Infidelity: The Whys and The Red Flags
With so many sites like Ashley Maddison, Facebook, Instagram and others making it so easy, how do you know your partner is NOT cheating?
Webster’s dictionary defines infidelity as “the act or fact of having a romantic or sexual relationship with someone other than one’s husband, wife, or partner”. It is synonymously known as adultery, cheating, being unfaithful or simply having an affair.
We may have the notion that infidelity is rare, however that’s far from the truth. Infidelity has been prevalent since the beginning of time. Recent studies in the USA have shown that about 20% of married couples have faced the issue of adultery, compared to around 70% of those who are unmarried. The study further indicated that while more than 90% of Americans believe infidelity to be immoral, between 30 to 40% engage in it. Men between the ages of 51 to 59 had the highest infidelity rate at 31%, while for women, it’s those in their 60s who were reported to have the highest infidelity rates, at about 16%. In general, men tend to cheat more than women. The ratio is 20% of men, compared to 13% of woman, according to the General Social Survey, (referenced below).
“Infidelity or cheating has a devastating effect on the people involved as well as their marriage and relationships”, says Carl Franco, Founder and President of Franco Investigation Services.
There has never been absolute clarity over why people cheat. Various factors have been attested to as to why people commit adultery. Anthropologists have claimed that human beings are neither completely monogamous nor completely polygamous.
Cultural differences can impact the view of extramarital relationships. Culture perceptions can also have an effect on the percentage of those who commit infidelity. However, recent, increasing interests in the issue of infidelity in relationships have led to several surveys and added research being conducted. These surveys report on several major reasons that drive people to cheat on their spouse or partner.
Below are the eight major motives respondents identified as reasons for cheating on their partners. They are as follows:
Reason 01. Neglect
Often times, the feelings of being neglected or their partner being inattentive towards them becomes a reason for infidelity. More women than men cite neglect as a reason for cheating on their spouse or current partner.
Reason 02. Self-Esteem Boost
More than half of participants indicated they committed adultery as a means to boost their self-esteem and ego.
Reason 03. Anger
Many of the participants indicated they only cheated on their partners out of anger. Infidelity was a way to take revenge or as a means of punishing their partner.
Reason 04. Situational Forces
Some of the participants indicated that they did not plan on committing infidelity, nor were they dissatisfied with their partners or spouses. Instead, reasons given were that they found themselves in situations never anticipated, which ultimately led to them committing an act of infidelity. Men cited this reason more often as compared to women.
Reason 05. Lack of Love
Nearly three quarters (77%) of participants indicated “lack of love” as a reason for cheating on their spouse or partner. Absence of love or harnessing a greater love for a person outside the relationship, was quoted as a reason for infidelity.
Reason 06. Lack of Commitment
41% of respondents indicated that lack of commitment towards their current partner caused them to cheat. This reason often goes hand-in-hand with feeling a lack of love towards one’s spouse or current partner.
Signs of Infidelity
The changes in behaviour listed below should definitely raise red flags. However, do keep in mind that on occasion, these signs may indicate other, completely unrelated problems in the relationship. Being in the relationship, you would do best to use your judgement in each situation.
Sign 01. Appearance Change
When your partner or spouse, who never bothered with the way they looked before, or didn’t pay as much attention, starts paying more attention to their appearance. This sudden self-interest can certainly be an indication of a possible extramarital relationship. They start dressing more carefully, buying new clothes or begin to change their style, choices of undergarments, etc. These can all be signs they might be cheating.
Sign 02. Unreachable
A cheating partner is less likely to communicate with you as frequently as before, not attending your calls or responding to your texts. They may start becoming unreachable at odd times and for lengthy periods during the day. You may get legitimate-sounding reasons for their unresponsiveness such as driving, being in a meeting, or even an absence of cell service.
Sign 03. Change in Behaviour
A person who is cheating will display changes in behaviour. They start staying late at work or needing to take business trips. Their spending habits may also reflect a change or increase in credit card use or credit limit, charges from places you’ve never heard of or rarely visited, decrease in the amount of savings or investments, etc. Putting off large purchases with you, or avoiding long-term commitments can also be an indication of your partner being unfaithful. They become more critical of you – criticize your appearance, manner or nature, or compare you to other people. Things about you that did not bother them before now suddenly start to bother them.
Sign 04. Difference in Sex
When you’ve been together and intimate with your partner for a while, you can tell when things change. It could either be a change in frequency, less sex or even more often. Or a change in sexual activity. They may introduce new techniques or activities into your sex life, which they may have learned from their other partners. You might feel less of an emotional connection in the sex than before.
Sign 05. Change in Technology Use
When you observe a change in their habits or patterns, such as changes in their use of mobile phones, computer, social media sites, etc., there is a chance they’re cheating on you. The partner who might never have had much of an interest in their phone before may start taking it with them everywhere, even to the bathroom. Or they may be secretive while using their phones or computers. They might close their screen suddenly when you appear, or start deleting their browser histories. Someone who uses social media far more now than before is a concern. Also a concern is someone who no longer spends as much time online as they did before.
Sign 06. Hostility and Accusations
When a person is cheating, they tend to justify and rationalize their act. One way they might do so is by becoming hostile towards you. By finding faults in you, they try to justify their cheating. They might get into unnecessary arguments with you and may even accuse you of cheating. These are ways to deflect and justify their behaviour.
Sign 07. Uncomfortable Friends
Your partner’s friends are usually the first to know about their cheating. And maybe even your friends find out before you. When you notice your partner’s friends being uncomfortable around you or your friends being overly nice and sympathetic towards you, it could be because they already know or suspect your partner’s cheating.
Although these are signs typical of cheating, it is important to remember that your spouse or partner, despite showing them, might be perfectly innocent. How can you be sure whether that disturbing, sneaking suspicion you have is justified or not? One sure way of doing so is by hiring a private investigator experienced in infidelity investigations. A private investigator is a licensed individual who can help you find the truth behind your partner’s suspicious behaviours.
Gary W. Lewandowski, Jr., Why Do People in Relationships Cheat?, Scientific American, May 4, 2021
Theresa E. DiDonato Ph.D., The 8 Main Reasons Why People Cheat, Psychology Today, October 18, 2019
Arthur Zuckerman, 50 CHEATING STATISTICS: 2020/2021 DEMOGRAPHICS, REASONS & WHO CHEATS MORE, CompareCamp, May 29, 2020
Wendy Wang, Who Cheats More? The Demographics of Infidelity in America, Institute for Family Studies, JANUARY 10, 2018
Infidelity / Cheating Spouse Investigation, PInow.com
Sheri Stritof, Signs Your Spouse Could Be Cheating, verywellmind.com, November 05, 2021
Korin Miller and Samantha Vincenty, 16 Surprising Signs Your Partner May Be Cheating, Oprahdaily.com, Jul 23, 2021
Robert Weiss Ph.D., MSW, 10 Signs Your Spouse Is Cheating, Psychology Today, December 10, 2018