How to Determine if Your Spouse is Cheating

Three Methods:Feeling Suspicious and Going With Your GutDigging Deeper and Gathering EvidenceTalking to Your Spouse

Every couple goes through hard times at some point. But even when things seem good, it’s possible your partner is being unfaithful.[1] Paying careful attention to your spouse's habits and doing a little investigation will help you protect yourself from a lying spouse. If your gut is telling you that your spouse is cheating, advocate for yourself and be proactive in discovering infidelity.

Method 1
Feeling Suspicious and Going With Your Gut

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    Look for declining quality in your relationship. People who have affairs may lash out because they feel guilty.[2] Affairs may also be the result of a flagging, unhealthy marriage. Signs of an unhealthy relationship include: [3]
    • Your spouse will criticize you more often.
    • You will engage in more frequent fights.[4]
    • You will spend less time together.
    • He or she will avoid your calls.
    • A low-quality relationship can be a symptom or a cause of cheating. In either case, take steps to make things right with your partner. Talk about your concerns honestly and openly, and let them know that you love them and want a healthy, caring relationship.
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    Listen to your spouse. When they become infatuated with another romantic partner, they may mention them abundantly in conversation. They might also mention their romantic partner critically in front of you, or stop mentioning them at all.[5]
    • Your spouse may quote a potential romantic partner at length, or relate a story about something innocuous they did together. If your spouse insists vehemently they are “just friends” with the individual in question in a way they don’t with other acquaintances, it may indicate an affair.
    • Alternately, if your spouse stops referring to someone he or she had spoken of frequently before (usually a coworker), it may be a sign they’re having an affair.[6]
    • Finally, if your spouse starts criticizing someone they previously had no problem with – a neighbor, a coworker, or friend – it may be to conceal the fact that they are actually involved with that person romantically and are attempting to mislead you.
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    Be attentive to appearance. When your spouse is having an affair, they may take a new interest in their appearance.[7] They want to look nice for their new romantic partner by purchasing new clothes, changing their hairstyle, or otherwise upgrading the way they look. Other visible signs your spouse may be attempting to please their lover with a new, more youthful appearance include:
    • visits to the dentist
    • a new pair of glasses
    • visiting the tanning salon more frequently
    • using a new cologne or perfume
    • losing weight
    • exercising more often
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    Note any change in sexual activity. If your partner is cheating, your intimate encounters with them may improve or evaporate depending on your partner.[8][9][10] If your partner is satisfying his or her sexual appetite with someone else, they might have little energy left to spend on you. On the other hand, it is possible that in order to better conceal the affair, your spouse has decided to mislead you by boosting the level of intimacy at home. Perhaps the affair improved your partner’s sex drive overall or introduced them to new techniques in bed. Be on the lookout for changes in the level and type of sexual activity between you.
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    Trust your instincts. If you suspect that something is wrong, don't ignore it. You may be detecting some subtle microexpressions (very brief flashes of an emotion other than the one being expressed) or insincere emotions.[11] What is often chalked up to intuition or a gut feeling has a solid basis in biology. Trust your feelings when you suspect infidelity.

Method 2
Digging Deeper and Gathering Evidence

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    Look out for unusual behavior.[12] When they answer their cell phone, do they often flee somewhere out of earshot or cover the screen when texting? Do they go on work trips or unusual outings with friends and insist on you staying behind? Is their reaction odd or suspicious when you confront them about these outings? They may be trying to evade you in order to keep their affair under wraps. Has your spouse taken up a new hobby or interest? If so, they might have picked up a new interest from their lover. Any sudden change in your spouse's routine or lifestyle could indicate infidelity.[13]
    • Write down exactly when your spouse goes to work, goes to the gym, goes for lunch, etc. Call your spouse's place of work when he or she is supposed to be there, and see if he or she picks up.
    • Their routine may vary due to the work that your spouse does, so take care to consider other factors when using schedule as an indication of cheating.
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    Act unsuspecting. If your spouse believes you are on to them, they may take extra caution in hiding their affair, making your job of unearthing the truth more difficult.[14] Act cool and natural with your spouse even as you’re gathering evidence and picking up on the signals he or she is unconsciously broadcasting.
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    Watch your finances.[15] Are there any credit or debit card charges you do not recognize, such as restaurants, hotels, recreational activities, etc.? Have you found receipts for flowers, gifts, or other strange expenditures? If so, contact your bank or credit card company about the charges to get more information. Confront your spouse about his or her spending. If their answers are elusive, unclear, or suspicious, it's likely your spouse is cheating.
    • Questions about finances depend on the specific expenditure, but might include:
      • "Do you think these charges are correct?"
      • "Did you buy ____? "
      • "When did you buy ____?"
      • "Why did you buy ____?"
    • Elusive or unclear answers include:
      • "I don't remember."
      • "It's none of your business."
      • "Let's talk about it later."
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    Check the phone. Check your spouse’s text messages and cell phone calls. You might be able to find text or voicemail messages which indicate they are having an affair.
    • Even in the absence of explicit statements revealing an affair, you can use context clues to figure out if one is going on. If you notice a high volume of texts or calls between your spouse and someone else, it could be because they are having an affair. Other indirect evidence of an affair could be references to outings or recreational activities they shared together, but which your spouse didn't share with you.
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    Check the computer. Your spouse may be communicating with their lover through social media, email, or internet chat service. Check his or her profiles for messages which indicate an affair is going on.
    • You should also check browser history. If the browser history has been deleted recently, it may indicate your spouse is concealing a recent web session which included viewing their paramour’s social media page.
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    Hire a private eye.[16] A detective can follow your spouse, track their movements, and take film or video of their interactions over an extended time period. As an unknown third party, the detective can easily document your spouse’s movements to reveal infidelity (or, hopefully, a lack thereof).
    • Get a referral for a detective specializing in proving suspected extramarital affairs.
    • If you are unable or unwilling to invest the resources into getting a detective, do some digging on your own.[17] Ask neighbors and your spouse’s coworkers about his or her habits. Try to discover if they were seen coming or going at odd hours (especially at times they claimed they were elsewhere), or if they’ve been seen frequently in the company of someone who might be a romantic interest. If you have access to your partner’s cellphone, social media profiles, or email, check them for incriminating messages.[18]

Method 3
Talking to Your Spouse

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    Be patient. Your spouse may not be ready to confess that they are having an affair. Recognize that you cannot force them to confess.[19] Often your spouse will deny they are having an affair many times before they confess to actually engaging in one, especially if you do not present them with hard evidence of their infidelity.
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    Use a soft approach. Even though you’re angry and upset about your partner’s infidelity, always be gentle when making inquiries about their habits which may reveal they are having an affair. Adopt a non-accusatory tone of voice and do not yell. Sit when asking them questions and do not stand over them. Do not become aggressive or engage in physical violence. Even if they become angry at you for being “suspicious,” do not respond with anger. Adopt non-threatening body language by keeping your hands in your lap or at your sides. Do not cross your arms or put your hands on your hips when asking probing questions.
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    Ask probing questions. There are many questions you can ask your spouse to discover if they might be engaged in an affair. Instead of asking or accusing them outright, ask questions about their whereabouts or habits to make them accidentally reveal they have lied. One technique involves utilizing the Volatile Conundrum. This means putting the potential cheater in a position where they have to make a snap decision about their behavior or whereabouts.
    • For instance, if your partner says he or she was at the batting cage with friends before coming home, you might reply that your friend was at the batting cage as well and reported that it closed early due to a broken water main. Even though this is untrue, your spouse will have to agree or disagree with this version of events, giving you the opportunity to later fact-check his or her rely.[20]
    • More general probing questions might explore why your spouse has changed his or her habits, appearance, or schedule. For instance, you might ask:
      • “Why have your hours changed at the office?”
      • “What made you want to dye your hair?”
      • ”Why did you decide to lose weight?”
      • ”Who was on the phone?”
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    Become a lie detector. If your spouse offers long, overly-complex answers with abundant detail, or fidgets and squirms during the conversation, they may be lying to you. Liars also tend to present stories which are inconsistent or illogical. By asking the same question in different ways over a long period and looking for changes in their explanations, you might be able to determine if your spouse is cheating. For example, you might ask “Why did your work hours change?” Record your partner’s answer surreptitiously, then ask a similar question 7-10 days later, such as “Why are you working so late these days?” Finally, a lying spouse will exhibit microexpressions, very brief (1/25th of a second) facial expressions belying their guilt, fear, or surprise at being suspected of cheating.[21]
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    Ask directly. If you are still having a hard time determining if your spouse is cheating on you, take a more direct approach. Most will lie, but some will tell the truth. Liars tend to offer long, overly-complex answers, fidget or squirm uneasily, and will insert more interjections like “um” or “ah” into their replies. If your spouse reacts with anger or irritation, they might be lying to you.[22][23]
    • Be honest. If you have information which conclusively establishes that they are having an affair, present it. Do not dance around the subject or suggest indirectly that you suspect they are having an affair.
    • There is no perfectly accurate measure for detecting a lie. Everyone has different “tells,” the unique characteristics they display when lying.


  • One isolated sign of infidelity – changing one’s appearance, going on more frequent work trips -- may or may not indicate actual cheating. When multiple signs are present, however, the likelihood that your spouse is cheating increases.[24]
  • If you believe your spouse may be cheating, consider inviting him or her to marriage counseling. Marriage counselors are specialists who can offer an objective point of view on your relationship and provide guidance on how to improve it.
  • Do not feel guilty or blame yourself if your spouse is cheating. They are the only person responsible for their behavior.
  • Be honest about your expectations when confronting a cheating spouse. Do you want a divorce? Or just an end to the affair? Have a plan in place to address the consequences of infidelity.
  • It’s a common misconception that you can tell if someone is lying by looking at their eyes. In fact, cheaters may look directly at you, holding your gaze; look away at a fixed object; look around furtively; or blink more frequently. In short, there is no good way to analyze eye movement to determine if your spouse is cheating.[25]
  • While they are gone, take their phone into the bathroom and lock the door behind you. Check the internet history, call log, and text messages. Is there a Facebook profile your partner is always viewing? Calling or texting?


  • When someone is having an affair, they do not necessarily exhibit any clues or leave behind any evidence. Try to find substantial proof before accusing someone of cheating.
  • Remember, the longer you allow your spouse to cheat, the less your spouse respects you and the more you tacitly approve of his or her behavior.

Sources and Citations

  1. The Other Man, the Other Woman: Understanding and Coping with Extramarital Affairs, 50,'s%20affair&pg=PA50#v=onepage&q&f=false
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Categories: Cheating Spouses