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.
Need marriage help? Get FREE relationship advice from Marriage Coach Mort Fertel.
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
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.
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.”
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
After 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.