As a Dallas Family Law Attorney, Christine Powers Leatherberry has heard her share of stories about infidelity and divorce. She also finds most cheaters exhibit common signs or red flags that point to infidelity, especially when they occur in conjunction with other signs.
Have a hunch your spouse is cheating? Christine spells out the common signs your suspicions may be true.
Signs No. 1 to 5 – Suspicious Phone Behavior
According to Christine, “Many telltale signs of cheating have to do with unusual or suspicious behavior regarding the cheater’s phone. Most people can tell something is up when someone acts strange when it comes to their phone or other technology.” These signs may include:
- Regularly spends more time on the phone than in the past. This is especially true if the spouse is on the phone more frequently and you can tell it’s not about work.
- Acts secretively with their phone. “For example, if your spouse’s phone is on the coffee table, he or she hears a text come in, then quickly grabs the phone so you can’t see the message, that can be a red flag,” Christine says.
- Won’t share phone passcodes with you. As Christine explains, “If your spouse won’t share passcodes with you and/or changes passcodes often, he or she may be cheating. Keep in mind though, many companies require employees to update passcodes regularly, so don’t base your suspicions on this one sign alone.”
- Overly anxious to share phone call, text message and email accounts. In this scenario, the cheater is going to the other extreme. “Just because your spouse shows you his or her phone records, texts and emails, that doesn’t mean they are faithful. One of my clients recently found a burner phone in his wife’s car,” says Christine.
- Prefers to leave phone in their car overnight. Why give you easy access?
Signs No. 6 to 9 – Odd Credit Card Activity
“While you would think a cheater wouldn’t charge gifts, hotel stays or fancy dinners for his or her lover on a credit card you share, it happens all the time,” Christine says. Some obvious and not so obvious credit card activities include:
- Charges for flowers. Per Christine, “It’s surprising how often florist charges come up in our cases (especially during holidays such as Valentine’s Day). Two dozen red roses didn’t go to a client, no matter what he says. Trust your instincts.”
- Charges for dating sites. “I know, it’s hard to believe, but divorce lawyers see charges to sites such as Match.com, ChristianMingle.com and AshleyMadison.com during divorce cases all the time,” says Christine.
- Large charges for meals that aren’t work-related. He’s not wining and dining his buddies at fancy restaurants.
- Refuses to show you credit card statements. If your spouse won’t allow you to see credit card statements or you discover they have a credit card they didn’t tell you about, that’s a big red flag.
Signs No. 10 to 12 – Tries to Shift Focus from Them to You
According to Christine, “Some cheaters want to deflect the focus away from themselves and on to the non-cheating spouse.” They may say and do things such as:
- Accusing you of being jealous and/or crazy. Or they say you’re just imagining things, you’re being emotional, etc. Essentially, the cheater may try to belittle the non-cheating spouse to make them question their suspicions.
- Picking fights over nothing. They try to make you feel guilty for doing something wrong, even though you haven’t.
- Giving evasive answers to simple questions. “For example, this may take the form of defensiveness when the non-cheating spouse asks why the cheater is spending more time away from home. I’ve often heard a client’s spouse has claimed he or she was going to a board or committee meeting when they were meeting their lover instead,” Christine says.
Signs No. 13 to 15 – Changes in Interests and Habits
Ever wonder why your spouse is spending more time at the gym or taking a renewed interest in their appearance all of a sudden? He or she may be cheating if you notice these signs:
- Puts in extra effort to change or improve appearance. As Christine explains, “If your spouse shows a brand new interest in working out, buying new clothes, wearing a new perfume and other significant changes in grooming habits, that could signal they are having an affair. I’m not saying you should panic if your spouse just started the Paleo Diet, but if you see efforts to enhance appearance in conjunction with other signs of cheating, think twice.”
- Obvious changes in musical preferences. For example, if he used to be fanatical about classic rock and all of a sudden he’s downloading country ballads to the iTunes account, that may be a sign.
- Overly excited about a new acquaintance. If your spouse meets a new friend, workout instructor, coworker, etc., and they talk about him or her a lot, consider that a red flag. “It’s not uncommon for the cheater to keep bringing up that person’s name. Sometimes they just can’t help themselves. It’s almost like a crush,” Christine says.
Signs No. 16 to 19 – Gives You Less Quality Time and Attention
Another major sign of infidelity is when the cheater spends less and less time with his or her spouse, more time on activities with others and the non-cheating spouse feels their spouse isn’t “present” even when the two are together. Signs may include:
- Unusual changes in work schedule. While it may be true early on in many careers (doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs, etc.) that one spouse may need to put in a lot of late or unusual hours, this is also frequently a sign of cheating. Some of Christine’s clients have called the spouse’s work line to make sure they are actually in the office.
- Makes excuses not to do things together on weekends. This is especially true when you have two working spouses, and the weekend is typically the only real quality time the couple has together. Says Christine, “The cheater may give more excuses to be apart such as, ‘Oh, I’ve got book club on Saturday night,’ or ‘I have a client coming into town on Sunday,’ when they weren’t doing those things before. Again, this goes back to unusual behavior.”
- Just stops noticing you. If you feel like you could wear a bag over your head and he or she wouldn’t even notice, that could be a sign.
- No longer sleeping with you. “And I mean that in both senses of the word – they have lost interest in sex and don’t want to sleep in the same bed with you,” says Christine.
Sign No. 20 – Others Tell You They Are Suspicious
You may not suspect anything, but other people often do. Listen up if:
- Colleagues, family and friends give you hints or warnings. As Christine explains, “I once had a client tell me her parents knew her spouse was cheating long before she did. Her husband used to call her every night on his way home from work, and he stopped doing so. That’s how the parents knew. Again this demonstrates a change in pattern. It’s not uncommon for other people to notice your marriage is in trouble before you do.”
Sign No. 21 – The Biggest Sign of All
If you have a nagging feeling that something just isn’t right with your relationship, listen to that little voice in your head. Your spouse is probably cheating if:
- Your gut tells you so. Trust your instincts. If you suspect your spouse is cheating, and he or she exhibits several of the signs above and those aforementioned changes in patterns, you are probably right.
“You may be able to save your marriage by addressing issues head on, and a marriage counselor can be a helpful resource when both spouses want to get the relationship back on track. However, if you feel ending the marriage may be the best choice for you, speak with an experienced divorce attorney in Dallas or the county where your reside to discuss your options and determine next steps,” advises Christine.