Discovering a partner’s affair is easier than ever before in history. Text messages, emails and online credit card statements leave the careless cheater with an electronic affair trail a gigabyte long. We know the typical telltale signs: weight loss, new music or food interests, the purchase of a new wardrobe. But if your affair radar is up — because your partner’s behavior just feels off or out of the ordinary — here are 10 not-as-conspicuous signs you may be overlooking.
1) Time-stamping: Optimizing precious moments with a lover is a balancing act, so he’s counting minutes. “It won’t raise any red flags if I’m home by 6:00 p.m. on the dot,” he rationalizes. Or, “If I call her every day at noon, she won’t get suspicious.” He’s drawing timelines in the sand — and being uncharacteristically prompt or oddly ritualized with his schedule may be one way he does that.
2) New lingo: A friend of mine’s suspicions grew when he heard his wife irritably yell, “Good Christ!” — an expression neither one of them had ever used — and one she typically would find offensive. If she’s spending enough time with her lover, she’s sure to pick up some of his/her expressions.
3) Changing things up: Every evening — like clockwork — he comes home, asks about dinner and walks the dog. Now, that ritual is being messed with. He needs a shower as soon as he walks in the door. Or he pours himself two fingers of scotch when that’s usually reserved for weekends only.
4) Driving alone: Typically, you’d hop in the car together and be on your way. But recently she finds a myriad of reasons to have a few minutes alone — and a need to take her own car. “I have to stop at Sephora, and I don’t want to bore you!” she says. Time and again.
5) Wearing a lampshade: “Let’s go out and get sh*t-faced tonight,” he atypically and enthusiastically suggests. And you know he hasn’t said anything like that since he was pledging a fraternity. Having an affair — it’s no secret — can make people feel young and impulsive again and that can spill over into other behaviors.
6) Wanting you to strut your stuff: What’s this? A little something from Vicky’s Secret just for you? Funny, he’s always claimed that lingerie doesn’t do much for him. His affair has reawakened his libido and, ironically, he’d like it to do the same for you.
7) You’re clearly up to no good: You smile at the waiter, and he goes off. He knows you’re a friendly sort — didn’t he always love that about you? — but recently that innocent cordiality seems to antagonize him in ways it never did. Now that he’s having an affair, he knows it’s not so far-fetched that you might, too.
8) No harm in looking, right?: “Did you see our cute neighbor checking out your butt?” she asks with a big smile. “That flight attendant is really your type!” she teases, leaving you wondering what happened to her jealous streak. No mystery. She’s on an affair-fueled, guilt-mitigating mission to casually justify extramarital attractions.
9) Affairs? No biggie: You sadly report your best friend’s husband is cheating. Instead of sharing your dismay, he becomes defensive. “Well, he hasn’t been happy in that marriage,” or “People have affairs. That’s life.” Condemning others means condemning himself — and he’s not about to go there.
10) Won’t watch it: Fatal Attraction? Derailed? The Affair? Forget it. Plot lines that would have formerly piqued her interest now make her visibly uncomfortable. If there’s an affair involved, know you won’t be seeing it together.
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