower than usual.
- He has displayed behavior that seems unusual or just doesn't add up.
When it comes to spotting infidelity in your partner, it's better to look out for these common signs of cheating according to experts, rather than go snooping through his phone, email and glove box. Trust your intuition!
1. More Time Out With the Guys, Less Time With You
In her Reader's Digest article, "12 Subtle Sings You've Got a Cheating Spouse," Christine Coppa reviews relationship expert April Masini's insight on the shadiness of your man suddenly participating in a regular "guys only" night or ditching out on you to go hang out with his friends.
Some men will use their friends as an excuse to visit a girlfriend or mistress on the side. That's not to say that most guys won't want to spend a night out with friends from time to time without the wives in tow but you may be right to be concerned if the guys’ nights are increasingly frequent or if you can't get a hold of him during these boys-only events.
2. A Change in Work Habits
In the same vein as a change in time spent with you, cheating men may claim to be spending more time at work when they're actually stepping out. True, it's not reasonable to expect your spouse to come home at exactly the same time every day or to never be asked by the boss to work late. But, when changes are significant and when your husband does not respond well to your offers to stop by with takeout for a quick dinner, there may be something to worry about. You should also notice how he looks when he comes home. Does he look like he just put in a grueling 12-hour day at the office, or does he look like he just had a relaxing evening with someone else?
3. Gifts or Flowers for No Reason
While some men may express their guilty feelings through increased irritability, others may present guilt in an entirely different way. Your husband may be gifting you bouquets of bright red roses and baubles from your favorite Etsy shop because he's guilty, not because he's so great.
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So if you're already skeptical of your husband's behavior, yet he's been showering you with sweet gifts and kind gestures that are out of character, file this new behavior in the "pretty weird and likely suspicious" category.
4. Increased Irritability
The stress of having an extramarital affair can be intense. This stress may be combined with strong feelings of guilt. These feelings may be outwardly expressed through unexplained irritability toward you and your children or friends. Keep in mind that this is more than irritability from a few bad days at work. It may be irritability that is present for weeks on end.
5. More Interest in Personal Appearance
It is generally normal for men and women alike to decide to make big improvements in their health and appearance by exercising more, dieting and taking other efforts. In many cases, a couple can even make these efforts together to grow closer. But if your husband is cheating, you may notice that he makes these improvements on his own or that he spends more time in the bathroom getting ready than he used to. In "The 14 Signs Your Partner is About to Cheat or Leave You," by Martha Cliff for the Daily Mail, relationship columnist Tracey Cox explains that a sudden, positive change in your husband's appearance could be a sign that he's no longer in love or that he's thinking about leaving you for someone else. He may have bought a few new outfits recently without telling you or gotten a new hairstyle.
6. A Change in Sex Drive
Many women believe that a man’s decreased interest in sex is the only sexual change that they may notice in the bedroom if their man is cheating. However, some men actually have an unexplained boost in sexual desire for their partner when they're having an extramarital affair. As explained in the same Daily Mail article with Tracey Cox, the affair may have woken new desires in him, and some of these desires are carried over to your own time in the bedroom. Some men also may behave differently in the bedroom, like performing a new position that they clearly did not learn from you.
7. Things Just Don't Add Up
While all of these signs raise suspicion, your husband may be so skilled at deception that there's no concrete signs that point definitely to infidelity. After all, there are reasons why some women are fooled by an unfaithful husband for years without having a clue what was going on. Even if you haven't noticed any of these signs of infidelity, you may feel suspicious because different things just don't seem to add up. For example, he may have said that he was at the bar with friends but when they posted a group selfie he wasn't actually in it. If your friends mention they thought they saw your partner out with another woman, he's sending calls to voicemail or picking up and telling them he'll call back later when he's in front of you then it might be time to talk to your husband about whether or not his recent behavior is something serious, or nothing at all.
Keep in mind that confronting your husband about your suspicions is not always an effective way to get truthful answers. Many cheating husbands will deny their infidelity when confronted. Some will even get angry about the accusation. A confrontation that is unfounded can potential cause stress and tension in your marriage, and it may breed distrust. On the other hand, some men will come clean, and you may then be forced to decide how you will handle an acknowledged affair.
But before you start to panic, keep in mind that there's logical explanations for each of these signs and it's wise to spend some time observing before you confront your husband for answers.
Why You Shouldn't Spy on Him
You've read through all of these clues that may help you solve the mystery of whether or not your spouse is cheating - so why shouldn't you go rifling through his contacts while he's sleeping? According to the Infidelity Recovery Institute, snooping just adds another brick to the wall of distrust growing between you and your partner.
Instead, you should confront your spouse at an appropriate time and place, say, after you've put the kids to bed and you're both at the sink brushing your teeth. Say something non-accusatory but also detailed so there's less room for him to paint the details himself, something like, "Hey, my cousin said she saw you at a coffee shop Monday morning with the girl who works in marketing—I thought you and your boss had a meeting at the bank that morning. What happened?" If you still don't feel reassured after your husband's explanation, or, if he comes clean about something nefarious, seek out an individual therapist for yourself and a marriage counselor for you and your partner to help sort out the trust issues affecting your marriage.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2018 Kate Stroud