"How did it come down to this? Scrolling through your call lists," sang Beyoncé in "Hold Up," as well as every girl who's ever been cheated on. You probably got to this point because you picked up on subtle red flags you're dating a cheater, in which case, good for you for being intuitive.
While it's never OK to invade your partner's privacy by snooping through their phone or other personal belongings, there are other ways you can tell if they're cheating on you. Someone who is being dishonest or whose attention lies elsewhere will have a hard time being transparent with you. You might find that they know far more about you than you do about them, and any efforts you make to correct this might be shut down.
That's when relationship experts say you should take a step back. OK, so maybe you don't dedicate an entire album to this person like Beyoncé did, but you definitely need to get to the bottom of whatever is going on in your relationship.
Here's exactly what you should be on the lookout for if you think your partner is cheating on you, according to two experts who've seen it all.
1. You're Not A Part Of Their Inner Circle
There's no hard and fast rule about when you and your partner should introduce each other to your friends, but if it feels like they are actively keeping you away, something's up.
Relationship coach and professional matchmaker Sameera Sullivan tells Elite Daily that if you and your partner have been together for a while, and you've introduced them to your family and friends, but you haven't met any of theirs, they might be hiding your relationship for a reason. Although it's possible they just prefer to keep their romantic life private, if you sense that this decision is malicious or unjustified, it may be because your partner is cheating on you.
2. They Don't Interact With You On Social Media
While Sullivan notes that not everyone shares their lives on social media, a partner who is open on the web about most other aspects of their life is typically one who would be enthusiastic about sharing cute snaps of your dates together. Instead, your partner hasn't posted a single photo of you two together or made any mention of you on social media.
"If you're in a photo [with them], it's with a group so as to not signal a romantic connection. And the worst case scenario is that they haven't connected with you on social media at all," Professional love and life mentor Susan Winter tells Elite Daily. "They claim it's not important or give reasons why it would be detrimental to your relationship, but the bottom line is, you're excluded." By hiding your relationship online, this person can convincingly tell other people they're single without arousing suspicion or judgment.
3. They Step Out Of The Room To Take Phone Calls Or Respond To Texts
This isn't the same as stepping out of the room to take a call from work or school because it's loud wherever you are, or because they're discussing a sensitive topic. Both Sullivan and Winter agree that if your partner frequently walks away to take calls from unlisted or unknown numbers with little explanation, it's probably because they're expecting a call from someone they're seeing on the side.
4. They Turn Their Phone Off When They're With You
Or they put it on airplane mode. Or they always set it face down. You might think that this is out of respect for you — because they want to spend quality time with you — but it can actually be because they don't want you to notice if or when they receive messages from other partners. I once went out with a guy whose phone was somehow always dead whenever we hung out. I found out a few weeks later that his phone's ~poor~ battery life actually had a lot to do with the fact that he already had a girlfriend and didn't want her to contact him while he was with me.
5. They Turn Their Phone Off When They're Not With You
If my experience with that person mentioned in the section above taught me anything, it's that the phone thing works both ways. While he never received unexpected texts on any of our dates, his girlfriend also couldn't call and ask what he was up to. If your partner is always unreachable by phone when you two are apart, it may mean they're not being honest with you about how they spend their time.
6. They Tell You They Don't Do "Labels"
Even after you've decided to be together, your partner struggles to define the relationship openly and comfortably. Sullivan says other related signs might be that they rarely speak about the future, and when they do, their plans don't include you. It's clear in this instance that they are not fully committed to you.
Apart from these six telltale signs, you might guess that your partner's body language would be a good indicator of their devotion to you, but Winter says that's not always the case. "If you're looking for concrete body language cues, they could throw you off," she explains. "Most liars are conscious of these tells and seek to portray the opposite type of body cues so as to not look guilty. Instead of being aloof in public or around their friends, they may be more effusive toward you in order to cover their tracks."
You can, however, pay attention to extreme changes in their behavior toward you. "Watch out for behavior that vacillates between being overly loving and overly withdrawn," says Winter. "When they're trying to prove their commitment to you, they'll be overly kind toward you — giving you gifts, telling you they love you, taking you out, and doing everything to reaffirm their sole interest. But when they begin to feel smothered by playing the role of your partner, they'll become quiet and distant." And as long as they remain only partly invested in your relationship, this frustrating game of emotional tag will persist.
The best thing to do in this case is to trust your instincts, even if you have a hard time proving your suspicions. If you sense that something feels off in your relationship, confront your partner about your concerns. If they are dismissive or if things don't improve, it's probably time to move on.
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