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Infidelity is one of the most difficult things to deal with in a relationship. Unfortunately, it is also a widespread issue among monogamous couples, with around 20 percent of married couples engaging in extra-marital affairs at some point, and up to 70 percent of unmarried couples. 1 2 Infidelity can be a devastating blow to any relationship, and it is important to remember that it is not your fault if your partner cheats on you.
Cheating is considered a red flag in a relationship because it can cause immense emotional pain and damage trust beyond repair. If you suspect that your girlfriend may be cheating on you, it is important to pay attention to her behavior and look for any red flags that may indicate that she is being unfaithful. Here are 11 signs that she may be cheating:
Is your relationship on the rocks lately? Here’s some helpful relationship advice that can hopefully help get things back on track.
1. She’s been distant and withdrawn lately
A sign of a cheating partner is when they have been emotionally distant and withdrawn lately. If your partner suddenly stops being as communicative or intimate as they usually are, it could be a sign that they’re spending their time elsewhere.
Cheating happens more often in dating couples than in married couples, and this is partially due to the low relationship commitment in the early stages of dating. 3 So if you’re girlfriend has been withdrawing from the relationship, it could be a sign that she is seeing someone else.
Another reason your partner may be withdrawing could be because they feel guilty about their cheating and are trying to distance themselves from you. Either way, if your partner is acting strange, it’s worth paying attention to.
However, it could be that your partner is simply going through a busy period and isn’t able to give you the attention you want. If this is the case, they should be able to explain why they’ve been distant and assure you that it’s nothing serious.
Either way, if you’re feeling neglected, it’s important to talk to your partner about how you’re feeling.
2. She’s been spending more time alone or with her friends
If your girlfriend is suddenly spending more time alone or with her friends, it could be a sign that she’s cheating on you. A cheating girlfriend often tries to create more distance between herself and her partner as a way to avoid getting caught.
If your girlfriend is suddenly hanging out with her friends more often, it could be because she’s trying to create some distance between the two of you.
Of course, it’s possible that she just wants to spend more time with her friends. Maybe she needs more space and is trying to find a balance between her social life and her relationship.
In healthy relationships, it is important that partners have autonomy and view their relationships as separate from their social lives - and doing so is linked to better personal and social well-being. 4 So if your girlfriend is spending more time with her friends, it’s not necessarily a bad thing.
However, if your girlfriend is consistently choosing to spend time with her friends over you, it could be a sign that she’s not as invested in the relationship as you are.
3. She’s secretive about who is calling or texting her
A common sign of a cheating girlfriend is if she is constantly keeping her phone hidden or refusing to answer certain calls. It could be because she doesn’t want you to know who she’s talking to.
If you ask her who called or texted, and she quickly grabs her phone to hide the screen, it could be because she’s hiding something from you. Your girlfriend may have always been private about her phone, but if she’s suddenly started being more secretive, it’s worth asking why.
Of course, everyone, including your girlfriend has a right to privacy, and there may be innocent reasons for why she’s being secretive about her phone. Maybe she’s just getting a lot of calls and texts from work or friends. But if she’s reluctant to share information about who is contacting her, it could be a sign that she’s cheating.
Keep in mind that she’s not obligated to share her phone records with you! In a committed relationship, both partners should respect each other’s privacy. And in general, it is not advisable to snoop through your partner’s phone without their permission, as it can promote an increase in emotional instability and increase the level of anxiety, depression, and emotional uncertainty in a relationship. 5 6
4. She’s been making more excuses to avoid being around you
One of the most obvious signs of a cheating girlfriend is if she’s been making more excuses to avoid being around you. If your partner suddenly has a lot of errands to run or events to attend, it could be because they’re trying to find ways to avoid being with you. A cheating girlfriend will often come up with any excuse possible to get out of spending time with her partner.
If your girlfriend has an insecure attachment style, particularly that of high avoidance (fearful and dismissing attachment styles), this has probably been the norm for her in relationships - and may have nothing to do with you. Attachment theory posits that how we viewed our caregivers when we were young (our “attachment figures”) sets the template for how we will view all future relationships, and insecure attachment styles will typically show much less interest in romantic relationships than those with secure attachment styles. 7 8
Of course, while it’s possible that your girlfriend’s avoidance of you is due to her attachment style, it could also be a sign that she’s cheating. If you’ve noticed that she’s been more distant and is making more excuses to avoid being around you, it’s worth asking her why.
5. She’s lost interest in being physically intimate with you
Has she been avoiding being intimate with you lately? If you notice that she never seems to be in the mood for making love or never initiates sex, it might be that she’s cheating.
Especially if she always had a very high sex drive and suddenly has been avoiding making love with you at all cost. This is a strong indication that something is wrong.
A decline in sexual satisfaction is often one of the most common reasons behind infidelity. 9 Maybe your girlfriend feels like her sexual needs aren’t being met lately. In this case, talking to her about it and offering possible solutions to make your love-making more interesting and satisfactory could resolve it.
6. She’s been working longer hours or taking on extra projects at work
This is one of the more subtle signs your girlfriend is cheating. If she’s suddenly working a lot more or taking on extra projects, it could be that she’s trying to create some distance between the two of you.
She may also be using work as an excuse to stay out later or not spend as much time with you. If you notice this change and she can’t give you a good explanation, it’s worth investigating further.
Talk to your partner about how you’re feeling and listen to their explanation. If they’re just really busy with work, try to be understanding. Remember, it must not be an indication of cheating!
Do you find yourself constantly battling with your partner over seemingly small things? Check out these 13 deal breakers as it might be time to call it quits.
7. She gets defensive when you ask her questions
If you’ve been noticing that your girlfriend is getting defensive when you ask her questions, it could be a sign that she’s hiding something from you. She may feel like she needs to justify her actions or she’s worried that you’ll find out she’s cheating.
If she shows this behavior for periods of time, it could mean that she’s cheating on you. If your partner is always defensive, it might be difficult to get them to open up and talk about what’s going on. But it’s important to try to communicate with them and get to the bottom of the issue.
Of course, there are other reasons why your girlfriend might be getting defensive. Maybe she’s just feeling overwhelmed or stressed. But if you notice that she’s only getting defensive with you, it could be a sign that something is wrong.
8. She’s been avoiding your conversations altogether
In romantic relationships, communication is key. If your partner is suddenly avoiding conversations with you, it could (but must not) be a sign of cheating. Cheating partners will often try to avoid talking about their relationship altogether.
They may also deflect any questions you have about their whereabouts or what they’re doing. If your partner is starting to act like this, it’s important to talk to them and find out what’s going on.
There are many reasons why your partner has been avoiding your conversations lately. Maybe there are other relationship issues that they’re not ready to talk about yet. Maybe they’re just feeling overwhelmed and need some time to themselves. Whatever it is, it’s important to talk to your partner and find out what’s going on.
9. There are rumors going around that she’s been seeing someone else
A rather strong indication that your girlfriend is cheating is if there are rumors going around that she’s seeing someone else. People love to gossip, so it’s possible that the rumors are false. But if you’ve noticed that your partner has been acting differently and these rumors keep popping up, it’s worth looking into.
Of course, you should never believe everything you hear. But if there are several different people telling you the same thing, it’s definitely worth talking to your partner about what’s going on. They may be able to set your mind at ease and put the rumors to rest.
When it comes to a serious relationship, there are certain behaviors that can be a major turn off. Check out the 20 biggest turn offs in any serious relationship, and see if you’re guilty of any of them!
10. She’s flirting with other people in front of you
Flirting can be harmless fun, but if your partner is doing it in front of you, it can be a sign that they’re not respecting your relationship. Maybe your girlfriend is just a flirty person, but if it seems like she’s making an extra effort to flirt with other people in front of you, it could be a sign that she’s not happy with the state of your relationship.
If your partner is doing this, it’s important to talk to them about how you’re feeling. Let them know that it makes you feel uncomfortable and see what they have to say about it.
They may not even realize that they’re doing anything wrong. But if they continue to flirt with other people, it could be a sign that they’re not happy in the relationship and are looking for a way out.
11. She tries to pick fights with you
Think about the last time you and your girlfriend fought, did you two properly resolve it? If not, then it might be a sign that your partner is holding a grudge and cheating is a way to take revenge. Anger and the desire for revenge are established to be good motivators for people in relationships to cheat, even if they don’t realize it. [^10]
When people are angry, they often lash out and do things that they wouldn’t normally do. If your partner is trying to pick fights with you, it’s possible that they’re just looking for an excuse to cheat.
It’s important to try to resolve any conflict in your relationship before it gets to this point. If you’re noticing that your partner is getting angrier and more aggressive, talk to them about it and see if there’s anything you can do to help resolve the situation.
So there you have it, 11 signs that your girlfriend may be cheating on you. If you’re seeing several of these behaviors, here are helpful tips on how to confront a cheater. Remember, not all of these signs mean that your partner is definitely cheating on you. But if you’re feeling worried, it’s always better to talk to your partner and see what’s going on.
Secrets to a healthy relationship: Books every couple should read
It's no secret that a healthy relationship is key in a long-lasting and fulfilling relationship. This list of books about healthy relationships will help you learn how to communicate better, resolve conflict, and deepen your connection. From classic self-help books to more modern reads, these titles will give you the tools you need to build a strong and healthy relationship.
- Boundaries in Dating: How Healthy Choices Grow Healthy Relationships
- Love in Every Season: Understanding the Four Stages of Every Healthy Relationship
- Love More, Fight Less: Communication Skills Every Couple Needs: A Relationship Workbook for Couples
- Infidelity Recovery Workbook for Couples: Tools and Exercises to Rebuild Your Relationship
- Healthy Me, Healthy Us: Your Relationships Are Only as Strong as You Are
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Wiederman, M. W., & Hurd, C. (1999). Extradyadic involvement during dating. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 16(2), 265-274. ↩︎
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Arikewuyo, A. O., Eluwole, K. K., & Özad, B. (2021). Influence of Lack of Trust on Romantic Relationship Problems: The Mediating Role of Partner Cell Phone Snooping. Psychological reports, 124(1), 348–365. doi.org ↩︎
Mikulincer, M., Shaver, P. R., & Zanna, M. P. (2003). Advances in experimental social psychology (Vol. ↩︎
Scott, S. B., Parsons, A., Post, K. M., Stanley, S. M., Markman, H. J., & Rhoades, G. K. (2017). Changes in the sexual relationship and relationship adjustment precede extradyadic sexual involvement. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 46(2), 395-406. ↩︎