11 Common Signs of Cheating – Wisdom After the Affair

Here are 11 signs of cheating, plus insight into an unfaithful husband from a wife’s perspective. If you suspect your boyfriend or husband is cheating, you’re probably picking up on one or more of these signs of infidelity.

There are always signs. I’m reading a fascinating but sad book about a husband who is a cheater and a wife who doesn’t want to admit he’s cheating on her. She’s actually a therapist who has a great deal of insight into her clients, but not her own marriage or self. The book is called The Silent Wife: A Novel by A.S.A Harrison, and it’s one of the best novels I’ve read on infidelity in marriage.

The Silent Wife is an important story for women to read because it offers insight into how and why husbands lie about cheating. This book also describes why some wives choose to ignore the most common signs of cheating husbands, and describes the complexities and bonds of even the most unfaithful marriages. Below are the most common signs of a cheater from the this novel, plus a real-life wife’s perspective of cheating.

Before you scroll through these signs of a cheating husband, pause for a moment. Take a deep breath, and allow yourself a moment of compassion and tenderness. Take care of yourself.

The idea that your husband may be cheating on you is a difficult, sad place to be. You may feel confused, shocked, and even depressed. I just want you to know that you’re not alone, that you can reach out for comfort, healing, and strength. Talk to women you trust, who you know will love and support you. Reach upwards for the healing flow, and inwards for the resilient woman you are. Know that you are deeply loved by God. You were created to be loved, and this was not His plan for you.

Don’t turn away from the healing spiritual flow that is always there, waiting for you.

The Most Common Signs of Cheating From The Silent Wife

One of these signs isn’t enough to “prove” your husband is cheating on you. In Is He Cheating? How to Be Your Own Private Investigator, I share several ways to investigate the signs of a cheating husband and find out for sure if your suspicions of infidelity are right.

There are five “signs of a cheater” in bold. The last paragraph describes eight most common signs of cheating, from lipstick stains to rumpled clothing.

A cheating husband is frequently distracted or preoccupied

If your husband or boyfriend is unfaithful, he’s not 100% available to you. In most relationships, most partners aren’t emotionally, physically, or spiritually available ALL the time – this is healthy and normal. But sometimes you get the sense that your husband isn’t fully committed to your marriage. This may be a sign of a cheater (or, the sign of something stressful happening at work or in the family).

A cheating man doesn’t like to answer questions

Most Common Signs of Cheating

Most Common Signs of a Cheater

When you ask where he was (because he’s always late or not around), who he was with (he always says “nobody” or “you wouldn’t know him, a guy from work”), or when he left work (he asks you “why are you interrogating me?”), then your suspicions may be right. Innocent men who have nothing to hide don’t squirm when questioned. Men who aren’t cheating are happy to share their lives, thoughts, and activities with you.

His hair and clothes smell different

Before I read The Silent Wife, I thought the most common sign of a cheater was a fresh shower, soap, and shampoo. After all, most cheaters clean up after their romp, right? Wrong. According to the wife in this novel, some cheating husbands will go home reeking of a variety of smells: incense, mildew, grass, mouthwash.

The typical signs of a cheater: soap, lipstick, secret phone calls

A shower can eliminate telltale body odors, but the soap a cheating husband uses in the hotel bathroom smells different from the brand he uses at home. Plus, there are all the usual clues: the stray red or blond hairs, lipstick stains, rumpled clothing, furtive phone calls, unexplained absences, mysterious marks on the body…not to mention the curious acquisitions – the fancy key chain or bottle of aftershave – that appear out of nowhere, especially on Valentine’s Day. – from The Silent Wife.

When you know your husband is cheating

In the novel, it was the cheating husband who left the wife. He got his girlfriend pregnant, and he walked out on his wife. Not only that, he evicted her and refused to support her financially – after 20 years of marriage.

Wondering if your husband is cheating is a difficult and painful stage of your marriage, and I am sorry you have to think about this. Feeling betrayed and suspicious of the man you married is not how you envisioned your life to unfold, is it?

You need to take good care of your emotional and spiritual health, so you can make a good decision for your relationship and family. Talk to people you love and trust, and consider talking to a marriage counselor or even a divorce lawyer. Try to be prepared for anything the future might bring, and trust that God will carry you through this.

If you don’t want your marriage to end, don’t ignore these signs of cheating. Read Why Married Men Cheat – and How to Prevent It.

Marriage Help - Not Counseling

Fix Your Marriage

Living With a Cheating Husband – A Wife’s Perspective

“My husband cheated on me about 15 years ago,” says Angela on How to Know if You Can Trust Him After an Affair. “I forgave him and stayed in the marriage to try work it out. He said he wouldn’t cheat anymore, and that he loves me. I started trusting him again and didn’t leave him. A few years later he was asleep one night and his phone buzzed.

The text he got said: ‘I don’t know when to text you because I’m afraid your wife might see it! But I have to talk about what we did last night.’ I knew my husband was cheating on me again.”

She was unable to forgive her husband, who repeatedly cheated and lied

Angela said her married went downhill after that. She couldn’t trust her husband or believe anything he said. He broke her trust again, and she couldn’t forgive him a second time.

“Deep down, I never really got over his first affair and I was always looking for the tell-tale signs of a cheater,” she said. “But I tried to rebuild our marriage and I never brought up the past. I let it go, I forgave him for cheating because I knew I had to let it go if we wanted to start over. But I couldn’t forgive him a second time for cheating and lying, the pain was too much.”

Forgiving a cheating husband once isn’t easy, but twice?

She says she stayed with her husband the first time he cheated because she believes people make mistakes. Everybody deserves a second chance.

“But I gave him too many chances, and he did other things that upset our marriage,” says Angela. “That text from the girl he cheated with was too much, I couldn’t get over it! I did leave him the first time because I knew the signs of a cheater were real, but eventually I went back to him. But after this text, I couldn’t trust him again. I moved out on my own.”

At this point, Angela and her husband had been married for 22 years. After she left him, they still talked and stayed “friends with benefits.” Her husband helped her around the house, spent some time together. He insisted he wasn’t in a relationship with the woman he had the affair with, but she eventually found out that he was actually still cheating with her.

Advice from a wife who gave her cheating husband a second chance

“People always told me ‘once a cheater always a cheater’ and I hoped not,” said Angela. “But in my husband’s case, they were right. He is a cheater, a liar and a deceiver.”

Signs of a Cheater

Signs of Cheating – Wisdom After the Affair

Her advice for women who think they’re seeing signs of a cheater? “Only you can decide what to do about infidelity in your relationship, no matter what other people tell you,” she says, “because it’s your life to decide what you think is best for you. Your husband may be different; only you truly know him.”

She adds that sometimes it takes time to be strong enough to leave a husband, even if he’s cheating. Or to decide to stay and rebuild your marriage. Both decisions require strength and courage, hard work and hope for your future.

Deciding how to cope with the signs of a cheater

“No one can tell you what to do!” says Angela. “I can’t tell you how to handle a cheating husband, but I can tell you that now I’m free of all the worry and stress that a bad relationship can put you through. I wish you well and hope you find your answer. Just know it’s not your fault that your husband is cheating, even if all the signs point to you. You didn’t destroy your marriage – your husband did.”

She encourages wives to pray about their decision, to always talk to God first. “He will lead you either way and for your good,” she says. “Trust God because He’s the only one we can trust! He will work it out for your good. It takes time but He will. Trust me – He did it for me and He will do it for you, whatever you need or whatever you want to do.. Just pray about it and seek His Guidance. He hears you and he knows your pain. Plus he knows what’s best for you!”

After the Affair

Signs of a Cheater HusbandAfter the Affair: Healing the Pain and Rebuilding Trust When a Partner Has Been Unfaithful is a helpful book for wives who recognize the signs of a cheater or are struggling to love and forgive a cheating husband. Dr Janis Abrahms Spring is a nationally acclaimed relationship expert on issues of trust, intimacy, and forgiveness.

After the Affair teaches partners how to heal themselves and grow from the shattering crisis of an emotional or physical affair. Dr. Spring has practiced as a clinical psychologist for over 35 years, and offers a series of original and proven strategies that address such questions as:

  • Why did the affair happen?
  • Once love and trust are gone, can we ever get them back?
  • Can I—should I—recommit to my cheating husband when I feel so ambivalent?
  • How do we become sexually intimate again?
  • Is forgiveness possible?
  • What constitutes an affair in cyberspace?

In private practice in Westport, Connecticut, Dr Abrahms is the author of the award-winning How Can I Forgive You? The Courage to Forgive, the Freedom Not To.

I welcome your thoughts on these signs of cheating below. I can’t tell you if your husband is a cheater or give advice about how to handle cheating in your marriage, but you may find it helpful to share your experience.

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14 Responses

  1. Christy says:

    It will be 12 years of marriage this month. My husband is 15 years my senior and has all the signs of a cheater. We had known each other quite a few years. We were always buddies. I was 23 when we started dating. I fell deeply in love. We married quickly. Talked about having a child.

    A month after our wedding I got pregnant. When i was 5 months pregnant (and had started losing my figure) the REAL him came out. And stayed! Ill write a book one day in hopes young ladies will read it and take heed of the red flags of the oh so charming narcissist. Its not a made up disorder and i honestly dont believe its an overly used term either. They exist and they are everywhere! Devastating to say the least. No one understands what its like to go through a relationship with an NPD unless they’ve lived it. Ill never be able to wrap my head around it and I’ve got his games down! I’m lost.

    In order to leave my options are moving in a homeless woman shelter. I love my 3 dogs like my children. 2 of my dogs ive had 3 generations. I put my all into this marriage. Ive done EVERY single thing i can think of, read about to help it but cant do it alone. I payed off the mortgage on the house along with many other things and to have to leave with not a pot to piss in and a child is unbearable. But so is staying. I know it will be a very rough patch so it can get better but idk for how long. I don’t make enough money to provide for me and my child through the winter. I’m beat down and exhausted…

    I’ve regained hope though and will continue trying to figure it out. Regaining my strength and determination.

    • Dana says:

      Why would you move into a homeless shelter. Get a divorce and get alimony and child support. A homeless shelter is not your only option. You can also take out a loan for a lawyer or have his fees be part of the settlement. Idk how to do it but I’ve heard of people doing it.

      • Christy says:

        Alimony and all that youve stated are not options in the state I live. It is a no fault state when it comes to divorce. I cant get a loan, he has all of our accounts over drawn, and i have no credit.

    • Edwina says:


      How does a narcissist behave? What do they do or say? How can i identify one?

  2. Namey says:

    “Stray red or blonde hairs.” I am a blonde. What if he’s cheating with a brunette?
    What if she dyes her hair turquoise?

  3. Anonymous says:

    I suspect my partner cheating on me. He finds all different types of reasons to leave me with it and take off on me and he goes gallivanting around the streets, without telling me where he’s going. He goes for hours and hours at a time. He’s very good looking and he knows it too. When we r walking around the streets, as soon as he knows that he is behind me, he slows down to walk with what ever other female is there. I’ve caught him out a few times doing that. He always stuffs around with his Fone so that it’s not working, whenever he’s not around me. He constantly flirts and perves. And he hates answering any questions about where he’s been or who he’s been with! He hates ever inviting me to go with him. And he always loves taking off on me. After reading this website, I’ve come to realise that he ticks all the boxes of a cheater. Last night he left with a couple of blokes, and hours later I went to ring him but his Fone number had been wiped from my contact list, but I found his new number in my recent calls list. He was shocked to hear my voice on the Fone. I asked him how long he’s going to be, n he Sed he won’t be long. Well six hours later and I still haven’t heard or seen from him and the guys that he left here with have been back here looking for him. So he’s left there site and is now with someone else and he has failed to contact me n let me know what’s going on with what he’s doing . I’ve been left with no other option but to believe that he’s cheating on me. And I’m sure it’s just a spare of the moment thing but then if that’s the case, then he will do this regularly. So I’ve been left to believe that he’s only using me to get what he wants out of me and he goes sleeping around with what ever chick is available at the time. My partner is the only one that I ever really loved in my whole entire life. With my exs I always knew that it wasn’t going to last long, but with my partner now, I’ve falling head over heels for him and now I’ve been left broken hearted without even really knowing if he’s actually done anything wrong. Wen he first came in on the scene, he was robbed in , when this girl came whinging to me that he’s gone to this sluts place called Lindsey. N I didn’t think anything of it, coz I trust myself, I thought. He would be all good too. Well now after all that we’ve been through, I know he’s got a very high sexuality. He needs sex everyday, and now that I’ve got my periods, he’s gone and left me with it. I don’t want to confront him about it, coz I’m afraid that it will turn him that way. But I have the right to find out. Coz if he’s sleeping around with anyone but me, I don’t want to be with him anymore and share him. No way. I don’t want to share any diseases. And I definitely ain’t sharing the love of my life.
    My strong saying, that has been proven to be right is: “WHAT DOESNT COME OUT IN THE WASH, WILL COME OUT IN THE RINSE”, so the truth will prevail itself one way or another. The truth always comes out.
    So I guess I have to wait and see.

  4. JRSInvestigations says:

    It is impossible to play dumb when you know what is really happening. What’s worse, it puts you in a dilemma on whether to forgive your partner or not.

  5. Sherry says:

    He said I wasn’t giving him enough attention so that’s why he did it we been married for 18 in a half years he said he made a mistake we got 2 kids he said he was sorry but one of them girls still works with him what should I do

    • Marcy says:

      If he still works with her, he will always have the temptation to do it again. He has to look for another job no matter how important it seemed. It is definitely worth saving his marriage if he truly is sorry.

  6. rose says:

    My husband of 9 years and I were struggling about his drinking habits and his low life friends who like partying and getting drunk very often so I wanted to leave my husband for not been a good example for my two babies they are under two years old I left the apartment by October and we were on communication to give each other an other chance to grow up our children together but on the next month of November I found out he was having an affair with a drug addict and alcoholic, she wrote him love letters from a mental and drug addiction center that’s how I found out, the same day I saw the letter he call her and told her she couldn’t no longer call him and talk to him event like friends because he wanted to be with his family he begged me to forgive him for talking to her and he doesn’t admit on having intimacy with her when he admited taking her to the apartment because someone I know had told me about it he also add that there was more people in the apartment that day she was there but I found condoms on his jacket that he claims were his friend’s that had spend the night with his girlfriend and had left an unopened small box and there was also a womans underwear on one of my apartment bedroom, he is denying been guilty of cheating and wants me back in to his life he told me he only loves me and wants to be with me and his babies but I don’t understand how could he also writed a love letter to her saying he loves her when they were writing to each other.

  7. Laurie says:

    Dear Andy,

    It sounds like your girlfriend isn’t happy in her relationship with you. It’s hard to understand and accept, but sometimes the people we love most don’t want to be with us.

    I think one of the best things to do when your partner tries to pull away is give her space and time. She may be going through her own things right now, and unable to talk them through with you.

    It’s a helpless, powerless feeling to let someone go, and give her the space she needs. But it may be the best thing you can do for her right now. You can’t force her to talk, and you definitely can’t make her love you. But, you can give her breathing room to sort out her feelings and figure out what she wants out of her life.

  8. Andy says:

    My girlfriend gets angry when I share something intimate with her, we live far from each other but when she is upset she doesn’t want to talk, her family doesn’t like me because I am from another tribe, of late she suspects I am cheating on her, I believe she is using her family to break free from me, when we make love, she says I am a lousy lover , she doesn’t enjoy it and wants to be over quick, Whenever I share anything with her she uses the information against me, how do I deal with this

  9. Laurie says:

    Hello Ken,

    If your wife is genuinely sorry and sincerely wants to rebuild your marriage, then why not forgive her for cheating? But if you still see the signs of cheating, you might want to think twice.

    How often has she cheated? That may help you decide if you should forgive her.

  10. ken says:

    What about forgiving your wife for cheating?

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