Interpreting Confusing Signals: How Can You Tell If Your Husband Will Cheat Again?

By Caroline Madden

It’s happened. The worst thing you could’ve possibly imagined in your marriage – your husband cheated.

He claims he is sorry and will never betray you again, and he is begging you to trust him. The problem is: You aren’t sure if you can do that. The bottom has fallen out of your world, and you’ve spent every ounce of energy you have trying to decide if you are willing to try again.

To make things worse, your husband has been sending you mixed signals. Much as he claims he wants to make the relationship work, he keeps doing things that seem shady to you. You’re confused, because he seems to be sincerely trying to recommit to you, but these particular actions make you question if he “gets” how much he has hurt you.

My name is Caroline Madden, and I specialize in Affair Recovery as a Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT). I understand how much pain you are in, and I want to help you interpret your husband’s actions.

I’m going to assume you already know the basics. For example, if he’s still in contact with his affair partner, you’ve got reason to be concerned. Instead of dwelling on the obvious, I’m going to address three things husbands often do (after you’ve caught them cheating) that can muddy the waters. It is my hope that this helps you determine if your husband is sincerely recommitted to you or not.

1. You keep finding out more details through drips of truth-telling.

You think you’ve heard it all. You’re trying to heal and move on and then wham! You find an old e-mail or letter that shows you more details that you didn’t get the first time.

You confront him about it and he admits to more than he told you initially. You get angry and deal with it, but boom! Repeat. You discover more evidence yet again.

This may happen time and time again, but in most cases this happens because he was afraid to tell you the entire truth all at once. He feared you might leave if you knew everything, and he truly wants to just forget what happened and move on.

When to be concerned: You find information that indicates the relationship with his affair partner is still continuing.

When not to be concerned: You’re finding information that is old news. Maybe he was more involved than he let on to you at first, but there’s no evidence on continuing contact.

2. He is upset that you are telling other people.

It’s very natural for you to be upset when he gets angry that you’re telling people about his mistakes. You may feel that he has no right to dictate your reaction, given how deeply he hurt you. But if you’re trying to fix the relationship, it’s valuable to take a step back and consider that his desire for privacy might be grounded in his desire to protect the relationship.

He likely doesn’t want the information to get back to your children, who may be scarred for life if they find out. He certainly doesn’t want your family to know – even if you forgive him and move on, they probably won’t. He may fear for his or your family’s safety if his affair partner’s spouse finds out about the infidelity – potential danger or social repercussions could ensue.

When to be concerned: If he gets angry with you for confiding in a trusted friend or a therapist. You have the right to vent and get support as you work through the situation.

When not to be concerned: If he asks you not to tell his affair partner’s spouse, his boss (he could get fired, which hurts everyone involved), or the kids. He is probably just protecting everyone from serious damage.

3. He says “I don’t want to talk about it anymore.”

You find yourself constantly trying to understand and to gain some closure or clarity on how or why it happened. To him, it sounds like talking in circles or like he’s being punished.

It may feel like he’s telling you to just get over it, but most likely he simply feels like you’re stuck and doesn’t know how to help you heal.

The best thing to do is to self-reflect for a minute. If you actually are asking the same questions over and over again, you probably need to see a therapist to help you move through this. You may need expert advice to determine if the relationship will work or not and to help you recover from the trauma of discovering the affair.

When to be concerned: If he actually says things like, “Get over it” or “The past is the past – let it go,” you should be concerned that he isn’t truly remorseful or doesn’t understand how much he has hurt you.

When not to be concerned: If he says he doesn’t know what else to say to help you, or that he has already answered your questions to the best of his ability, he’s probably truly at a loss. He knows you need help to work through this, but he doesn’t know what else he can say or do to fix things. He probably is afraid that discussing the same questions over and over will only make things worse, and he wants to repair the relationship with you, not rehash the painful past.

About the Author:

Caroline Madden, MFT is an Affair Recovery specialist and the author of the following books:

Fool Me Once: Should I Take Back My Cheating Husband?

After a Good Man Cheats: How to Rebuild Trust & Intimacy With Your Wife


Mate or date the man with the low-pitched voice?

By Truth About Deception

The sound of a man’s voice conveys a lot of information; especially, about the amount of testosterone he produces. During puberty, men who produce more testosterone develop lower-pitched voices, which carry on throughout adulthood. The pitch of a man’s voice not only signals his level of testosterone, but behaviors associated with higher levels of testosterone: a higher sex drive and an inclination to commit infidelity.

While women are attracted to men with lower-pitched voices, they also seem to be aware of the risks of picking a long-term partner who is more likely to cheat. As such, women are more likely to be attracted to men with lower-pitched voices when selecting a short-term mate, but have reservations about selecting such men when it comes to settling down. As noted by the authors of the study:

“… women may generally perceive men with relatively masculine traits as sexually attractive, but less suitable as long-term mates.”

Dating is always more complicated then people realize. A host of factors weigh into our decision-making… mostly outside of our conscious awareness.

Source: O’Connor, J. J., Pisanski, K., Tigue, C. C., Fraccaro, P. J., & Feinberg, D. R. (2014). Perceptions of infidelity risk predict women’s preferences for low male voice pitch in short-term over long-term relationship contexts. Personality and Individual differences, 56, 73-77.


What to do if your partner is cheating online

By Gemma Crooke

In 2014 it has never been easier for people to cheat online. Social networks such as Facebook are just the tip of the iceberg; now there are dating websites aimed specifically at married men/women looking to cheat, universal mobile apps such as Tinder, Grindr and Snapchat and online chat rooms designed purely for people to share intimate material with one another or even to arrange meetings for sex. Anyone tempted to cheat in this way definitely isn’t short of opportunities and outlets to do so and one study suggests a depressing 2.5% of British married couples have engaged in some sort of virtual infidelity on an illicit encounters website.

If you suspect that your partner is cheating online it can be difficult to prove it and you may find yourself questioning your own judgement to the point of emotional turmoil. Laptops, tablets and phones can be password protected or kept out of your reach and any incriminating evidence can quickly be removed. Therefore if you want to find out the truth about your partner’s online activity you have to be clever and somewhat devious in your approach and remember that sometimes their reaction can be just as telling as any hard evidence you might find. Here’s what to do if you suspect that your partner is cheating online.

Don’t accuse

Making direct accusations in the initial stages will alert your partner to your suspicion and probably make them more careful when it comes to hiding their deceit. To begin with, don’t make accusations or even ask them too frequently what they are doing or who they are talking to. Instead watch their behavior and monitor the time they are spending online. Are they smiling and happy when they are interacting online and so they shut webpages down when you come into the room? If so it could be a warning sign of cheating.

Ask to see their belongings

If they are up to no good then your partner will not want you to have access to their phone, computer or tablet. So make them squirm and ask to see it. Again, don’t make accusatory demands as they will probably act in defense and refuse on the basis of you being unreasonable. Instead say something like ‘my battery is flat, can I borrow your phone to quickly send a text?’ or ‘I left my laptop at the office, can I borrow yours to check my email?’ If they stutter, delay or otherwise show reluctance or refusal towards this reasonable request then you know that there is something to hide.

Suggest time out

Another giveaway sign of virtual cheating is increased time online, hasty replying to texts/emails and unwillingness to spend time away from the computer. Suggest taking time out from technology by locking your phones and laptops away for the evening while you watch a movie or go out for dinner and observe your partner’s reaction to this thoughtful suggestion. If they have nothing to hide then spending some time together should be appealing but if they appear disinterested or even irritable at the prospect of being without technology for a few hours then it shows where their priorities lie.


If your suspicions are mounting then it may be necessary to start a little detective work. To do this you will need to gain access to their phone or laptop so pick a time when they will not be around (or even when they are sleeping) and do a little digging. Searching their internet history will provide you with an account of the websites that they have recently visited– unless it has been deleted which in itself could raise suspicion. A quick internet search can also be revealing as many of the advertisements on generic websites are often based on your most recent Google searches so this could be an indication of what they have been looking at. If you can gain access to their email accounts you may be find registration emails to websites, confirmation of dating apps purchased or even condemning emails from other people. You could also consider installing keystroke software which traces passwords.

Confront them

Once you feel that you have enough evidence then it is time to confront your partner. Print off emails, internet history, phone bills and call into question the amount of time they have been spending online and their secretive or defensive attitude about their internet use. They will probably still deny it and if they do own up they may play it down because many people believe that is isn’t ‘really cheating’ when there has been no physical contact. Regardless, online cheating – whether it be the exchange of sexual material or even just emotionally opening up to a specific person over a period of time – is generally the first stepping stone to traditional cheating and in any case, they have still been deceptive towards you and invested their time, attention and potentially their money if they have subscribed to a paying site to another person whilst neglecting you. Ultimately only you can decide how to move on from that.

This is a freelance article from Gemma Crooke.


Predictors of infidelity

By Truth About Deception

New research explores why people cheat on their spouses. This cross-cultural research shows three consistent findings:

  1. Love for a spouse makes people less likely to cheat.
  2. Finding other people attractive makes people more likely to cheat.
  3. Thinking that one’s spouse is cheating makes people more likely to cheat.

Essentially, love for a spouse helps prevent against infidelity, but being attracted to other people and thinking that your spouse is cheating is associated with higher levels of infidelity.

More information on predictors of cheating.

Source: Nowak, N. T., Weisfeld, G. E., Imamoğlu, O., Weisfeld, C. C., Butovskaya, M., & Shen, J. (2014). Attractiveness and Spousal Infidelity as Predictors of Infidelity in Couples from Five Cultures. Human Ethology Bulletin, 29(1), 18-38.


Therapy can help many couples overcome infidelity

By Truth About Deception

New research shows that couples, who seek counseling for infidelity, have a decent chance of making their relationship work. More than half the couples dealing with infidelity were still married 5 years later. Moreover, couples who remained together were just as happy and satisfied with their relationships as couples who had not experienced infidelity.

However, in relationships, where infidelity remains secret, few marriages were able to last the test of time. Only 20% of the relationships where infidelity occurred, but was not addressed, were still together 5 years later.

The main takeaway of the study: Discovering infidelity does not mean the end of a relationship. Couples, who address the issue in therapy, have an above average chance of making their relationship work.

Source:  Marín, R. A., Christensen, A., & Atkins, D. C. (2014). Infidelity and behavioral couple therapy: Relationship outcomes over 5 years following therapy. Couple and Family Psychology: Research and Practice, 3(1), 1.