LIFESTYLE

4 Signs Your Partner Is Cheating On You

They're more subtle than you think.

31/07/2017 06:55 SAST | Updated 31/07/2017 06:56 SAST

If you suspect your partner may be cheating on you, chances are not all is well in your relationship.

Sound harsh? Maybe, but even if infidelity isn't an issue, the fact you're questioning your partner's commitment is.

Of course, not all cheating fears are unfounded. Statistics found on the Sexual Health Australia website suggest 70 percent of all marriages will experience an affair, while the 2015 hack of adultery website Ashley Madison revealed hundreds of thousands of subscribed Australian email addresses.

But how do you know if you're being actually being cheated on, as opposed to going through a rough patch? Here are some common signs to look for.

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1. Escalating absences

"Certainly I think that in some ways the stereotypes we see in the movies are partly true," Elisabeth Shaw from Relationships Australia told HuffPost Australia.

"Things like being a bit more secretive or escalating absences, having more meetings back at work, those kinds of things.

"Of course the trouble is unless there's a really obvious change, you can miss the signs because they are very easy to be explained away. In my experience, most couples realise [this was happening] by looking back. They'll say, 'I knew there were more work meetings but I put it down to the project that was underway,' or something similar.

"Unless you're actually a jealous sort or tracking [their movements] to begin with, these signs can be realised more in hindsight."

2. Emotional distance

A more obvious tell-tale sign, according to Shaw, is when your partner starts to distance themselves from you emotionally and intimately.

"Emotional distance can't be as easily explained by stress or busyness," she said. "And it can present itself in many ways.

"So if you're starting to feel maybe your sex life is less than it has been, or you have been the subject of more anger and complaints than seem reasonable in the circumstances, or like your partner has been looking for fault in you... these can certainly all be signs of an affair."

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Going to bed at different times can be a sign of growing emotional distance.

When asked if partners could be more loving or affectionate due to feelings of guilt, Shaw said in her experience it was more likely to be the opposite.

"I think where there is the one-off betrayal, that's the thing that can lead to some unexpected presents, because the person is feeling guilty and worried," she said. "In fact sometimes it can serve as a wake up call and can cause the person to think 'my heavens, what am I doing?'

"However where someone is sustaining a parallel relationship, in my experience they are more likely to go to a place of distance with their primary partner. More fights are picked, they're not having sex, not having date nights, going to bed at different times... some of these things can definitely be signs."

3. Secretive phone behaviour

If you're noticing your partner is spending more time on the phone -- and more time taking calls out of earshot -- this could point to something amiss.

"Once people start to get worried about their partner's behaviour, they often start noticing they are spending more time on the phone," Shaw said. "And on top of that, being more secretive about the phone.

"By that I mean taking calls outside the room or failing to explain who they were talking to."

4. Flat out denial

Make no mistake, Shaw says communication is key when it comes to addressing potential cheating.

"If you are concerned, you need to ask about the behaviour," Shaw told HuffPost Australia. "That's not leaping immediately to the accusation of 'are you having an affair?', but rather coming from a place of 'I have been getting really worried and I have noticed this, this and this. I need to understand what's happening and I guess I've started to worry if there was someone else'."


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Communication is key.

Shaw stressed the importance of "asking from a worried place rather than an attacking place," but also stated the way in which the partner responds could in an insight to their behaviour.

"Where there is not an affair happening, you might find your partner is rushing to reassure you and is very concerned you felt that way," Shaw said. "There might be an attitude of 'if you think that , what is happening to your relationship? We need to do some work'.

"But if the attitude is more along the lines of 'don't be silly' and they walk out of the room... well that's just not a good response for a relationship.

"You don't want to be dismissed. A couple that is in pretty good shape will work to fix that problem rather than ignore it."