Are you having a strong hunch that something is up but can’t put your finger on it?
Before you go pointing it in his direction with accusations, look for the five major signs you and your partner actually have something to talk about.
Has he stopped calling when he’s out of town? Do your once side-splitting anecdotes no longer amuse him? While you should expect that initial obsession to cool a bit in time, sudden loss of interest can be cause for concern.
Cheaters are renowned over-compensators. If your partner is suddenly and uncharacteristically attentive, he or she may be struggling with infidelity-related remorse. Watch out for guilt-assuaging gifts and unusually helpful behavior. Inexplicable surrenders in arguments and uncharacteristic compromises are also telling signs.
Sex drive in neutral
There are always a number of suspects for a drop in libido, including stress, low self-image, legal and illegal drugs and depression. It can also be a manifestation of other dysfunctions within a relationship. But if you are confident that your mate and your relationship are otherwise in sound condition, it could be that someone else is monopolizing his attention — and his libido.
Sudden changes in routine
Watch for an unexplained investment in his wardrobe and a new enthusiasm for the gym. If your partner becomes suddenly infatuated with his looks, he might be just plain infatuated. In fact, any major changes in routine are suspect. We are, after all, creatures of habit. One upside of that is that when we do shake things up, there’s always a reason. If he’s no longer available for your standing lunch dates, pay attention. Should your die-hard morning-bather begin rushing to the shower after work, don’t write it off. A sudden change in the schedule doesn’t have to point to indiscretion, but it should make you say “hmmm,” and then: “Do we have something to talk about?”
Has your loquacious mate been a little tongue-tied lately? It’s possible there’s something he doesn’t want you to know. People who have something to hide won’t volunteer a lot of information about what they’re hiding–but they may have an awful lot to say about everything else. Also be wary of explanations that seem strangely complicated and unnecessary. If your partner has no reason to feel defensive, then what’s with all the mystery?
So now what?
Before you put him on the spot, make sure your partner’s behavior doesn’t have an obvious explanation. Paranoid accusations can destroy a relationship as surely as infidelity. It is possible that his conduct has another cause — even that it’s symptomatic of a separate problem in your relationship. Remember, the key to all the signs is that they are both sudden and unexplained.
If you do feel you have grounds for suspicion, proceed with caution, no matter how hurt you may be feeling. Tell your partner what changes you’ve observed, and why you’re concerned that you are not as close as you once were. His reaction should help you assess whether your suspicions are justified. He may even welcome the chance to discuss what’s on his mind. If, on the other hand, he tries to take the Fifth, this relationship may not be the loving, trusting partnership you deserve. Don’t let the door hit him on the way out (unless you think you’d get a good laugh).