There are many red flags that can point to the possibility that your partner is cheating — from someone else’s scent on their collar to them suddenly going MIA for long stretches of time. Ultimately, one of the most effective way to determine if an SO is being unfaithful is to look for notable changes in their habits — for example, in the evening hours. In fact, experts say certain signs your partner is cheating can be indentified simply by observing their nightly routine.
Consider this: Most of us have a vague format we follow at night. For some, this may mean brushing your teeth and washing your face before snuggling up to watch Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show. For others, it may mean showering, brewing a mug of tea and then climbing into bed to read a chapter or two of that new book you picked up. We’re creatures of habit, so it’s unlikely that we would drastically alter these bedtime rituals for no reason at all. As such, if you notice that your boo is suddenly acting differently in the evening, there’s a good chance that something might be up — and that something may be someone else.
Has bae’s bedtime routine been off lately? Here are a few signs to look out for that hint at unfaithful behavior.
They’re Working Later... And Later
We all have weeks where we may have to stay at the office a bit later ahead of a deadline, presentation, or other work-related obligation. But if your SO has been rolling in later and later for longer than a week or two — that’s a red flag worth paying attention to. More importantly, ask them why it’s happening, and listen intently to their response.
“Listen to your gut if you don’t believe these are really business meetings,” Dr. Gary Brown, a prominent dating and relationship therapist in Los Angeles, tells Elite Daily.
Susan Trombetti, matchmaker and founder/CEO of Exclusive Matchmaking, tells Elite Daily that if they regularly claim to be out with friends during the wee hours on weeknights, that’s another excuse that may not check out.
Remember: While it’s definitely worth noting when your partner is frequently coming home late, it’s important to give them a chance to explain before jumping to any conclusions.
You're Not Going To Bed At The Same Time Anymore
Not all of us go to bed at the same time as our significant others. However, if you and bae make it a point to hit the hay together and they’ve been neglecting to do that lately (or seem to be downright avoiding it), that could be a red flag. For example, if you typically both head to bed around 10 p.m., but they’ve been staying up for another hour or two, it’s worth wondering what they’re doing with that time. If they are, indeed, cheating, there’s a chance that they’re going to bed later than you because they’re calling or texting someone else.
According to Dr. Brown, not only will they avoid going to bed at the same time, but they may not be as interested in having sex. Or, if and when they do have sex with you, they may seem distant and less invested in it — in other words, the quality of intimacy will likely suffer.
Keep in mind that there are other reasons why bae may be going to bed at a different time. Maybe they’re stressed out at work, and need a little solo time to unwind, for example. Before you assume the worst, ask them why they’ve been going to bed at a different time — and don’t hesitate to let them know if you feel like your sex life has been suffering lately.
They're On Their Phone A Lot Late At Night
Another late night habit to look out for is a sudden uptick in calls and texts. If your SO if frequently on their phone at night right in front of you, that’s obviously less concerning behavior. However, if they’re secretive about their late night communication, that could definitely be a red flag. For example, Dr. Brown notes that they may take their phone into the bathroom and lock the door.
The only way to figure out if you should be concerned about their late-night phone habits is to ask them about it outright. Simply ask who they’ve been talking to so late at night — and from there, determine whether their answer seems reasonable. If their parents are traveling out of the country and they have to deal with the time difference, that may be a valid excuse. On the other hand, Trombetti points out that business calls probably make no sense at midnight or 1 a.m., and that may be a cover up for cheating.
They've Stopped Leaving Their Phone On The Nightstand
Your SO used to set their phone on the bathroom counter while going through their bedtime skincare routine, but now they keep it in the pocket of their sweatpants. They used to leave their phone right on your nightstand, and now they slip it under their pillow when sleeping at your place. If you notice that they no longer leave their phone out for you to see, Dr. Brown says that could indicate that there are conversations with someone else that they’re trying to hide.
Of course, we all have different habits when it comes to having our phones on us. Some of us may put it in our pocket without even thinking about it. The point is, if bae used to be nonchalant about leaving theirs out, and now they seem to be more protective of it, that’s shady behavior that could be related to cheating.
It’s important to note that while all of these behaviors may point to possible cheating, there’s no way to tell for sure if your SO if being unfaithful simply by noticing these changes in habits. So, if you observe one or more of these, experts agree it’s time to have an honest talk with your partner about what you’re noticing.
“The sooner you know, the sooner you can work it out (or move on),” explains Trombetti.
Dr. Brown advises remaining non-accusatory and non-judgmental during this conversation.
“Let them know that you are observing some different behaviors, and ask them how they are doing,” he says. “You want to start off assuming their good will until and if there is a reason not to trust them.”
If they seem evasive or you don't trust their response, Dr. Brown suggests asking them more directly if they are seeing someone else.
“You will really need to pay attention to not only the words that they use but also the tone of their voice and their facial expressions,” he adds. “That is why you must have this conversation in person and not over text. You also want to make sure that the environment offers some privacy so you want to do this and at a time and place that offers the best opportunity to process what you both say and hear.”
Being suspicious that your SO is cheating can be highly distressing, and while looking out for some of these signs may help you to figure out whether there’s any validity to your hunch, they aren’t sufficient evidence on their own. Revealing your concerns to your boo is the best way to honor your bond: It allows you an opportunity to clear up any possible misconceptions or unwarranted fears, and it allows them the opportunity to explain their change in behavior and ideally, do whatever it takes to maintain your trust.