I think my boyfriend is cheating on me. What do I do? There are few things as devastating as the sinking feeling you get when you realize your partner is cheating on you. The feeling of betrayal and confusion is like a punch to the gut, but it’s better to know than to go months or even years in the dark about his infidelity. If you think he’s being unfaithful, here are the signs to look out for.
- He’s secretive with his phone. He’s starting concealing his screen from you, even if he’s supposedly just scrolling through social media. He always leaves his phone face down, and he often doesn’t answer when it rings. He may even have turned off his notifications altogether. You’ve never expected to have full access to his phone, but all of sudden, it feels like it’s completely off-limits.
- He’s not interested in sex. You’ve gone from having regular sex to almost none at all. When you try to initiate it, he has a host of excuses. He says he’s too tired or has to get up early in the morning. Sometimes he might even try to make you feel like your sex drive is higher than usual, just to deflect attention away from his behavior change. Everyone goes through phases where they’re not as interested in sex as usual, but it’s starting to become the norm in your relationship, not the exception.
- He seems energized. He’s had a lot of enthusiasm lately. He kisses you on the cheek, hums to himself while he’s washing dishes, and seems to move with a bounce in his step. There doesn’t seem to be an obvious cause. Nothing new is happening at work and things in your relationship are normal. He’s full of inexplicable energy that is nice to be around but somehow feels impersonal as well. Somewhere, deep down, you can tell that it isn’t about you.
- He’s distant. Even when he’s in a good mood, you feel invisible. When you’re hanging out at home watching a movie, it seems like he’s somewhere else in his head. You ask him what he’s thinking about and he gives you an evasive answer that you know isn’t genuine. He isn’t enthusiastic about doing things together and is spending a lot of time alone, even when you’re at home together.
- He gets “stuck at the office” a lot. His schedule has always been strictly nine-to-five, but lately, he’s been having late meetings, a backlog of paperwork, and even the occasional weekend work commitment. For a while, you didn’t take much notice and thought it was because he was taking on more responsibility with his job. But now, you’re starting to think it’s a little too much out-of-hours work to be believable.
- He’s taking a lot of showers. There are few explanations for constant showering except infidelity. Frequent bathing is a sign that he wants to make sure there is no lingering scent on his skin. He knows that you’ll know instantly what he’s been up to if you smell something unfamiliar. There are few giveaways as obvious as the scent of another woman on your partner’s clothes.
- He smells amazing. Another way to mask the smell of his infidelity is to up his cologne and aftershave game. He’s making an extra effort with personal hygiene, and while you probably find it very seductive, it may have ulterior motives. On top of showering and making a greater effort with his personal grooming, he’s using cologne to cover up her smell.
- He’s pointing out little flaws. You can’t help but feel that he’s comparing you to someone else. Little things that neither of you noticed before have started annoying him. He comments on what you wear or how messy you are and has a lot of opinions about how you can redecorate where you live.
- You’ve stopped spending time together. You don’t spend nearly as much of your free time together as you used to. You’re not any busier, but he seems to have a lot of plans that you don’t fit into. Whether he’s going to watch a game with his friends or he’s going to the gym for hours at a time, he always has an explanation for why he’s unavailable and you’re not invited.
- His ambitions have changed. Starting a new relationship makes a person evaluate their whole life. It’s an existential period, full of possibility. Having a new woman has filled him with confidence and caused him to question the things he thought he wanted. He tells you that he’s considering a career change or buying a house. All of a sudden, you feel like he’s become a different person overnight.
- You can just feel it. Sometimes you can just feel when something is off. He’s the person you’re supposed to know better than anyone, and if it feels like he’s hiding something, one of the possible explanations is that he’s cheating on you. But don’t jump to conclusions. The best policy is always to communicate. If he denies cheating, your intuition will tell you if he’s lying or not.
What to do if you think your boyfriend is cheating on you
- Try not to jump to conclusions. This is hard and you might think it’s too late, but there’s always time to slow your roll a little. If you’re freaking out inside, getting yourself all amped up because you’re sure he’s being unfaithful to you, stop. Take a deep breath, give yourself a moment, and stay in reality. You might be right in the end, but what if you’re not? You don’t want to make a fool of yourself by jumping to conclusions too quickly.
- Make a list of red flags. Why is it that you think he’s cheating? If you have a long list of evidence that you think paints a very specific and guilty picture, write it all down. What exactly has your boyfriend done to convince you that he’s cheating on you? Is his behavior suspect? Have you heard shady stories from acquaintances? Put every single thing down on paper that is making you feel suspicious and then analyze that list. Having everything in front of you might make you either a) double down on your conviction or b) realize that you may have gotten ahead of yourself.
- Talk to your friends. Generally speaking, your friends want what’s best for you. They want you to be happy in your relationship but they also don’t want you to stay with someone who doesn’t treat you like the queen you are. Before you go any further, talk to them about the “evidence” you’ve uncovered and what you’re thinking/feeling. They can counsel you and simply hear you out, which will go a long way in making you feel better. They can also stop you from making a fool of yourself if you have actually gotten it wrong.
- Resist the urge to snoop. Just because you’re suspicious of your boyfriend doesn’t give you the right to snoop through his computer, his texts, or his belongings looking for more “proof” of what you’ve already convinced yourself up. He has a right to privacy just as much as you do. If he’s guilty, you’re lowering yourself to his level by being underhanded.
- Talk to your partner, but only if you’re sure. If you’re 100% sure that your partner is cheating and you can’t go on anymore not talking about it, it’s time to confront him. Tell him what you’ve discovered/why you think he’s being unfaithful and be ready to stand behind that. However, it’s important to note that once you bring this up, this is an issue that will never go away. Either you’ll find out he has stepped out on you or you’ll make it clear that you don’t trust him. Neither has a happy ending.