How to Deal With a Cheating Partner in Marriage. Trust is a cornerstone of any relationship. When trust breaks down, the relationship almost always becomes untenable and must either recover or end. Trust is also an especially tricky thing to build, maintain, and repair in marriage. From the first moments of dating to the moment that someone says “I do,” anyone with experience as a matchmaker will tell you that marriage is hard. It requires constant maintenance on both a personal and relational level. Marriage isn’t meant to be easy, it’s supposed to be worth it! It takes much more than signed legal documents and a reception dinner to make a marriage last. The truth is that almost no married person enters into their union without at least some doubts about their partner’s fidelity. So how do you know if your spouse has strayed? And if they have, what should you do about it?
What Does Cheating in Marriage Look Like?
The short answer is: it depends. Cheating in marriage looks different in every relationship. It can be as blatant and obvious as an affair or as subtle as emotional distance. It can be a one-time occurrence or a habitual pattern of behavior. It can be a physical or a sexual affair or an emotional one. It can be a one-time mistake or a recurring pattern. Cheating, like love, is many things to many people, and it takes on many forms. There are, however, some commonalities that can help you recognize cheating in your relationship. Cheating is, in many ways, an act of dishonesty. It is someone deliberately keeping something from their partner. It is a lack of trust in the relationship, a lack of trust in the partner, or both. It is often accompanied by shame, guilt, and a desire to stay hidden. Because of this, people who cheat in relationships often leave clues behind. In fact, they often do so subconsciously. They make excuses, they distance themselves from those they love, they might even disappear for periods of time. They may be overly secretive, or they may try to deflect attention from themselves. They may act strangely towards your partner, or they may have a noticeable change in their behavior towards you. No matter what you see, it is important to remember that infidelity is often accompanied by shame. Your partner may not be able to control these signs, but you can use your compassion and understanding to help them come to terms with their actions.
What Doesn’t Cheating in Marriage Look Like?
There are a lot of misconceptions about the signs of cheating in a relationship. You hear a lot of things like “if your partner is spending too much time away from you they’re probably cheating” or “if they’re not initiating sex they’re cheating.” These are myths that are often perpetuated by the tabloids and sensationalist TV stories but aren’t really based in reality. There are some signs of cheating that you can take at face value and others that are a little more nuanced than they seem. The following are not reliable indicators of infidelity in a marriage:
- If they spend too much time at work: There’s nothing wrong with a busy schedule, especially if your partner is taking on extra work to get ahead at their job or helping out a friend in need. It’s possible, though, that your partner is avoiding being around you as much as possible. Be sure to talk with them about their schedule and any changes.
- If they’re not initiating sex: There may be many reasons why your partner isn’t initiating sex, they may be stressed about work, overwhelmed by their schedule, worried about finances, or dealing with any number of other issues. You shouldn’t read much into their lack of sexual interest, but you should also have a conversation with them about what’s going on.
- If they’re not interested in being physically affectionate: Some people are very touchy-feely, while others are less touchy-feely. Some people are more affectionate when they’re happy, while others are more affectionate when they’re feeling down. You shouldn’t read much into your partner’s lack of physical affection except to note that they might be stressed or distracted.
4 Signs of Cheating in Marriage
- Your partner is spending more time away from you than usual. This may not mean anything, but it’s something that you should pay attention to. A long-term relationship is full of ups and downs, but there’s a difference between someone having a busy week or two and them spending too much time away from you. If they’re regularly gone for long periods of time without a clear explanation, it could be a sign that they’re cheating.
- You’ve noticed a change in their behavior. This could be anything from an unexplained change in appearance and hygiene to sudden interest in different pastimes and hobbies. If you’ve noticed that your partner seems different in some way, take note of it. This could be a sign that they’re hiding something from you.
- You’ve noticed a change in their attitude towards you. If your partner has started to act differently towards you, especially if they’re more distant or cold, this could be a sign that they’re cheating. They may also be more defensive and argumentative than usual.
- You’ve noticed a change in their attitude towards their friends. If your partner has started to distance themselves from their friends, or if they’re spending less time with their friends than usual, this could be a sign that they’re cheating.
2 More Signs That May Be Indications of Cheating
- Your partner starts to act strangely towards you after they’ve been with someone they work with. After spending time with someone, it’s normal to want to share details of that experience with the people in their life. If they’ve been spending time with a colleague and they clam up when you ask them about it, or they get defensive, or they get strange around you, it could be a sign that they’ve cheated.
- Your partner suddenly becomes more interested in their appearance and hygiene. If your partner has always been vain but they’re suddenly going out of their way to look better, or if they start cleaning and styling themselves more often, it could be a sign that they’re trying to impress someone else.
3 Ways to Confirm That Cheating Has Occurred
- Physically follow them: If you have reason to believe that your partner is cheating, you can follow them to confirm your suspicions. If your partner tends to sneak out to meet with their paramour, you can follow them to confirm your suspicions. If you have access to their car, you can install a device that will record the car’s movement. If you’re worried about them taking off with your child in the car, you can also install a GPS tracker.
- Hire a private investigator: If you want to get definitive proof of your partner’s infidelity, you can hire a private investigator to follow them and take pictures. Most private investigators can also install recorders and GPS trackers to get indisputable visual and audio proof of infidelity.
- Get access to your partner’s phone and computer: If you have suspicions about your partner’s infidelity, you can get access to their devices and see if any of their apps or accounts have been accessed by suspicious people or companies. If your partner is using an encrypted messaging app like WhatsApp, you’ll have to get a warrant to read their messages.
Steps To Take If You Discover Your Partner Is Cheating
- Don’t confront your partner: If you discover that your partner is cheating, there’s no need to confront them. Confronting your partner will only lead to more fighting and less resolution. Instead, find a trustworthy confidant like a friend or family member who can help you process your feelings.
- Don’t break things off with your partner too soon: If you discover that your partner has been cheating, resist the urge to break things off with them too soon. You don’t want to get out of the relationship too early and discover that your suspicions were wrong. If you break up with your partner too early, you may miss out on the opportunity to find out more about what they’ve been doing.