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It’s an easy mistake.
You miss the warning signs of a cheating partner in a relationship. Then when you start seeing the cheaters’ behavior patterns, you ask yourself:

How long has this been happening under my nose?
And I don’t know about you.
But I don’t want to spend the rest of my life with a cheating partner.
The good news (I guess?) is that there are warning signs that will help you make your decision.
And here’s the bottom line:
If you know how to spot the red flags, then you won’t invest years of your life with someone who isn’t worth it.
Knowledge is power. So let’s dive in.

1. You Notice White Lies

couple fighting

You ask your partner where they’ve been, and they tell you:
At work.
But then later you find out that they actually stopped by a friends house instead. You’re fine with them seeing their friends, so you wonder why they’d lie about something so silly. 
Here’s what it comes down to:
If they’re being secretive about their whereabouts, then it’s because they have something to hide.
Plus, if they lie about the little things, what else are they lying about? Have you talked to them about this and they still continue to lie?
Then do yourself a favor and exit stage left.

Related: Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay: A Step-by-Step Guide to Help You Decide Whether to Stay In or Get Out of Your Relationship

2. They Keep Their Online Dating Profiles Active

woman using laptop

So you met a new person you like, but then you realize they forgot to deactivate their dating profile.
It happens.
So when you talk to them about removing the profile – they promise they will. Time passes and you wonder, “Did they ever delete it? Let me check.”
Nope, they didn’t.
It’s still there for you and everyone else to see that they’re still “single.”

Except, they’re not.
You’ve been in a relationship with them and you’re supposed to be committed to each other. You mention it to them again, only to hear, “I just don’t care enough to take it down.”

This one of the clear signs of a cheating partner in a relationship. If they cared about you, then they’ll make it clear to you and everyone else that they’re in a relationship.
I once heard someone describe this as the new relationship equivalent of “forgetting” to put your wedding ring on. 
Don’t fall for it.
Plus, if there’s any recent activity on their account, then you can be confident that they’re still keeping their options open.

Related: I Love You But I Don’t Trust You: The Complete Guide to Restoring Trust in Your Relationship

3. They’re Spending More

man showing money in wallet

Keeping more than one relationship going is expensive.
And if you’re looking for one of the warning signs of a cheating wife or husband, this is it:
They start becoming secretive about their money or using more cash than normal.
These days, cards and bank statements make it easy to track exactly what money is going where. But if your partner is withdrawing more money from the ATM than usual, it could be to avoid getting caught through a paper trail.
Research reveals that cheaters prefer to use cash over a card. So keep an eye out for receipts that get thrown away, or if you share a joint checking account, then regularly keep up with the balance.
Be wary of money that is slowly disappearing from the account with no solid explanation of why.

Related: No More Fighting: The Relationship Book for Couples: 20 Minutes a Week to a Stronger Relationship

4. They Leave the Room to Take Calls or Texts

woman using cellphone

How people act with their phone is one the clearest signs of unfaithfulness. And I’m not talking about leaving the room to take a call from work because it’s too loud wherever you are. 
Or because they’re discussing sensitive topics that they don’t want to be blasted everywhere for everyone to hear.
I’m talking about if your partner walks away to use the phone with no valid reason. They can talk and text in front of you.
There’s no reason for them to guard their phone like it’s the winning lottery ticket. 

Related: Mindful Relationship Habits: 25 Practices for Couples to Enhance Intimacy, Nurture Closeness, and Grow a Deeper Connection

5. They Keep Their Phone Face Down

phone laying face down

Another one of the signs of a cheating partner in a relationship:
They keep their phone face down, or when they pick it up they hold it in a way that prevents you from seeing it.
Something’s up.
Like I said, phones are dead giveaways that someone is doing something they aren’t supposed to.
Like that person who keeps an iron grip 24/7 on their cellphone. Or that person who turns it off when they’re with you.
You might think this is out of respect for you – because they want to give you their full attention – but clearly, there are things they don’t want you to see.

Related: I Do!: A Marriage Workbook for Engaged Couples

6. They Have Friends Who Cheat

men playing pool

We’ve all heard the saying:
“You are the people you hang around.”
And to a large extent – it’s true. If your partner is friends with another cheater, then there’s a higher chance they’ll pick up that behavior.
Because regular exposure to something, no matter how F-ed up it is, can make them think it’s okay. Plus, a cheating buddy can be influential in showing your partner how to hide their infidelity. 
You can’t force your partner to ditch their friends, but you can express your concern about wanting them to find better friendships.

Related: Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married

7. They’re Quiet About You Online

man using laptop

If neither of you care about becoming “Facebook Official” then don’t worry about this. But for most, having some indication of being committed to the person you care about is important. 
Here’s where the problem pops up:
When they refuse to show even the slightest clue that they’re exclusive to you.
They may act like it’s unimportant or convince you that it would be detrimental to your relationship somehow.
The bottom line?
You’re excluded.
Why do they struggle to define the relationship openly and comfortably? Is it because they “don’t do labels” or is it sign of a larger issue?

Related: How to Be an Adult in Relationships: The Five Keys to Mindful Loving

8. They Improve Their Appearance

man wearing suit

If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times:
One of the most obvious signs of a cheating partner in a relationship is when they change their appearance.
Because you know how when you’re first dating someone, you go the extra mile to look good?
Over time, you become more comfortable and natural with your appearance. It’s always good to want to look nice, but does your partner start changing the way they present themselves for no reason?
Are they suddenly hitting the gym on a regular basis? Or spending more money to look better? Have they recently updated their clothing, or started dressing in a way that’s completely different?
Cheaters usually do this when they’re trying to impress someone new, not trying to impress you.

Related: I Love You But I Don’t Trust You: The Complete Guide to Restoring Trust in Your Relationship

9. They Don’t Mention You

friends hanging out

It’s pretty standard to mention anyone’s relationship with you when you’re introducing them to someone.
So what if your partner introduces their friend as their friend, their cousin as their cousin, and you as…you, and only you?
It’s normal in a new relationship to keep your private business private. But at some point, it becomes pretty obvious when your partner is hiding you from the people they know.
There’s a possibility that they’re trying to appear single.
And if that’s the case, when they’re asked about you when you’re not around their response is likely to be:
Oh, they’re just a friend. No big deal.
This doesn’t mean there’s a rule about when you should start sharing your relationship. But if it feels like they’re keeping you hidden, then there’s a problem. 

Related: Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay: A Step-by-Step Guide to Help You Decide Whether to Stay In or Get Out of Your Relationship

10. They Don’t Show PDA 

couple holding hands

You don’t have to be all over each other to prove your loyalty.
That said, if your partner is weird about holding your hand or giving you a peck on the lips, it could be because they’ve got a side piece. 
Why is this one of the signs of a cheating partner in a relationship?
Because they don’t want to do anything that might reveal to the public that you’re more than just buddies.
Are they afraid of running into someone else they’re seeing? Or are they scared to look anything other than single?
Either way, it doesn’t leave you in a good position.

11. They’re Paranoid About You Cheating

couple arguing

Some people are just irrationally jealous people. And that’s not the right way to start any relationship.
Jealously is a problem within itself.
But if you’re a loyal person, yet your partner is convinced that you’re doing something wrong, then they might be doing something called “projecting.”
Projecting is when someone subconsciously attributes their own poor behavior to someone else, partially to try to disguise their own actions.
Think of it like this:
They’re aware of what they’re doing wrong so they twist the things you do to seem wrong too.
If they ask to look at your phone, then ask the same of them. Their reaction will tell you what you need to know. Again, the way people handle their phones will tell you A LOT about them.

12. You Get the Blame

couple fighting

Whether big or small – the blame always seems to fall on you. Cheaters are usually quick to tell you what your “faults” are, without acknowledging the role they play in the relationship.
The reason they aren’t shy about letting you know when they feel like something is lacking in your relationship is because they’ll use it to justify their infidelity.
Plus, if you do catch them and confront them, then they try to turn it around by saying:
Well, I’ve told you that XYZ is a problem and you didn’t fix it.

It helps alleviate their guilt when they’re able to turn the tables around on you. 
After all, you’re the one who pushed them to cheat…right?
This is one of the most obvious warning signs of a cheating partner in a relationship. Don’t let a cheater convince you that it’s your fault. 
A relationship takes working together to fix issues. Cheating is never a resolution.

13. They Delete Online Fingerprints

man using laptop

Some people don’t want a bunch of unused files hogging up their computer. Or, if they’re like me, they don’t like having 1832 unopened emails lying around their inbox.
But be wary of the person who suddenly starts clearing out their browser history or signing out of their profiles.
Here’s the deal:
If it’s not a part of their usual behavior, it could be less about them being organized and more about them keeping secrets. A sudden change in behavior with no good explanation usually points to something suspicious.

14. They Want to be Less Intimate

couple kissing

This is a big deal.
If they don’t feel like they’re getting what they want from you, they might be getting it elsewhere.
And, if they’re less interested in being intimate with you, it might be because they’re more interested in getting intimate with someone else. 
Not only can this type of betrayal be mentally tough to handle, but it can be physically dangerous.
What if they’re not using protection and they give you an STD?
Be smart.
You can move on from a broken heart, but some STDs last forever.  If I could pick only one reason to dump a cheater, then this is probably it.
Protect yourself first.

Recapping the 14 Signs of a Cheating Partner in a Relationship

  • You notice white lies
  • They keep their online dating profiles active
  • They’re spending more
  • They leave the room to take calls or texts
  • They keep their phone face down
  • They have friends who cheat
  • They’re quiet about you online
  • They improve their appearance 
  • They don’t mention you
  • They don’t show PDA
  • They’re paranoid about you cheating
  • You get the blame
  • They delete online fingerprints
  • They want to be less intimate


3 Resources for a Better Love Life:

  • Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay: A Step-by-Step Guide to Help You Decide Whether to Stay or Get Out of Your Relationship
  • I Love You But I Don’t Trust You: The Complete Guide to Restoring Trust in Your Relationship
  • No More Fighting: The Relationship Book for Couples: 20 Minutes a Week to a Stronger Relationship