Updated: 15-08-2017


Telltale signs that your husband or wife is cheating on you

As a couple counsellor I have seen all too many individuals desperately wanting to know the signs of a cheating spouse.

It often seemed so clear to them that their partner was having an affair. However, their wife or husband kept denying that there was anything going on. Often my clients were blamed for not trusting, whilst their spouses were indeed being unfaithful!

On discovering the truth about their partner's deceit, of course these men and women were utterly devastated. Heartbroken, they frequently said they felt like a fool, used and abused.

On this page I'll cover:

  • the signs of cheating
  • thought patterns of someone who is unfaithful
  • how they'll be likely to respond when you've got proof

Not trusting your husband or wife?

Impression of a crying woman

You may feel scared at the moment. You may also feel you're going 'round the bend' - swinging between doubting and knowing your wife or husband is cheating on you.

You could be completely wrong in your suspicions, but there’s a good chance that you’ve correctly identified the signs.

I really need you to steel yourself.

You too may feel like you've been ‘kicked in the gut’ on finding out the extent of your spouse's lies and double life. Under those circumstances it’ll be normal to feel stressed and depressed, with your self-esteem and self-worth damaged. One woman expressed it as if someone had cut her throat.

Read on to learn how to spot the signs of a cheating wife or husband…

Were you already experiencing relationship problems?

Whether you were or weren't, you need to know that adultery doesn't only happen in unhappy relationships or marriages! Of course, it may well be that the two of you were already having some difficulties. But, if your partner is having an affair the ‘reasons’ (not excuses) for that can be varied. Learn more on this page, about why men and women have affairs.

Oh, just in case you haven’t heard of 'adultery', the definition is: sexual relations between someone who is married and someone who is not his or her spouse. Therefore the signs of adultery are the same as cheating (though there may be legal implications, depending on where you live).

These are the hints before the signs and proof

You may have noticed the early signs that your wife or husband is cheating, without your consciously being aware of their significance.

The development of the affair often progresses through stages. There's likely to have been a corresponding change in behaviour at home - however subtle the signs.

Here are the likely scenarios:

  • Your spouse and the other man or woman may have met online, at work or even in your own home!
  • The attraction may have been sheer lust, or it may have started off with a mutual understanding that developed into a friendship
  • perhaps there was some ‘friendly’ flirting
  • it may have become an emotional affair with one or both individuals having increasingly strong feelings for the other
  • flirting, with increasingly sexual innuendos, will have turned into overt advances, or…
  • there was no friendship - just lust and they simply invited the other woman or man to have sex with them
  • they may, or may not, have set out to cheat on you by having an affair right from the start

Depending on their beliefs and values, your partner or spouse may be alternating between craving the attention they get when they’re with their lover and wanting to walk away from the affair.

In the meantime, you may want some help to repair your relationship and focus on the positive aspects of it with my Advanced Communication Kit for Couples

10 signs of a cheating spouse

  1. They’re likely to have set up private email accounts with new (secret) passwords
  2. They use secret apps and have their mobile always at hand
  3. They add or change the passcode lock on their phone
  4. They switch off any pop-up message / email notifications
  5. They start using the internet or staying on their phone late at night, after you've gone to bed
  6. They start deleting their internet browsing history
  7. They start deleting emails / messages and emptying their trash folders 
  8. They frequently 'disappear' out of the blue - to the garden, upstairs, the shop, out for a run
  9. If working full-time they now may only come home to sleep
  10. They withdraw themselves from you, and turn their back on you

No wonder you're feeling you're going mad (and they may like you to think that you are indeed off your rocker!). I really recommend you talk to one of my Online Relationship Experts in confidence just to get some support and advice.

For further signs ...

... see my article: Infidelity Warning Signs

He or she will have an unusual way of expressing themselves

Just watch the short video to get the low-down on this one...

This is what may go through the mind of a cheating partner

Here's what your cheating wife or husband may have been thinking:

  • At some point he or she was confronted with - and made - a choice between going ahead or stopping
  • It might not have crossed their mind that they could get caught, or what would happen if they were caught, OR…
  • They didn’t care being about being found out (either because they didn't care about your relationship or marriage any more, or because it would be a relief to be found out, as managing two relationships had become too complicated)
  • They may have found it easier to have sex by cheating - there’s no ‘setting the stage’ or considering of feelings, or dealing with it not being the right time, or you generally not feeling like it. It was about lust and having sex rather than making love - nothing else.
  • They knew deep down they shouldn’t be doing it

What you might be told: the excuses

If your partner is found out to be cheating, here's what he or she may tell you:

5 Common excuses for cheating

  1. "I felt lonely in a long-distance relationship."
  2. "The opportunity was there and I took it. It didn’t mean anything.” 
  3. "You were unfaithful and I wanted revenge."
  4. "You only had time for the children/yourself and I felt neglected."
  5. "There was no reason for me to have an affair, I love you and I was really happy."

Other 'reasons' and excuses can be found in my soon to be opened course on dealing with infidelity. The course is suitable for anyone whose life has been touched by infidelity.

The common thread?

The need for attention! That doesn't mean that all will be well if you give your spouse more attention. You may have very good reasons as to why your attention is divided.

Nevertheless, there's sufficient information in those statements for you to take note. They give you some indication as to what's needed to make a start on the road to recovery.

It is a wake-up call... and so I'd really like you to read my other articles on affairs to help you work out your best next step.

Seedling and quote: It's never too late to start again. Joyce Meyer

When the guilt sets in

Advanced Communication Kit for Couples. Effective ways to save your relationship or marriageFor effective ways to save your relationship

As your partner's affair developed, guilt may have begun to gnaw at them. Here's what generally happens:

  • Part of them knew they shouldn’t be doing this
  • Part of them wouldn’t even want to be doing this
  • They may have never seen themselves as a liar (or perhaps they had!)
  • They may not have thought they would cheat on their spouse or partner
  • They may feel torn between whether to fix the marriage or pursue the attraction
  • They may not know how to stop it
  • They may be being blackmailed with the threat of being exposed to you or the boss
  • They may actually really love that person and, particularly on discovery, fluctuate between ending it and continuing to cheat on you
  • They may or may not have wanted anyone to be hurt
  • Some say they have one woman in bed and the other in their head

At this stage, though, they would rather lie than admit that they’re having an affair!

Signs of a cheating husband or wife at the end of their affair

You found out - you caught them out, or they finally admitted it - and suddenly:

  • they try to cope with a distraught, angry, disgusted partner (and possibly children) by telling half-truths
  • they may have difficulty ending the affair as the other woman or man may not easily let them go, particularly if they’ve also been lied to.
  • the weight of feelings of guilt and shame come crashing down on them and just as you need their reassurance and support, they may not be in any state to provide it
  • He or she probably can’t - and possibly won’t - talk

They may be desperate to put things straight and save the marriage. However, you may be ready to opt out of the marriage or partnership and head for the divorce courts.

Free printable download

Download the printable PDF of Signs Your Partner is Cheating on You

New! Rate this article...

Related Articles

Before You Consider Divorce
Divorce Tips
Signs of a Bad Relationship
Advice on Online Relationships
How to Choose a Lawyer
Nervous Breakdown Signs and Symptoms

Other interesting links

Psyblog - The most unexpected way to tell someone is lying

Do you want to save your relationship? Or are you keen to improve it...

Get an online professional, licensed relationship therapist to help you now

Your problem is never too small or too big, too silly or too complicated to ask for help from a relationship expert.

Connect with your therapist as often as you like in confidence (no need even to give your real name).

Get help now in 3 easy steps:

  1. Click the image below and fill in the two online questionnaires (it takes just a few minutes)
  2. Complete the short and easy sign up process
  3. Choose how to pay (it's safe and secure)

Then all you need to do is write down your troubles!

Regain your joy, intimacy, companionship, trust, passion, communication, friendship, affection...

Click the image below now to start:

Available on the App store and Google play

I want to upfront with you - I earn a commission from BetterHelp. This is how I earn an honest income, whilst giving away a ton of free information throughout my site. You pay the same fee, regardless.

Found this page helpful?
Pay it forward - like and share...

Comment, help or be helped

Elly Prior

Hello you! :-)

It's me - Elly Prior, I'm the Founder and Author of this site. I'm a 'real' person! I'm hoping to make a positive difference, small or large, to every person who visits my site.

Do feel free to ask for help. I would be delighted to write a few lines to support you (please keep it short).

Alternatively -  there are licensed therapists waiting to help you right now. You can connect with a therapist as often as you want on any device, whenever it suits you. For further information, see my page: Online Relationship Advice.

Images courtesy of: Dee Ashley, Symphony of Love