10 Subtle Signs Your Partner Is Cheating On You

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Do you know the signs?

It’s an all too common occurrence; you find out your partner has been unfaithful and you wonder how you didn’t see it coming. You ask yourself, “Were there warning signs? Did I just ignore them?”

Perhaps you simply didn’t know what to look for. If so, here are 10 common, yet subtle signs that might indicate your partner is playing away…and what to do about them.

1. They’ve got form.

Ok, so I can hear you all screaming, “why would you get together with someone if you knew they’d cheated before?!” And of course, in our rational minds, we all know it’s not the most sensible idea. Yet many of us have been there, convincing ourselves that it’ll be different this time, because our love is somehow unique and special. Some of us even fall for people who are still in relationships, especially when they are unhappy and we are told, “It’s been over between us for a long time” and “I’m going to leave them for you.”

Whether your current partner cheated on someone before he/she met you, or whether your relationship with them started before their previous one had officially ended, it’s common to try and convince yourself that, “he/she is not a cheater,” “he/she only did it because their relationship was unhappy,” and, “it’ll be different with me because he/she loves me.”

The harsh reality, however, is that if they are prepared to cheat when the going gets tough in one relationship, you can almost guarantee the same is on the cards when your relationship hits rocky ground. And things almost always get rocky at some point.

It’s true that some people really can change, and shouldn’t forever be punished for a previous mistake; but before you get in too deep, ask yourself if this is a risk you are prepared to take. More importantly, perhaps, ask whether you are going to be able to trust this person enough to have a secure and stable relationship with them going forward.

2. They are secretive about their passwords.

Of course, there is a time and a place where we all need a bit of personal privacy, but if you are in a secure, trusting relationship, with nothing to hide, then there really is no need to be secretive about your passwords. After all, trust goes both ways; if your partner is open with you and has no problem with you knowing their phone or Facebook passwords, then you’re unlikely to be suspicious enough to go snooping on them.

If, instead, they keep their passwords hidden at all costs, then a wall of distrust can form, and the temptation to pry can grow and grow. If your partner is very cagey about their phone, Facebook and computer passwords, you may want to ask yourself whether there is something they’d prefer you didn’t see.

There could be a genuine reason for it, so consider asking them about it in a non accusatory way. If they become defensive and turn it back on you with statements like, “They are private, why do you need to know them? Don’t you trust me?” or, “Do you have to know everything? Have you been trying to look at my phone?” then you may want to consider if there is more to it.

3. They’re always texting other people.

Now obviously this isn’t a 100% guarantee that they’re being unfaithful, especially in this current age where most of us are glued to our mobile phones, but if your partner spends an excessive amount of time texting or messaging other people (especially if they’re also displaying sign number 2), then it may be a clue that they’re up to no good.

Regardless of whether they’re texting someone they shouldn’t, it’s important for a couple to spend quality time with each other. So if your partner is constantly texting when you’re together, why not suggest you both switch your phones off (or at least put them in another room) for a couple of hours each night. If they seem reluctant to do this, you may want to ask yourself why.

4. They get overly jealous.

If your partner gets irrationally jealous, it may be an indicator that they are transferring their own sense of guilt on to you. This type of projection is a classic way that cheaters try to cover up their own misdemeanors. By showing you how worried they are that you might run off with someone else, they try to convince you that they couldn’t possibly be capable of doing the same.

Of course, everyone feels insecure from time to time, but if your partner is often paranoid and jealous without good reason, you may want to look at their other behaviors and see if there is more to it.

5. They go out a lot without you.

three young women smiling and drinking at a rooftop bar with blue skies and sun

There comes a time when most people in a relationship no longer feel the desire to go out partying with their single friends every weekend. Couples will spend most weekends together because they enjoy each other’s company – it’s a natural progression for most relationships.

While it’s important to have your own friends and to spend time apart, if you find your partner wants to spend a lot of time out socializing without you, it may be a sign that something is up – particularly if they’re coming home late, or if they go out with a mix of male and female friends but don’t invite you.

If you’ve been in an established relationship for a while, and this is becoming a common behavior, explain to your partner that you enjoy spending time with them, and ask them in a non-judgmental way if there’s a reason you’re not being invited to these events. There could be a simple explanation, but if your partner becomes defensive and angry with you then you may want to ask yourself if something else is going on.

6. When they go out they get so drunk that they get lost/lose things/can’t remember what happened.

This ties in to point 5. If your partner goes out without you and often gets so drunk that they get lost, lose things, and/or can’t remember what happened, then this may indicate that they have trouble controlling their actions.

Most of us who drink will get so intoxicated that we forget a few things at least once in our life, but we generally feel a bit embarrassed afterwards and try to rein it in next time. If you’re in a relationship where this is a regular occurrence, it may be worth asking yourself if you trust your partner when they are like this, and if it’s a behavior you’re prepared to tolerate in the long term.

7. They move quickly in relationships and splash out on lavish gifts.

If your partner moves quickly in relationships and often splashes out on over the top, lavish gifts, you may want to ask yourself whether the connection is really genuine. Whilst we all enjoy being spoiled and hearing how much someone loves us, it’s important not to be seduced by cheap words and expensive gifts.

After all, they could be an attempt to cover up some rather toxic traits such as infidelity. If you are worried that this is the case, ask your partner to slow down and stop splashing the cash for a bit. Tell them you want to get to know each other without all the material stuff and then see what sort of connection you really have.

8. After the initial rush of excitement, they bore easily.

Those who move quickly in relationships often seem like ideal mates at first. “They want to commit to me,” you think, when they tell you they love you after a week and suggest you move in together after 3 months. Often, though, this sort of intensity cannot last and as quickly as they ‘fell in love’ they start to get bored with the monotony of daily life.

Their eye starts to wander, looking for someone to reignite the fire. Of course you can, and should, try to keep the spark alive with your partner, but there comes a time in every relationship when it’s the deeper connection that will bond you together. If you’ve rushed into things, you may not have had time to see whether there’s anything more to the relationship than the passion and the excitement of something new.

Think carefully when making big decisions about whether to move to the next step with your partner. For example, if they ask you to move in together after just a few months, consider asking them to wait a while. Explain that you’re really enjoying getting to know each other and that you don’t want to spoil it by rushing things. If they’re not just in it for the initial excitement and seriously think they have a future with you, they should be happy to wait.

9. They become disinterested in intimacy.

It’s normal for the frequency and intensity of physical intimacy to diminish over time in a relationship. And this on its own need not be a cause for concern. But if your partner is exhibiting a lot of the above signs, and is becoming disinterested in physical intimacy, there could be more to it.

Try to reignite the flame with them – suggest a night away, or spontaneously instigate physical intimacy by wearing something you know they find attractive. If they are still not interested, make sure you talk to them about it before jumping to conclusions – there could be a genuine problem that they have been too worried or embarrassed about to bring up. If they just give you vague excuses and make no effort to improve the situation, however, you may want to keep an eye out for other signs that they are getting it elsewhere.

10. They are showing no signs of commitment.

If you have been with your partner for a while and they are exhibiting no signs of wanting to commit, then you may want to ask yourself if they are really serious about the relationship, or just going along with it until someone else comes along.

I’m not suggesting they have to get down on one knee, but if you want commitment from them at some point in the future and they aren’t even talking about it, then you may need to find out if you’re on the same page.

This point is particularly relevant if they are also exhibiting sign 5, and are showing no signs of this slowing down. If you’ve been in an established relationship for a while and want to know if your partner feels the same as you, you could ask them where they see the two of you in 5 years. If they respond, “I haven’t really thought about it,” or “I don’t plan that far ahead,” then you might want to consider whether they are actually taking your relationship seriously or if they are just biding their time whilst they enjoy the best of both worlds.

A final note.

It is worth remembering that even if all of these signs are present, it doesn’t mean your partner has been, or will be, unfaithful. It’s important to establish, though, whether you are prepared to tolerate these behaviors regardless of whether or not they are the product of cheating.

Some people may have no issue with any of the behaviors above, but others may find themselves feeling neglected, unhappy and distrustful, and without trust a relationship is very unlikely to survive in the long term.

So if you are concerned about any of what you see above, ask yourself whether staying in the relationship is worth the anguish, insecurity and doubt. You may never know whether your partner cheats or not, but perhaps your suspicion alone is a strong enough sign that the relationship isn’t quite right?

About The Author

Anna worked as a clinical researcher for 10 years, authoring and publishing scientific papers in world leading journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine, before joining A Conscious Rethink in 2023. Her writing passions now center around personality, neurodiversity and relationships, always underpinned by scientific research and lived experience.