Finding out that your partner has cheated is a pretty big blow — especially if you suspect they could be involved in a whole other relationship. The signs they have a side piece aren't unlike the general signs that they're cheating, minus the added caveat that they have potentially developed a connection with someone they are making an effort to see on semi-regular (and perhaps even regular) basis.
What makes an ongoing affair so specifically messed up — unlike a one-time transgression (which is still pretty bad) — is the amount of selfishness it takes to inflict so much pre-meditated dishonesty and overt lies on someone you are supposed to love. It's understandable why this type of betrayal can be so hurtful.
Considering the amount of effort it takes to maintain two relationships, there is a pretty big chance that if your partner does have someone on the side, then they are probably going to be exhibiting some sketchy behaviors and/or unexplained changes to their normal routine. If they are indeed up to no good, then they may very well be displaying some of the following behaviors.
1. They Seem Distracted
Just think about how preoccupied some people are when trying to juggle work, family, social activities, and just one partner. If the person you're dating has a side piece, then chances are they are going to seem checked out at times.
Even if they haven't yet crossed a physical boundary with another person, but are emotionally cheating, it's not uncommon for them to be vacant and forgetful. According to clinical sexologist and founder of Eros Coaching, Dr. Martha Tara Lee, this distracted behavior "has to do with the amount of emotional energy that [they] put into the other person, and consequently denying or unable to give to [you]."
Emotional cheating can be even more hurtful than a physical transgression. "Most people are more disturbed by the breaking of trust and the intimacy in the 'rival' relationship, than whether there is sex involved," says Lee.
2. They Start Acting Weird About Their Phone
Any time a partner starts acting particularly shady about their phone, there should be cause for at least a bit of suspicion.
“[If he regularly] seems to avoid talking or texting on his phone near you, especially if he goes as far as entering a different room to check his phone," then they may definitely be cheating," explains relationship expert and dating writer Demetrius Figueroa.
If you notice that they have added a passcode out of nowhere, then this is another major red flag that they could be seeing someone else on the down-low. It may seem easy to justify suss phone behavior — after all, just because you are in a relationship doesn't mean you aren't entitled to a bit of privacy. However, wanting privacy and going out of your way to keep your partner away from your phone and its contents are behaviors that are almost always exhibited by someone who's hiding something, or someone.
3. They Are Less Physical
Anyone who has been in a long-term relationship will tell you it's pretty likely that the frequency of sex will change from time to time. If you've noticed, however, that your partner seems less connected to you physically — this means less cuddly/affectionate, or a significant drop in intimacy without any reasonable explanation (i.e., stress at work, depression, etc.) — then this could be a sign that they are sharing that part of themselves with someone else.
If this is the only off behavior you've noticed, before jumping to conclusions, it may be a good idea to start a casual conversation about the changes you've noticed in your sex life and see how they respond. If they aren't seeing someone else, then chances are they will be open to talking through it and making an effort to get things back on track in the bedroom.
4. They Are Frequently "Busy"
Being busy on its own isn't always enough of a red flag to prove your partner has a side piece. But if they are hesitant to give you the details of what exactly they are busy with or if work conflicts are coming up at unlikely times, then this could spell trouble.
"Everyone gets busy at work from time to time, but if they're always busy 'with work' on Friday nights and Saturday nights, and those used to be your date nights, that should raise your concern," warns Figueroa.
How To Talk To A Partner When You Think They Might Be Cheating
Getting a partner to own up to seeing someone on the side isn't easy, and chances are you're going to have trouble getting them to come clean. "A cheater will rarely, if ever, admit to cheating without proof. So if you want an honest answer, the best way might be to build a case that they're cheating, present it to them, and ask for an honest answer," says Figueroa.
Even if you don't have explicit proof but feel that something is definitely off, then it's still a good idea to bring it up. But be aware of the setting. "In my experience, asking about infidelity in private settings goes over much better than asking someone if they're cheating while you're out on a date," says Figueroa.
If you do discover that your partner is engaged in a relationship with someone else, it is totally up to you to decide how to proceed. At the end of the day, if you believe your relationship is worth saving, then there are definitely ways to move in a positive direction. But it's also important to know that you deserve to be with someone who is completely focused and committed to you. They are the one who has made the mistake and aren't entitled to a second chance unless you decide that's what you want.
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