Ask a Guy: How to Tell If Your Boyfriend Is Cheating post image

Ask a Guy: How to Tell If Your Boyfriend Is Cheating


I have a terrible suspicion that my boyfriend is cheating on me. We’ve been together for a year and a half now and up until recently I’ve never worried.  However, over the past two months he’s gone on three business trips for a week at a time.  And over the past two weeks, he’s been texting with some girl and we’ve been having much less sex than we used to. His excuse has been that he’s just “too tired” for sex.

This is really worrying me and I want to know how to tell if my boyfriend is cheating on me or signs that my boyfriend is cheating (or about to cheat).  I need to know what’s happening and what to do now.

OK – my answer for you is two parts.  Part 1 is how to tell if your boyfriend is cheating on you / signs that your boyfriend is cheating and part 2 is what to do about it.

First, let’s talking about warning signs that your boyfriend is cheating:

  • His sexual behavior has changed:  This most commonly shows up as him losing interest in sex, but sometimes a boyfriend will become more invested in sex than he used to be (to cover his tracks or to ease his guilt).  Another sign of cheating is that he starts introducing new “tricks” into your sex.
  • His appearance / fashion has changed:  If your boyfriend has started to pay more attention to his appearance, that’s a warning sign that he might be preening to attract someone new.  A new-found interest in fitness, hairstyle or fashion are all warnings that he might be vying for the attention of a woman other than you…
  • He avoids intimacy with you:  Separate from his sexual behavior, if you notice that he avoids intimate gestures with you, then that’s a big warning sign.  In psychology, there’s a concept called “commitment and consistency” – when someone is committing infidelity, showing intimacy towards their girlfriend will “feel yucky” (to put it scientifically) because it’s counter to their cheating behavior.  Unless he’s a really good actor or a sociopath, it will be hard for him to do intimate gestures with you (intimate kissing, holding hands, being close to you, having ‘real’, deep, open conversations, etc.)
  • He’s away from you more: Business trips is an example of being away more, but also noticing him leaving more to “work overtime” or have a “guy’s night out” are warning signs of infidelity as well.
  • You smell perfume on him or he smells freshly showered: If he’s been cheating, your nose may know best.  Do you smell another woman’s perfume on his clothes?  Does he smell freshly showered at a time when it would be unusual for him to be (e.g. immediately after work)?
  • He’s on his phone / the internet more than normal: If you notice he’s on his phone or the internet more than usual, that could be a sign of him cheating.

Now with that said, let me share what I like to call the “WebMD” concept.

The “WebMD” concept is this:  Have you ever noticed some weird symptom that’s persisted for a few days (maybe a rash or a recent onset of insomnia or something fairly benign like that), and then you decide to look up what the symptom could be on webMD.com?  And after a few minutes of surfing, WebMD has now scared you out of your mind because your symptoms might be some terminal illness?

Well, reading about cheating can be like that too.

If you notice one or two of these things, it could be a fluke.  If you notice like 4-5 of these things… well… OK, you might be onto something.

I could understand why you’re worried. The thing is… you really don’t know. You can’t know. Even if you could spy on him, you would know in your heart that you crossed that line… and you can never cross back.

If your instinct is making you suspicious or worried, then I would put your focus on what you can control: how you react to that feeling.

Let’s say that he was flirting with a girl out there. Not “cheating”, but flirting… she’s interested in him and he likes the ego-boost of a girl being into him.

If that was what was happening, you could react to it in many different ways. I will list a few:

You could get paranoid and go down a path that wrecks your relationship’s trust.

You could get angry and start fighting and accusing one another… and damage your relationship in the process.

You could get worried sick over your suspicions and, because you’re so worried, end up being miserable company to be around… which would degrade your relationship.

— OR —

You could look at this as a wake-up call and respond to him and your relationship positively.

Maybe he misses having a girl look at him with desire in her eyes. Maybe he misses the feeling of being recognized or appreciated for what he brings to the world. Maybe he has a fantasy that he thinks you’d be unwilling to explore with him.

Whatever it is… you can start thinking about what might be attracting him outside the relationship and start bringing that energy into your relationship. That’s a much better use of your attention than playing nightmare-scenarios in your help or fearing what he and this girl might be up to.

It would be near-impossible for a guy to cheat if he were totally and completely fulfilled by his relationship.

His fulfillment in your relationship is his responsibility too, but remember your side of the responsibility. If you don’t want him to cheat, don’t waste your energy on blaming him, accusing him, distrusting him, suspecting him or punishing him. If you put your energy here, even in the privacy of your own thoughts, he’ll pick up on it and it will damage your relationship.

If you don’t want him to cheat, then your best bet is to work on making your relationship excellent. In fact, if you look at this from a positive perspective, this scare might even end up improving your relationship.

Hope that helps,

eric charles

{ 26 comments… add one }

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Anu

I am in relation for two years my bf gets angry very soon for smal reason nw a days he shout at me for smal reason even blames me for everything dnt even trust me he cal and text me daily bt dnt talk like the way he used to and at night he dnt chat properly i always talk to a lady who works in his office my bf told lie abt my name and personal detail to tht lady coz she knew my neighbour today when i talked to her she suddenly asked me tht why i am gng to goa bt thts nt my village and when bt i am nt gng to (goa) village

Reply October 11, 2014, 11:26 am

Sasha Abernathi

i am getting two different stories, my boyfriend and my friend that’s a guy.
my bf said that him and my guy friend are going down the street at like 12 at night and he said there meeting up with one of my bf’s friends and this was at like 10 minuets to 12 and then he said they were at macca’s.
my guy friend said that my bf and this girl was chatting my bf up and then he said they were getting closer to each other and looked like they were about to hook up and then said that they were kissing and i asked my bf about it a few seconds later and he said that nothing was happening and that he should mind his own business. later my bf messaged me and said he had to go because he was meeting someone and then my guy friend told me that him and this girl were going behind the corner to do something and then he told me not to worry as they still had clothes on and now they have both gone offline. i thought i trusted my boyfriend with my life but what my guy friend is saying is making me unsure of what to believe. help!!!

Reply October 2, 2014, 1:01 pm

Lynn14

I have been in a relationship with my guy for almost 10 years, he has been acting weird. He used to tell me when he took vacations now he doesn’t tell me anything, and I say well you didn’t tell me that he says he forgot. Nobody forgets when they take a vacation, he never answers his phone when I call and he doesn’t return any of my messages. Last year he went on vacation and I asked if he wanted be to watch hos apartment while he was away and he said no his cousin would watch his place, she is still staying in his apartment 1 year later. His apartment is a one bedroom apartment, and I voiced my opinion that I wasn’t comfortable with her staying there. Also he spends time with a female friend of his that he has known for a long time, and I feel left out and it hurts and I told him she has a husband why are you always over there? I asked him if he was mad at me for any reason and says no, I also asked him if I did anything wrong and he said no. There has to be an explanation for his strange behavior.

Reply September 10, 2014, 9:54 pm

Pinkcheeks

Wow! I found this really useful… Being wonderful really is the best way to keep your relationship healthy… thanks Eric :)

Reply October 9, 2013, 2:17 pm

cristina

hi, ive been wiith my boyfriend 2 years now and a saw a conversation on facebook with another girl telling her that she was his inspiration and send her naked pictures of him, i confronted him and he said that wasn´t going to happen again, that i was the love of his life and the only girl that he ever thought of getting married and having kids was with me and the girl that he was chating with, he never met her in person , they where just flirting through facebook and he eliminated her. what do you think about this

Reply August 11, 2013, 2:46 am

Tiffany Lace

Im really scared, my boyfriend of 1 and a half years likes a girl that he hangs out with everyday, he’s given her nicknames, laughs at all her jokes. and is excited to go to school everyday to see her. She is engaged but he still talks about her everyday. He doesnt want to communicate anymore. he blames everything he does on me. im scared he will cheat on me. i dont know what to do. he’s made me believe that our relationship is going down hill because of me.

Reply June 25, 2013, 9:37 pm

Nicole

My bf and i have been together for 7 years. Lately (for the past 3months) he’s been acting weird. He’s always saying he needs more time with his friend and that im too possessive. I’ve been on medication that causes me to gain weight and he constantly tells me he misses the “old me”. I found pics of girls on his phone and asked him about it but he says they’re just friends. I also went through his phone and saw flirty text msgs from these girls. He’s replies were deleted. Should i confront him or should i jus break it off? All i know is i cannot continue tis way

Reply January 8, 2013, 11:32 am

Adele

My boyfriend always deletes he’s message doesnt like me on he’s phone and takes it everywhere so I can’t see it and walks away when hes on the phone and he won’t put that he’s in a relationship and jokes that it will “rein he’s repratation” we’ve been together for a year and I always knew he was flirt he lies that he’s with me to other girls like he will say with my baby then tell them its hes dog and asks them to come out for drinks I’ve had girls tell me rumours but he wouldn’t answer just saying I should trust him and turning it on me saying he can’t be with me with no trust now he’s accusing me as I talk to a guy from work I don’t know what to think

Reply October 21, 2012, 10:48 am

eva

If someone is not getting their needs met in a relationship, I’m of a mind that they should be mature enough to talk to their partner instead of cheating.

But that’s just me.

Reply September 10, 2012, 1:05 am

Gina

My man has my mind in a bunch. In 2011 he was having a lot of stress and went to confide in a girl I didn’t know and hid it from me until I busted him outside her home talking. He had been talking to her for 2 weeks over text as far as I know. He swears there was nothing going on and he just needed someone to talk to when he thought I wasn’t listening. Since then I have put it behind me ( I thought ). He has been working a lot latley but has proposed to me am I being silly to think that a man that ask me to marry him and tells me he loves me would cheat on me?

Reply June 13, 2012, 9:59 am

Jazzy Jay

The two of you have to discuss a lot of things before you get married…communication: If he felt you weren’t listening to him why didn’t he tell you how he felt; why did he have to go to another woman with his problem (will he do the same thing when you are his wife); In your heart of hearts, do you trust him? If not you need to be honest with yourself now before you marry him.

Reply June 14, 2012, 12:04 pm

christine

my boyfriend work’s out of town when i was talking to hem it sound like he was kissing some one i’m i crazy

Reply June 6, 2012, 6:37 pm

Jazzy Jay

Why should she tell him she misses him? He is showing signs of not just pulling away from her but signs of cheating. What if he decided that he is bored with her or that another woman is more attractive and that’s why he’s texting another girl right if front of her. If she tells him she misses him she is taking responsibility for his behavior…she can’t possibly be held responsible for his pulling away, cheating or any of his behavior period. d be in that’s not good for her.

Reply April 24, 2012, 9:32 pm

gill

I think you are great Eric for giving us all this free advice, first person that has ever made sense to me and I hope now I can have a good relationship next time it happens :)

Reply April 14, 2012, 6:19 am

Jazzy Jay

I read on another relationship website that when a person has suspicion that their mate is cheating, they’re usually right and you don’t need to have “proof”, the fact that you “suspect” cheating is a “red-flag” that something disagreeable to you is happening. Why can’t you calmly and maturely tell him how you’re feeling and why, see how he responds ans process that. He is just as responsible for making you feel secure in the relationship as you are responsible for making him feel secure in the relationship. You have at least 2 of the 6 signs of cheating going on in your relationship…If you “feel” that he is cheating…He Is!

Reply April 24, 2012, 9:18 pm

FLower White

ronallia and lauren … he’s not that into you. Make like a cow and mooove on!

Reply August 14, 2011, 3:43 am

lauren

me and my boyfriend have been in a off-on relationship and when we fist started going uout he wold always call and text me and say i love you and now it has been 3 months when i call him he will anwser but he will say let me call you back and he never does and 2 days ago we were texting and i asked him if he can call me and he said noo and i said plz and he said noo leave me alone and so we havent talked in 3 days and so i think he is cheating on me how do i know that he is plz help!

Reply July 25, 2011, 11:15 pm

ronallia cowan

what do it mean when your boyfriend text you, not call and say i love you and dont you forget that

Reply June 25, 2011, 3:46 pm

Amanda

I guess I don’t really care who’s fault it is..to it better..it just seems like you’re saying in this type of relationship..the woman in this case needs to do all of the work or most of it, to win this guy’s affections back . If he’s going to run and cheat at the slightest sign of trouble with his own insecurities..then she just needs to move on.

And my thoughts on my boyfriend have been changing almost daily in the past several weeks. We somehow make it work. I can over think things when I’m upset..but..lol..he drives me crazy sometimes! Don’t look too deep..

Reply June 23, 2011, 11:45 am

Eric Charles

You are not getting what I’m saying at all…
.
What I’m saying is that if you want things to be different, YOU have control over your own actions, perspectives and reactions. You don’t have any control over his.
.
When you write stuff like “the woman in this case needs to do all of the work or most of it” and “he’s going to run and cheat at the slightest sign of trouble with his own insecurities”, it comes off like you’re just whining about what he’s doing and attacking him for “having insecurities” and resenting the idea of doing anything to improve the relationship.
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Maybe in your relationship you do have to do some heavy lifting to get it back on track. Maybe he does have insecurities. Or maybe the relationship problems have nothing to do with him.
.
Regardless of who might be to “blame” or who’s “insecure” or who has to do most of the “work”, you either want the relationship or you don’t…. If you do, stop whining and put your energy into being better: more positive, more happy, more accepting. If you don’t want the relationship, move on.
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It makes no sense to stay in a relationship and resenting the idea of improving it and resenting the other place. Just break up if that’s really where you’re at.
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But you can’t have it both ways… you can’t complain and blame AND improve your relationship. Doesn’t work that way.

Reply June 23, 2011, 1:34 pm

Amanda

I feel that it sounds like it’s “my” fault that he is going astray. My boyfriend and I have great sex all of the time and we both always introduce new things into the relationship..but I did see about 4 of the listed signs you posted in my relationship. However I’m getting sick of his behavior. So I don’t necessarily want to keep “trying” with my boyfriend. I’m always the one trying to counter act with positive energy..it doesn’t always work. He’s very wealthy..he lives on the beach..and even though he is very good looking, he’s got naturally low self-esteem..and he’s an alcoholic. He has a constant fear of people leaving him..and he preemptively strikes when he fears the worst. He tells me he loves me when he drinks..says he doesn’t when he is sober..but when I try to break up with him and leave..he comes after me full speed ahead and spoils me so I will come back to him…in other words, my relationship is bizarre and unhealthy for me.

Reply June 22, 2011, 11:39 am

Eric Charles

Assigning “fault” in a relationship situation is typically a waste of mental and emotional energy.
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Even if it was his “fault” or your “fault”, who cares? Where would finding someone to blame get you?
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It sounds to me like your guy has his own share of problems and the relationship isn’t working for you. If you want the relationship to continue, you have the power to work on improving it through good communication, giving him space, etc. etc.
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On the other hand, if you don’t want this relationship, you have options – you can meet other men and move on.
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Either way, it’s not your “fault” – the relationship and the guy are either what you want in your life or…. not.

Reply June 22, 2011, 1:48 pm

Jazzy Jay

Yeah…sounds very unhealthy! He is not respectful or considerate of you at all. Why are you with him?

Reply April 24, 2012, 9:22 pm

Eric Charles

First, thank you for the compliment. I appreciate that.
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Honestly, I think self-reflection and putting conscious attention on ways that you can improve the relationship is a very healthy thing to do.
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I mean… you could say my advice here is unilateral, but it kind of has to be in order to give her some choices for effective action. She can’t “control” him, she can only control her own responses / reactions and actions.
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Maybe the guy will wake up and start putting his attention back into the relationship too, but I can’t assume that would happen. The best thing I can do in a situation like this is recommend what she can do with the power and choice she has.
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That’s my logic – if she tells the guy she misses him and he’s already been feeling low about the relationship, he might not respond well to her saying that. On the other hand, if she starts trying things and putting in more effort towards a positive goal, that has a much higher likelihood of everyone in the relationship being happier.
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That’s my thinking on the matter…

Reply June 8, 2011, 1:22 am

Jazzy Jay

The issue is not how he’s feeling, the issue is that she has the feeling that he is cheating…that’s the issue she should address with him. If he tells her that he is feeling insecure with her then, she should deal with that. Take it from me, confront him maturely and confidently, you will be sure wheather he is cheating or not by his response.

Reply April 24, 2012, 9:26 pm

Olivia

First off, Eric, you have provided us the readers some of the most insightful thoughts and assessments on various troubling situations. Thank you. However, I find what you are suggesting here troubling due to the solution being very unilateral. Wouldn’t it save her a lot of trouble guessing what to do to regain his attention if she just tells her boyfriend that she misses him and start from there? I think when someone is pulling away, self reflection on what you did wrong leads to no where. Because it’s hard to read other people’s mind and there’s always the chance that you didn’t do anything wrong.

Reply June 7, 2011, 11:35 pm

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