Cheating partners - How to find out if your partner is cheating

We've often heard of relationships ending or marriages breaking up over infidelity. There are many mistakes that can be, and are, forgiven in a relationship, but cheating is one of those almost unforgivable ones.
Fidelity is the basic premise of any relationship and most people feel that cheating cannot be condoned. Whether your boyfriend cheats on you while you're dating, or your fiancée plays around during the engagement or there is adultery in a marriage the ramifications are immense. There are often messy confrontations, sometimes a bitter break-up and an ongoing sense of hurt and betrayal.

But once you're over the initial intensity of emotions and you start thinking rationally again, there is an overwhelming feeling of foolishness. You start wondering how long your partner was fooling around behind your back and how you could have been so naïve. If there's one thing we human beings hate, it is to be made a fool of.

TIP: Read the guide to prevent a break up or get back with your ex.

How can you be alert to a cheating partner? What are the classic signs to watch out for if your partner is having an affair?

Here are some indications:

1. Starts working late very often

If your mate is normally always home at a particular time from the office and suddenly starts coming home consistently late. It could be a new project that's keeping him busy but it wouldn't be amiss to casually ask him a few questions about it. If he is evasive or vague about the reasons, the alarm bells should ring.

2. Is against you calling the office

If he/she wants to keep work life separate and doesn't want you to intrude, there could be a reason. I know of one such husband who got furious when his wife called the office. It seems he was having an affair with his colleague and was petrified his wife would find out if she got talking to the receptionist/staff. There are, of course, people who don't like to be disturbed at work but they rarely get paranoid about not calling at all.

3. Gets defensive if you ask questions

Beware if he/she acts guilty if you ask questions or try to probe. Life should be an open book for two individuals in love and if you're sharing his/her life and /or bed you have a right to certain answers. If he/she starts acting defensive or gets irritable and wants to avoid answering you'd better watch out!

4. Wants to go out with his friends exclusively

If he/she keeps making excuses to go out on dates with you only or be alone with you, your antenna should be up. Also, if your man keeps wanting to meet with his pals and tell you things like "You wouldn't be comfortable, it's guys only", you'd do well after a while, to do a background check with some of those guys he's claiming to go out with. It's best to appear casual in your questioning though because, in case he's telling the truth you wouldn't want him to accuse you of snooping around.

5. Unexplained expenditures

If his credit card bill can be fixed at a certain average amount and it suddenly keeps escalating, he could be buying some lavish gifts and if you're not on the receiving end, you might like to find out who is.

6. He reeks of perfume that's not yours

If you've got the nose of a bloodhound and you smell a flowery fragrance on him or if she doesn't smoke yet you keep finding her reeking of tobacco, be on your guard.

7. If he/she starts paying extra care to his appearance

After being in a relationship for a while, most people get complacent and start neglecting their appearance. If he/she is one of those, and suddenly starts taking extra care to be impeccably groomed, they could be trying to impress someone else.

8. The classic 'lipstick on the collar'

Connie Francis didn't sing "Lipstick on your collar, told a tale on you", for nothing. She truly meant every word. The song goes on "Lipstick on your collar, said you were untrue. Bet your bottom dollar, you and I are through...". While most cheaters are good at covering up their tracks, it wouldn't hurt to watch out for this obvious sign.

9. Indifference

If you find your partner indifferent, unresponsive or uncaring you have a problem on your hands. If he/she is not cheating, you need to anyway tackle the problem and figure out what it is.

10. Lack of interest in sex

When a couple settles into a relationship, the sex often becomes boring and predictable unless you make an effort to spice it up. But if your partner becomes lackadaisical about sex it should trigger a warning. They may be just plain tired but that should be temporary. If it is prolonged, there could be a deeper physiological problem that you need to check, or are they getting it from somewhere else.

11. Secretive

If your previously open and communicative partner suddenly goes into a shell and clams up or starts concealing things from you, be warned.

12. Wants privacy

If he/she wants to be left alone when on the telephone or stops in the middle of a phone conversation when you enter the room and tells the caller he/she will call back, ask yourself why.

If a relationship has to be successful, both partners must trust implicitly. It is not healthy to be wary in a relationship or on your guard all the time. Also, your partner should exhibit not just one or two but most of the above signs before you begin to suspect them. You should know your partner well enough to figure out when you should be suspicious. But then, you also thought you knew them well enough to think they would never cheat on you.

But be warned, sometimes, despite thinking we know it all we are dead wrong. Probe beneath the surface before you assume the worst. Warren, a career-obsessed advertising executive was exhibiting all the classic signs - coming home late, being secretive, making calls privately, and running up a huge credit card bill. Stephanie, married to him for 20 years, began spending sleepless nights until she discovered that apart from genuinely being held up at work, he was making arrangements for her surprise 40th birthday party!