24 Signs of Infidelity That Are Too Easy to Miss
It's all too easy to subconsciously turn a blind eye.
No one wants to think their partner is being unfaithful. But, according to an Oct. 2022 study conducted by YouGov, 54 percent of Americans "who have ever been in a monogamous relationship say they have been cheated on—either physically, emotionally, or both." But what makes this stat even worse is that oftentimes, signs of cheating are all too easy to miss, whether your partner is taking their phone everywhere, making an uncomfortable amount of eye contact, or even questioning your faithfulness.
If you're reading this, you've probably already got some of your own suspicions about your significant other, and maybe some of these infidelity cues will be familiar to you. Others, however, may be red flags you'd never even thought to consider. Keep reading to hear from therapists and relationship experts about the biggest signs of cheating.
24 Signs of Cheating
1. They've password-protected all their technology.
The first rule of thumb with cheating is to look out for changes in behavior. If your spouse has always been a very private person, then the fact that they don't want to share their passwords isn't necessarily an indication of anything suspect. But if they used to be an open book and suddenly it's harder to break into their iPhone than Fort Knox, that's a dead giveaway.
"They're quick to snatch it away if you approach, or they've suddenly password protected it and get edgy if you ask why," says Laura Wasser, relationship expert and chief of divorce evolution at Divorce.com.
2. They're suddenly on their phone all the time.
If they're suddenly texting and smiling all the time, or checking their phones for messages several times a day, that's a huge red flag.
Lisa Lawless, PhD, CEO of Holistic Wisdom, says this can be especially troublesome if they're receiving more calls or texts than usual at night.
3. And they take their phone everywhere.
If they're going to be in the bathroom for a while (you know what we mean), it's probably not out of the ordinary that your partner brings their phone with them.
But if they start bringing it everywhere—think while they're brushing their teeth or when running the trash out—that is cause for concern.
Lawless adds that they may "get nervous when their phone is in view or you are around their computer."
4. They tell elaborate stories about their whereabouts.
If you ask your spouse where they've been all day and they seem shifty and say, "Just out," that tends to send off alarm bells. But the truth is that providing a lengthy description of their whereabouts can also signal that they've rehearsed a story.
"When asked about their night at a work dinner or weekend with friends, a partner who is hiding something may struggle to know how much information to share, explains Lori Kret, LCSW, BCC, co-founder of the Aspen Relationship Institute.
"They may overcompensate by providing extra information or detail to deter you from asking questions," she says. "Alternatively, they could avoid or deflect conversations in fear of slipping up and getting caught."
5. They're very interested in your whereabouts.
Sure, your partner may just be trying to make conversation when they ask you what your week looks like. But if they're very inquisitive or are asking for a lot of detail, it could be a sign of cheating.
"They may use it as a tactic to assist them in making their own plans while they know you are busy elsewhere," Ian Lang, a relationship expert working with PeopleLooker, previously noted to Best Life.
6. They accuse you of cheating.
It seems counterintuitive, but people who cheat will often accuse their partner of cheating.
"Cheating individuals can unconsciously project their unfaithfulness onto their partner and begin questioning their fidelity and trustworthiness," explains Kret. "This can occur as the result of the cheating partner trying to rationalize their indiscretions by painting their partner as equally unfaithful."
Another reason Kret says this happens is that their suspicions are bred from "unconscious assumptions that others will act and behave similarly to the way they do."
READ THIS NEXT: 50 Best Marriage Tips of All Time, According to Relationship Experts.
7. They victimize themselves.
A tell-tale gaslighting scenario is when an unfaithful person paints themselves as the victim when you address the issue with them.
"Typically, when this happens, there will be an emotional overreaction of anger, indicating that it is unjust that you would even think to accuse them of such a thing," explains Lawless.
8. They make you second guess yourself.
Another common gaslighting tactic is to make you think you're "crazy" or "paranoid" or have jumbled things up.
"They will insist that you do not remember things correctly despite clearly remembering what transpired," explains Lawless. "They may also contradict you over small details to get you to question the larger ones."
"In addition, they may twist your words to make you appear untrustworthy to yourself and others," Lawless adds. "They may even call into question your mental health and stability."
9. They're extra affectionate.
"Here's an interesting one: a sudden, unexplained surge in affection. Sounds counterintuitive, right?" says Wasser. "But sometimes, when a partner is cheating, they might overcompensate out of guilt."
"They may shower you with unexpected gifts, compliments, or affection," she adds. "So, if you find your partner becoming overly attentive without any obvious reason, it might be a good idea to have a chat about it."
10. Or they're extra energetic in bed.
Here's another one that may seem counterintuitive: Many cheating partners actually get more interested in being intimate with their significant others.
"[They] may become more happy, motivated, and confident from hits of dopamine and the increased self-esteem that stems from being wanted by another," explains Kret.
This then translates into the bedroom—any bedroom.
11. They don't give you kisses.
Sometimes it's the smallest "slights" that set off alarm bells, according to Jordan Marks, LMFT, founder and principal therapist of the Mind-Body Healing Center.
And one of the big ones he points out is "when going for a kiss, your partner turns so you kiss [their] cheek instead of lips."
This could be because of guilt, wanting to remain "faithful" to their new partner, or a way to avoid further intimacy.
12. They avoid eye contact—or make too much.
Avoiding eye contact is a tell-tale sign that someone's lying.
"When they make eye contact with their partner, it often reminds them of the secret that they are hiding and uncomfortable emotions can surface," Jason Drake, LCSW-S, BCN, the lead clinician and owner of Katy Counseling for Men, previously explained to Best Life.
On the other hand, too much eye contact can also be a red flag.
"This person believes that they are simply maintaining the same level of eye contact as before. However, even subtle changes in the increase in eye contact can be a sign of their attempt to conceal a secret," said Drake.
For more relationship advice delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
13. They're changing their appearance.
"If your partner starts dressing a bit better and putting more effort into their appearance while at the same time withdrawing from you, that could be a subtle sign they are making that effort for someone else," shares dating and relationship coach Lisa Van Loo.
14. They've taken up a new hobby.
If your partner suddenly has a new interest or hobby that doesn't include you, it could signal trouble.
"They're spending late nights at the gym or they've joined a book club that apparently doesn't accept new members," shares Wasser.
"Nothing wrong with pursuing personal interests, but when it starts to intrude on the time you spend together or seems like a convenient excuse to be away, it may be worth a second look," she adds.
15. They have new "friends."
Generally speaking, you probably have a sense of who your partner's friends are, and you've likely met most of them at least once. But if a new "friend" pops up and you're in the dark about them, take note.
"That could be an inclination something is going on, especially if you're hearing names you've never heard before," says Van Loo. "Establish boundaries on what types of friendships are appropriate so this isn't an issue."
16. Or they're suddenly talking about an old "friend."
If the person your partner is being unfaithful with is someone they know from the past (say an old high school flame who they reconnected with on social media), you may start to hear this name mentioned more.
"They will discuss previous memories and bonding around those experiences," shares Lawless.
17. Their actual friends are acting weird.
If you start noticing something off with your partner's friends, it could be because they're in possession of some unwanted information.
"Most likely, their loyalty is to their friend before you, so they may not want to get involved or put their friend in an uncomfortable situation," Steve Carleton, LCSW, CACIII, previously told Best Life.
18. They try to keep you away from friends or family.
Remember we mentioned gaslighting? Well, keeping you isolated from the people closest to you can make it easier for a cheating partner to accomplish this.
"It allows them to keep you from receiving validation of your concerns from people who care about you and for them to have more control over you," explains Lawless.
19. They're working long hours suddenly.
If your partner is a tax accountant, we're not advising you to worry when they're burning the midnight oil all April. But if they've started working longer hours out of the blue, take note.
"Their workload hasn't changed, their position hasn't changed, but they're suddenly clocking in extra hours and taking more business trips than before. A sudden change in work habits can sometimes be a cover-up for unfaithful behavior," shares Wasser.
20. They start paying in cash.
"Carrying around a larger than usual wad of cash or making frequent ATM withdrawals could indicate your partner is hiding their spending habits," says Kret.
This is because they'll want to avoid the paper trail that comes with using a credit card or debit card.
21. They're very irritable.
"Managing the logistics and emotions of having an affair can begin to take a toll," notes Kret. "They may be more on edge, irritable, or defensive as they try to manage the challenges of juggling a secret relationship and the internal conflicts and guilt of being unfaithful."
22. They start to speak in the singular.
One of the hallmarks of a happy relationship is that couples use the word "we" a lot because they see themselves as a team for life.
So, if you notice your other half answering questions with "I" more than usual, especially in regards to the future, it might be an indicator that they're considering bailing.
In fact, a 2022 study published in Personal Relationships found that couples who use "we" over "I" have higher marital satisfaction.
23. You heard a rumor.
It's easy to dismiss rumors as a result of other people's boredom or cattiness, but as Van Loo notes, "rumors start for a reason."
"A committed partner gives zero reasons to be suspect," she adds.
24. You have a gut feeling.
When you suspect your spouse of cheating, it's natural to think that maybe you're just being insecure. But there's a scientific basis for intuition, so if you've got a lingering and unshakeable sense that something in your marriage is off, chances are you're right.
"Ultimately, it depends on a feeling, an intuition that there is something off but you can't quite figure it out," agrees Marks. "They probably seem a little happier or present, yet you feel 'slightly' off. Listen to your gut."