Is My Husband or Wife Cheating?

We get hundreds of questions a month and most of them start with a description of a spouse’s behavior:

  • My husband gives his coworker a ride home from work and he’s been hiding it from me…
  • My husband stays out all night on the weekends…
  • Some of my husband’s Viagra is missing…
  • My husband started turning off his cell phone when I’m around…
  • I found a woman’s phone number in my husband’s pocket…
  • My husband hardly says “I love you” anymore…
  • My husband is very close to his coworker; they talk all the time…
  • Lately, my husband is too tired for sex…
  • My husband is always leaving the house to “run errands…”
  • My husband stares at other women all the time…
  • My husband still has an online profile…
  • About one a week, my husband has lunch with his ex wife…
  • My husband always deletes his text messages and phone calls...
  • My husband never answers the phone when I call…
  • My husband gets very defensive when I mention that some people cheat…
  • Recently, my husband changed the password on his e-mail…
  • My husband says he is going for a quick drink, but comes home hours later…

Or

  • My wife is holding back information that she used to share with me…
  • My wife is acting cold and distant lately…
  • I caught my wife e-mailing someone she said she doesn’t talk to…
  • Recently, my wife has started acting more sexual and wants to try new things…
  • My wife seems to be pushing me away…
  • All of a sudden, my wife has new gifts that I didn’t buy for her…
  • I have this gut feeling my wife is cheating and all we do is fight…
  • My wife has recently become overly jealous and suspicious…
  • My wife doesn’t want to have sex with me anymore…
  • My wife has been working a lot and she is never home…
  • My wife has been getting a lot of phone calls lately, but she never answers when I am with her…

And these descriptions are followed by a predictable question:

Do you think my husband or wife is cheating on me?

Given how often this question comes up, we thought we’d put together a quick summary of how to deal with the possibility that a spouse might be cheating (also see is cheating the real problem).

To begin with, it’s impossible to tell if a spouse is cheating simply because there’s a noticeable change in his or her behavior (see signs of a cheating spouse).

Most people go to great lengths to hide an affair. And many cheating spouses will deny having an affair (or the details of the affair) even when they are confronted with evidence of their guilt (see caught my boyfriend cheating—I think).

Cheating spouses go to great lengths to hide an affair, because the costs of getting caught are so great. There are real financial and social risks involved. When affairs come to light, lives can be ruined and relationships destroyed.

Infidelity is hard to detect because most people are biased. Most people do not think that their spouse would ever cheat.

For most people, it is too difficult to entertain the possibility that their husband or wife would be unfaithful. In fact, many people will overlook fairly obvious warning signs (e.g., accidentally intercepting messages, ignoring a third party’s explicit claims that one’s spouse is cheating, discounting gross discrepancies in a partner’s stories, etc.) in order to save face and maintain their peace of mind.

With that said, however, if you are suspicious, does that mean that your spouse is cheating? No.

Some people are just naturally more suspicious, and tend to think the worst no matter what the actual situation may be. On the other hand, if you happen to be more trusting by nature, but suddenly find yourself feeling suspicious, then those feelings might be worth exploring (see trust suspicions).

But before you do anything, it is always helpful to think through how you will deal with a spouse’s infidelity, should your suspicions prove to be true. (see surviving infidelity).

Quickly confronting a spouse with one’s suspicions only helps the spouse who is actually cheating. Effectively getting at the truth requires a lot of planning and work (see how to catch a cheating spouse).

In the last analysis, no one can tell you if your spouse is cheating based on some reported change in his or her behavior.

Catching a cheating husband or wife often happens by accident, or it requires some effort.

Related Information:

See more common questions.

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