Recognizing the Warning Signs of Infidelity

I like to say that in general when your tummy tells you something, you should listen, because it is usually right. In my experience, this is also true with spouses and loved ones who suspect something is wrong in their relationship – particularly as it relates to infidelity. If you suspect there is something wrong, it is generally based upon circumstantial evidence or changes in behavior, albeit sometimes subtle.

As a longtime professional private detective who has handled numerous matrimonial-related investigations in my more than 30 years in business, the hardest part for a spouse is the uncertainty factor when suspicions of infidelity arise. Confronting the loved one usually is met with denials and often does not lead to closure. When confessions are elicited, the extent and magnitude of the betrayal is generally understated or minimized.

In the spirit of trying to help the public recognize the warning signs of infidelity, I have chronicled a list of changes and behaviors a spouse or loved one may display – indicators that, put together, can often mean he or she is cheating:

Circumstantial Evidence

Suspicions of infidelity usually begin with circumstantial evidence, such as when:

• The spouse comes home smelling like heretofore unknown perfume/cologne

• Unnecessary or inexplicable birth control is discovered

• Unexplained scratches or bruises appear on the spouse’s body

• The spouse is caught in a lie about taking a sick or personal day off from office

• The spouse is caught sneaking in or out of the house

• Credit card charges for unknown gifts or travel are discovered

• They are involved with excessive telephone call “hang-ups” or “wrong numbers”

• Long calls to unfamiliar number(s) show up on the telephone bill

• The spouse is caught in obvious lies about their whereabouts, activities, finances or other issues



When infidelity arises, one of the first changes to occur in a relationship involves communications (or lack there-of) with the spouse. They may begin to, demonstrate or become:

• Emotionally distant – ignore or appear disinterested in the spouse and family

• Engage in an overall reduction in communications of all kind with their spouse

• Easily angered or irritated

• Moody or “touchy”

• Overly critical of their spouse

• Make hurtful and or cruel remarks

• Deliberately pick fights and storm out of the house

• Overly evasive or defensive when asked questions

• Cease confiding in and asking for advice from the spouse

• Develop sudden interest in the spouse’s daily schedule and track their comings & goings



Another key indicator of infidelity is that your sex life changes on a fundamental level. For example, there is often:

• A general reduction in acts of intimacy on all levels

• A sudden increase in acts of intimacy, paradoxically

• A sudden interest in wanting to try new/different acts of intimacy

• Demonstrated new intimacy “talents”



A cheating spouse’s overall behavior will change – in particular they may:

• Spend an excessive amount of time on the computer – especially late at night

• Increase the frequency of occasions of “going out with friends”

• Become overly flirtatious with members of the opposite sex in public settings

• Stop wearing their wedding ring

• Silence, ignore or delete phone calls/texts/caller-ids and voicemails

• Leave the room when taking a phone call or whisper on calls

• Abruptly hang-up when the spouse enters the room

• Suddenly make it clear that they do not want you to show up at their office unexpectedly

• Take much longer than expected to do simple errands or other local trips

• Shower inexplicably when returning home from work or a business trip

• Develop a sudden interest in helping with the laundry or hide some of their laundry

• Engage in other, unexplained, unusual or erratic behavior



When a loved one suddenly demonstrates a keen interest in improving their appearance – i.e. attempting to look, dress, smell and groom themselves to impress or attract – there could very well be an infidelity problem. Specifically, a spouse may:

• Develop a sudden interest in fitness – getting into shape and losing weight – when there previously was little or none. The spouse often joins and/or spends lot of time at the gym or they become involved in other physical activities or sports for fitness purposes

• Buy new clothes, intimate apparel/different underwear & jewelry – and generally pays more attention to dressing and their appearance

• Suddenly be much more attention to personal grooming, shaving, makeup and preparation

• Change their hair-style drastically

• Wear more or different perfumes/colognes or scents


Work Habits

An affair also requires time so a cheating spouse will need to create opportunities by appearing to work much longer hours and go on more frequent and prolonged business trips. There will almost always be:

• A dramatic increase in work hours and frequency of staying late at work

• A sudden increase in business travel – including more prolonged trips



A cheating spouse will necessarily attempt to hide their infidelity by protecting the means of communication with their paramour. For example, they may:

• Suddenly password protect their electronic communications devices, including cell phones, computers and tablets

• Have secretive phone calls which they pawn off as work-related or a friend in need

• Open secret e-mail accounts

• Not allow any access to their computer

• Open a post office box unbeknownst to their spouse

• Buy a prepaid mobile phone or open a new cell phone account without informing their spouse

• Delete call histories, voicemails and caller-id records on their cell phone(s)

• Delete e-mails & web browsing histories on their computers



Cheating requires funding and funding such activity means there will be indicators – not to mention less for the family. But certain changes may be exhibited, such as:

• A sudden increase in the their spending

• A new credit card is taken out in only the spouse’s name

• They start to have certain bills, like credit card and telephone bills sent to office

• Reduced deposits into family checking account and an apparent reduction in overall income

• An increase in their ATM withdrawals – both amounts and frequency

• Inexplicable credit card charges



Cheaters will often take on the hobbies and interests of their paramour as well as display an overall interest in trying new things. They may:

• Display more energy/zest for life

• Develop new hobbies & interests

• New musical tastes

• Develop a sudden new interest in a particular sport(s)

• Start reading genres previously ignored

While everyone makes changes in their daily routines and exhibit changes in behaviors over time as an evolutionary process or for other reasons, if your spouse or loved one demonstrates a preponderance of these kinds of changes, then there is a high probability of infidelity.


Chris Marquet is Principal of Check Out Your Partner, a unit of Marquet International, Ltd., based in the Northeast US. He can be reached at (617) 733-3304 or