How to React to
Signs of Infidelity in Your Relationship
By Susie and Otto Collins
If your partner has been acting secretively or is vague
about his or her plans when away from you, does it
necessarily mean that your mate is cheating?
Your partner's words and the behaviors that you are
observing may seem eerily similar to those words and
behaviors you've seen on television shows or in the movies
is going on.
You probably don't want to be a fool and make a big deal if
there's nothing going on. But you also probably don't want
to feel like you're being played as a fool if your mate is
actually having an affair.
Jamie still can't get over the shock. Her live-in
boyfriend Paul's cell phone rang while he was in the
bathroom and she didn't even think about not answering it--
after all, they have no secrets. Or so she thought.
When she opened the phone, she was disgusted to see nude
photos of another woman on the screen along with a
suggestive text message that said, "To Paul. Kisses, Suzy."
When Paul came back into the room, Jamie threw the phone at
him and demanded to know what was going on. After a few
attempts to claim the whole thing as a big mistake, Paul
finally admitted that he's been sleeping with Suzy for the
past few months.
He argued that he was just keeping his "options open" and
doesn't want to break up with Jamie. He
even claims that he loves her.
Needless to say, Jamie pointed to the door and told Paul to
leave. She wonders how she could've been so unaware of
Paul's cheating all this time.
Sometimes the signs of infidelity are quite blatant such as
literally walking in on your partner kissing, embracing or
even making love with another person. Finding nude photos,
explicit e-mail, texts or letters between your mate and
another person are also impossible to miss signals that
cheating is going on.
Other times, the signs of infidelity are less obvious.
There is much more room for misunderstanding with signs like
these that follow. For this reason, it is important that you
think and feel about what you're perceiving and, if
necessary, get more information to confirm or disconfirm
what you think you're seeing.
Here are a few more subtle signals that could
indicate your partner may be having an
*There is a regular and continual distance or
disconnection between the two of you.
*Your mate is secretive or evasive about phone calls, time
on the computer or even where he or she is going.
*There are unexplainable expenses on joint credit cards or
mysterious withdrawals from joint bank accounts.
*Strange gifts or items pop up in your home or car.
*Your partner seems more defensive than usual.
When Jamie thinks back to the past several months, she can
identify many of Paul's behaviors as signs that he was
cheating. Although he covered it well, in hindsight, she can
see that he almost always stepped out of the room when
answering his cell phone and he sometimes ran to get to his
phone before Jamie could-- even though in the past he never
seemed to mind her answering his phone.
He was often defensive about Jamie's casual inquiries about
his day and what he'd been up to.
And, perhaps most important of all, Jamie realizes that she
and Paul have been growing further apart lately. Jamie
thought they were just going through an "off" time in their
relationship. She never thought the distance was an
indicator that something like this was going on.
Decide what you want.
Let's say that you have stepped back from your
relationship and started to look at some of the patterns
that have developed both in your partner's behavior and in
interactions between the two of you.
You have questioned the signs you think you see and feel
confident that they are adding up to the probability that
your mate is cheating.
What do you do next?
As much as you might want to run screaming and yelling at
him or her, we advise against this. Try to take some time to
process what you know to be true and get clear about what
you might need more information about.
From as calm a place as possible, you can now go to your
partner and ask him or her about what you've noticed and if
infidelity is going on.
Now it is your decision. What do you need right now?
Perhaps you need some space or maybe to be with people who
love and care about you like friends or family.
You don't have to make any final decisions at this very
moment about whether you are going to stay in or leave the
relationship. Just focus on what you want right now and then
keep making the next decision you face from there.
Try to surround yourself with people and do activities that
feel soothing and nurturing. This will help you choose your
next step. It might be to stay in the relationship and
Or it could be end the relationship and move on. Either way,
your healing is what's most important now.