Sometime in 2018 after a workshop. A gentleman walked up to me, greeted and asked. “Can you give me a couple of signs that show my partner may be cheating on me”. I was taken aback but today this question comes in every other day.
It’s an amazing thing sitting in a quiet corner during a criminal questioning session and getting paid afterwards for deciphering body language.Talking to an inmate who obviously is telling the truth and deserves nothing about his current circumstances. Infact it’s exciting speaking to people and being able to help them unpack emotions and thoughts. However, the worst tragedy that can befall a human being is being able to read, interpret and predict human intention to an uncomfortable degree. This is simply because you will approach the relational aspect of your personal life with caution. Your most enjoyable moments will come when you drive, fly or simply go to remote places hundreds of miles away from familiar or simply decide to relate with someone without attempting to read them. This is the reason it’s a bit puzzling when humans try to find out the same things that could topple everything else.
In my young career i get asked a lot of questions but nothing as often as this line. “Temple, how can i know if my partner is having an affair?”.People need to know this so badly that they are willing to pay for this. Unfortunately, payment collected for advice that has no intention of helping solve an existing problem seems to me “a Judas Fee”. Rather than that, i decided to write about every classic tell-tale sign gathered across years of passive and licensed practice. While these may be my opinion, i would advice you take it with a pinch of salt as we do not want you mislabeling the behavior of a loved one.(that’s my disclaimer). Without wasting time, here are my thoughts and these are for both dating and married couples.
Is May be Cheating if,
A) A spike in Sexual interest or A lack of interest: There is an emotional detachment required to cheat. With those detachments the first things that go are those intimate nuances such as solid eye contact and kisses. Like some punishment they give themselves for cheating, they withdraw these from the relationship unconsciously because they have broken the trust that once existed. For others, you will notice that gifts and more sex are being given to you as over-compensation. Once any of these scenarios strike you as odd, then there is most likely an issue. Excuses may follow such as, the stress with the children, i’m so tired, work just got hectic etc. When this triggers a feeling of being alone and rejection, your fears may be real.
B) An Obsession with a Device (phone or laptop): When the work-related emergencies pile-up and business partners are hot buzzing their phones for discussions that need to happen behind closed doors you may need to worry. When having an affair, there is an obsession that tugs both ways. Like high-school teenagers in love, anxiety sets in when they can’t communicate and they can’t wait to contact each other “against all odds”. You are the odds. In extreme cases, affair partners would have their lovers within eye-shot by inviting them to events they would be attending with their spouses. This gets the adrenaline levels spiking and the excitement is like a drug both parties require to keep ticking.
C) Your Partner’s Moral Compass Suddenly Comes Correct: When your partner suddenly starts quoting verses, becomes pious, throws them-self into charitable activities please look really well. If there was no Near Death Experience, a spiritual encounter or a life altering situation to trigger all of this, you may just be right in the middle of a P.R campaign. Imams, pastors, counselors, teachers, parents are not above temptation. The devil quotes the qua ran and bible too. If the partners actions do not match up with the newfound ways you are most likely a support character in a play. A play that’s all about a human’s struggle to attempt living correctly by at least talking like it while hoping their morals catch up.
D) No Ring: Many veteran cheaters no longer fall for this one but some pee-wee ones still forget to slip it back on. If this does happen and you get feedback such as i think i lost weight and it keeps falling off, it’s triggering my allergy etc you may just have a bigger issue on your hands. You also need to know your partner and their behavioral patterns, spending patterns and what their scale of preference is. e.g when a wife who thinks you spent much on a new dress spots an expensive necklace you didn’t buy for her, that’s something. Yes’ she could afford it with her own cash but the logic is in the fact that she doesn’t like spending much on frivolities. That’s the focus.
E) Off-guarded Name-drops & Innocent Consistent Banter about Someone: When the clouds are filled with vapor they release rain and in this same manner, when the brain is obsessed with a thing, it spills names,events or places. There’s a twisted form of excitement the cheating partner feels talking about their affair partner or having them around. Many individuals having affairs have their cheating mate right under their partners nose or have them making eye contact right at that event both of you attended. That’s the pull of an affair. Many may not agree right off the cuffs but that’s ok. In your quiet time when it’s just you, the walls and your emotions do give it another thought. When a individual (especially someone who has cheated before) mentions names of new restaurants they’ve been to, a name of a person etc they just want you to share in their sick excitement. When you hear things like Mr X’s wife is making life so hard for him or Mrs P had even mentioned how sweet a person you are, understand that most humans are too deep into themselves to make out time for others. So when this happens, it’s based on a connection and not just random talks. You might be lucky to have that one great friend who is of the opposite sex but 90% of the time, straight heterosexual men and women can’t just be friends.
F) Money Lies: When your partner is in charge of the finances without you being involved, it could be for a lot of reasons. An article i wrote on Financial Infidelity mentions a lot of these reasons but let’s single out one of it. An affair. When finances becomes a topic not up for discussion, it’s usually followed up with secret accounts, secret debit cards you do not know about and a lot more. It’s never a bad thing asking your partner for clarification as it regards both your finances and no one should make you feel bad for doing so. It’s your right even if they are making more money.
G) Little Lies & (not-so) Elegant Excuses: Lying is a defense mechanism we learn as children. We know it’s bad and most times rather than tell a lie, most would rather give an excuse. This is a much better moral pill than going all out and lying. When a partner starts cheating, they cannot avoid excuses first and subsequently all out lies. The problem is that there is only a number of lies the human brain can keep up with. A human having an affair will tell lies but watch out for the little lies that don’t add up because the more complicated a lie gets, the weaker it’s base becomes. The little inconsistencies are what you should be concentrating on and not the superfluous yarn. Being called someone elses name, not being called your name too, Word’s like “Are you saying i’m lying”, “Don’t you remember?I already said this to you before” or that laughter/smug smirk that makes you feel like the shittiest emotionally dependent runt are all signs. I’ve seen it all play out before me only to discover she/he were just practicing for their Oscars.
H) Anger and Violence Meant to Distract: The shame and guilt that comes with cheating are always looking for expression.
“Pain that you do NOT transform MUST be transmitted” – Father Richard Rohr
These usually shows up in the most twisted mix of emotions. Rebellious defiance, anger and outright rage. The people on the receiving end are usually the ones who they secretly despise or resent for being committed, stable & trustworthy. Everything they currently aren’t. Most times you know this is the case with you if you are constantly always walking on glass around your own home, spouse or partner. One minute they are so angry, the next they are relaxed, then five minutes later withdrawn. You are only battling something known as the sin cycle. The aggression and fights are simply their ways of justifying the affair. They sell themselves a narrative about the committed partner such as you’re too emotional, uptight, not sexually appealing or anything else that will give them the opportunity to pack a bag and find solace in the arms of their lover where they can complain about you.
N.Bno let’s make it B.S : If you are having an affair, the least you can do is try not to use your committed partner as your reason for straying especially if you know it’s not true. Be man or woman enough to tell yourself the truth as this will firstly, help you negotiate the curve faster and maybe get on the road to recovery and secondly retain your partners dignity in the eyes of your lover. A portion of the lies that the rumour mills are agog with about people come from disgruntled mistresses or gigolos whose love interests have moved on but not without telling stories about their partners.
“Your Affair partners will ALWAYS change BUT the impressions and lies you told about your committed partner will never be corrected. It only gets corrected when you get found out on a public scale…It never ends well.”
For the man or woman cheating with someone’s partner/wife/husband here’s my honest advice to you. “Never Believe A Word”. A woman will say anything to get what she needs from you and a man will eat grass to get between your legs. Those moments with them though intimate are not the best times to gauge honesty as a majority erroneously believe. This is why the most functional courtesans and gigolos such as Madame de Pompadour, Nell Gwynn, Marie DuPlessis, Phaedo of Elis, Febbo di Poggio (Michael Angelo’s Lover) etc were the ones who knew how to separate the erotic from the emotional.
I) Frequent Travel: The “I’m going on a trip” line is one most committed partners have come to dread because it’s one of those scenarios that leaves them clueless on what their partner may be getting up to. Let’s dive into facts… We all know that the more frequently a partner travels the higher their chances of straying because travelling by itself has a momentary feeling of relief and freedom even if it’s work-related. Having established this fact, you may have an issue when your spouse or partner drops off the face of the planet every-time they travel. With all the FREELY available means of communication now within our grasp, there are only a few excuses that can now hold water when you are incommunicado. Here are somethings that may imply foul play especially for individuals who have given you reasons before now to doubt them.
When your partner travels and have to contact you first because you’re unable to reach them when you try calling.
When a partner is at a location different from where they say they are going to. Always take note of the background noises. A yoruba song playing in the background when your husband is on a trip to Enugu is very possible but what are the chances? I can’t say.
When travel trips suddenly get extended because “some meetings were re-scheduled”, “ad-hoc arrangements were made” etc.
Taking into consideration the time zone your partners location is in, watch if they always call before dinner/nightfall and talk about having an early night. You might actually have have just been “handled” by someone with plans for an evening of debauchery.
When you do not have the vessel number, hotel name or how long a trip may be for, red flags should go up.
J) I’m not a Public/Social/Social Media Person: This is one trait that has sheltered and saved lots of marriages. When one or both partners are not in the habit of displaying their life on social media they become elusive targets. However, when this is mentioned by a partner especially at the onset of a relationship, go the extra mile to find out if this is wholly true. This is simply because anyone who isn’t particularly proud to be associated with you on social media or hides their relationship with you may be prouder to be seen with some other person. It could also be that they aren’t willing to be seen with anyone to give off an impression that they are unattached. Do you know their family members and associates? Do they even have any family members in your opinion? Are most of the dates at home or occur at night in clandestine spots with a table located at the most hidden spots? Then you most likely aren’t number one or run the risk of having number one seeing you with their partner.
K) Oddities that that Stick Out: When it comes to cheating, even the all-time greats slip up and so will a cheating partner over time. When a partner decides to become observant, that is when they start noticing those little oddities that speak loudest. After a quick romp in the car, the seat may be reclined at a rather unusual angle than what your partner ordinarily puts it in. The car A.C vent may be turned off on the passenger side by a side-piece who doesn’t like the cold. Infact the shirt might have a little strand of flashy orange strand of hair different from your natural black. Outings like late-night cinema visits you can’t remember. The list goes on and on but the whole idea is to be observant.
L) The Mobile Phone: This is the latest addition of how to spot a cheater. Initially it was that odd stammering or that lipstick stain. However with the apps, communication tools etc. available on the mobile device, cheating has never been easier and convenient. Handing over a phone to your partner should never be a problem neither should taking a call or reading a torrent of texts coming in but because a lot of people have erased certain moral lines with their phone habits, it’s a difficult thing to do. A pass worded phone is one that’s suspect (Yes, i believe your phone is yours but if you password your phone so a partner can’t access it then all isn’t well. Please note, emotional, financial, verbal and fantasy are all types of cheating). A partner with a second phone is also a concern and someone who has a previous history of cheating should be looked into when multiple sim-cards start showing up. Other tell-tale signs of a cheating partner are phone calls taken in the car, on the driveway before they come into the house or behind locked doors in any room.
M) Working Late: We understand that sometimes work may pile up and demand extra hours. However, if this becomes highly unpredictable, requires them dropping of a colleague of the opposite gender then you should be on high alert. A sure-fire sign is usually coming home without any interest in dinner. There’s no shame in driving to your spouse or partners office with dinner or just passing by to say hi and then calling them while you are there. If they are having a meal with a potential business associate/ client in the evenings, there is nothing absolutely wrong with that if you are in the know (i.e if you’re emotionally mature and not work yourself into a jealous rage). Asides from this scenario, no employee should be alone with a colleague of the opposite gender way past office hours (i’m talking 7pm and above). If your company allows that time for reconciliations, that is terrible company policy that could open up an avenue for extra-marital affairs.
Now that you confirmed, What next?
Human beings usually get to a point where they change because they simply decided to. Even a partner caught in the very act may not just change. The excitement, fantasy, false validation and feeling on invincibility (false again) that affairs offer are way too strong for most cheaters. Even when they say they are sorry, it may be for a moment and only because they got caught. If you push too hard especially in a relationship, they simply replace you with someone more gullible. For cheaters who are addicted to the thrill and the sex, i can assure you that the repairs required go beyond the infidelity because cheating most times opens up it’s victims to other vices such as spousal abuse, excessive drinking, marital rape and much more. All these other vices gives almost the same false highs derived from cheating. If you are not ready for the work involved in rehabilitating a cheating spouse, it’s best you move on because it involves quite a bit of work. If you have decided to move on, one of the first things you need to do is get an STI test, begin collating evidence required in court and take the bold step of moving on. However if you want to stay and work on the relationship, Click here for my article on how to rebuild trust after an affair.
Well, these are some of the signs I’ve noticed over these past years in my career talking to people who cheated and the ones who were cheated on. As always, i hope this piece on “signs my partner may be cheating on me” helped someone. I feel better dropping it here rather than saying it to one person. It levels out the playing field for everyone. If you are struggling with an affair and would love to talk about it, You know how to reach me. Don’t wait until you get caught, your career crashes, your family life dis-integrates or your squeaky public image gets dented before seeking help.
Answers by Obike Temple.
Temple Obike is a licensed marriage and family therapist, speaker, author and psychotherapist who has counseled over one thousand, two hundred clients comprising of couples, individuals, abuse victims (substance, physical, emotional and sexual) and grief-stricken clients. With over 70,000 in-counseling minutes (1,000+ hours) accrued in practice. He runs his private psychotherapy & counseling practice out of Lagos, Nigeria and has counseling centers in Abuja and Port-Harcourt. His practice also provides options for both online and on-site services.
His private practice has positively empowered lives through his online counseling, podcasts, free advisory services and free online materials. Readership of his articles also receive a growing number of visitors alongside subscriptions to his email newsletter at templeobike.com. His passion for empowering and uncovering the secrets to lifelong marriages and personal development led to his new book titled “Soul Bodega” available on amazon and across other online and traditional stores.
Never give up on yourself! You are a journey happening through various destinations.