If you’re in a committed, monogamous relationship of any kind, cheating is cheating. I have cheated and been cheated on. One side of the coin causes pain and insecurity, the other is fueled by them. Whether you’re in a relatively new relationship or you’ve been in a relationship for a while, you may have wondered, “Is my boyfriend cheating, or am I just being insecure?”
* As always, my work applies to all genders and orientations. For this particular article, please substitute where necessary to accommodate your relationship and circumstances.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a Carfax for people. However, no matter how much they may lie; try to divert your attention, distort your reality, deflect, or hide from the proverbial mirror, people cannot help but communicate three things (especially if you are in an intimate relationship with them):
- Who they are. This is discovered through actions that eventually establish patterns.
- What their morals and values are. Everyone is on their best behavior in the beginning. Always make sure to take note of how they treat animals, children, senior citizens, and people who offer nothing of egoic value to them.
- What matters the most to them. Image or Integrity?
Whenever I noticed these three things to be red flaggy in the person I was with, I would overlook it by cherry-picking and focusing on what WAS good. I’d remind myself of all the potential and hold onto what they represented (as opposed to who they had proven themselves to be).
When my instinct begged me to listen, I ignored it by reminding myself that this is what true love is all about. It’s about seeing the good in people and looking past the “imperfections” that we all have.
There were a few problems with this:
- I was cherry-picking the good. And you’ll never have to cherry-pick anything that is abundant, only scarce.
- The idea of who/what my partner could possibly and potentially be, took precedence over who they had proven to be and were, in real-time!
- Like many, I bought into the stupid belief that true love blinds us. I thought, “oh, I love this person so much; the fact that I’m choosing to stay when things aren’t ‘perfect’ is a sign of maturity. It’s a sign of true love that I’m choosing to be positive and focus on the good, no matter what.” And as much as romance novels, television shows, movies, and fairy tales want us to believe that true love is blind; that someone will change if we are “good enough,” the truth is that true love will give us the clearest vision we’ve ever had – even if that’s the clarity of sight to walk away from what is toxic to our mental health. What truly blinds us is low self-esteem, shame, un dealt-with trauma, and a lack of self-love, not true love. There’s a difference between standing by your partner “through thick and thin; good times and bad” and choosing to walk away from an absence of things like respect, decency, honesty, humanity, loyalty, and communication.
I wanted to share all of the above because it’s what set me up to ignore the one thing that none of us will ever be able to afford the cost of ignoring: our gut feelings, our instinct.
Is My Boyfriend Cheating on Me, or Am I Being Insecure? Maybe I’m Just Paranoid?
Suppose you’re being insecure and or paranoid. In that case, it generally has more of a root in un dealt-with trauma. Maybe you’ve been lied to and cheated on before. Maybe you have established patterns (i.e., you have abandonment issues; you always suspect disloyalty and betrayal in your relationships), and irrationality (you have absolutely no evidence of anything).
With gut feelings, you may not have any tangible proof, but there may be crumbs leading to the cookie; smoke leading to the fire. You may not be able to put your finger on exactly what it is, but you just know something is up.
Insecurity and paranoia are feelings that will often make you more reactionary. They have a very frantic energetic charge.
Gut feelings, even if they are unpleasant, are more focused than frantic. They make you more responsive than reactionary and are made up of fragments of reality, not projection.
Nothing can beat your own gut instinct if you want to know whether your partner is cheating on you or not. Remember that no one else knows them as well as you do.
Other people can give advice as much as possible, but you are the one who spends the most time with this person. Only you can accurately see the daily changes in their behavior and mood swings. They may not show other people the same version of themselves.
If something does not feel right, you may already have your answer because your gut tells you something important. You probably have an accurate hunch and should try to notice other signs of cheating as well.
But before we get into the “is my boyfriend cheating?” signs, I want to clarify one thing. There are no “universal signs” of cheating. Why? Because we all define “love,” “monogamy,” and “cheating” differently.
Your partner may also show different signs than these.
Nothing here is absolute. This is just what I have experienced in my life and also, working with thousands of clients around the world. Not only are we all different, but there are many different forms of cheating and beliefs as to what is considered cheating. Keep all of this in mind as you continue on.
These signs DO NOT mean that your partner is absolutely cheating. But they do mean that you absolutely need to slow down and be more observant than you are invested for the time being.
If You’re Wondering, “Is My Boyfriend Cheating?” Here Are 20 Signs That Your Partner May Be Cheating…
1. It feels like everything has changed all at once, completely out of the blue and very sudden. And when you comment on the changes that you notice, you’re made to feel crazy.
What changes in particular? It could be many different things
“Is my boyfriend cheating?” Well, if *all of a sudden* they are…
– Always on their phone and or more protective of it
– Either very interested in sex or not interested at all
– Caring more about appearances than they ever have
– Overly attentive; almost paranoid
– Constantly checking up on you and or telling you where they are
– Starting to act jealous
– Very agreeable or more combative
– Victimize themselves for the littlest things
– Accusing you of cheating
– Easily hurt and offended
– Very disconnected/indifferent
– Taking up activities/hobbies that you never knew they had an interest in
– A “family member,” “coworker,” or “friend” suddenly has a crisis and constantly needs them
– They start listening to and really liking a different kind of music
… And this becomes a pattern, this doesn’t mean that they are one-hundred percent cheating. But keep your antennas up.
2. You’re not spending as much time together as you used to. And when you are together, it just doesn’t feel the same. It feels like their mind is somewhere else.
You feel more alone in their presence than when you are physically alone.
3. You’ve already caught them in lies.
4. They make you feel like you’re too controlling when you ask basic questions. You start to feel guilty for respectfully asking anything or making any reasonable observations.
5. They’re very touchy. You’re always walking on eggshells.
6. Nothing makes sense. Stories don’t add up, and you start to feel like you’re seeing something that no one else does. It’s maddening.
7. They encourage you to go out more because they’re going out more – without you.
8. Their friends are cheaters, or they have cheaters in their family that they are close to/look up to.
9. When you ask them if anything is going on, they either get very defensive, gaslight you, or they change the subject through deflection.
10. They have an established pattern/history of triangulation.
11. EXTREMISM. They instigate fights, then blame you for starting them. They are oppositional, territorial, and combative. OR, they recoil, talk about how it’s important that you both have your “freedoms,” and are complimentary in encouraging you to have more of a life beyond them.
12. They nitpick everything with you so that you become consumed with bettering yourself instead of realizing that you just need to find a better partner.
13. Their social media behavior has changed.
14. Their financial behavior has changed.
15. They have admitted to cheating on exes in their past. OR, when you ask them how their previous relationships ended, they say that every ex cheated on them; they were the one wronged in every past relationship.
16. They give you doses of the whole truth.
You never get the whole enchilada. Instead, you get fragments of a bigger deception that you have to piece together. And even then, you still don’t have the full story.
17. They lie about the littlest things.
18. They start to criticize your attributes (physical, emotional, professional) that they used to find attractive and compliment you on.
19. They don’t love themselves.
If you’re wondering, “Is my boyfriend cheating?” I’m NOT saying that everyone with low self-esteem cheats. What I am saying, is that in the presence of these other signs, those who depend on outside validation because they cannot self-validate are more inclined to cheat.
20. Issues arise that take up their time while also, making you feel sorry for them and “how hard they’re working.”
Love Yourself First
The more you love yourself, the less often you’ll wind up in relationships with people who hate who they are.
If you’re still wondering, “Is my boyfriend cheating on me?” take time to go through this list again with compassion. I know it’s hard but take your insecurities and ego out of it. Think about what your own eyes, ears, gut feelings, and INSTINCT have experienced in real time.
Listen to your instinct. It’s the oldest part of your soul.
And remember, you don’t need to have every piece of “evidence,” nor do you need to know the whole story to do what’s best for you. Surrender to the fact that while you may never know the whole truth, “what’s best for you” will always be taking the path that’s lit by your instinct – not the tunnel that’s darkened by your partner’s deception.
Written by: Natasha Adamo