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13 Warning Signs of a Cheating Partner in a Relationship

Trust is one of the most important components of any relationship. If you do not trust that your partner is doing what they say they are, keeping their promises, and being honest, your relationship may deteriorate quickly. 

One instance in which many people begin to lose trust in their romantic partner is when they suspect their partner may be cheating. Infidelity is one of the harshest blows that relationships can suffer, and unfortunately, many couples cannot return to a healthy, stable relationship after one partner cheats. 

However, knowing whether a partner is cheating or not can be challenging, especially if they are hiding their behavior well. If you suspect your partner is cheating on you, you may find more warning signs than full-blown evidence. 

If you think infidelity may be at play in your relationship, here are 13 warning signs of a cheating partner in a relationship to look out for.

Why Do People Cheat on People They Love? 

People cheat on their partners for a wide range of reasons, even when they are in a healthy, committed, loving relationship. 

Sometimes people cheat because they are looking to fill a gap in the relationship. Perhaps their current partner does not meet their emotional needs. Maybe they are looking for a wilder sex life. Or maybe their existing partner is simply too busy to spend quality time with them. Whatever the case, individuals who cheat often do so to fill a void in the relationship.

Another reason people cheat on their partners is the excitement and thrill that comes with doing something they know is wrong. Cheating activates dopamine in the brain, and even though the behavior is inappropriate, they may feel excitement and pleasure about their actions. 

While cheating is never right, understanding why your partner is cheating can help you determine the best steps to take moving forward. If you can relate to the reason they cheated, perhaps you can forgive them and move on. But if not, maybe it is time to end the relationship for good. 

13 Warning Signs of a Cheating Partner in a Relationship

1. Changes in Technology Habits 

Have you ever tried to glance at your partner’s phone, only for them to get defensive and quickly hide their screen? Noticing changes in your partner’s technology habits is a significant warning sign that they have something to hide, and that something may be an affair. 

Modern technology has made it easy for people to live completely different lives online than in person. Finding a partner to cheat with, communicating with them frequently, and planning times to meet up are all easy to accomplish through a basic smartphone. 

Additionally, technology allows individuals to cheat on their romantic partners without even leaving their houses. Your partner could be having an emotional affair through communicating with another person via text or phone call. Even worse, they could be sexting or having phone sex behind your back. 

If you have noticed a change in your partner’s technology habits, they may be trying to hide their communication with another romantic partner. 

2. Putting More Effort on Physical Appearance 

Many couples reach a stage in their relationship in which physical appearance takes the back burner. Often, becoming comfortable around your partner means you do not have to worry about looking your best at all times, as you know they will still love you no matter how you look. 

If your partner begins putting more effort into their physical appearance than they typically do, you may have cause for concern. Physical attraction is often what jump-starts new relationships, and if your partner is trying to look good, they may be attempting to impress another romantic partner. 

Paying extra attention to physical appearance could include:

  • Exercising more.
  • Eating healthier.
  • Spending more time getting ready in the morning.
  • Purchasing new clothes.
  • Getting a new haircut or hairstyle.

These behaviors are especially suspicious when your partner looks the same around you but changes their appearance for work or social situations. Unfortunately, they may be trying to impress someone else without worrying about how they appear to you. 

3. Unexplained Changes in Schedule 

Whether you live with your partner or see them frequently, you probably know their routine pretty well. However, if you begin to notice unexplained changes in your partner’s schedule, they may be participating in a new activity that they are trying to hide from you — such as cheating. 

Changes in your partner’s schedule could include:

  • Staying out later than normal.
  • Leaving for work several hours before their shift begins.
  • Picking up a new hobby, such as going to the gym after work.
  • Going out with “friends” more often.
  • Being gone for several hours without explaining where they were.

When an individual cheats on their partner, they need to dedicate time to their new relationship. Thankfully, if you know your partner’s typical schedule well, you will be able to pick up on any unexplained changes that could indicate suspicious behavior. 

4. Partner Is Periodically Unavailable or Unreachable

Has your partner become unreachable or unavailable recently? Maybe you called them a few times with no answer. Perhaps they took several hours to respond to your text. Or maybe you expected them home at a specific time only to hear them come through the door late into the night. 

Your partner becoming unreachable could indicate that they are participating in activities they do not want you to know about. Instead of explaining their whereabouts, they simply leave you in the dark and then avoid your questions about where they were. 

If your partner has become unreachable lately, one way to attempt to discover their whereabouts is to ask them to download a location-tracking app. Individuals with nothing to hide about their behaviors and activities should have no problem using these apps. 

However, if your partner becomes defensive at the thought of you tracking their location, they may be hiding an affair. 

5. Communication Breakdown

Refusing to communicate is a strong indicator that a person has something to hide. 

Unfortunately, many cheating spouses stop sharing with their partners because they do not want to reveal any hints of their infidelity by accident. If you notice that your communication with your partner has taken a hit, your partner may be trying to hide an affair. 

A few signs indicating a communication breakdown could include your partner:

  • Giving short, one-word answers.
  • Showing anger or hostility in response to harmless questions.
  • Ignoring you altogether.
  • Changing the subject when you bring up any suspicions of cheating.
  • Using passive-aggressive language.
  • Refusing to answer questions.

Communication is a key component of a healthy relationship. If your communication with your partner has begun to suffer, there is probably an underlying issue that you both need to address, be it infidelity or something else.

6. Avoidance

Another sign your partner could be cheating is them exhibiting avoidance behaviors. Healthy relationships involve spending quality time together, being open with each other, and communicating well. However, avoidance goes against all of these behaviors, indicating a problem in the relationship. 

Avoidance behaviors in a romantic relationship may include:

  • Canceling plans.
  • Giving vague answers.
  • Distancing or detaching from you.
  • Steering away from commitment.
  • Not answering calls or texts.

If you notice any of these behaviors in combination with the other warning signs on our list, you may have reason to believe your partner is cheating. 

7. Waning Emotional Intimacy 

Being emotionally vulnerable allows you to connect with your partner on a deeper level. Sharing your secrets, desires, fears, and needs with your partner allows both of you to grow closer and know the best ways to care for each other.

While emotional intimacy may begin to decrease after the initial stages of a relationship, a drastic difference in your partner’s vulnerability may indicate a problem in your relationship. Decreased emotional intimacy may look like:

  • Your partner not sharing their thoughts or feelings with you.
  • Your partner discouraging you from sharing your thoughts and feelings.
  • Your partner avoiding difficult topics that could lead to strong emotions.
  • Your partner no longer showing sadness or happiness around you.

Waning emotional intimacy could indicate that your partner is finding support from another person through an emotional affair. If they have begun sharing their thoughts and feelings with another partner, they may not feel the need to be vulnerable with you as well. 

8. Hostility 

Have you ever noticed that people often become hostile when they have something to hide? They may be feeling guilty about their behaviors, stressed about people finding out their secret, or conflicted about whether their actions match their values. 

Whatever the case, hiding something important can lead to stress that presents itself as hostility in a relationship. If your partner is cheating on you and hiding their actions from you, they may show hostility through:

  • Frequent anger or frustration.
  • Verbal or physical attacks.
  • A tendency to blame you for the relationship difficulties.
  • A habit of gaslighting you.

While hostility can have various underlying causes, it typically indicates a problem in the relationship. If your partner has recently begun acting more hostile toward you than they usually do, they may be cheating. 

9. Changes in Sex Life or Sex Drive 

If your partner is having a sexual affair, their behaviors may lead to changes in your own sex life. These changes can look like a decrease or an increase in sex. 

If your partner is using their sexual affair to fulfill their sexual needs, they may not initiate sex with you as much as they once did. However, if they begin initiating sex more often than they used to, they may be trying to cover up their actions. 

Additionally, changes in the quality of your sex life may indicate an affair, even if you and your partner are engaging in sexual activity as much as you once did. If you feel that your partner is not emotionally invested in the sex, for example, they could be trying to uphold a regular sexual routine while distancing themselves from you. 

Any significant changes in your sex life warrant a conversation with your partner to target the root of this new behavior. 

10. Sexually Transmitted Infection 

Sometimes, a new sexually transmitted infection in you or your partner may indicate that your partner is cheating. Most STDs do not appear out of nowhere — you contract them from another person. If a new STD is present in your relationship, your partner could have acquired it from sleeping with another person. 

However, STDs do not always indicate cheating. Some people can have STDs for years without showing any symptoms, meaning that you or your partner could have had this STD before you started dating. 

If you are unsure if your or your partner’s unexplained symptoms could indicate an STD, we recommend reviewing STD symptoms in men and women and then taking a rapid STD test to know for sure. You can also visit our blog for answers to questions like “Does chlamydia mean my partner cheated?” or “How can you get trichomoniasis if no one cheats?” 

Further, whether you suspect your partner is cheating or not, undergoing routine STD testing is essential to staying safe and healthy in the relationship. Couples getting tested together indicates mutual trust, understanding, and care for each other’s health. 

11. Financial Issues 

One way many people discover that their partner is cheating is by noticing unexplained charges on their joint accounts. These charges could indicate the partner is purchasing gifts for their affair partner, taking them out to dinner, or generally spending money on them. 

Many people use money to impress a romantic partner, especially at the beginning of a relationship. If your partner is spending money on dates with their affair partner, these expenses may begin to add up quickly. Similarly, if your partner meets their lover at a hotel or somewhere out of town, they may need to spend money every time they meet up with them. 

If you notice any discrepancies on your joint accounts or changes to your partner’s finances, they may be trying to hide something. Further, if you confront them about these changes and they react defensively or give a confusing excuse, they may be lying to you. 

12. Partner’s Friends Suddenly Seem Distant or Uneasy Around You

If your partner is cheating on you, you may be the last person to know about it. In many cases, people tell their close friends and family members about an affair to relieve some of their guilt while still hiding it from their partner. 

However, your partner’s friends may feel uncomfortable around if they know about the affair. They may worry about revealing your partner’s secret to you. Alternatively, maybe they disagree with your partner’s actions and feel tempted to tell you about them. 

In any case, if your partner’s friends become distant or uneasy around you, this may indicate that your partner is having an affair. 

13. Lying 

Finally, one of the most obvious warning signs your significant other is cheating on you is lying. Your partner will not be able to hide such a major part of their life from you forever, meaning that they will inevitably lie about their behavior to prevent you from learning the truth. 

You may not notice that your partner is lying at first. If you have had no reason to suspect them of not telling the truth in the past, it may take some time before you begin catching on to their mistruths. 

However, catching even one lie could indicate that your partner is being dishonest about many aspects of their life. People typically lie for a reason, and one of the most common reasons is to cover up behavior they are ashamed of. 

Lying should never be part of a healthy relationship. Whether your partner is cheating or not, you should address their lying behavior as soon as you realize it to prevent dishonesty and distrust from seeping into your relationship. 

How Do You Tell if Your Partner Is Lying About Cheating? 

Often, if your partner is lying to you, you may not realize it. For example, if your partner has spent time concocting a story to explain their behavior, they may be able to create a smooth, believable lie, leaving you none the wiser about their dishonesty. 

However, there are a few telltale signs that indicate that a person is lying to you. If your partner is lying about their affair, they may exhibit the following behaviors:

  • They sway or bounce while talking to you.
  • They tell stories with details that do not add up.
  • They do not let you search through their phone.
  • They avoid eye contact while talking to you.
  • They offer vague details about where they were or what they did.
  • Their body language does not match what they are saying.

Generally, the more lies a person tells, the harder it is to keep up a believable story. Even if your partner does not exhibit any of the above behaviors, you should be able to catch their lies with time as you gain evidence of their dishonest behavior. 

Final Thoughts

If you suspect your partner is cheating on you, you may feel angry, sad, or even confused. Keeping an eye out for these warning signs of a cheating partner in a relationship can help you determine if your suspicions are true so that you can plan a confrontation. 

Confronting your partner can allow you to receive clarity about their behaviors and determine whether the relationship is salvageable. However, if you do not feel comfortable facing them alone, we recommend asking a friend or family member to be with you during your discussion. 

Additionally, if you think you or your partner may have a sexually transmitted disease, we can help. Our reliable, same-day STD testing and 10 panel STD test can give you the answers you need quickly so you can determine the best next steps. 

Contact Rapid STD Testing today to learn more about our testing options.