9 Signs Of A Cheating Spouse | 4 Clever Ways To Catch Them

Are they criticizing you, spending less time with you, and lying? It's time to take a closer look.

Reviewed by Dr. Holly Schiff, Licensed Clinical Psychologist Dr. Holly Schiff Dr. Holly SchiffLicensed Clinical Psychologist linkedin_icon
Written by , Integrated MA, Certified Relationship Coach Sneha Tete Integrated MA, Certified Relationship Coach linkedin_icon Experience: 4 years
Edited by , MA (English) Subhrojyoti Mukherjee MA (English) Experience: 4 years
Fact-checked by , Integrated MA (English) Gazala Firdos Ansari Integrated MA (English) Experience: 2 years

Dealing with a cheating spouse can be an extremely traumatic experience. It can be grueling to know that your partner has broken your trust. However, when an affair comes to open, most people might get blindsided. In contrast, others will suspect based on their partner’s behavior changes.

It does not matter whether it is a casual or sexual relationship, the signs of cheating are easy to distinguish. A cheating wife or husband can cause irreparable damage to a marriage. By recollecting your past, all your doubts will get cleared. In this article, we have listed the sure signs your partner is cheating on you. Read and learn how to escape the heartache from a broken relationship.

Why Is Cheating Bad In A Relationship?

Cheating on a spouse may cause anxiety and depression.
Image: Shutterstock

When one’s betrayal gets exposed, it harms the other person in the relationship. Betrayal of a beloved one can lead to rage, anxiety, depression, and worry. It also may hurt one’s self-image. The psychological effects of a cheating scandal involving your spouse can cause innocence and trust in the relationship to be lost forever. For some, no amount of regret and remorse by the cheater can piece their life back.

Betrayal is a sure-shot way to end any relationship. The way it ends can impact all lives. The drama of tears, blame, and fights become endless. If the cheater is unlucky, they will likely face public humiliation: spouses of cheaters notoriously crave the sweet taste of revenge. Not only does it ruin a reputation, but others avoid trusting one who has strayed from their promises. Once a cheater, always a cheater.

Infidelity is a relationship crime that leaves many victims in its wake. Children are the innocent bystanders to get the most affected. Unable to fully fathom, they are left shaken with worry and stress, watching their family crumble due to the whole affair. They may also develop a fear of commitment and trust issues that remain unaddressed irrespective of all the therapy.

If you are guilty of being a trusting person, you might overlook all the warning signs that your partner is in a cheating relationship. But it is important to be aware. Read on to know what the signs are.

Signs Your Partner Could Be Cheating On You

Any of these following signs are not necessarily an indication that your partner is cheating. But it is always better to have an honest heart-to-heart conversation and clear the air. Communication is key. Even if you are wrong, you can rest your worries and work on your relationship.

1. There Are Changes In Their Schedule

If your partner suddenly has to start working late or travel out of town for long or frequent periods, it should raise a red flag. Cheaters need time and can be periodically unavailable. If you find your partner exhibiting such behavior when you know they have no new project or promotion, beware.

protip_icon Quick Tip
Keep an eye out for your partner’s expenses and charges on their credit cards. Unusual or unexplained withdrawals from your joint account or your partner’s savings account, along with their odd behavior for prolonged periods, may indicate they were using those funds for maintaining their affair.

2. They Are Suddenly Interested In Their Appearance

Although grooming oneself to be healthy and look presentable can be a worthy aim, the reasons and timing have to make sense. Starting a new fitness regime or choosing the healthy route for a new year resolution are valid reasons. But if your partner suddenly starts buying new clothes or changing their looks without a particular reason, it should raise a red flag.

3. Their Attitude Changes

People in an intimate relationship share the mundane things occurring in their lives. Infidelity directs this habit towards a lover. They will no longer disclose their routine and daily activities with you – and they may even start lying to you. Most cheaters get caught this way, as what they say does not add up.

protip_icon Quick Tip
Observe if your partner suddenly seems less emotionally intimate and vulnerable with you. This might indicate that their interest has moved from you to another partner.

4. They Start Avoiding You

A sign of a cheating spouse is they start to avoid you
Image: Shutterstock

For your partner to cheat on you with someone, they will have to spend time away from you. With long-term affairs, there may be expectations from the other person on your partner, too. It obviously means they start being around you less often, and may even avoid you. It might be the best time to ask your spouse about what is going on in their life.

5. Your Mutual Friends Become Distant

While you are unable to see the signs of your spouse cheating, your friends most probably are aware of everything. Often, the cheater covers their bases when it comes to their partner but is lax in front of their friends. Your mutual friends may feel awkward and uneasy in such a situation. They may become distant, not wanting to be the bearer of bad news.

6. There Is A Change In Your Sex Life And Their Libido

Reduced libido is common amongst cheaters. As they get it outside, they are not interested in having sex frequently at home.
Conversely, some may feel the need to satisfy their partners out of guilt. They may put in more effort to satiate your desire. It will help them cover their tracks, for if you are happy with your sex life, you are less likely to seek them out when they are out.

7. There Are Changes In Their Phone Habits

Sharing phone passwords between partners is natural. If your spouse starts to hide things from you, it stands to be questioned – specifically if they suddenly change their passwords and start keeping their phones on them instead of leaving it out as they did before. Such deceptive behaviors are often signs of cheating.

Sammy G, a blogger, shared he could not give much time to his son and wife due to his father’s illness. He states in his blog post, “As October drew to a close, I began to sense that something was amiss. My wife was suddenly very protective of her phone, and I noticed that she had locked it with a new pattern and protected all her messaging apps with passwords (i).” The blogger managed to find out his wife’s WhatsApp password and realized that his wife was cheating on him.

8. They Start Criticizing You

Cheating partners often feel guilty. They justify their actions by picking faults from you – silently comparing their new fling with you. Often, they convince themselves that your supposed inadequacies were the reason for their infidelity. If you feel they criticize you frequently of late without any specific reason, it may be time to have an open conversation.

9. They Start Accusing You Of Cheating

A sign of a cheating spouse is they question your fidelity
Image: Shutterstock

When confronted, most cheaters follow the principle “attack is the best form of defense”. This manifests in the form of projections, where they project their negative traits and cheating behavior on you. By alleging issues with your behavior, you will be on the defensive and end up giving them control over the situation. You will be hesitant to speak further due to the worries of offending them. It gives them time to think of better excuses, and this takes your focus away from them. Cheating allegations should be taken seriously and addressed with care.

These are the typical signs of a cheating partner. What works best is having an open and frank conversation with each other. But if your partner refutes your claims and you intend to get out of the broken relationship, collecting sufficient evidence may be your only way. Cheating evidence can be difficult to handle, but it is important to face it head-on.

Clever Ways To Use Technology To Catch A Cheating Spouse

Modern technology has made cheating pretty easy. All a cheater has to do is lock their phones and other electronic devices. Without a password, their adulterous behavior can stay under wraps. Turning off push notifications will ensure you remain unaware of the affair.
But the same technology can be your savior when collecting evidence of your partner’s betrayal.

1. Smartphones

Man checking wife's smartphone.
Image: Shutterstock

Smartphones are a treasure trove of information. They can provide you with the knowledge of where someone has been, how often they talk to someone, and the erotic chats, images, or videos. If your partner seems to be protective of their phones, maybe it is time to investigate further.

Is your partner keeping the phone in the Do-Not-Disturb mode around you? It can be so to prevent receiving any risky notifications. Most cheaters also use alternative phones or SIM cards while engaged in an affair. So be on the lookout for those.

Alternatively, you can also try getting their password when their guard is down. When you go out, you can conveniently forget to charge your phone – a dead phone will give you the perfect excuse to ask for their phone. Once the phone is in your hand, ask them for their password – they will have to give you the password to avoid further suspicion.

With their password in hand, you can go into the phone settings to add your fingerprint to the lock. This way, you will have access to the phone later even if the password is changed.

2. Spyware Apps

There are certain apps available for both laptops and phones that can help track down everything your partner types. You can also try installing a monitoring app that will give you complete access to their device. It can be the ultimate tech to bust your cheating spouse. However, keep in mind that these apps are an infringement of privacy and can have legal ramifications.

3. Location Tracking

Location services are becoming increasingly popular in the latest electronic devices. Although the main aim of these services is to provide you with better and relevant information, you can make use of this technology to track your partner’s movement.

The history in the navigation system can give you the location and the timeline for which the person was in any specific location. These location tracking services are available in both android smartphones and iPhones.

If your spouse turns off the location tracker in their phones, there is a solution for it. You can log into their account through a shared computer and use the Find My Phone feature. It will give you the location of the phone.

Alternately, you can also track their whereabouts by tracking their ride-hailing services, like Uber. Many such ride services are now providing users with options for sharing ride status, which you can conveniently utilize.

4. Cloud Services

Cheaters often store images and videos with their flings. They use covert cloud services that can both store and safeguard these memories away from your prying eyes. The cloud service works similar to Google Drive, Dropbox, and Apple iCloud, with security being the top priority.

The images and videos can serve as concrete proof of your spouse’s betrayal. If you get your hands on them, you can use them as evidence during the divorce proceedings.

With all the evidence in hand, you can confront them about their affair. Let them tell you their side of the story. After listening to their side, you can ask yourself what you want to do. Although painful, you have to take the next step and move on.

Questions To Ask Yourself If You Caught Your Spouse Cheating

Questions to ask yourself if you have a cheating spouse
Image: Shutterstock

Knowing that your partner has cheated on you and can rock the foundation of your relationship. Asking yourself these questions can help you with dealing with the whole situation better.

1. How Can I Deal With These Intense Feelings?

Betrayal can bring about a plethora of negative emotions. The pain and sadness can be intense beyond imagination. It may even feel never-ending initially, but like everything else, this too will pass. With time, you will start feeling better. Allow yourself time to heal.

The intensity of the feelings from betrayal will slowly reduce over time. You may experience certain flashbacks, especially when you face any triggers. But these instances will gradually become less frequent.

2. Does My Partner Feel Guilty Or Remorseful After Cheating On Me?

This intention matters a lot when it comes to dealing with a cheating spouse. Only if your partner admits to having committed a mistake and truly feels apologetic and remorseful over their actions can you rest assured such a mistake will likely not happen again. If there is no feeling of guilt or remorse, you should consider moving away from them.

3. Have They Stopped All Contact?

It is an important question that can impact your future decisions. If your partner and the person they cheated with are still in contact with each other, the whole story may only repeat in the future. You may not feel confident in your relationship in such a case, and will have difficulty getting over it and moving on.

4. Can I Ever Trust My Spouse Again?

Trust is a vital factor in every relationship. It is easy to break but takes time to rebuild.  Betrayal can destroy this trust. With trust lacking between you and your partner, you will be unable to have a successful relationship. You can overcome the pain of infidelity only if you can get past the hurt and are willing to forgive. Marital infidelity is a serious issue that requires honesty and open communication to overcome.

5. How Can I Forgive My Cheating Spouse?

Forgiving a cheating spouse can be a liberating experience for both parties. It will benefit your psychological and spiritual growth. With time, you will forgive the other person and yourself as you mature and trust yourself again.

6. What Should Be The Limit?

The actions of your spouse do not define your worth. You believe in yourself. Establish new rules for your relationship. If you choose to stay in the relationship, be aware of the possibility of the instance repeating. Promise to forgive yourself if you face betrayal again.

There are never any right or wrong decisions when it comes to your relationship. You do what feels right to you. If you are in love with your spouse, then you can choose to fight for your relationship. However, if your spouse is a serial cheater, then you should know the challenges you will face.

What To Do With A Serial Cheater?

Most people do not intend to cheat on their partners. It usually starts with friendship before turning into something romantic. Such people genuinely repent their actions and have no intention of repeating their terrible mistakes.

Serial cheaters are rarely repentant. For them, it is an achievement to fool their spouses and commit adultery. It is this unfaithful intent that wreaks havoc in the relationship. The spouse of such a serial cheater will undergo tremendous suffering and betrayal because of their partner’s disloyalty.

If your partner is a serial cheater, you may want to reconsider your relationship and ask yourself the following questions:

  •  Are you okay with your partner knowingly betraying you by having an affair?
  •  Even if you do decide to give them and yourself a chance, can you trust their commitment?
  •  Constantly guarding against your partner, will you be able to experience the wondrous feelings of trust and unconditional love?

If you are unsure of the answers to these questions and if your partner continues with their adulterous behavior, it may be a wise choice to get out of such a relationship.

Infographic: 6 Signs Your Partner Might Be Cheating On You

While every relationship goes through its ups and downs, one thing that can’t be accepted is cheating. But despite your partner’s sudden change in behavior and attitude, how can you tell if they are surely indulging in infidelity? Check out the infographic below and note down these sure signs of a cheating partner.

6 signs your partner might be cheating on you (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

We understand that dealing with a cheating husband or wife can be tricky and exhausting. You lose your trust in other people and are hurt by their infidelity. But why can you not go back and stop your partner from cheating on you? You can surely prepare yourself to catch them if anything untoward happens. For instance, if suddenly they are more interested in their appearance or start avoiding you, chances are your partner is cheating on you. A change in their sexual attraction towards you or their daily schedule can also point toward the obvious. Keep your eyes and ears open to notice any unexplained changes and save yourself from more hurt down the road.

Frequently Asked Questions

How common is spousal cheating?

About 25% of marriages experience at least one incident of infidelity, according to a study published in the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy (1).

Who is more likely to cheat?

YouGov conducted a survey that revealed that 25% of men and 13% of women had engaged in an extramarital affair (2). However, infidelity has more to do with one’s past experiences and circumstances than with gender alone.

What are some ways to prevent cheating in a relationship?

Have clear conversations about what constitutes cheating, be transparent with your partner about your needs, find hobbies that allow you to grow individually and as a couple, and schedule occasional counseling sessions to work through feelings of jealousy and possessiveness.

How can I protect my emotional and physical health while dealing with a cheating spouse?

You should accept your feelings and the fact that it hurts to be betrayed by a person you trusted. Try to focus on your health by eating healthy, exercising, taking up different hobbies, or seeking professional help.

How can I rebuild trust with my spouse after they have cheated on me?

Trusting your spouse again after they cheated may be difficult, but not impossible. You can start by accepting your feelings about the situation, communicating with your spouse to know why they decided to cheat, staying in the present rather than dwelling on the past, and seeking help.

Key Takeaways

  • Dealing with a cheating partner may feel traumatic, and it can be difficult to accept that they are not worthy of your trust.
  • Behavior and attitude changes, keeping things from you, a sudden interest in their appearance, and change in sex life and libido are easy-to-distinguish signs of cheating.
  • Once you learn that your partner cheated, ask yourself to decide if you want to stay with them or go separate ways.
cheating spouse

Image: Stable Diffusion/StyleCraze Design Team

Is your wife acting differently or suspiciously? Then check out this video to learn 10 signs that indicates that your wife may be cheating on you.

Personal Experience: Source


Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  2. YouGov
Was this article helpful?
Dr. Holly Schiff

Dr. Holly SchiffLicensed Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Holly Schiff is a clinical psychologist licensed in Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New York and has over 10 years of experience. She was awarded a Doctorate of Psychology in School and Community Psychology from Hofstra University. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Fordham University, majoring in psychology with a minor in sociology and pre-law advisory. While completing her undergraduate...read full bio

Latest Articles