It’s never easy to admit your spouse may be having a marital affair. Nor is it likely that your spouse will admit they are having an affair. The very word “cheating” or “infidelity” will trigger feelings of fear, anger, betrayal, hurt, and denial – feelings no one wants to experience.
Marital affairs may involve an emotional relationship, a sexual relationship, or both. According to Victoria Thornton and Alexander Nagurney, “Emotional Infidelity is considered to be ‘falling in love’ or sharing a deep emotional bond with someone other than one’s partner. Sexual Infidelity is considered to be engaging in sexual intercourse with someone other than one’s partner.”
What you may not know are the effects that marital affairs can have on you mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually, and even your own identity. This article will explore 8 signs to be aware of if your spouse is having an affair and what to do afterward.
According to Trustify, statistics show that at least 22% of men have cheated on their wives at least once. 36% of men and women admit to infidelity with a coworker while 17% have admitted to infidelity with a sister-in-law or brother-in-law. 35% have admitted to infidelity while on a business trip. Statistics show 9% of men and 14% of women have admitted to infidelity to get back at the other spouse.
In the beginning, everything about your relationship is going “perfect.” You have no doubt that your spouse is committed to you and your relationship. Being able to marry your best friend is what every person dreams of. As days, months, and years go by, you are unaware of your spouse’s secret life aside your “perfect” relationship. Stuck in a routine that has been set for months or even years, you go on with your busy life with no knowledge as to what your spouse is doing.
Then you slowly begin to notice changes in their daily routine. Your spouse is coming home later than usual, is more secretive and protective of their personal belongings, they are more distant, and communication has decreased. You begin to question the honesty and trust in the relationship. You also begin to question whether you are imagining it or going crazy.
8 Signs of Marital Affairs
Here are 8 signs to look for if your spouse is cheating:
Emotional distance is a key sign to look for if you think your spouse is having an affair with another person. To be emotionally invested in someone relationally and/or intimately takes a lot of time and energy. It’s not easy to be emotionally invested in two people. If your spouse is having an affair, his or her behavior toward you may not necessarily be drastic, so you should be conscious and aware of gradual changes.
One sign may include your spouse becoming more introverted and disconnected from you. Guilt can cause pain, embarrassment, and even anger toward oneself. To prevent those feelings from occurring, your spouse will most likely distance themselves from you while growing closer to the other person.
Secrecy or the obsessive need for privacy
Secrecy or the obsessive need for privacy is a common sign of infidelity to look for. Most victims of marital infidelity have indicated that their spouse will deny or get highly defensive when asked questions with regards to their whereabouts, calls or messages received, finances that don’t balance, etc.A spouse having an affair will do and say anything to hide their infidelity by protecting their means of communication. For example, a sudden need to create a password to protect their mobile device, computer, or tablet. They may also delete their history from their devices, voicemails, text messages, or emails. They may create alias names for themselves or for the person they are having an affair with.
At the beginning of the relationship, trust is a key factor that is established between a couple. Trust takes time and patience to build, but once it is broken by infidelity it’s hard to rebuild that trust again. A spouse having an affair will say anything to convince you of their false reality. The guilt they feel when they look into your eyes creates a defense system of lies and deception.
As the victim of a marital affair, you never thought you would have to sort through your spouse’s words, phrases, sentences, or statements between truth or lies. Your spouse will say it with such confidence, and without proof or knowledge, you unwillingly believe them.
Change in routine
From the beginning of your relationship, you and your spouse have established a set routine both as a couple and as individuals. You both wake up, get ready for work, wish each other a good day, go to work, get home by 6pm, cook dinner, share stories about your day, give each other a goodnight kiss, and go to bed.
Gradual changes begin to appear in the set routine when a spouse is having a marital affair. They may or may not have an excuse as to why their routine has changed, but knowing some signs to look for may help you. Some things you may want to look for is an increase in work activity causing your spouse to arrive home later than usual, going to the gym later because its less crowded, decrease in communication, etc.
Increase in work activity
A typical work schedule for most people is Monday through Friday, 8am to 5pm. Your spouse works a typical shift with Saturday and Sunday off. You begin to notice your spouse has an influx of hours at work. They come home hours later on some days. They suddenly work some weekends. When confronted with the change in work schedule, your spouse gives you reasons such as needing to stay at work late due to an increase in workload or agreeing to work more days than usual due to a decrease of employees. Another sign to look for is a sudden increase in business travels or business lunches.
Decrease in intimacy
How is your sex life? How often do you and your spouse have sex? Is your spouse happy with your sex life? These are questions that should be discussed periodically throughout your relationship. If your spouse or partner is not happy, it may cause them to feel hurt, rejected or desperate.A key indicator of marital infidelity is the change in your sex life. Your sex life could be better, worse, or different for no reason. You may notice an increase or decrease in frequency or duration of sex. It may also be different in such a way that your spouse will ask you to try new things. Another sign to be aware of is your spouse becoming more flirtatious toward the opposite sex.
Change in Finances
Another sign to look for if your spouse is having a marital affair are the changes in finances. According to the TD Bank survey in 2013, about 42% of those in relationships, whether they are married or living with a significant other, have joint accounts but also maintain individual accounts as well. When a couple shares a joint account, both have access to the online statements and charges.
Having an affair requires financial funding toward certain activities. One thing to look for is a sudden increase in their spending or ATM withdrawals, or a change in amount, frequency, locations, and debit vs. credit transactions. You notice your spouse has taken out a new credit card or opened a new checking account. There is a reduction in the overall deposit into the joint checking account. Certain bill statements are being sent to another location.
Change in appearance
Each person has a unique sense of style. When your spouse suddenly has a profound interest in altering their appearance for no apparent reason, it may be a key indicator that your spouse may be having a marital affair. One thing to look for is a sudden interest in fitness to get in shape or to lose weight when they don’t need to. There is an increased attention to detail in personal grooming, such as an increase in make-up, shaving, cologne, or perfume.
This may also include a drastic change in hairstyle, such as a clean cut, using hair gel, curling or straightening of the hair, changing the color or length. It may involve a change in attire, such as buying new clothing or wearing a new or different style than usual. Another sign to look for is your spouse not wearing or forgetting to wear their wedding ring.
What to do if your spouse may be having a marital affair
There is no guarantee that your spouse may be having a marital affair, nor is there a guarantee that your relationship will work out in the end. If your spouse is having an affair, do you choose to walk away from the relationship, or do you choose to stay and work it out?
It’s never easy to admit or believe your relationship has hit rock bottom. If you noticed some of these signs listed above, it is highly recommended that you schedule an appointment with a counselor who specializes in marital affairs and infidelity.Couples who choose to work out their relationship should understand it won’t be easy, but it can give you the closure you may need to end one chapter and begin anew, whether that be with each other or going separate ways. It takes both individuals to agree to and work toward rebuilding their relationship.
A new foundation must be created. Trust will continue to be a challenge and a work in progress. But through counseling and faith, both individuals can push through this obstacle set before them. The couple will face emotions neither want to go through, but to see progress, both individuals must agree to process through those emotions.
Victims of marital affairs may find themselves stripped of their identity and sense of purpose in life. You may feel the affair was your fault, blaming yourself, questioning what you could have done differently so your spouse would remain faithful to you and your relationship. You may also feel angry toward your spouse for hurting you. All of these emotions are highly recommended to be worked through in counseling.
Spouses who commit infidelity must choose whether they want to end one or both relationships. They must choose if they want to continue their marriage, continue the affair relationship, or leave both. But they must choose one or none. They must leave the emotional and sexual connection behind to move forward in the choosing relationship. Individual counseling sessions is highly recommended whether you choose to work on the relationship or to part ways.
Marital affairs are never easy to get through. It takes a lot of time, patience, commitment, hope, and belief that things will work themselves out for the best. For some, time may lead both individuals down separate paths or lead them to a better marriage. By knowing the signs of infidelity, it can help identify the issues in the relationship before it’s too late.
With the assistance of marital and individual counseling, your relationship can get the help it needs to rebuild both the individual and marital relationship. With different therapy styles, techniques, and homework, you and your spouse can work toward a better life with one another.
Through Christian counseling, I can help you to rebuild and regain your spiritual faith, both individually and as a marital couple. You are not alone in this journey.
Russell, M. V., Baker, L. R., & McNulty, J. K. (2014). Attachment Insecurity and Infidelity In Marriage: Do Studies of Dating Relationships Really Inform Us About Marriage? National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes Of Health,(27), 2nd ser., 242-251. doi:10.1037/a0032118
Thornton, V., & Nagurney, L. (2011). What Is Infidelity? Perceptions Based On Biological Sex And Personality. National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes Of Health,4, 51-58. doi:10.2147/PRBM.S16876
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