Share on Facebook

12 Subtle Signs You’ve Got a Cheating Spouse

Is your partner stepping out? Pay attention to these potential signs of infidelity.


They come home later

Are you used to your husband or wife arriving home by 6 p.m. to share a much-needed end-of-day martini or help with dinner, baths, and bedtime? A sudden change in that routine may be a sign of cheating. “When someone stops coming home at the regular time, on a regular basis, be wary,” says dating and relationship advice and etiquette expert April Masini. “When a schedule changes and there’s no comment about why or what he or she is doing differently, it may be because your spouse is cheating on you.” Some people will offer an excuse for their change in routine—like going to the gym late because it’s less crowded (and because you’re less likely to question the “post-workout shower”), says Masini. Already know you have a cheating spouse? These are the 15 steps to surviving an affair.


Date night has been replaced by a new guys-only club

Not cool. Date night is a hallmark of marriage, so when your date night with your spouse disappears, it might be because they’re having a date night with someone else. According to Masini, author of Think & Date Like a Man, a more experienced cheating spouse will keep your date night, but end it early because they have a “work issue” or a “poker game” that runs until after midnight. “Breaking up the night to make time for date night with another lady is one way you’ll know you’re with someone who’s probably cheating,” she says. Don’t miss these secrets marriage counselors won’t tell you for free.


They no longer want you to do laundry

While this sounds like a break for you, this may be one of the signs of cheating. “When your spouse stops letting you do his or her laundry or drop off his or her dry cleaning, you often have a cheating situation on your hands,” says Masini. “There may be evidence on the clothes or in the pockets, and it’s much safer for someone who’s cheating to handle their own laundry and dry cleaning.” She says to pay attention to a spouse who acts like they’re doing you a favor because it’s more about keeping a secret.


You found a credit card in your spouse’s name you didn’t know about

Most married couples have joint accounts or share information about family finances. There are budgets to consider and conversations about spending before a big purchase. “When you find a credit card, you’ve got a smoking gun,” Masini says.  “Unless this is a work credit card, which you’d probably know about, a secret credit card is pretty hard and fast evidence that you’ve got a cheating spouse.” This is the day of the week your partner is most likely to cheat.

iStock/Martin Dimitrov

Your spouse is too cool about the cell phone

Most women who think their man is having an affair will immediately ask to see their phone to scroll through texts and incoming/outgoing calls. Don’t be fooled if he lets you, says psychiatrist Scott Haltzman, MD, author of the book The Secrets of Surviving Infidelity. “If he gives you full access, it’s a sign he may have a second phone,” Dr. Haltzman says. Similarly, these are the 10 things your partner should never ask you to do.

iStock/Nadya Lukic

Or, he won’t let you near his phone

Helen, a married mom with a toddler son, says her husband never had a password on his phone because their child loved accessing the fun apps. All of a sudden that changed, and when Helen asked for the four-digit code, her husband declined and typed it in privately. Red flag alert! This is definitely one of the signs of cheating. “Something is definitely wrong,” says Laurie Puhn, JD, a couples mediator in private practice in New York City and author of the book Fight Less, Love More: 5-Minute Conversations to Change Your Relationship without Blowing Up or Giving In. Passwords should be shared in a marriage; there are random times when you need the phone number for the plumber and it’s in your husband’s phone or email account, or you need to check an e-receipt that was sent to your husband. “It’s not that you need a list of his passwords, but should you ask for one—for a legitimate reason—he should give it to you,” says Puhn. This should not be a big deal. By not telling you the code, your spouse may be admitting to a secret of some sort.


Your marriage has turned sexless

“Not wanting to have sex anymore—or a lot less than usual—can mean many things, including that he or she might be cheating,” says Puhn. “Essentially if your partner is pulling away from you.” Now, this might not be one of the signs of cheating; this could also be because he is focused on an upsetting job situation, financial stress, or a family health issue, but whatever the reason, you must bring it up soon, with warmth and tact. “Let him know that you noticed a difference and try to rekindle with daily hugs, warm smiles, a touch on the back and, of course, pursue sex. See if this opens the door to a warm heartfelt conversation.”


Your husband is suddenly Mr. Gift Giver

A “just because” spa gift card or new purse—completely unrelated to a birthday, anniversary, or work promotion—could be a lovely surprise, or it could be a clue that your partner is feeling guilty about something and trying to compensate. “Have a direct conversation,” advises Puhn. You could say something like: “It’s only been in the last few months that you are bringing me surprise presents. While this is thoughtful, I am wondering if something led you to start doing this?” See what he says and watch how he acts. “Also, look for other clues, like if he cancels plans and those long-stem roses are some sort of consolation prize.” It could signal you’ve got a cheating spouse on your hands. These are the 8 marriage myths you can safely ignore.


He has a special Facebook friend

Nicole sat down to her family computer and up popped a big surprise: a message from a woman that read, “I can’t stop thinking about you, baby. When will I see you again?” Face it: Social media friends don’t message like that. They congratulate each other on the birth of a new baby or a cool vacation photo. When the conversation gets racy, it’s one of the very clear signs of cheating. “Most cheaters these days are caught via text or on social media,” says dating and relationship expert Rachel Russo. “When women snoop on a man or accidentally find something, it’s often what they suspected. There could be incriminating photos, texts, or a call history that would prove to be evidence of an affair.” These are the 10 things never to do after your partner cheats.

iStock/Paolo Cipriani

There are blackouts

“I’m not talking about someone being unconscious,” says Masini. “I’m talking about a spouse having blackout periods where you don’t know where he or she is, you can’t reach them, and you don’t get a viable explanation about where they’ve been or why they didn’t respond to a call or text.” It takes two seconds to send a text and it’s not normal for a married or seriously committed couple to be out of touch for hours wondering what the heck is going on. Here are tips for staying connected with your partner when you have to be apart.


They ditch family time with the kids

“When a partner starts pulling away from people and occasions that are usually a high priority, it could be a cause for concern,” says relationship expert Amy Spencer, author of Meeting Your Half-Orange. “Every person is unique in how they balance work and family, so the key lies in whether or not a behavior is ‘so not like him.’” Work does get in the way of family occasions, Spencer acknowledges, and let’s be honest, sometimes it’s a handy “get out of jail free card” for family events he might not be as into. “But if your partner has always enjoyed BBQs with the family and kids, and if work has never gotten in the way of events like this before, it raises a red flag.”


They have new hobbies that exclude you

“Of course it’s wonderful if a partner takes on a new hobby, especially one that contributes to his/her health,” says Spencer of this one of our signs of cheating. “But there are two causes for concern. First, if they appear to dive into a hobby out of the blue, rather than talking about the hobby a lot or easing slowly into it. And second, if they devote an unusual amount of hours or efforts to it.” For example, a person who suddenly begins running every night for stretches as long as three hours. One way to gauge the truth is to tell your partner that you support his hobby and it would be nice to follow along on their progress. Then, think about how a person who really is devoted to running would respond. They would likely be proud to share the route they’re mapping out or the time they’re trying to beat. “If your partner insists on being vague, that could be a concern.” Now, find out what to do if you’re the one who was caught cheating.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest

Christine Coppa
Christine Coppa is a print + digital journalist with 16 years of experience writing about health, wellness, parenting and lifestyle. She has written for Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Health, Elle, Woman's Day, Good Housekeeping, Parents and their supporting websites. Coppa is also a fact-checker, research editor and brand content copywriter. Her book, Rattled! was published by Crown in 2009. Find her on the soccer sidelines cheering on her son, Jack.

Newsletter Unit

CMU Unit

Subscribe & SAVE Save Up To 84%!