I was a cheater. A liar and a scoundrel.
In my twenty five years of sexual addiction and acting outside of my marriage, I learned how to cover my tracks. But as I look back, there were several tell-tale signs to the discerning eye that I was covering something up.
Today, I can be around a married couple and in less than an hour I can tell if the husband is cheating. Because I was that guy.
I know his tells.
I know the questions to ask.
And I can sniff out the B.S.
I’m not sharing this to get married guys in trouble. If a guy is messing around in the world of sexual vice, he’s already in trouble. I’m sharing this to get guys out of trouble.
The greatest gift of grace I ever received was finally having my secret sin, addiction and unfaithfulness exposed. Though painful in the moment, it saved me from complete death and destruction.
The good news is Jesus loves liars, cheaters and scoundrels. He has this preposterous love for us all — and loves to interfere in all the slop and bilge that is lethal in our lives.
So here are seven sometimes subtle signals that a husband may be living a secret life. Perhaps in a world of pornography and sexual fantasy. Maybe in the beginnings of a potential affair. Or possibly hiding an ongoing unfaithful relationship.
1. IF YOU THINK HE IS CHEATING ON YOU, HE PROBABLY IS.
I’m not encouraging you to be constantly suspicious and always doubting your partner. But if you continually have this nagging feeling that something isn’t right — something is probably wrong. It doesn’t mean it’s the worst case scenario, but it is worth further investigation.
Tammy Nelson, Ph.D., and author of The New Monogamy says this, “The number one sign that someone is cheating on you is your intuition. Listen to your gut. It usually will steer you in the right direction.”
2. YOUR SEX LIFE HAS GROWN COLD AND NEARLY NON-EXISTENT.
Men who are being sexually fulfilled through pornography, sexual vice or encounters with another woman, will almost always lose interest in their marriage partner. Their sexual needs are being met somewhere else and suddenly the marriage bed seems a little ordinary in their warped thinking. Any sex that does take place will often have a sense of indifference and obligation.
3. HE IS UNUSUALLY PROTECTIVE OF HIS TECHNOLOGY.
I can’t even begin to overestimate how many affairs have started on Facebook or some other social media site. Technology and the internet has become the new gateway for affairs and sexual vice. That doesn’t mean we should all throw out our laptops, but it does mean we should be aware of the dangers.
Psychiatrist Scott Haltzman, M.D., author of The Secrets of Surviving Infidelity, warns, “Never leaving his cell unattended, always taking his phone into the other room to text or to take a call, being unusually silent when receiving a text or call, or otherwise being especially secretive is a bad sign.”
If it appears your husband is hiding something, he probably is. People who are having affairs have to communicate, and 99% of it happens through text messages, private social media messages and emails.
4. HIS CARE AND ATTENTION TO HIS BODY AND LOOKS HAS SUDDENLY BECOME VERY IMPORTANT TO HIM.
Now listen — for some men, this needs to happen. So if your man is legitimately trying to lose weight or take better care of himself, that can be a GREAT thing.
But if you’ve been on him for months to trim his nose hair, and now he’s trimming not only his nostrils but every other part of his body, something might be amiss.
Behavioral scientist and relationship expert Christie Hartman, Ph.D. put it like this, “If you see a dramatic shift in your guy's attention to grooming, clothes, and his fitness habits (is he working out like crazy now?), that may indicate that he’s trying to impress another woman.
5. HE IS INCREASINGLY SCHEDULING HIMSELF AWAY FROM THE HOUSE.
It might be for a few hours here and there during the day or at night. It may be overnight work related projects. Whatever it is, he always goes by himself and never invites you.
While every man legitimately has to work late at times and certainly there are times when men have to travel as a part of their jobs, I believe husbands should be transparent and open with their wives about all their personal activities.
Here would be the warning signs: He plays his cards close to the vest about what he’s doing. He is usually unavailable to communicate with you while he is gone. He never asks you to join him. He avoids specific questions about what he was doing while he was gone — or has very vague answers or explanations.
6. SOMETHING’S FISHY WITH YOUR MONEY OR BANK ACCOUNT.
If your guy insists on handling all the money and bills, to the point of not wanting you to see any of what is going on — RED ALERT.
Financial infidelity can point to sexual infidelity. Not always, but often.
If your husband is having trouble explaining charges to a credit card or withdrawals from an account, it may be a sign that he’s spending money on sexual vice or another woman.
7. HE IS QUICK TO GO ON THE OFFENCE.
“Cheating guy” has a number one “go to.” I know because it was my standard response if I felt my wife was digging a little to deep into my secret life.
I would notch up the outrage and throw it right back on her.
“I was at the office trying to make a living for this family while you sit at home watching TV.”
“Are you kidding me? How have I ever proved myself untrustworthy??”
“You are constantly finding faults aren’t you? Does it ever end?”
All of this is meant to turn the tables on YOU and shame you into submission and capitulation. DISTRACT. DISTRACT. DISTRACT. Let’s talk about YOU — not me.
Your husband having one of more of these signs, does not mean he is unfaithful. But it could mean that it might be time for you to lean in closer to your relationship. To pay attention a little more. And to have honest conversations together.
So what should I do if I think my husband is cheating on me?
First, pray and ask the Lord for wisdom on the steps to take. Every situation is different. At some point, open up in your concerns with him, without being accusatory, (unless you have irrefutable proof) but simply sharing the feelings of loss of romance and closeness with him and asking him the difficult questions.
And if you uncover real issues in your marriage, don’t try to handle it alone. He will likely want to exclude any outside help. Stand your ground.
If you discover an obsession with pornography, sexual vice or an affair, invite a pastor, a qualified counselor or life coach into the process of restoration.
Your husband didn’t get where he is overnight. Your marriage didn’t get to where it overnight. It is going to take some deep work and commitment with the steady guidance of loving professionals to find complete healing.
Tomorrow’s blog will dovetail beautifully with the things I’ve shared today. I will be sharing, “7 WAYS TO AFFAIR-PROOF YOUR MARRIAGE.”
Until then, I want to leave you with this passage, which meant so much to me and my family in our life resurrection:
“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you.”
May God’s unfailing love overtake you.
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