A cheating spouse can blindside you, leaving questions for the future of your relationship. Knowing the signs of a cheating partner can help prevent feeling blindsided and allow you to recognize when something is amiss.

A cheating spouse is challenging and can be heartbreaking while making the future of your relationship unclear.

Many people are blindsided when they learn their partner cheated, while others may have had a feeling or recognized signs before finding proof.

Knowing which signs of a cheating spouse to watch for may help you avoid being blindsided if infidelity happens in your relationship.

When you’ve been with your spouse for a while, you know how they typically behave. If their behavior changes, it could be a sign of cheating.

A cheating partner might pay more attention to their appearance or stay away from home more often or more frequently. They may not handle their spouse’s emotional needs as they used to and avoid discussion about their feelings.

Psychotherapist Angela Ficken explains, “ A cheating partner often has significant and unexplained changes in their schedule.” She explains that it could involve late work hours, new business trips, or going out more often.

Ficken also explains that “A sudden preoccupation with appearance, such as buying new clothes, frequent workouts, or a change in grooming habits, can be a sign, especially if it seems to be for the benefit of someone else or they are usually fixated on their appearance before leaving the house.”

When someone is cheating, they might accuse you of doing it. Not only is this a sign of infidelity, but it’s also an example of emotional abuse.

Rychel Johnson, M.S., LCPC, mental health expert and licensed clinical professional counselor, explains, “One big red flag is when your partner vehemently accuses you of cheating out of nowhere … that baseless projection often stems from their own guilt.”

If someone is cheating on their partner, they have secrets they want to hide. They’ll likely be more secretive than in the past, sometimes going as far as avoiding sharing their schedule.

You might notice that the partner tries avoiding answering questions about where they are or what they’ll be doing. They may also become defensive about the inquiries and attempt to change the conversation to something you’re doing wrong instead.

Infidelity can make the cheating partner feel irritable, overwhelmed, or disconnected from their spouse. They may have increased mood swings or find it challenging to manage stress and anxiety. Mood changes can also stem from relationship uncertainty or unhappiness, which research shows are potential reasons for infidelity-related behaviors online.

Cheating often leads to decreased intimacy in a relationship. The cheating partner may avoid or limit intimate activities, or they could have a hard time with eye contact and physical touch. On the other hand, sometimes unfaithful partners will have more interest in sexual activity.

If your partner is cheating, their friends might start acting like they’re uncomfortable around you. Without another explanation for their changing behavior, it could mean that your spouse is cheating and they’re keeping the secret.

A cheating partner often begins using technology to talk with the person they are cheating with. With internet infidelity being so common, your partner might use texting or messaging apps to engage in cheating behaviors. They also will likely be protective of their devices, not wanting to leave them near you or let you use them.

If your partner seemingly disappears for periods and you can’t reach them, it could indicate infidelity. They might be with someone they don’t want you to know about, or they may not want that person to know about you.

Licensed Therapist and Relationship expert Jennine Estes Powell explains that you may notice “Your partner is unreachable via text message or calls at a time they typically would be available. Their location finder is no longer working, and you can’t reach your partner for hours on end.” Once you finally make contact, they may have excuses to explain why they were unreachable.

Cheating leads to hiding many things, including finances, with financial problems being a leading predictor of marital infidelity. You may notice secret purchases, expenses your partner can’t or won’t explain, or cash withdrawals they can’t account for. If they do explain, their answers may not add up.

They may start getting more debt, using credit cards, and hiding financial information. With these increased expenses, it can also become difficult for them to manage their finances.

If your spouse has seemingly stopped communicating with you, it could be a sign of infidelity. You might notice that they have stopped telling you about their day or asking about yours. Sometimes your partner won’t even want to argue with you when they would have in the past.

Research indicates that a lower pitch in someone’s voice can indicate cheating. Paying attention to what your partner says and their tone can give insight into the situation. You might also notice stonewalling, including changing the subject to avoid a topic, storming off, or making accusations to avoid the problem you’re bringing up.

These signs don’t always indicate a cheating spouse. There can be other reasons your spouse acts differently than before, including miscommunication or unrealistic expectations. Consider openly discussing your concerns and asking your partner to be honest in return so you can prevent cheating due to relationship dissatisfaction or work toward overcoming the pain of infidelity.

If cheating is the case, there are ways you can work through the infidelity, including learning to deal with a cheating spouse and how to get past the hurt you may feel right now. Consider the following ideas:

  • Take time to process your emotions without denying them.
  • Discuss the situation in a safe place where you both feel comfortable.
  • Discuss what you need and want from one another.
  • Seek professional help from a therapist or counselor.
  • Prioritize and take care of yourself.
  • Try to separate or save your relationship based on what you both want.