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Are They Cheating?


How to Tell if Your Spouse is Having an Affair?

For the last 15 years I have worked as a corporate security consultant. It's an alternately exciting and terribly boring job. Most of my stories that I've written for this site have stemmed from my experiences at work and those same experiences have taught me a lot about human behavior and weakness. Because so many people on the Literotica site and forum know me for the work I do through my stories, I get asked for advice a lot. The most common question I get asked is "How can I tell if my husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend is cheating on me?"

Even though my firm handles corporate security, we also work with individuals, and like most firms this size, we have private investigators both on staff and on retainer. Many of the executives of our corporate clients reach out to us when their personal lives go up in smoke, so it pays to be ready for those eventualities as well.

This has given me a lot of experience dealing with this particular issue and I can tell you some of the patterns that seem to come up over and over, as well as some of the steps you can take to get to the truth. However, it's important to note that short of catching them in the act, there are few ways to know for sure.

Actually, that's exactly what happened to me when I was younger. I was in a long term relationship with a woman, a woman I planned to marry, and I caught her in bed with another man. In retrospect, all the signs were there, I just didn't see them. To be more specific I didn't want to.

So what do I do first?

  1. You first have to ask yourself why you are suspicious in the first place. Are you normally a trusting and open person, or do you tend to be suspicious about others, and especially your partners? If you find that you are the suspicious type, maybe your alarm was tripped for no reason and a little quality time together will set things right again. If not, then there is likely some event or issue that got your attention. Do you know what it is?

You may not. It's been my experience that a lot of people don't know, they just have this vague and creeping feeling that something is wrong and that their partner is cheating on them. Don't discount that. We all have two minds, a conscious one and an unconscious one. Many times our unconscious mind picks up on things that our conscious mind can't. Maybe it's a look, or a casual touch or the inflection in someone's voice. Do you find yourself thinking about a particular event over and over, you can't get it out of your mind, even though it seems innocuous? Your sleeping mind is telling you something.

  1. Be careful not to confront your partner too early. A lot of people make this mistake. They ask their spouse too directly if there is something they need to be worried about, or they ask too many questions about where they have been and what they were doing. You can be sure that if you do this, they will start covering their tracks like a pro, and any chance you had of catching them is going to be long gone.

So what are the signs?

Changes in behavior are really the most important signs to look for. In fact, almost all of what I can tell you to look for, in some way comes down to a behavior change. Are they spending money differently? Are they acting more distant? Etc... however there are some really specific ones to look for.

  1. Changes in how they make and break plans: Many people that find out that their spouse is cheating report that they have noticed that the person has started breaking plans at the last minute. Are you about to leave for a party or a trip and they suddenly feel badly and can't go, but you should still go? You two were going to have a nice dinner out, and at the last minute they call it off because they aren't interested in going out?

These changes can be a result of them either trying to find time to be with their other intimate partner, or it could be an attempt to avoid intimacy with you. Both are important and mean different things.

Another important sign is failure to make long term plans. For instance, are you the kind of couple to make vacation plans a year in advance, yet for some reason your partner just can't seem to commit this year, and its only six months out? Have you two been talking about buying a new house, or having a child, and suddenly they don't seem as interested anymore?

Failure to make long term plans can mean that they are unsure that they will be with you in the long run, or that they are sure they won't.

  1. Changes in work patterns: This is another really common one, and probably the one that most people know to look for. Are they staying late at work a lot? Sure that's a bad sign. Do they have to make a lot of trips out of town, one or two nights in a row, often with little or no warning? Yep, that's another one. Most jobs give you notice ahead of time when they want you to travel. Sure there are exceptions, but remember that we are looking for changes, something that is different now than it was before.

Another strange one that a lot of people overlook are demotions at work. I've seen this one come up a couple of times. The partner in question is suddenly spending more money on the affair than they can account for, so they make up a reason for a salary reduction. I happen to find that one particularly shitty.

  1. Changes in how they deal with money: Many times when someone is cheating they're spending so much money on the affair, that they change how they're spending money in the primary relationship. One way it changes is that they suddenly become very concerned about every dollar that is spent. Too many "we can't afford that"s when before they were more liberal or generous with their spending. This is usually at a point where the spending in the affair has got them worried and they feel they have to tighten their belts elsewhere to make up for it. Unfortunately this is usually after the affair has been going on for a while.

Another change could be that they are suddenly more liberal with their spending. They get used to spending more and forget to hide it in other parts of their life. This usually happens more toward the beginning of the affair.

A final sign is that they are running out of money and seem constantly surprised by it. "Wow, I'm sure I had more money on this card." This is a sign of someone that has compartmentalized the affair so well that they are not seeing the spending in one part of their life as related to spending in another.

  1. Changes in sexual intimacy: Do they want sex a lot more or a lot less than they did before? Most people can see why someone would be less interested in sex during an affair, but have trouble seeing why they would want more. It's just like anything else, the more of something pleasurable you get, the more you want it. Have you ever been full, looked at a cake and said "well, just one piece". Two hours later the whole cake is gone? Well it's kind of the same thing. The more you have something the more you want it.

The alternate is that if your spouse is used to having sex three times a week and suddenly goes to zero, and has no interest in getting back into the swing of it, they may be getting their cake elsewhere.

Another sign is that they are suddenly interested in different sexual activities that they never have been before. Maybe they seemed to learn a new technique or trick out of the blue. Again, you have to ask yourself where the change is? Are they the adventurous sort that may have looked up fun and exciting things to do with you in bed, or are they a traditionalist?

Again, something that I have heard people tell me over and over is that when their spouse suggested something new in bed they said "I know you'll like it!" How do they know? Well it could be that they have already tried it with someone else, and the other person liked it.

  1. Changes in how the two of you relate: This is a hard one to describe. Only two people in the whole world really know how you and your partner relate to one another, and that's the two of you. If something seems different or off about your relationship, or how you communicate, then it's a warning sign. Do they seem distant? Do they seem overly concerned about your moods, like they are waiting for you to be mad? Subconsciously they may realize that you should be mad at them but aren't. Do they pick fights for no reason?

  1. Changes in the way they talk about someone you both know: This is an important one. Are they talking about someone too much or too little? One indication is that there is someone you both know and they start talking about that person constantly. This is because that person is becoming increasingly important to them and they are thinking about them more. Lets say the two of you are having dinner after work and he says "Barbara said the funniest thing today at work..." then a little later "Barbara and I were in a meeting and you won't guess what she did..." and then still later "Barbara is going to the beach next week for vacation, I wish we were going..."We all talk about the people we work with, and that in, and of itself is not strange. However if that same person is coming up too often over a period of time, it may be something to worry about.

Now let's look at the other side. What if they normally talk about someone from work all the time, and then suddenly stop. They talk all about work, but avoid mentioning the other person. That could mean that they are trying to avoid calling attention to that person.

  1. Changes in the way your friends or family treat your partner or even you: The sad truth is that in many cases, our friends and family begin to suspect our partners of having an affair before we do. I like to think that this is actually a sweet thing. Most of us tend to see the good in our partners before we look at the bad. Sure, there are exceptions, but love blinders do exist. So look to see if your girlfriends seem standoffish around your male partner. Or do they seem overly sympathetic around you for no apparent reason? Do his friends seem uncomfortable around you or overly cheery? These can be signs that they are uncomfortable and don't know how to relate to you with the new piece of information they have.

  1. Changes in what they do with their phone: Face it, our lives are now ruled by our mobile phones. We are always connected, always available, always in touch. Because phones are so intimately a part of our lives there is a long list of things to look for. Here are a few:

  • They start leaving the room when they take a call.

  • They start locking their phone when they didn't before.

  • They start terminating conversations when you come in the room.

  • They are nervous to let you use or look through their phone.

  • They have more than one phone, especially if it's one that you don't know about.

  • They start taking a lot more pictures of themselves.

  • Their phone bill goes up dramatically.

  • They start taking their phone with them more. At night do they usually leave it on the table by the couch, but now they are carrying it from room to room with them.

  • They take their phone into the bathroom, or other private area for long periods.

  • They start locking doors when they are on the phone.

  • They start keeping the phone on silent when they are home.

  • They see a number on the phone and instantly drop the call without answering it.

  • They are hard to get in touch with for longer periods of time with little explanation.

  • They take a call and their physical mannerisms change to a softer or flirtier tone.

  • They spend dramatically more time using their phone: especially text, email and social media.

  1. Change in clothing and appearance: Have they recently taken up a new interest in their appearance? Are they a lot more concerned than they used to be about how they look? Are they going to the gym more? Trying new hairstyles? Purchasing new clothing?

One of the dead giveaways is that they are purchasing new underwear. This is a lot more of an issue with women than men. However any new underwear, especially if it is different than what they normally wear is cause for concern. New sexy underwear that they don't mean for you to see? That's cause for a lot of concern.

  1. They start suspecting you of an affair: In my opinion, this is the most insidious, and yet it happens over and over. Suddenly and for no apparent reason your partner starts to get very suspicious of you and whether of not you are having an affair. They start questioning your whereabouts and your relationships. They start accusing you of things. Sometimes they get mean about it.

Sometimes this happens when someone is feeling so guilty that they are looking to assuage that guilt by placing blame on you. Sometimes it's a conscious attempt to distract you from their own affair by accusing you of something. Sometimes it's as simple as they thinking that if they are cheating, you must be also. Regardless if they suddenly suspect you, and you have given them nothing to worry about, you should take a hard look at this.

Important Note: Any or even many of these warning signs could be exhibited perfectly innocently. Just because one thing has changed does not mean your partner is having an affair. The more categories they fall into, the more concerned you should be, but that still isn't proof that they are doing anything wrong.

So, who are they cheating with?

When trying to answer this question, the first thing you have to ask yourself is if it's an online affair or a physical one.

Online affairs are intimate relationships that occur over email, social media platforms like Facebook or communication programs like skype. They can include written or verbal intimacy or even physical gratification through the exchange of pictures, videos and mutual masturbation.

Often people discount these as "not real" affairs, and therefore somehow more innocent or less hurtful. Unfortunately sometimes the opposite is true. These types of affairs can be devastating to a relationship.

To spot an online affair, look for changes in behavior related to connected devices like computers, laptops, tablets, mobile phones, etc. Many of these will seem to be the same as the list on number 8.

If they are having a physical affair, the chances are that you know the person they are cheating with. People tend to pull from their own social networks, rather than a stranger on the street. Since you and your partner know many of the same people, it only goes to reason that you probably know the person they are cheating with. The most common people for someone to have an affair with, in order, are:

  1. Existing friend

  2. Coworker

  3. Neighbor

  4. A member of your family

  5. A member of the same church

  6. Someone introduced to them by a mutual friend.

You may not know Number Six, but chances are you will know numbers One through Five. Again, look for the changes. Is someone you both know suddenly treating you or your partner differently? Do they seem to be spending a lot more or less time around? Do they seem to show up suddenly when you aren't expecting them?

Yeah, but how do I KNOW?

As I said earlier, you may never know. That's just the way it is. However there are some things you should start paying attention to, if you can.

  1. Always follow the money. Try to get access to any bills or bank accounts you can legitimately. Look for unusual spending patterns. Affairs cost money.

  1. Start checking the mileage on the car regularly. Keep track of it discreetly, and compare it to what they tell you they are doing. Let's say they claim to be going to see a family member, but when they get back there aren't enough miles for them to have made it there and back... or maybe way too many.

  1. When you see someone they were supposed to be spending time with, ask them what they did together. This can be done innocently enough, where it seems like you are just interested in the friend. But if you start seeing inconsistencies, it can be a sign of trouble.

  1. Look for behavior that just doesn't make sense unless they are acting on reasons that they are just not sharing with you. For instance they may be adamant that they don't want to go to an office party, but can't give you a legitimate reason why. Or maybe they are overly upset about being late for a church function. Maybe they are too excited about a painting your sister did, and they never had an interest in that before.

  1. Do not ignore the big signs!! I cannot emphasize this one enough. I can't explain how many times this one happens. Something is so obvious that any rational person would realize it's a giant red flag. However we think to ourselves that if someone were doing something wrong, they would hide it better, so we convince ourselves it must be innocent. (Incidentally this is the same with espionage and corporate theft.)

The only way I can illustrate this is to give a couple examples.

Example 1) A buddy of mine finally had to accept that his wife was having an affair. Before he did though, his wife was traveling a lot for work. One time she told him that she was being sent to a national convention by her company. Two days before she was leaving for the weekend, she told him that the dates for the convention were moved at the last minutes and she would be going two weekends from now instead. His response was "Oh, that's strange" and dropped it. Obviously major conventions don't have their dates changed at the last minute. It just doesn't happen, short of something like a terrorist attack or natural disaster. But he was willing to believe her because she was his wife.

Example 2) The COO of one of the companies we work for contacted us and said she was suspicious her husband had an inappropriate relationship with his adult niece. They seemed to be spending way too much time together and were uncomfortably affectionate at times. Some weekends she would stay at the house and he would disappear into her bedroom for long periods of time. When we looked into it, the girl was not related to the husband at all. She was a college student that was basically a prostitute. He was paying her rent and expenses to college for her to sleep with him and pretend to be his distant niece when other people were around. This had been going on for two years before the wife decided she had to know for sure.

Okay, I know now. So what do I do?

I just can't answer that for you. I wish I could, but that has to be your choice. When my girlfriend cheated on me I broke up with her right away and never wanted to see her again. (I did, and it was disastrous, but I didn't want to.) I've known people in better relationships that could get past it and grow stronger because of it. I guess it just depends on the couple.

However the one piece of honest advice I can give you is not to make any rash decisions. If you do find out that your partner is cheating on you, you have a lot of different paths that you can go down. But if you confront them right away, it may limit some of your options. Instead, I would wait to confront them until you are clear what you want to do, and what you want from them. Remember that you are the wronged party, and that you have nothing to be ashamed of.

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