9 Sneaky Ways Your Significant Other Might be Hiding Something

A good friend recently made a late night stop at my apartment to complain about a secret she’d just discovered about her long-term boyfriend. He was smoking again. He hadn’t smoked in years and promised her he’d quit for good long ago. And yet she kept smelling cigarette smoke faintly and grew more and more suspicious until that day she’d caught him smoking on their apartment’s fire escape when she came home from work early.

It’s hard to doubt the person you’re supposed to trust completely, you want to assume the best of them — but you also don’t want to be naive and put yourself in a position to be screwed over. In partnership with 20th Century Fox for their upcoming film Gone Girl, I spoke to a relationship expert and couple’s counselor (who wishes to remain anonymous) about some red flags that should always alert us we aren’t just being paranoid. Here are her tips to look out for:

1. Their demeanor changes when you question them.

When you have nothing to hide, someone asking you how you spent your day off is no big deal—you just tell them. Even if your partner is being particularly annoying, you might be annoyed at the frequency of the questions, but you don’t get angry. A person will get angry at being questioned only because they want to deflect the conversation back on the asker and shut down the circumstances in which they suddenly have to create a lie they might get caught in.

Always remember that in a healthy relationship your partner wants you to feel good. This means they will explain something to you even if they personally feel it is unnecessary. They want you to feel comfortable, especially when the cost to them is so small as just having to explain something. Sneaky people hide things by making their partner feel like they’re crazy for having perfectly normal suspicions—loving people who have nothing to hide simply provide an answer.

2. Their family and friends act weird around you.

Meeting your boyfriend or girlfriend’s friends and family is always a bit anxiety-inducing, but they are also such a great indicator of who your SO is and how they feel about you. If they are otherwise warm, normal-seeming people and they act like you’re not really your partner’s significant other, they don’t address you in a personable manner, and they don’t acknowledge your future as a couple—that’s cause for concern.

The people who have been in a sneaky person’s life forever know their ways. They may still love their friend/family member, but they pity the new people they bring into their lives and aren’t sure how to deal with that—so they just keep a distance. Always be very observant about how your partner interacts with the people who know them best—and how they respond to you.

3. Sudden changes in their “work” schedule.

When you fall into a rhythm with someone, you know how their schedule generally works—how often they like to go out on the weekends versus stay in with Netflix on the couch, how long it takes them to get ready in the morning, and how often they need to work late or travel for work. If your partner never works a minute past 5 o’clock and is suddenly “working late” or “traveling for work” without a significant change in their company or their role in their company, that’s something to take note of.

4. They have a new best friend.

In order to hide something well, you need to keep your lie as simple as possible. One way to do this is to explain absences as always being with the same person. If your partner is suddenly with their new buddy every night of the week (and they weren’t that close before) or they have a new colleague they’re meeting up with at strange times, it’s a good sign they’re hiding something—and they’re good at it.

5. They suddenly act like their privacy is a big deal.

Often it never occurs to us to guard our privacy until there is a reason to. I never put a lock screen on my phone until I had sexts on it with my boyfriend that would be very embarrassing for others to see. The thing to remember is that there’s always a cause for the way we act, some kind of catalyst. I was worried about someone finding my phone and reading through the texts, so I took the step of setting up the lock screen. I wouldn’t do this out of the blue with no reason.

People are rational. Our decisions make sense. So if your partner is suddenly more secretive and does things they didn’t do before like locking doors, shutting their laptop when you walk into the room, using an incognito browser, or leaving the room when they take a call—you need to know that there is a reason for this behavioral change. Where they had nothing to hide before, they now do.

6. They suddenly hate spontaneity.

If you’re hiding a lie really well, spontaneity is your enemy. You need to be able to plan around anything that might potentially ruin your secret. If you’ve stopped by their place before and they’ve been cool with it but suddenly seem frustrated and a bit angry about it, there might be something there they don’t want you to see. Similarly if they used to welcome you to stay in bed while they went to work and now usher you to the door, they don’t want you to be alone in their place. There’s something unappealing you might find.

7. They pay in cash.

If you’re married or have otherwise combined your finances and you can see their bank/credit card statement you’ll notice that they are charging less than usual. Charging something leaves a trail and may lead you to wonder why they seemingly went to a dinner for two while you were out of town. When you start having something to hide, you start paying in cash instead—there’s no trail to leave.

8. They are moodier than usual.

When someone is hiding a big secret, it’s like being on an emotional roller coaster. They’ll be angry at you when you question them and they’re afraid their secret will come out and then later they’ll be extra attentive—when guilt over their actions takes over. Watch out for the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde routine. When your SO’s mood is suddenly all over the place, it’s in reaction to some stimuli—and it might be a dirty secret.

9. Your gut says so.

People don’t like to listen to their intuition because it’s not cut and dry. It’s easier to follow a black-and-white checklist of “This means absolutely yes, they are hiding something” and “This means no, they are absolutely not.” But life doesn’t work that way, and thankfully our bodies and brains are smart enough to know that. When something is off, your gut will tell you this. If you have a bad feeling, that’s not something to brush off. Pay attention. The more you listen to your intuition, the louder it will get. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

This post is brought to you by 20th Century Fox, for their upcoming film ‘Gone Girl.’

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