When a husband, wife, boyfriend, or girlfriend experience a rapid and unexplained deterioration in his or her relationship it is natural to ask, “How can I tell if my partner is cheating?”
As a seasoned marriage therapist, it is not unusual for relationships to be “stuck.” One individual is working very hard in therapy to bring back the enthusiasm, passion, and goodwill that has been missing for a long time. The marriage therapy itself is going very well in the sense that I, or it could be any therapist, has an effective approach and has made a good personal connection with each participant.
Nonetheless, nothing seems to change their relationship for the better. To me, as the therapist, it seems irrational that these two estranged lovebirds can’t find their way back to the nest.
When I observed this ‘stuckness,’ I cannot help wondering about the possibility that a hidden outside lover is involved; that the individual dragging his or her feet may be cheating!
Nine times out of ten I can tell from my knowledge of an individual’s behavior when he or she is cheating!
When this kind of illogical ‘stuckness’ happens, I am faced with a dilemma.
The couple has come to me expressing that they want help in “rekindling” the love in their relationship. Or at least the cheating individual is in marriage therapy as an act of kindness to his or her unhappy partner, or in his or her self-serving phantasy the cheater thinks marriage therapy can help his or her home life while the “secret” remains intact.
When an individual in a marriage or committed relationship cheats, even when his partner is not aware of it, the dynamics of the relationship change dramatically. Typically, every type of intimacy and closeness decreases. Guilt, depression, anxiety, and fear grip the cheating partner. Naturally, this affects the relationship, leaving the other partner confused, saddened, and worried.
When I suspect adultery and the couple says nothing about it, I ask myself the question, “Should I start probing and perhaps even accuse the suspected partner of betrayal?” If I did this, it could cause untold hardship for the two individuals before me and would likely have a ripple effect devastating everyone within their social circle, especially their children.
On the other hand, if I say nothing we are wasting our time because if an individual is cheating on his or her partner marriage therapy won’t work.
When an individual comes to me and tells me their relationship is stuck and he or she can’t understand why; infidelity lights flash in my head. After I ask a few more probing questions, I can more or less inform this individual that he or she should do some detective work if they want to know why their marriage or committed relationship is stuck.
If you discover that no matter how hard you try, you can’t find any leverage in your efforts to improve your relationship, and your partner will not invest his or her energy and cooperate with you to make things better, there may be a third person in your marriage.
Yes, there are other signs that also need to be taken into consideration. What they are, are beyond the scope of this brief article.
When asked, “How to tell if someone is cheating?” I answer simply, look for the signs. When your eyes are open, typically the signs of cheating are not so difficult to spot. As we say, “where there is smoke there is fire,” so too, when your partner is distant and secretive, adultery may be the reason.
However, not everyone wants to “know the truth” and it is their right not to know. If this is your situation, be informed and know the heavy price you are paying for not challenging your partner (and yourself) regarding the possibility that he or she is committing adultery.
Infidelity is a terrible thing. The only good solution is that it never happen in the first place. If it does happen, if your partner is cheating, there are good professional experts in relationship dynamics who can help you.
How to tell if someone is cheating? The answer is simple… dig around and you will find the truth!
Infidelity need not spell the end of your relationship. Be sure to read my latest book, Surviving Infidelity: A Couple’s Journey Using the 7-Step Recovery Map, available from Amazon.com.