Here are a few things that often point a finger to a cheater. While it is true that some of the following red flags may be sure-fire indicators, I’ve used the words “may suggest a cheater” because it may be wise to give your partner the benefit of the doubt when suspicions arise.
To accuse without evidence could cause the flame of your relationship – however much there is – to go out. If your partner is not cheating, then confrontation will most likely cause a major trust issue. It may be wise to consult a therapist or relationship coach with your suspicions before doing anything that could further damage the relationship.
What is cheating? Having sex with someone other than your marriage partner is the distinguishing factor that makes an affair a betrayal. That’s cheating. Furthermore “any” situation that has you in a compromising position with someone other than your own partner. For example, going out with someone “without sex,” sexy chats online with the opposite sex, or downloading porn, when you are supposedly in a committed relationship in my opinion is also considered cheating.
A broad rule of thumb is anything that you are doing with someone with the opposite sex that you would not want your partner to know. It’s a matter of integrity and trust.
A betrayal of the heart is devastating. The secrecy of an affair makes honesty impossible. An affair is often only the tip of the iceberg. There are many problems below the surface that you must be committed to work on together. It’s a complex and painful situation to be in.
Who cheats? People who lack integrity often cheat. People with low self-esteem often cheat. Some people are predisposed to cheat. The most common reason is that they are not getting their needs met by their partner. When you are getting your needs met in your relationship, most people agree that you are seldom tempted to look elsewhere.
What are these needs? Obviously there are many needs that we all have. Participants in my “Relationship Enrichment LoveShops” consistently suggest that the three most primary needs for a woman are affection, understanding and, most of all, respect. A man’s three most basic needs are appreciation, acceptance and trust. Love is a given. There are many others, AND when needs do not get fulfilled, some people look for someone else who can fulfill their needs.
Often people who are separated from their spouse will begin to see others before the divorce is final and attempt to justify their actions by saying that the relationship has been over for years. There is never a good reason to cheat while you are still in a marriage.
Beware of snooping! Looking at your partner’s credit card or telephone bill for excess charges or checking their e-mail for tale-tale signs is a no-no. Nosy people can usually find something to justify their suspicions, however prying excessively is a destructive action that should be curtailed.
Before you snoop. . . STOP! Take a look at why you are “really” snooping. Could it be that your own insecurities might be the cause of your suspicions? Think about it.
Jealousy is only and always a demonstration of our own insecurities and low self-esteem. People who are jealous may also have a problem with trusting because of past experiences. This is something only they can work on. You can only offer them love and support and encourage them to work on their self-esteem.
Jealousy also comes from fear; fear of losing the one you love. This is mostly caused from anxiety: a concern about what “might” happen.
Insecurities bring forth jealousy, which, in effect, is a cry for more love. It is within our rights to ask for more affection when self-doubts surface, however, the indirect way that jealousy asks for it is counterproductive. Excessive possessiveness is inappropriate. Jealousy is the surest way to drive away the very person we may fear losing.
If your partner’s behavior in one of the following areas hoists a red flag, remember, it may not necessarily be cause for alarm. Weigh your words. Think before you accuse. Proceed with caution.
1 – When they no longer wants sex or makes excuses.
2 – When they will not allow you access to their computer or they suddenly shut down the computer when you walk into the room. They may password protect their laptop or computer to keep out suspicious eyes. Or they stay up to “work” on the computer after you go to bed. Excessive internet usage, especially late at night, is a red flag.
3 – When they begin to put distance between you or show a lack of interest in what has been the routine with few, if any, excuses.
4 – When they suddenly have to work late and have all kinds of new obligations that take them away from home repeatedly or for long periods of time. Or. . . they tell you they are working longer hours and discontinue allowing you to view their paycheck or paystubs.
5 – When they get mysterious phone calls or when they hurry to answer the phone, leave the room to talk on the phone and when you ask who called, they say, “No one,” or “Wrong number.”
6 – When they suddenly need a cell phone or pager and you are discouraged from ever looking at it or using it. They also may make certain their cellphone or pager cannot be answered by you by hiding it or taking it with them wherever they go. They are secretive about their cellphone or pager bill and pay it themselves when you have always paid the bill in the past.
7 – When they arrive home smelling faintly of perfume/cologne or another person’s body.
8 – When they arrive home and head straight into the shower or bath.
9 – When they have lipstick or strange hairs on their clothing or in the car. Finding strange phone numbers, receipts or condoms can also be clues.
10 – When they suddenly begins to treat you extremely nice; more so than usual.
11 – When they begin to make “kinky” requests or suggest wildly erotic play during sex including things you have never done before. They may also show an increased interest in sex or sexual things, including porn.
12 – When they talk to you they treat you abusively or with disdain, disrespect or excess sarcasm. They may also demonstrate an unexplained aloofness or indifference in the relationship. Or. . . they may begin to find fault in everything you do in an attempt to justify the affair.
13 – Her: When she gets spiffied up and dresses provocative to “go grocery shopping” or to “get her hair done.” She may also show up with a sudden change of hair style. Him: When he showers, shaves (cologne, deodorant, etc.) and dresses up more than usual to “go out with his buddies” or to “go fishing.”
14 – When they break their established routine at work and home for no apparent or logical reason.
15 – When they become suddenly forgetful and you have to tell him/her everything several times; their thoughts are elsewhere.
16 – When they are always tired or demonstrate a noticeable lack of energy or interest in the relationship.
17 – When they begin to intentionally look at or flirt with the opposite sex when in the past, this is something they would not have done.
18 – When you notice that they reluctant to kiss you or accept your affection.
19 – When they ignore or criticize your affections and thoughtful ways.
20 – When your phone bill shows an increase in unexplained toll or long distance charges. Often when a partner is acting too close or flirting with a best friend of the opposite sex, you will find their phone number listed excessively.
21 – When the passenger seat in the car has been changed and is not in the usual position or the mileage on the car is more than usual. Also increased gas purchases that are inconsistent with the amount of miles on the car.
22 – When they begin to keep a change of clothes hidden in the trunk of the car or an unusual amount of clothes changes at the gym.
23 – When you notice credit card charges for gifts (such as florist or jewelry) that you didn’t receive.
24 – When they begin to make sudden and excessive purchases of clothes or an unexplained change in clothing style. Begining to purchase sexy underwear or lingerie may be a clue.
25 – When you notice an increase in ATM withdrawals. Cheating costs money! To play you must pay!
26 – When you notice that your partner loses their ability and desire to show the children the attention they need or a lack of desire to do any fix-ups around the house, e.g., lawn care, painting, cleaning the garage, house repairs, etc.
27 – When you notice an increased attention to losing weight or paying more attention to their appearance.
28 – When they begin to volunteer to go to the post office, rushes to check the mail before you do or opens up a new P.O. box.
29 – When your partner shows up without their wedding ring or suddenly stops wearing it and makes lame excuses as to why.
Surviving the emotional crash of an affair is possible!
In the book, After the Affair: Healing the Pain and Rebuilding Trust When a Partner Has Been Unfaithful, Janis Abrahms Spring says: “Trust can be restored and the relationship saved if three things exist:
1 – Unfaithful partners have to be able to experience compassion for the harm they have caused and be able to feel remorse and apologize;
2 – Unfaithful partners have to be able to look honestly and deeply into themselves and understand WHY they strayed;
3 – Unfaithful partners have to be willing to do the work necessary to EARN back trust (and be patient with their partner while they do)!
The betrayed partner has to be willing to forgive! If you think you cannot forgive, then recovery may not be possible!
Read: Forgiveness. . . What’s it For?
“Though we find no evidence of anything noble in someone who has betrayed us, neither is there anything noble in our bitterness.” ~ Guy Finley
Learning to trust again takes time; lots of time, perhaps even years. The deeper the wound, the longer the healing. Talking with your partner about the affair when the need to talk surfaces is another important factor of healing the relationship. However, consistently bringing up the past excessively or “throwing it back in their face” only and always reopens the wound and prolongs and often prohibits the completion of the healing process.
Your partner must learn to listen and offer whatever support you need without becoming defensive or angry. The guilty partner needs to know that patience is a virtue that must be practiced for the relationship to heal.
Effective communication is a requirement of a healthy, wholesome, happy and successful relationship! There is no other way.
Trust is the very foundation of a healthy love relationship! There can be no trust without conversation; no genuine intimacy without trust.
The betrayed one only needs to know two things:
1 – What caused the affair, and
2 – What assurance they have that it will never happen again!
Although the one betrayed may think they need to know “all” the details, they don’t. This is never a good idea! That would only cause deeper feelings of hurt.
By the way, an affair is seldom, if ever, only one partner’s fault! Always remember, relationship problems are shared problems. Each partner must take their share of the responsibility for what happened.
If the betrayed love partner really loves the other and is willing to work through the pain of a changing relationship, the other partner hopefully will thank their lucky stars that their partner is willing to give them another chance and must work their butt off to earn forgiveness, respect and trust that the relationship must have to survive. Both partners need to set new goals for the relationship and develop new ways to create intimacy; emotionally, physically and spiritually.
You both need to look at what was missing in your relationship that caused the cheating to occur in the first place.
An affair doesn’t have to signal the end of a relationship. In fact, if both love partners are willing to work hard, an affair can bring problems that were lurking in the depths of the relationship up to the surface for the purpose of healing. It can also be the means for drawing the couple closer together.
For the relationship to move forward, however, saying “I’m sorry” isn’t enough. Just because your love partner is no longer cheating doesn’t mean the problem has disappeared. If they want another chance, they must immediately break off “all” contact with the other woman/man; no phone calls, no letters, no e-mail, no texts, nothing! They also needs to explore, both in their own mind and in discussions with you, “why” they had the affair. “I don’t know!” is never a good answer. Saying “I don’t know!” stops the inquiry.
The healing process for betrayal requires patience, understanding, acceptance, forgiveness and most important, Love. Love that is consistently demonstrated in words and deeds.
BONUS Article: Hmmm… Are You At The Risk Of Cheating?
Copyright © 2013 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” Larry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about relationships is posted every 4th day on this Relationships BLOG.
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