Infidelity

Whispers of Infidelity: What Words Give Away a Cheater?

There are some common signs partners use to signal that leaving time is near.

Posted Jan 18, 2019

Everywhere you look, it seems that some celebrity’s infidelity is being exposed to the masses. It also seems that no matter what a couple’s resources might be, monogamy and fidelity just cannot be bought.

Sexual Infidelity and Emotional Infidelity: Different Threats for Different People

Sexual fidelity and emotional fidelity have typically held different meanings and values for romantic partners based on gender. Traditionally, sexual infidelity has been synonymous with unfaithfulness. Emotional infidelity, however, is a relatively new term that describes circumstances in which a partner is investing time, energy, and emotional involvement in a relationship with someone else. Both types of unfaithfulness can lead to serious relational disruption and the severity differs depending on the couple.

Traditionally, men have exhibited a lower tolerance for sexual infidelity than they have for emotional infidelity. Women, on the other hand, are much more negatively affected by a partner who is emotionally unfaithful than a partner who is sleeping with someone else. For evolutionary reasons, men typically equate sexual access to their partners as their ultimate exclusive privilege while women are more protective of a man’s emotional attention than his sexual expression.

Due to the differences in the ways that emotional engagement and sexual involvement evolve, the signs of potential infidelity that appear are typically a little different, as well. Researchers explored the behavioral cues that are frequently associated with an unfaithful partner and came up with a set of cues that could be diagnostic of a cheating spouse. Below are the top 10 signs for both types of infidelity and each sign is accompanied by what the sign might sound like or look like. Each of the lists presents the signs in descending order of diagnostic strength.

Sexual Infidelity: Watch out for these 10 Signs

1, Your partner's infidelity is revealed and they try to cover their tracks.

“It's not what you think!” "It isn't what it looks like!"

2. Physical signs of sexual infidelity are discovered.

Sexting that ends up hitting the wrong cellphone, emails left open, lipstick on the collar, condoms in her purse, etc.

3. Your partner seems to be talking more and more about another person or spends increasing amounts of time with that person.

“And then she and I were talking about the boss and she said/I said/we laughed/had to work late to meet the deadline”

4. Your partner is showing signs of dissatisfaction with your relationship and seems to have “lost that loving feeling.”

You notice your partner's Irritable, restless when you are home together, finds fault with things that used to be no big deal.

5. Your partner shows signs of guilt or seems to be trying to make up for something.

A partner might buy you flowers for no reason, get your car detailed and gassed, take you to your favorite restaurant, or pick up your favorite beer.

6. Your partner is less interested in sexual activity with you or seems bored with sexual activities that used to be pleasurable.

“I dunno, I’m just not in the mood lately. It’s work. It’s stress. I’m just exhausted.”

7. Opposite of making increasing references to a certain person, your partner no longer wants to discuss someone that they once easily conversed about.

“Huh, who did you say?” “I haven’t seen him in a while, I don’t know what he’s up to.”

8. Your partner seems to be emotionally disengaged from you and the relationship.

“Whatever…” and “I can’t answer that today” and “I don’t have time to discuss this.”

9. Your partner has become apathetic about your relationship.

“No, I don’t want to seek help.” “No, it’s nothing you’ve done.” “No, I don’t know what I need you to do different.”

10. Anger, criticism, and argumentativeness become more frequent from your partner without any solid explanation.

“Why do you always . . . ?“ “Why can’t you…?” “You know it ticks me off when you . . .” “No, I don’t want to talk about it!”

Emotional Infidelity: Watch out for these 10 Signs

1. Your partner is showing signs of dissatisfaction with your relationship and seems to have “lost that loving feeling.”

Your partner is Irritable, restless when you are home together, finds fault with things that used to be no big deal

2. Your partner seems to be emotionally disengaged from you and the relationship.

“Whatever…” and “I can’t answer that today” and “I don’t have time to discuss this.”

3. Your partner seems to be talking more and more about another person or spends increasing amounts of time with that person.

“And then she and I were talking about the boss and she said/I said/we laughed/had to work late to meet the deadline”

4. Your partner shows signs of guilt or seems to be trying to make up for something.

Your partner buys you flowers for no reason, details and gases up your car, takes you to your favorite restaurant, picks up your favorite beer

5. Instead of increasing references to a certain person, your partner no longer wants to discuss someone that they once easily conversed about.

“Huh, who did you say?” “I haven’t seen him in a while, I don’t know what he’s up to.”

6. Your partner avoids spending time with you or with other family members.

“No, you all go on, I’ve got some things I want to do around the house.” “Let me walk the dog, I’ll just grab my phone.”

7. Anger, criticism, and argumentativeness become more frequent from your partner without any solid explanation.

“Why do you always . . . ?“ “Why can’t you…?” “You know it ticks me off when you . . .” “No, I don’t want to talk about it!”

8. Your partner's infidelity is revealed outright.

“I didn't mean it that way, no one can take your place. Maybe we need to talk.”

9. Your partner seems to becoming invisible or evaporating out of the relationship and is making choices and taking actions without any consideration to you or your feelings.

“Don’t ask me, I don’t really care.” “Go on out with your parents, I want some time alone.”

10. Your partner is less interested in sexual activity with you or seems bored with sexual activities that used to be pleasurable.

“I dunno, I’m just not in the mood lately. It’s work. It’s stress. I’m just exhausted.”

Infidelity isn’t Always a Big Deal for a Couple

Whether you choose monogamy or consensual non-monogamy, the key to healthy relationships remains the same: honest and open communication. Being able to talk out differences and express complicated emotions predict greater overall relationship success. Sharing your expectations is the only way to ensure that your partner understands who you are and what your needs actually are. If you’ve got zero tolerance for cheating, then make that clear from the outset . . . healthy relationships are based on mutual understanding, respect, and open communication. Facilitate these in order to ensure the greatest likelihood of a satisfying relationship – for you and your partner.

References

Shackelford, T. K., & Buss, D. M. (1997). Cues to Infidelity. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 23(10), 1034–1045. https://doi.org/10.1177/01461672972310004