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The warning signs of infidelity

The top ten warning signs that something isn't right...​

A UK survey of married partners found 50% of men and 85% of women who noticed warning signs of infidelity were correct. Infidelity is steadily increasing but there is no secret formula to know for sure that a person is cheating. A partners unusual behaviour could be taking place for other reasons than an affair. However, whatever the case, warning signs are not good things. We've listed the top ten warning signs taken from the survey:

Emotional withdrawal

The number one on the sign of infidelity is when a partner becomes emotionally distant, withdrawn or depressed. Almost all of those who had been cheated on in the survey reported this behaviour.


Becoming angry & irritable

The second most commonly reported sign of infidelity is the unfaithful partner becoming angry, critical and even at times cruel. 70% of those surveyed reported this sign often combined with emotional and verbal abuse, constant put downs and little to no patience.











Are you constantly walking on eggshells? Is your partner often complaining of trivial things? Do you sense unhappiness in them, but you can't explain it or understand it? Do you feel like you keep giving and they keep taking yet they are still unhappy? A Yes to these questions is among the signs of infidelity.

Seeking control

The third highest sign of infidelity is the issue of control voiced by those who are being unfaithful. Often they complain that their partners are "controlling", yet they themselves are guilty of attempting to control. Does your partner complain about being controlled or that they are being monitored, even if you ask very little of what they are doing? If you find that 'control' is an ongoing issue in your conversations with your partner your relationship could be at risk.


Creating distance

Fourth on the list of the warning signs of infidelity is noticeably more time spent away from home, increased working hours, after work meetings, business trips and a need to be away for prolonged periods of time. The most common situation in which infidelity takes place is if an opportunity presents itself.


Prior illness

Somewhat suprisingly, the fifth warning sign on the list of the survey results (reported by 50% of those who participated) is illness of the one who is faithful prior to the beginning of the infidelity.

Change in appearance

Number six on the list is paying unusual attention to their appearance, buying new clothes, losing weight, extra primping, working out at the gym and other sudden fitness endeavours. Equally a sudden change in musical tastes or TV programs can be a sign that a third party is influencing your partners outlook.


Change in outlook

The seventh of the warning signs is showing more energy and zeal for life, doing things they've never done before or a sudden interest in a new hobby or sport. Interestingly enough this sign was often accompanied by a contrasting lack of energy or depression. A partner can simultaneously have zeal for whatever is going on outside the home but a lack of zeal for whatever is going on inside the home.

Becoming defensive

Becoming inappropriately defensive when asked questions, was number eight on the list of the warning signs of infidelity.

New friendships

Warning sign number nine is a partner becoming extra flirtatious with the opposite sex., becming very defensive about their 'right' to maintain private friendships with the opposite sex.


The tenth of the signs of infidelity is an obsessive need for 'secrecy'. Staying up late at night to work on the computer, making phone calls from the car, hiding credit card statements and phone bills are high among the signs of infidelity. When your partner suddenly needs a second mobile phone, private email or even bank account (which they become highly defensive about maintaining) there is a good chance that they are hiding something, and that something is probably infidelity.

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"His attitude towards me changed gradually from being an average attentive husband to nearly ignoring me completely towards the end. He became self-absorbed, living as if he was single with his own agenda and plans. He became more and more disinterested in me, our family, our friends and our daily needs."

"She showed no interest in improving our marriage. When I tried to show her affection she would not let me, especially not in public. Since the other man travelled in our circle of friends, I later realised she did not want the other man to see her being warm towards me."

"He kept picking apart things I did, like the kind of books I read and the food I prepared. I was constantly walking on eggshells" 

"At the worst point he was more than disrespectful. He was just plain rude, impatient, angry and aggressive. He was constantly picking fights and refused to help out in the home or with our children"

"She always seemed somewhat angry at me, like I was to blame for something that was happening."

"She insisted that I give her more space, that I stop smothering her, and give her room to breathe."

"He had a 'my way or the highway' type of attitude."

"He became withdrawn and seemed to have no energy. He napped or was gone a lot."

"My husband once came home and announced that he was going out with a friend. I was only too happy that he was going out to do something really fun with one of his friends. I should have clued in that something was wrong when he added 'It's my turn to do something fun and you can't stop me.' It would never have been my intention to hinder him from having fun. His uncalled for defensiveness, coupled with the extra zeal and enthusiasm for the outing, should have been my clue that his friend was another woman."

"She kept telling me that they were 'just friends'. The fact that she continually seemed to need to emphasize it, when I wasn't even asking, should have been an indication to me that something was up."

It is important to keep two very important facts in mind when reading the above warning signs;


1. Your partner could be exhibiting all of the warning signs and still not be having an affair and

2. Your partner could be exhibiting none of these signs and still be engaged in an affair.


These are simply the common signs reported by those who have been cheated on. Other reasons in life could cause your partner to act in any of the ways above. Equally, if your partner exhibits none of the signs above, that does not guarantee that they arent cheating. Ultimately you will need to discover for yourself the truth in your own unique situation.


Deciding on what to do next is always difficult when you are directly and emotionally involved with the outcome. One effective method of decision-making is to have a threshold of decision. This is the point at which, no matter what, you make a decision to act. Having this threshold guards against hesitation and indecision due to overanalysis or passively waiting for additional information. A well known method is the Rule of Three. When you observe three signs, you should make a decision to act. What that act is will obviously depend on your situation; it may be to talk with your partner, or a friend or relative, or to seek advice from an online counsellor such as


You may feel you need facts before deciding on tackling the issue head on and we are here to offer you support as and when you need it. Our services are discrete and confidential. Click more to read on. 

What should I do if I see any of these signs?
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