Early Signs Your Spouse Is Cheating

(That You May Not Notice - I Didn't)


"Are you having an affair?"

I couldn’t believe I finally said it.

My first wife and I  had just gotten in the car to go visit my parents on a Sunday morning. I remember putting the key in the ignition to start the car, but then hesitating before putting my hands in my lap.

The brief silence as I worked up the courage to confront her caught her attention. I didn’t make eye contact. I just kind of gazed in her direction staring at her knees as I said those five words.

It was one of those defining moments that become reference points for the rest of our lives. The moments where we can easily separate the before and after.

She didn’t say a word for the longest time. At least it felt like forever. She just sat there, her right knee bouncing up and down as she nervously twisted the bracelets on her wrist.

It’s weird. When I started writing this I didn’t realize that I don’t remember what she said after that. We didn’t go anywhere that day. We went back inside, and the next 7 hours can be divided into three phases. But I will be talking more about that in the next article about dealing with infidelity in marriage.

Before I talk about the early and less obvious signs that she was cheating, let me first say that in the months right before I found out about the affair, there were the typical signs. Even my friends and coworkers saw the signs. They told me over and over that she was probably cheating.

The Typical Signs of a Cheating Spouse

Here are the most obvious signs that your spouse is having an affair. 

1. “Working” Longer Hours

Suddenly she was having to work late into the evening almost every night. She wouldn’t get home until after 10 o’clock some nights. First, I didn’t really think much about it but over time I did start to get suspicious. I would call her at work, and she would not answer. When I asked her about it later, she would always have an excuse why she was not able to answer the phone. A week or so before I finally confronted her, I actually drove by her work one evening to see if she was really there. It’s no big surprise that she wasn’t.

2. Being Unreachable

In addition to the evenings when she was supposed to be at work and I couldn’t reach her, the same was often true for weekends as well. She would say that she had stuff to do and I did wouldn’t be able to get a hold of her all day.

3. Sexy Lingerie

Now this takes the cake. A couple weeks before I finally confronted her, she told me that she had to go out of town for an overnight work event. It wasn’t common for her job to require an out-of-town work event, but at the same time, it wasn’t out of the question.

The night before she would leave, I had an opportunity to go through her bag and when I did, I found a Victoria’s Secret shopping bag with brand-new sexy lingerie. To say that was a sign that she was cheating would be an understatement.

I think those are obvious signs that most people experience. I know they say hindsight is 20/20, but still I should’ve seen it coming a lot sooner. Looking back now I can see there were several signs very early on that should have raised some suspicion on my part. Now I can see that these were signs that my spouse was cheating, but at the time, these early signs, or changes as I saw them, were something that I welcomed. I thought they were a good thing for our relationship.

Other Common Signs

Your spouse seems more secretive and places a high value on their “privacy”.

Your spouse doesn’t show any jealousy even though they used to get jealous often.

Your spouse is hesitant to make big plans for the future or commit to large purchases together.

Your spouse always make sure to clear their browser history on the computer.

3 Early Signs My Spouse Was Having an Affair That I Didn't Notice

The following are three early signs that my spouse was having an affair long before I had any suspicions. These signs didn’t make me suspicious, and in fact, I even thought they were a good thing.

1. We Didn’t Argue Anymore

I don’t know if other people experience this or not. Early in our marriage and up until the last year or so we would argue a lot. There were certain issues that she would always bring up again and again. They caused friction between us. Looking back now I can see that in the last year or so we didn’t argue hardly at all.

The things that previously irritated her didn’t seem to bother her anymore. I even remember talking with a friend and telling him that I thought our marriage relationship had become more mature and that’s why we weren’t fighting as much. Knowing what I know now, I think she had simply become indifferent. She didn’t care anymore.

2. Spouse Suddenly Supports Your Hobby or Encourages You To Spend Time With Friends

I remember taking a walk down the road, and she started talking about how I should become more focused on myself and hobbies and spending time with friends and less on our marriage and home life. At the time I thought that sounded pretty good. I had absolutely no idea that she was preparing me for the future when she knew that the affair would come out and that we would be getting a divorce.

I don’t know if this is a sign that many people experience. I doubt it. Maybe it reveals that she had some concern for how I would take this, and she was trying to prepare me. On the other hand, she may have just been trying to strategically set it up so that the separation was easier. Maybe she was trying to give me a hint. I will never know what she was thinking.

3. Paying More Attention to Physical Appearance

In the 8 1/2 years that I knew my first wife, I don’t remember her ever really caring about wearing makeup or nice clothes. I mean we didn’t dress in rags, but she wasn’t overly concerned with that sort of thing. And she never really had any desire to engage in regular intense physical exercise. Looking back now, I can see how that all changed during her affair.

She was buying nice new cloths. She was wearing makeup and exercising almost every day. The truth is at first, I didn’t think much of it. I thought it was great. She was looking good and it seemed healthy. Maybe it’s different when they are working out at a health club or something and you don’t see them, but she was working at a home.

Interpreting The Signs of a Cheating Spouse

If you’re still watching this, then it’s probably because you are suspicious that your spouse might be having an affair. Keep in mind that this is my experience and while I know that some of these signs of a cheating spouse are typical, others may not be so common.

The other thing is a number of these signs could be present in a relationship even when a spouse is not being unfaithful. And that is why I encourage people to be very careful in how they approach the situation. Obviously, accusing your spouse of having an affair when they are not could have a negative impact on the relationship. 

So, take it slow and thoughtfully consider what your next step should be.

In our Shmily Effect Marriage Reset Intensive free marriage workshop, we talk about what is taking place physically when someone is under the stress of marriage problems such as rejection of a spouse or infidelity. 

It’s one of the most stressful events that can take place in someone’s life. The only thing more stressful is the death of a spouse or child. When we are experiencing the stress of a cheating spouse, our blood pressure goes up, and cortisol floods the blood stream making it difficult to think clearly. As a result, your body goes into fight or flight mode. When this happens it can have an impact on how we respond. 

And so, I want to encourage you to take it slow and do your best to think through the best way to handle situation. It might help to talk with a friend or therapist or even your pastor.