20 signs your partner is cheating: Tracey Cox reveals the subtle red flags that you probably won’t pick up on

We all know that a partner suddenly being secretive with their phone is the biggest clue they might miss.

But what about the less obvious clues that your partner might be having an affair?

It’s the subtle signals that people miss.

No one wants to discover infidelity, so we all tend to give our partners the benefit of the doubt. After all, trust is the basis of a good relationship.

And it should stay that way. I’m not trying to send you all into a paranoid frenzy; there are other reasonable explanations for all these things.

But when a lot of them happen and something doesn’t feel quite right, sit up and pay attention.

If you have more sex than usual and your partner’s spending habits change, it could mean that your partner is having an affair ( Stock Image )

1. You have more sex than usual

If you’re having great sex, your partner can’t possibly have an affair, right?

Not so fast. The “hydraulic pump theory” – you only have a certain amount of energy for sex, so if you get it from somewhere else, you don’t want it at home – it’s wrong. Some people are more passionate at home if they have sex next door: the affair arouses them sexually. Some get a kick out of moving from one bed to another. Another clue: your partner is more confident in bed and wants to try things he normally wouldn’t.

2. They are more loving or critical than usual


Some people will answer “yes” to all of the above for no reason at all. Totally innocent acts can take on an ominous undertone if you have a history or family background of infidelity. Even if you don’t come from a tarnished background, some people mistakenly think that love means never doing anything out of the ordinary. If their partner wants to do something solo, it must mean they’re having an affair (it’s not).

If you have low self-esteem, you are much more likely to think that your partner is being unfaithful. Who can blame them for sleeping around when you’re boring/fat/stupid/unsexy/unattractive?

The easiest way to tell if you’re legitimately suspicious or ridiculously paranoid is to ask yourself this question: Is it normal for me to think my partner is playing games, or is it unusual for me to be suspicious of someone? If it’s the latter, keep your eyes peeled.

Do you remember what it’s like to be in love? The world is suddenly a beautiful place. Things that used to cause fights between you no longer do: your partner lets you “win” because he or she is no longer invested in the relationship.

They are equally likely to become overly critical, pounce on everything you do wrong and point out your many shortcomings. This justifies the affair to themselves: of course I am having an affair! I married her/him!

3. They accuse YOU of cheating

It’s a sneaky tactic and a remarkably effective one. It sends a signal that they believe cheating is a bad thing and they should care about you or they wouldn’t care if you cheated. It’s often sincere: they get away with seeing someone else, so you can too!

4. They avoid eye contact

Only a seasoned liar and hardened person can look straight into the eyes of someone he knows loves him when he betrays him.

In fact, research shows that if your partner can look you in the eye and touch you lovingly at the same time, this is a good indication that he/she is not up to anything. (The exception? Serial cheaters. If you’ve always cheated and see nothing wrong with it, you’ll accomplish this without any problem.)

5. Their interests change

They used to love romcoms, now they love serious documentaries. Before it was 90s pop, now it’s indie. The man who wants to eat nothing but hamburgers suddenly decides that he likes Vietnamese.

The new person changes or expands their interests and hobbies.

6. Their spending habits are changing

If they spend more, it usually means they go out more or buy gifts. Watch out if they take a lot of money: cash means you can’t see where they’ve been on bank or credit card statements.

Unexpected gifts can also come your way: feelings of guilt make the most incurable person suddenly want to buy flowers.

7. They experience mood swings

Things are turbulent. You fluctuate between unbearably excited and desperately guilty. One minute it’s off (they hate themselves for doing this to you), then it’s on again (the lust is hard to resist). It’s a roller coaster of emotions that are impossible to hide completely.

8. They avoid making plans for the future

If the affair is more than just an affair, they don’t want to discuss when to move, book that dream vacation, or move in with an elderly parent. They are not sure if they will still be there.

9. They are generally aloof

Less engaged in conversation, distracted, preoccupied with their own thoughts and emotions: all these things suggest that their attention has shifted elsewhere.

British sex expert Tracey Cox (pictured) has revealed twenty not-so-obvious signs your partner is having an affair

British sex expert Tracey Cox (pictured) has revealed twenty not-so-obvious signs your partner is having an affair

10. They disappear from the radar when they didn’t before

Normally they text back within 15 minutes, now it’s more like an hour. Being unusually unreachable is often the first clear indication that something is wrong.

Also watch out for background noises during conversations that seem out of place for the location: they’re in a bar with their friends, but there’s no loud chatter; they are working, but you hear a bus or train go by.

11. There is a change in their routine

If your friend used to run at five in the morning and now at seven in the evening for twice as long, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out something is up.

Working late if that is not usual for them; joining a book club when they have never shown an interest in reading.

See if they pay more attention to your schedule, too. The more they know where you will be and when, the safer they will be meeting in public and the easier it will be to get away with it.

12. There is a change in their appearance

Have they suddenly lost those few extra pounds? Do they hit the gym and revamp their wardrobe without a word of criticism or encouragement from you?

It could all be a sign that they want to impress.

Showering when they get home – when they normally don’t – is another red flag. They try to wash the smell of sex or perfume from their bodies.

13. They offer minimal information

If they used to be talkative but are less interested in talking in general, they may be afraid of making a mistake. If you’re trying to cover your tracks, provide a minimum of detail in case you make a mistake.

Add in some unexplained absences or vague explanations for where they’ve been, and an affair becomes even more likely.

14. There are a lot of calls from a friend you’ve heard of but never met

It is an old and good trick: they have kept the number of the person they are having an affair with under the name of someone with whom you will not interrogate them during the conversation.

Or this IS the person they are having an affair with.

The urge to talk about someone you have a crush on leads some people to constantly sing the praises of the person they are having sex with to their spouse or partner. (Especially common if it’s a co-worker, which it often is.)

Even more disturbing is the surprising tendency to go one step further…

15. A new “friend” is suddenly invited to your house

It sounds bizarre and it is: to cover up an affair, some people introduce the person they are having the affair with to their partners. (The logic is that there’s no way you’d suspect it if it’s not hidden.) Often it’s done to placate the side issue: You’d be surprised how many mistresses insist on meeting the woman.

16. Your body is warning you

Sudden problems with thrush and/or urinary tract infections? Do you have problems getting an erection? You may be suddenly exposed to the infections of your partner’s loved one or your body has accepted what your heart doesn’t want.

17. Their body warns you

If they’re in conflict – they love you but also want to be with the new person – their body language will betray them. It’s stressful to have an affair. They will be nervous and ‘leak’ – inner emotions that we try to hide reveal themselves through a leg bouncing up and down, a new tendency to play with things while we talk to you.

Guilt makes us slump: they may look tired, folded in on themselves and with slumped shoulders. It’s quite possible that they seem nervous around you and are hyper-vigilant: they’re on their guard so you don’t catch them. Lying is hard work and requires a very good memory.

18. You feel depressed and anxious

Most people know when their partners are being unfaithful; they just don’t want to admit it to themselves. If you’re crying “for no reason,” getting a headache, or feeling exhausted — again, it’s your body’s way of saying, “Hey, maybe you don’t want to admit it.” But I know you think they’re cheating and I have to suffer.’

19. Your friends hint, their friends avoid you

Men tend to cover each other; women feel obligated to warn in some way, no matter how subtle. While few people will blurt out the news, many betray themselves by making indirect remarks.

NB. That offhand comment from a friend (“I read a story about infidelity today. God, you never know, do you?”) is sometimes a warning.

If their friends seem to be making all kinds of excuses not to see you or talk to you, they may know what’s going on.

20. Your instinct tells you something is wrong

Most people who seriously suspect their partner is cheating turn out to be right. If you can’t put your finger on it, but you know something is up, call them. If you feel anxious and ‘not quite sure’ it could be a sign that they are distancing themselves. Especially listen to your intuition if you are a woman and do not suffer from jealousy. We have great inner radars.

Visit traceycox.com for Tracey’s blog, books, podcast and product ranges