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6 Cheating Red Flags to Look for in Photos With Your Partner

Experts say these subtle body language cues can tell you a lot about your relationship.

An unknown perfume or lipstick on a shirt collar, secretive texting, or sudden changes in sexual desire—these are some of the most common signs people look for that their partner might be cheating. But have you ever considered looking at photographs? According to experts, your partner's body language and facial expressions can reveal valuable information.

"Body language can be a powerful tool in deciphering unspoken emotions and intentions," explains Justin Gasparovic, a relationship coach, behavioral psychology expert, and founder of The Enemy of Average. "However, it's critical to remember that interpreting body language from images is a speculative endeavor and doesn't necessarily provide concrete evidence of infidelity."

With all that in mind, here are some red flags experts recommend looking out for in photos of your partner.

RELATED: 5 Red Flags About the Emojis Your Partner Is Texting, According to Therapists.

Their posture looks tense or closed off.

Young unhappy couple trying to take selfie
New Africa / Shutterstock

If your partner's body language in photos looks tense or rigid, it could be a sign of discomfort or uneasiness, says Michelle King, a licensed marriage and family therapist and clinical administrator at Ocean Recovery. "This could suggest that they are hiding something and not being their authentic self," she explains.

According to Mariah Freya, a relationship expert, sex coach, and co-founder of Beducated, closed-off body language—like folding their arms or turning away from the camera—is another red flag. While it's not conclusive proof of cheating, it can indicate that your partner has hidden motives or is closing themselves off to intimacy with you.

RELATED: 5 Questions Your Partner May Ask If They're Cheating, Therapists Say.

Their facial expressions are inconsistent.

travel photos photobook

Take notice of how your partner's facial expressions look from photo to photo. Do they vary a lot? Or do they tend to have a similar smile?

"For example, if they have a genuine smile in one photo but a forced smile in another, it could be a sign that they are not being truthful and trying to conceal their true emotions," says King.

Keep in mind that it's normal for a person to have some variance in their facial expressions, as it can depend on their mood and many other factors at that particular moment. However, if they range dramatically, that can signal emotional inconsistencies—like mixed feelings about your relationship.

RELATED: 6 Passive-Aggressive Comments That Mean Your Partner Wants to Break Up.

They're not smiling with their eyes.

older couple laughing
iStock / LaylaBird

Not all smiles are created equal—which is why experts advise taking a closer look at your partner's face in recent photographs.

"Studies in psychology have shown that a true smile—known as a Duchenne smile—involves not only the mouth but also the muscles around the eyes," says Chris Gillis, a relationship coach and image consultant. "When someone genuinely smiles, their eyes crinkle at the corners, creating crow's feet. If your partner consistently displays forced or tight-lipped smiles in photos, it may indicate emotional distance or hidden feelings. This could be a subconscious attempt to mask guilt or conceal a secret relationship."

According to Gasparovic, forced smiles don't always suggest cheating. However, they can be a sign that something's amiss and your partner isn't experiencing genuine joy—which is still something worth bringing up to them and exploring.

RELATED: 7 Positive Ways to Get Over Cheating, Therapists Say.

They're physically distancing themselves from you.

Unhappy middle-aged distanced couple on bench
Erickson Stock / Shutterstock

"If your partner seems distant in pictures when they typically wouldn't, it could be a sign of emotional disconnect," says Nia Williams, a relationship therapist and life coach at Miss Date Doctor.

Williams and Gillis note that there are several ways in which this might show up in photos: Your partner might stand or sit further away from you, lean in the other direction, or avoid making physical contact with you.

RELATED: 6 Red Flags That Spell Cheating, Therapists Warn.

They're making eye contact or physical contact with someone else.

Young couple signs of cheating

"Eyes are often referred to as the windows to the soul, and this holds true in photos as well," says Gillis. "Look for the glance of deception in your partner's eyes. This refers to instances when your partner appears to be looking elsewhere or avoiding direct eye contact in photos with you."

According to Gillis, intentionally not making eye contact with you may signify that they're hiding something they feel guilty about.

If your partner is not only avoiding eye contact with you but making eye contact with someone else, Freya says that can suggest they're seeking a connection elsewhere.

"If your partner is consistently pictured close to another individual, with their bodies leaning in towards each other, it may suggest a certain level of intimacy or comfort," she adds. "However, remember that this is not definitive proof of cheating."

RELATED: 10 Red Flags You're Dating a Gaslighter, Therapists Say.

They look distracted

Sad Couple Fighting
Shift Drive/Shutterstock

Does your partner seem fully present and engaged in photographs? Or does it often look like their mind is off somewhere else?

Freya recommends paying attention to where their focus is—what's drawing their gaze, and where their body and feet are angled: "If your partner consistently looks distracted, it could be a sign of disinterest, guilt, or unease."

However, this could also be a sign that they're simply bored or not a fan of taking photos. Once again, this is why it's crucial to share your observations with your partner and give them a chance to clarify what they're feeling.

RELATED: 5 Red Flags About the Photos Your Partner Posts, According to Therapists.

Remember, this is not an exact science.

young gay couple in love
iStock / Goodboy Picture Company

King cautions that this is definitely not a foolproof method for detecting infidelity.

"It's important to remember that body language can be influenced by many factors, including cultural norms and individual personality traits," she explains. "If you do notice some concerning red flags in your partner's body language in photos, it's important to approach the situation with empathy and understanding rather than jumping to conclusions or accusing your partner. Ask them about the context of the photos and express your feelings in a calm and non-accusatory manner."

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Rebecca Strong
Rebecca Strong is a Boston-based freelance health/wellness, lifestyle, and travel writer. Read more