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If Your Partner Is Asking You This One Question, They Could Be Cheating

This question may be cause for concern, especially if they were never interested before.

There are few things that stop a relationship in its tracks quite like cheating, but for many, the realization that someone's stepping out isn't exactly instantaneous. For lots of couples, things start to unravel as the red flags begin piling up. John Mayer, PhD, a licensed clinical psychologist and author recently told Prevention that there's one relationship red flag you don't want to miss, and it comes in the form of a question that may have started asking you recently. If your partner suddenly wants to know what your schedule will look like in detail, there may be reason to suspect they're cheating. Read on to learn about this relationship red flag, and for more on keeping your relationship strong, check out these 17 Quarantine Marriage Tips from Relationship Experts.

There are many good reasons that your partner might be genuinely interested in your schedule that have nothing to do with infidelity. In fact, it may show a sincere interest in connecting with you by having a better understanding of your day. "Sometimes people change their behavior or habits out of nowhere and don't offer much explanation for their reasons for these changes, and although this could seem suspicious, it doesn't necessarily have anything to do with infidelity," relationship coach Marie Murphy, PhD, recently told Woman's Day.

But Mayer says that it may also be a tactical move intended to help them make their own plans while you're otherwise occupied. "The cheater needs to know the time slots when they can have the freedom and flexibility to spend time with their new romantic interest," he says, adding, "They work hard not to get caught."

Changes in your partner's schedule may also be cause for concern. "Someone who must 'work late' all of a sudden at times that go beyond a reasonable explanation may be cheating," psychologist Paul Coleman, PsyD, explained to Prevention. He urges that if your partner is suddenly M.I.A. more often, it's OK to ask questions about what's changed.

Of course, there's no single sign that can tell you definitively whether your partner is stepping out unless you catch them or they confess, and unaddressed suspicion can erode trust in the relationship, driving a wedge between you. For this reason, you should try having a direct and open conversation with your partner about your questions and concerns and see where that gets you as a starting point. Not sure that a conversation is going to cut it? Read on for more cheating red flags to look out for and for more relationship tips, this is The One Word You're Saying That's Ruining Your Relationship, Experts Say.

You  suddenly feel awkward around their friends.

Young woman listening to her friends in a cafe bar

A cheating partner may cover their tracks meticulously around you, but chances are they're less careful around their own friends—they may even have confided about their cheating within their social circle.

For this reason, "there is a good chance your partner's friends may know what's really going on before you do," Coleman says. This may create more distance between you and your partner's inner circle because they know something you don't. The offending partner may also be offering up an unflattering view of your relationship to justify their cheating, leading to a less comfortable dynamic. And for more relationship news delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

They accuse you of cheating.

couple having an argument sitting on couch

It may sound counterintuitive, but experts say that some cheaters will accuse their partners of stepping out to detract from their own guilt.

"This can be a way to deflect the blame off of them and also to make them look like someone who really values fidelity and would never cheat themselves," Suzannah Weiss, a certified sex educator and love coach, tells Woman's Day. "They may genuinely be suspicious because they've seen firsthand that it's possible to get away with cheating," she adds. And for more on the effects of cheating, New Survey Finds Only 16 Percent of Couples Survive an Affair.

They can't remember what they've already told you.

man looking at woman and woman towards to the man on a couch

If your partner suddenly starts telling you things twice or leaving important details out of your conversations, it may be a red flag that they're cheating, says Weiss. That's because if they've begun sharing intimate thoughts with someone new, they may have trouble keeping track of what you've already discussed.

If they begin asking, "Have I already told you this?" Weiss says there's cause for concern. "They may be confiding in you less because they've found a new confidant," she explains.

They're secretive with their devices.

white woman and man talking outside while woman looks at phone
Shutterstock/Dmytro Zinkevych

If someone is cheating, chances are there's a trail on their digital devices. Without resorting to snooping, which could put you in the hot seat, you may get all the information you need by observing their behavior.

"Cheaters tend to use their phones and computers more frequently than before and to guard them as if their lives depend on it," writes Robert Weiss, PhD, LCSW, for Psychology Today. "If your partner's phone and laptop never required a password before, and now they do, that's not a good sign. If your partner suddenly starts deleting texts and clearing their browser history on a daily basis, that's not a good sign. If your partner never relinquishes possession of their phone, even taking it into the bathroom when they shower, that's not a good sign," he says. And for more on spotting a cheater, This Is the Age When Married Men Are Most Likely to Cheat.

Lauren Gray
Lauren Gray is a New York-based writer, editor, and consultant. Read more
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