1. They have a new focus on their appearance
When your spouse starts their affair, you can expect to see things like a new gym routine, new haircut, new clothing, and even weight loss to impress the other person they are seeing. If your spouse suddenly cares more about their looks, it could signal that they are having an affair. When and if you question the new changes to their physical appearance, they may get very defensive and/or visibly uncomfortable with the topic.
2. They are secretive
Secretive behaviors can indicate an affair. Your spouse will try to cover their tracks such as clearing past internet history, not leaving any devices or phones accessible to you, quickly minimizing browsing windows when you enter the room, and changing passwords that you previously had knowledge of. A cheating spouse will often open a new bank account or credit card for expenses related to the affair, and they may even obtain a separate phone and phone plan so that they can communicate more freely with the other person they are seeing. They will lie to you and invent excuses for any odd behavior that you question. When asked, they will likely deny the affair. They may make phone calls from places such as the basement at odd hours of the day and night. Look at phone records for frequent calls and texts from the same number at odd hours.
3. They are spending more money than usual
A cheater’s credit card can be very revealing. If your spouse’s spending habits have dramatically increased or changed, it could be a sign they are cheating. Look for patterns of expenses and carefully scrutinize the individual transactions on your spouse’s debit/credit card. Buying clothing and jewelry, spending more on dining out, and incurring unusual hotel charges can all indicate the presence of an affair. Extensive travel expenses (disguised as work travel) may also be revealed when you further investigate your spouse’s spending. They may even start drawing a lot of cash to conceal their expenses. All of these expenses may be considered “dissipation” in a divorce case.
4. They are critical of you
A cheating spouse will often become angry with you to justify their cheating behavior. They may be overly critical of your appearance and decision-making, and they may even have you blaming yourself for any conflict in the marriage. Being in a relationship with a cheater can make you feel like you are never good enough, but you are not sure why. A cheating spouse can exhibit selfish tendencies and will find ways to blame you for their own infidelity. When they need “space” that’s sometimes an indication that they are having an affair.
5. There is a loss or change of intimacy in your relationship
If your spouse is no longer interested in being intimate with you or they suddenly have new “tricks” in the bedroom, it could be a sign that they are cheating. They are either receiving the intimacy they need outside of your marriage, or they are learning new patterns of intimacy from the other person they are sleeping with. They might suddenly decide they are not attracted to you.
6. They are always busy
You need a lot of time available to have an affair, and your spouse is going to lie about where they are to make time for the affair. You can expect that they will be “working late” or “going out with their friends/co-workers” more often than not. They may be engaging in more “work travel” so that they can have long periods of uninterrupted time with the other person they are seeing. They will prioritize the affair over family time and often miss extended family gatherings and even children’s sporting events and activities. Early in the affair, your spouse will establish new routines (e.g., Thursday night board meetings; Friday night bowling with a friend) so that they can make regular time for the affair.
If you suspect that your spouse is cheating, you need to protect yourself both emotionally and financially. Seek emotional support from a therapist, counselor, or even a close friend. Keep an eye on your financial resources and don’t let your spouse’s affair damage your financial future. Your spouse may be so wrapped up in the excitement of the affair that they lose perception of money management, spending, and future planning. Cheating spouses can dissipate thousands and thousands of dollars during an extramarital affair. They may even take on a financially supportive role for the other person they are seeing. The sooner you know about the affair, the sooner you can try to protect yourself from the fallout.
Suzanne Griffiths is the Managing Shareholder and CFO of Griffiths Law PC. She was recognized by the Best Lawyers in America© in 2019 for family law and was selected to Colorado Superlawyers from 2005-2018. She was also recognized in 5280 magazines for Top Lawyer in Family Law in Denver from 2016-2018.
Eliza Steinberg practices exclusively on family law related matters including divorce, allocation of parental rights, post-decree disputes, and child support matters. She has presented on litigation case management techniques and is a co-author of the Colorado Bar Association’s Practitioner’s Guide to Domestic Relations Law chapter on trusts.