17 Signs of a Cheating Partner

To Catch a Cheater - Cheating in a relationship

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After having been a Jersey City, New Jersey Police Officer for close to thirty-five years and then a Licensed New Jersey Private Investigator after having retired you become well aware of the concept of “Gut Instinct”.  Federal and New Jersey Courts have a myriad of settled case law that restricts police officers acting on “Gut Instinct” (for good reasons), however, in my experience on the police department and as a Private Investigator, I have found that “Gut Instinct’ is often right.

There is nothing more disturbing then when a “Gut Instinct” that your wife, husband, girlfriend or boyfriend is cheating on you, this feeling begins to overwhelm you. It goes something like this; you have suspected for days, maybe weeks. Something is wrong or off between you and your spouse, and you’re beginning to wonder if maybe they might be…. NO! That’s not possible. Other people have affairs, not you two; what you have is special. Then again there was that thing last week, and when you brought it up, your spouse twisted it around as if YOU were the one with the jealousy issue! “You’re just being paranoid–you’re crazy for thinking like that!” they said. Still there’s that nagging doubt in your mind, as a Private Investigator in New Jersey I have had clients describe all of these feelings with me.

Here are some of the signs of a cheating partner. These behaviors are only indicators of a cheating spouse and are not absolutes! If your spouse has one or two of these behaviors, and there is a legitimate reason and a mutual agreement (such as you two talk about it and agree to try to lose weight…and they’ve gone a little obsessive about it), these signs do NOT prove infidelity. But when you observe several, or maybe MOST, of these behaviors, your marriage may be in trouble! Again, let me reiterate that these behaviors are only indicators of an affair.

Sign 1- When you see lipstick on your husband’s shirt or strange hairs on their clothing or in the car.

Sign 2– Gut Instinct:

  • The telltale sign of a cheating spouse? Having to ask that question in the first place.
  • Your cheating husband or wife stops confiding in you and seeking advice from you.
  • Your intuition (gut feeling) tells you that something is not right.
  • You find intimate apparel or other small gift-type items that are gifts for someone else and have not been given to you.

Sign 3– Behavior That Is Not Their Usual Character:

  • When your partner shows up without their wedding ring or suddenly stops wearing it and makes lame excuses as to why. This also goes for jewelry you might have purchased for them and you catch them not wearing it when they go out when usually they wear it at all time.
  • When they break their established routine at work and home for no apparent or logical reason; erratic behavior.
  • When your mate becomes suddenly forgetful and you have to tell him/her everything several times; their thoughts are obviously elsewhere.
  • When they appears distant, show a lack of interest, or develop an unexplained aloofness that wasn’t there before.
  • When their behavior just doesn’t add up.
  • When your wife sleeps with her purse by the bed, or your husband sneaks out of the house.
  • When your spouse suddenly starts completely ignoring you and not listening to what you are saying -OR- when they suddenly begin to treat you extremely nicely…more so than usual.
  • When they encourage you to have a social life and go places out of town, and it seems like they’re trying to get you “out of the house.”
  • When your husband or wife begins to intentionally look at or flirt with the opposite sex when in the past, this is something they would not have done.

Sign 4–Birth Control:

  • When you find birth-control pills in the medicine cabinet, and you’ve had a vasectomy -OR-
  • When you find condoms in the car or in his pockets, and you are on the pill.

Sign 5–Showering/Cologne:

  • When he or she leaves the house in the morning smelling like their usual fragrance and returns in the evening smelling like something else.
  • When they arrive home and head straight into the shower or bath, and they work an office job.
  • When your spouse’s clothes smell of an unfamiliar perfume or after-shave used by the opposite sex
  • When he or she has worn the same fragrance for years, and suddenly they are wearing something new and wearing MUCH more than usual.

Sign 6–Uncomfortable Around You:

  • When your mutual friends start acting strangely toward you, because they either know about the cheating or have been told stories about what a horrible spouse you are.
  • When your spouse’s co-workers are uncomfortable in your presence, because either they know about the afair or have heard horror stories to justify it.
  • When your spouse seems less comfortable around you and is “touchy” and easily moved to anger.
  • When your spouse avoids social events with you, as if they want to cover up that they are with you.

Electronic Clues

Sign 7-Email Clues

  • When your spouse sets up a new e-mail account and doesn’t tell you about it.
  • When your spouse spends all their time on the email, checking their email, or fooling with email somehow.
  • When your husband or wife suddenly deletes all emails from the email account (and it’s not just a clean up) and in the past they used to let them accumulate.
  • When they delete an email the minute it comes in, and then delete the trash to make sure you don’t see it.

Sign 8- Cell phone clues

  • When s/he buys a cell phone and doesn’t let you know about it.
  • When your husband or wife suddenly deletes all messages from the voicemail where as they used to accumulate.
  • When they suddenly delete all caller IDs from the phone so you can’t see them.
  • When s/he sets up a separate cell phone account that is billed to the office.
  • When you aren’t allowed to ever look at or use their cell phone, and they go to great lenghts to make certain their cell is not answered by you.
  • When your spouse is secretive about their cell phone and it is on their person 24/7, and they are on it talking or texting that whole time.
  • When they receive bizarre text messages from friends you never realised knew–in other words having ‘pretend’ names in their phone that are really the OP.

Sign 9-Computer Signs

  • When they stay up to “work” or “play a game” on the computer after you go to bed. Excessive internet usage, especially late at night, is a red flag.
  • When your spouse will not allow you access to their computer or they suddenly shut down the computer when you walk into the room.
  • When they may password protect their laptop or computer to keep out suspicious eyes.
  • When she or he warily guards access to their chatrooms, chat logs, games, Facebook page, or other social media.
  • When your spouse has unusual sites showing in the “browser history” (such as “adultfriendfinder” or “ashleymadison”), or erases their history after each late-night session.

General Clues

Sign 10–Things Are Just Different at Home:

  • When your spouse raises hypothetical questions such as, “Do you think it’s possible to love more than one person at a time?”
  • When they have a sudden desire to be helpful with the laundry (and they never have before) and it’s like they’re trying to find or hide something.
  • When he/she shows a sudden interest in a different type of music that they really disliked before.
  • When your spouse loses attention in the activities in the home and seems forgetful, distracted or like they don’t care.
  • When he/she has a definite change in attitude towards everyone in the home…including the children.
  • When you notice that your partner loses their ability and desire to show the children the attention they need or a lack of desire to do any fix-ups around the house, e.g., lawn care, painting, cleaning the garage, house repairs, etc. They might turn this around on you at the same time and accuse you of never doing anything or treating the child/children badly.
  • When they are always tired or demonstrate a noticeable lack of energy or interest in the relationship.
  • When they sleep on the sofa some of the night.
  • When you two don’t go to bed together, and they tell you not to wait up when you have always done so.
  • When your spouse suddenly asks about your schedule more often than usual–wanting to know where you’ll be and when.
  • When they talk to you they treat you abusively or with disdain, disrespect or excessive sarcasm. Or. . . they may begin to find fault in everything you do in an attempt to justify their affair.
  • When your spouse is exceedingly critical and sometimes mocking you.
  • When your spouse becomes “accusatory,” asking if you are being true to him/her, usually out of guilt.
  • When they begin to speak more and more harshly to you, or are more sarcastic. Sometimes this is just an attempt to justify their cheating…or to give them an excuse to storm out of the room/house.
  • When you notice that they are reluctant to kiss you or accept your affection and/or they criticize you for showing attention.
  • When your spouse ignores or criticizes your loving behavior and thoughtful ways. Example : “Why are you so luvy duvy? I’m just not like that.”

Sign 11–Lots and Lots of Changes:

  • When s/he joins the gym and begins a rigorous workout program and “hated” exercise before.
  • When your spouse buys new, sexy underwear and you never see it.
  • When they have a sudden preoccupation with their appearance.
  • Her: When she gets spiffed up and dresses provocatively to “go grocery shopping” or to “get her hair done.” She may also show up with a sudden change of hair style. Him: When he showers, shaves (cologne, deodorant, etc.) and dresses up more than usual to “go out with his buddies” or to “go fishing.”
  • When your spouse begin to make sudden and excessive purchases of clothes or an unexplained change in clothing style (for example, from business professional to steampunk).
  • When they show a sudden interest in a different type of music that they always hated before.

Sign 12–Telephone Mannerisms That Are Different:

  • When your spouse receives “mysterious” phone calls that don’t seem to make sense–and when you ask who called, they say, “No one”, “Wrong number”, or “Why do you care?”
  • When YOU get an increasing number of hang-ups or “wrong numbers” when you pick up the phone especially if the caller hangs up after hearing your voice and doesn’t speak. Generally when a person dials a “wrong” number, they will at least ask, “Is Fred there?” before hanging up.
  • When your phone bills show unexplained toll or long distance charges. Often you’ll find one phone number listed excessively.
  • When s/he Hurriedly picks up the phone to answer it before you do.
  • When they leave the room to talk on the phone.
  • When your spouse Whispers while on the phone.
  • When s/he deletes the information (name and phone number) from “caller ID”.
  • When they behave differently or end the telephone call abruptly when you enter the room…or appear to hang up quickly.
  • When your spouse tells you to get ahold of him or her at a different telephone number (they don’t want you calling while they’re with the OP).

Sign 13–Automobile Related Signs That Something is Up:

  • When the passenger’s seat is adjusted differently than you had left it.
  • When your spouse takes the child seat and/or kid’s toys out of the car for no particular reason.
  • When you find suspicious items in the car like phone numbers, receipts, lipstick, condoms or strange hairs in the vehicle.
  • When they begin to keep a change of clothes hidden in the trunk of the car or an unusual amount of clothes changes at the gym.
  • When the car has unexplainable mileage or a lack of additional mileage. For example, if your husband states that he went out of town yet the odometer indicates that only a distance of 25 miles had been driven. Conversely, if he says that he’s only been to the office that day, yet their odometer shows many more miles had been driven, this too, may be a significant matter.
  • When s/he “goes to the store for groceries” or “goes to get some gas” or “goes to the bank” (a task that should take just a few minutes) and comes home 5 hours later.
  • When you notice increased gas purchases that are inconsistent with the amount of miles on the car.

Sign 14–Paper Trails of a Cheating Spouse:

  • When you find credit card receipts for gifts you didn’t receive -OR- your credit card bills itemizes gifts you didn’t receive (such as florist or jewelry).
  • When you find the credit card receipts showing purchases from places unknown to you or that seem suspect -OR- when your credit card bill itemizes odd places.
  • When you see an increase in ATM withdrawals on your bank statement, especially those from out-of-town.
  • When you find ATM receipts bearing a time/date stamp from a city you don’t recognize. [Cheating costs money! To play you must pay.]
  • When they begin to volunteer to go to the post office, rushes to check the mail before you do or opens up a new P.O. box perhaps without even telling you.
  • When unusual phone numbers appear on the phone bill.
  • When the duration and time of the calls on the phone bill appear excessive.
  • When they are secretive about their cell phone bill or they start to pay it themselves.
  • When you notice business travel or other deductions on their expense account for travel or other expenses of which you were not aware.

Sign 15 – Sex Tip-offs That Something’s Wrong:

  • When s/he is no longer interested in sex, or s/he makes excuses for its infrequency.
  • When your spouse starts to request kinky or other erotic sexual activity (behavior) that you’ve never done before, including watching porn.
  • When they show a “new talent” in the bedroom (that they might have learned from the individual with whom they’ve been cheating).
  • When s/he appears reluctant to kiss you, or show affection toward you.
  • When your spouse continues giving poor excuses for why they’re not in the mood to make love.
  • When they have unexplained scratches or bruises on his or her neck or back.
  • When s/he suddenly wants more sex, more often.

Sign 16 – Work-related Signs That They May Be Cheating:

  • When s/he works longer hours, more frequently
  • When they supposedly work a lot of overtime, but it never shows up on the pay stub.
  • When they change their established routine with no apparent reason.
  • When s/he begins discouraging you from calling him or her at work.
  • When your spouse is often “unavailable” when you try to call him or her at work.
  • When they returns calls long after you leave a message for him or her.
  • When s/he prefers to attend work functions (or any events) alone and tries to discourage you from attending.
  • When your spouse1 takes more trips for business reasons and even refuses to let you drive him or her to the airport.
  • When you find out by accident he or she took vacation day or personal time off from work – but supposedly worked on those days.
  • Your spouse is away from home, either nights or on trips, more than previously.
  • When the amount of money being deposited into your checking account drops off.
  • When they are late home from work and always have an excuse ready.
  • When s/he claims to be stressed with work problems when questioned about their odd behaviour.

Sign 17–Things you’ll hear:

  • “We are just friends.”
  • “I need you to respect my privacy.”
  • “I Love You But I’m Not In Love With You.”
  • “I need some space to figure out my feelings.”

The above are just some of the signs of a cheating partner, and not meant to be definitive or absolute! If your spouse exhibits some of these, and there is a legitimate reason, these signs do NOT prove infidelity. These behaviors are simply possible indicators of an affair.

If your gut says something is amiss, you see many of these signs and you want real proof, work with an investigator you can trust. Contact former Jersey City Police Chief Bob Cowan for a free 30 minute consultation.

Or call:(732) 837-8444


About the author:  Bob Cowan is the owner of Cowan Investigations a full-service New Jersey Private Investigations Firm, Bob is the former Chief of the Jersey City Police Department and has 35 years experience as a police officer in New Jersey’s second-largest municipality.

If you wish to speak with me regarding this article, or if you need a consultation regarding it’s contents please do not hesitate to call me at 732-837-8444, seven days a week 8:00am to 8:00pm.  

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