Cheating: Ugh, ugh, ugh. The worst thing in the world is to wonder if your partner is a cheater — and if you're wondering, you're probably looking for signs that he or she is cheating. Trying to seek out these clues is pretty much the second worst thing in the world, because no one wants to be doing recon on their partner, and even fewer of us want to feel as though we don't trust our partners enough to even go down this dark rabbit hole of doubt. But if you're in a relationship that is feeling unhealthy, and you're wondering if your partner has a straying eye, it's not a good idea to just hope things change sooner rather than later. They won't, and you'll only wind up more miserable.
That said, sometimes people can be unnecessarily suspicious of their partners, and that's not fair. Especially if you've been cheated on in the past, I think it can be hard to lay down your fears and let go of ancient PTSD, but in the long run that will only cause serious problems. Accusing someone of cheating is a serious thing, and should only happen if you're really, really sure — not if you're feeling a tad insecure. But if you think your inkling is real, here are 11 ways to tell if your partner is cheating.
1. They're Hostile
Normal questions are met with hostility and paranoia: Yeah, something probably isn't right. "When your partner gets off the phone and you ask, 'Who were you talking to?' and they respond with hostility like, 'Why are you always so nosy?' or 'I can’t believe you don’t trust me,'" something is up, and it's not your imagination, relationship coach and therapist Anita Chlipala tells Bustle. This is gaslighting, and it's messed up. "You may start doubting your own sanity, but if you’re getting this kind of attitude when you haven’t before, it’s highly suspicious," she says. If your gut is telling you that something is off, pay attention and bring it up — stat.
2. Something Is Different About Their Phone
It doesn't have to be that they're on it all the time, but if something feels different about your partner's phone use, uh oh. "If you notice a change in phone habits — like suddenly on silent all the time," that's not a good sign, Marina Sbrochi, IPPY award-winning author of Stop Looking for a Husband: Find the Love of Your Lifetells Bustle. Or if their phone goes off but they never answer if you're there. Not picking up calls when you are around and not letting the phone out of their eyesight are both red flags, she says. "Basically, if how your partner deals with the phone has changed, something is probably up." She echoes my sentiment, saying, "Why not ask?" Why not, indeed.
3. They're Blowing Up
Yet another way to tell your partner is cheating related to their phone: "If they are making calls and text messages at all hours, something isn't right," Stefanie Safran, Chicago's "Introductionista" and founder of Stef and the City, tells Bustle. But are you surprised? We transact just about everything from our phones these days — if you were cheating, wouldn't it be all over your phone? Or extra phone? Or phone usage?