1.Major behavioral changes.
Why you should be worried: We’re not talking bowel movements here, ladies, we’re talking about major changes to the way he acts around you, his friends, and even his family. You’ve probably been together long enough to know what to expect from your man—so if he’s suddenly decided to spend 2+ hours a day at the gym, when he’s usually prone to sitting on the couch eating Cheetos, or if he suddenly never wants to have sex when you were consistently doing the deed 2-3 times per week, then something might be up. You should refer to this rule when investigating the other signals in this list—if it’s not typical behavior, then it may be cause for suspicion.
Put down the baseball bat: Sometimes there’s something deeper going on than infidelity. Your guy’s change in behavior may be a sign of a mental health imbalance like depression or anxiety. Try talking to him about it before you jump on the cheater’s express.
2. He is vague about where he is going and who he’s with when he’s not with you.
Why you should be worried: In a healthy relationship, there isn’t a good reason why your SO wouldn’t be able to tell you exactly where is or who he is with, especially if you ask. Will he always volunteer this information on his own? Probably not. But then again you’ve likely built enough trust to not need to know exactly what he’s doing at all hours of the day when he’s not with you. Besides, you’re not his mother (and you don’t want to be). If you ask, and he is vague about his whereabouts and who he is with, then chances are he’s hiding something.
Blow out those matches: I still maintain that there isn’t a good reason why he wouldn’t be able to tell you who/what/when/where if you ask, but some guys are just idiots and don’t think about the implications of not disclosing this to you up front. If he’s being vague and it’s killing you, just be honest with him and tell him it makes you uncomfortable. I repeat you’re not his mother, so try to balance your need for knowing every detail of his life with some good old-fashioned trust when it’s warranted.
3. He goes a lot of places without you.
Why you should be worried: You don’t have to be attached at the hip to stay faithful, and all couples have their comfort zones as far as time spent apart. But if you do the math, the more time you spend apart is directly proportionate the number of opportunities he has to start a relationship with someone that isn’t you. This is especially true if that time spent apart is a time that he spends at bars, parties, or with people you don’t know. Worse still would be if he doesn’t clearly disclose where he is, even when asked (see above).
Before you key his car: You just can’t be together at all hours of the day. There are certain things he will always do without you—like go to his job, visit the dentist, or take a dump. Mundane, everyday activities that he does by himself all the time, are not a cause for alarm.
4. He intentionally excludes you from his plans.
Why you should be worried: If your guy is avoiding inviting you to accompany him to social gatherings or out in public, then something is definitely amiss. Chances are you’re together because you enjoy each other’s company, so avoiding doing things with you should be a big red flag.
Back away from his X-Box: Look, sometimes guys need guy time, aka NOT girlfriend time. That is 100% normal. He may not invite you to come over and watch the game because that’s his time to hang with the boys and talk about man stuff. Other times, the idea of inviting you to come with him simply may not cross his mind. It could be that you’re not on the same page about the types of activities you’d like to do as a couple, so talking about it first might clear things up.
5. His friends cheat on their SO’s.
Why you should be worried: I’m not saying it’s always monkey-see-monkey-do, but if he starts talking about his buddies cheating in a way that makes it sound justified or even attractive, then it’s a red flag. Behavior can rub off on people, so if your SO is constantly immersed in an environment where his friends talk about infidelity and its perks, he might begin to think it’s ok. He may even be learning better ways to hide it from you.
Stop tearing up those pictures: Occasionally hear your guy talking about his buddy who’s getting divorced because he got caught cheating on his wife? It happens to more couples than we’d like to think, and just because his friend did it, doesn’t necessarily mean he condones the activity. This is your opportunity to open a line of communication on the subject and voice your opinions on your own boundaries (i.e. Cheating = GTFO).
6. He is secretive about his phone.
Why you should be worried: Our phones say a lot about us and our daily activities. If it seems like he’s going out of his way to hide what his phone says about him, there may be a problem. Behavior like setting or changing the passcode on his phone, always keeping it on him or near him (even when it’s not convenient or necessary), or setting it face down and only looking at the screen when it’s not within your line of sight is definitely suspicious. Being on his phone constantly can also be a warning sign that he’s using it for inappropriate things.
Before you smash his phone against the wall: This could be a pot calling the kettle black type of situation, so before you jump to conclusions about his phone behavior, take a good look at your own. Our phones are like our diaries, and to a certain degree, we all guard them—I know I don’t want my SO to see the invoices for the hundreds of $$ I just spent at Sephora, or my google searches for yeast infection cream. There are subtleties here to be aware of in terms of good and bad phone behavior—so don’t jump to conclusions just because he has and uses his phone regularly (chances are you do too).
7. He receives texts/calls/snaps from people you don’t recognize.
Why you should be worried: You’re never going to know all the people in your SO’s life. But you probably know the key people that play the biggest roles. If you notice incoming calls, texts, emails from names you’ve never heard before, he might be talking to people he doesn’t want you to know about. There are also apps available to aid him in his quest to cheat– apps like Snapchat that erases pictures and conversations as you receive them, or dating apps like Tinder that boasts tons of singles ready to….well, you know. Illicit use of these apps should be considered suspect. Couple these with any of the suspicious phone behavior mentioned above, and you’ve got yourself a bonified cheater.
Don’t rip all his underwear yet: Not everyone who uses Snapchat is a cheater. And no, just because you don’t know the person he’s texting doesn’t mean he’s doing the dirty with them. Your guy has the right to keep some things private, just like you do. Suspicious phone behavior is usually coupled with one or more signs on this list, so try not to take that alone out of context.