According to research conducted by Boston University sociology professor Deborah Carr, up to 25 percent of married men admitted to sleeping with someone other than their spouse during their marriage. However, it’s not just waning attraction that prompts men to be unfaithful—there are countless other reasons men stray. “Cheating happens for a variety of reasons,” says Dr. Alisha Powell, PhD, LCSW. “Individuals can get bored, or just feel emotionally disconnected to from their partners. It’s important to also recognize that there are some people who cheat because they can.”
And while infidelity can be a crushing blow in a marriage, there are often indications that can tip you off to your spouse’s extramarital affairs. Before you’re blindsided by infidelity, brush up on these 30 subtle signs your husband is cheating. And if you’re concerned your own spouse might stray, it’s time to learn these 30 Things People Will Say if They Want to Cheat.
The intimacy has waned.
Sex shouldn’t be the only type of intimacy in a marriage, but to deem it unimportant is a major oversight. If your husband suddenly seems to have no interest in sex, despite being in decent health both physically and mentally, it’s often a sign that something is amiss. And when you want to keep your marriage from hitting the skids, make sure you know these 40 Secrets of Couples Who’ve Been Married 40 Years.
He brings his phone everywhere with him.
Though it should come as no surprise that most adults bring their phones practically everywhere with them, if your husband is suddenly insisting that he needs his phone when he showers, it could be a sign he’s hiding something like an affair. “It’s not difficult to imagine that cell phones harbor wealth of information, including texts, videos, and e-mails. Hiding a cell phone or taking it to the bathroom or even on the shortest trip to take out trash is a red flag. It means that the partner doesn’t want us to see something,” says sex therapist Dr. Damian Sendler, MD, PhD.
He starts talking frequently about another woman.
Does your husband’s new coworker or friend seem to occupy his thoughts with surprising frequency? Does he always seem to find a way to work them into his stories? If your husband is preoccupied by someone else to the point that he can’t stop talking about them, it could be a sign he’s straying. And for more un-slick behavior from the less-than-faithful, check out these 17 Dumb Ways Men Have Been Busted Cheating.
He accuses you of cheating.
One strange sign he might be seeing someone else? He’s constantly accusing you of the same thing. Believe it or not, some unfaithful husbands will actually cheat because they’re worried their partner might do the same. “Cheating can also happen because one partner is afraid that they will get cheated on so they decide to be the first to do it. Decisions like this are rooted in insecurities and fears of abandonment,” says Powell.
He showers you with gifts.
It’s always nice to come home to flowers and gifts, but unfortunately, a sudden flood of random presents can also be a sign that he’s cheating. A guilty conscience can often prompt cheaters to overextend themselves to their spouses, meaning that designer bag he brings you or expensive vacation he offers to whisk you away on aren’t necessarily the signs of his love and devotion you assumed them to be.
He’s suddenly taking care of himself.
It may be nice to see your significant other putting some work into their health and appearance, but those long hours at the gym might not be for you. When your husband suddenly has a new reason to look good naked, don’t be surprised if he’s suddenly hyper-aware about the calories in his favorite foods or the lack of definition in his calves.
“When people are cheating they often feel as if they are a new person, kind of like when they originally fell in love with their spouse. The thrill of the romance, of being desired, or confidence may make them seem like an entirely different person,” says certified Imago Relationship Therapist Rabbi Shlomo Slatkin, MS, LCPC, co-founder of The Marriage Restoration Project.
He responds to your questions with one-word answers.
A breakdown in communication is not only sometimes a precursor to cheating, but a sign it’s already happening. If the only thing you can glean about those supposed after-work drinks he had with his friends is that they were “fine,” you might want to start looking further into what else he might be hiding from you. And if you want to open up the lines of communication in your marriage, start with these 20 Things He Always Wants You to Say.
He’s constantly texting someone, but won’t specify who.
If your husband has a relatively small social circle, but suddenly has someone he’s texting at all hours of the night, you might be seeing the nascent signs of an affair. In fact, the thrill of hiding the new relationship from a significant other might even be what keeps him going back for more. “There is a thrill that comes from being secretive and trying not to get caught. Cheating can create a relationship that has excitement and risk. It can indicate a break from the monotony of the relationship with one’s primary partner,” says Powell.
He’s spending a lot.
Those suddenly high credit card bills aren’t just the result of him switching from Trader Joe’s to Whole Foods. In many affairs, showering a new significant other with gifts keeps the spark alive—and often leads to some serious spending.
He picks fights.
If your husband has suddenly found someone who feels like an escape from the monotony of your marriage, don’t be surprised if he starts noticing every little flaw in you. Strange as it may seem, those bizarre fights over how you do your hair or unpack the dishwasher could be a sign that he’s seeing someone else.
His daily routine has changed.
Your husband has suddenly taken to waking up at 5:00 a.m. to hit the gym, having previously waited in bed until the last possible second to get out the door for work—what gives? Unfortunately, this sudden change in routine could be a sign of infidelity. With someone new to make time for, don’t be surprised if his schedule suddenly shifts.
He’s suddenly passionate about surprising new interests.
You spent years trying to get your husband to see a ballet with you or try Ethiopian food, to no avail, but now, he’s suddenly telling you about how amazing Le Sacre du Printemps is? It could be a sign he’s cheating. Those new interests don’t stem from out of nowhere—they could be shared with his new significant other.
He’s acting insecure.
Affairs don’t offer the commitment or security of a traditional relationship, which often means that men involved in them can start acting insecure with their partners. If your husband is suddenly acting needier or has new concerns about his success or attractiveness, it could be a sign he’s cheating.
His friends are being especially chummy with you.
Sometimes, the guilt that comes along to an affair doesn’t stop at the people involved. If your husband’s friends are suddenly treating you like their BFF, even when you haven’t been that close in the past, it could be a sign your spouse is cheating and has let some members of his inner circle in on the news.
He expresses disgust about other people.
Your husband has rarely discussed other women in front of you before, but suddenly, he’s all-too-eager to tell you just how unattractive even supermodels are to him. If this is the case, he could be overcompensating for some of his real-life dalliances to make you feel more secure.
He’s becoming more unreliable.
You used to be the center of your husband’s world, but these days, you feel like more of an afterthought. Unfortunately, this could be a sign that he’s being unfaithful. When your relationship stops being top priority, your husband may give himself some additional license to do the things that spending his free time with you sometimes prevented, like going out all night with friends, or claiming that he doesn’t know when he’ll be back from a specific activity.
“This excuse may seem benign, but it is a red flag when someone is in a committed relationship. If it happens once or twice, it’s probably not a big deal; But when it is said prematurely and way ahead of making plans for the evening, that is something worth paying attention to,” says Sendler.
He’s liking all of someone’s posts on social media.
Many people enter into affairs as a means of finding some kind of validation they feel like they’re missing out on. As such, many men will go to great lengths to show their admiration for the people they’re cheating with—in many cases, liking virtually all of their posts on social media. And for more questionable digital behavior, check out these 20 Social Media Habits That Are Technically Cheating.
He tries to get you to stop doing nice things for him.
With cheating often comes a fair amount of guilt, which leads some husbands to get their spouses to stop doing nice things for them. If he goes out of his way to tell you that you shouldn’t be making dinner or buying him gifts, it could be a sign he’s feeling guilty about his affair. According to licensed marriage and family therapist Carrie Krawiec, some men will also experience “extreme guilt and say, ‘I’m a bad person’ with no explanation.”
He stops kissing you during sex.
Sex is an inherently intimate experience, but when someone’s cheating, it becomes significantly less so. If your spouse is no longer looking at you during sex, bails on the foreplay, or won’t even kiss you during the act, it could be a sign his mind is wandering elsewhere.
He wants to have sex constantly.
While some cheaters are eager to stop having sex with their primary partners, others start wanting sex non-stop. The affair that’s reinvigorated his libido may mean he’s all-too-eager to tear your clothes off the second he gets home.
He stops talking to you.
You used to be able to talk to your husband about anything, often spending hours at a time just discussing your day or joking around with one another. However, cheaters will often stop engaging in this kind of intimate rapport with their spouse as soon as they find someone else—possibly someone who piques their interest more than you—to have those conversations with.
He starts talking to you about a “friend’s” cheating habits.
Sometimes cheating husbands try to be discreet about their dalliances, but can’t help but discussing them anyway. Many cheating spouses will try to gauge their significant other’s reaction to a story about cheating by framing it as though it was something told to him by a friend in confidence—or will ask them what they’d do if they were in the same situation.
“This hypothetical question, especially when asked in the context of relationship plans, may sometimes signal that our partner probes us to understand our beliefs or response to hypothetical problems, should they be seeing someone else,” says Sendler.
He’s spending more time at work.
Between the guilt of having an affair and the waning attraction to their spouse, many men will make virtually any excuse to stay out of the house. In some cases, this means logging long hours at work—or at least pretending to.
He accuses you of acting crazy.
Deflection is a key tool in the cheater’s arsenal, meaning that even if he’s engaging in some seriously suspect behavior, he won’t admit that anything’s amiss. Instead, he’ll simply tell you that you’re acting irrational, or even suggest you get into therapy for your jealousy issues.
His wardrobe has suddenly changed.
If your jeans-and-t-shirt kind of guy is suddenly decking himself out in Armani suits, a new partner may be influencing his tastes. In addition to hitting the gym more often and being more careful about their grooming, many cheating husbands will make sure their wardrobe looks like a million bucks to please the new object of their affection.
He gives you access to all of his passwords when you ask him what’s up.
Practiced cheaters aren’t stupid: they know that being too secretive will only make you suspicious. So instead, some cheating husbands—particularly those who’ve done it before—will give you unfettered access to their email, phone, and social media accounts, knowing that their messages to their fellow cheater are safely hidden elsewhere.
He gets mad when you ask questions about his whereabouts.
Usually a question as innocuous as, “How was the grocery store?” won’t trigger a massive emotional response—unless you’re dealing with a cheater, that is. Cheating can be stressful for everyone involved, meaning your husband suddenly starts acting like anything you ask him is akin to the Spanish Inquisition.
He doesn’t go to bed at the same time as you.
While different work schedules sometimes prevent couples from getting to bed at the same time, a sudden shift your husband’s bedtime routine could be a sign of a cheater. There’s no safer time to message a mistress than when your significant other is sound asleep, after all.
He goes into too much detail when he explains where he’s been.
Though some cheating husbands will virtually refuse to give any information about their whereabouts, others will do anything in their power to cover their backs. This means that a simple, “Who was at the party?” will merit a full rundown of every single person there, the décor, and the exact recipe for the host’s famous sangria.
“When stories seem inconsistent in recapitulating events of the day, that’s a red flag. For example, someone says they were able to buy something for us in a town nearby, even though you know they wouldn’t have the time to be there, that’s a sign something might be on the horizon. Another red flag is when the person seems very excited (too excited) to share some information with us, especially when we didn’t ask them to justify where they’ve been,” says Sendler.
He has issue in the bedroom.
Sometimes, changes in your husband’s sexual habits outside of your bedroom can mean changes in the bedroom too. This can sometimes mean that reaches climax during sex with you, or at least takes longer to do so.
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