“Is my boyfriend cheating?” is a statement that can cause distress and affect academic and professional achievements, and mental wellbeing.

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Cheating in a relationship can affect us in several different ways. 

Was it my fault? Am I not good enough? How can I change myself so my partner likes being with me?

The above are some of the questions we tend to ask ourselves – however, it’s important to remember that your partner cheating says less about you and more about them. 

If you ask yourself, “Is my boyfriend cheating?” or “How do I tell if my boyfriend is cheating on me?” and struggle to find the right answers – this article is for you.

In this article, we share the signs of cheating in a relationship and provide tips and advice that you can use if you suspect that your partner is cheating on you. 

Look out for some commonly asked questions about infidelity. 

Remember, you deserve to be in a healthy and supportive relationship. Regardless of whether it is a monogamous or ethical non-monogamous relationship, you deserve partners who value and love you for who you are! 

What Are the First Signs of Cheating? 

Cheating takes a toll on our mental health and affects the way we interact and seek new relationships in the future. 

Cheating or infidelity is when a partner is unfaithful and causes mistrust, tension, or instability in relationships.

When someone cheats, it’s not only about physical intimacy. For example, cheating can take several forms, such as:

  • Physical
  • Emotional
  • Psychological

If your partner texts someone without your knowledge and engages in elaborate romantic conversation with them – it would be emotional cheating. 

People tend to cheat for several reasons. Some of the common reasons include:

  • Lack of physical intimacy in the current relationship
  • Lack of emotional availability
  • A need to seek thrill or adventure 
  • A lack of connection or bond with the current partner

A person can cheat explicitly (See: narcissistic gaslighting) or in a more subtle way. For example, manipulating a partner and telling them that they’re not good enough and then spending time with someone else could indicate narcissism. 

On the other hand, texting or engaging in physical contact with someone without the knowledge of a partner is a more subtle way to cheat.

Below are some of the first signs of cheating:

  • Suddenly becoming more distant
  • Showing less interest in physical intimacy with the current partner
  • Refusing to spend time with the partner

The signs may seem like they’re connected to some other person’s problem, which could be the case. However, if the signs persist for a long time (eg more than a week or two), you may want to initiate a conversation about the same.

How to Tell if My Boyfriend Is Cheating On Me?

In this section, we will discuss some red flags or signs that could indicate that your boyfriend might be cheating. We will also explore why placing some confidence in your partner is important and how to approach the situation with care and empathy. Although these points focus on infidelity in a boyfriend, it is still relevant to people of all genders. 

Your Gut Feeling

Red Flag: As much as we do not want to believe it, sometimes our gut tells us that something is not quite right in our relationship. Even though it is not proof of cheating, that feeling of unease can be hard to shake. 

For many people, the initial indication of cheating is a feeling that something is amiss. In this case, you may subconsciously note other subtle signs of infidelity that may have contributed to your gut feeling. 

Benefit of doubt: While your intuition may tell you something is off; it could be wrong. So, how do you tell the difference? Perhaps your partner is dealing with stress at work, causing them to act differently. Have you tried talking to them about it? 

What to do: If your gut feeling persists, it can often be more right than wrong. If you have a hunch that something fishy is going on, pay attention to other signs that could confirm or disprove your suspicion. Try to avoid being confrontational or accusatory. Instead, express your concerns and let your partner know that the relationship is not meeting your needs.  

Mood Swings

Red Flag: If you have been wondering, “Is my boyfriend cheating on me?” Here are some signs to look out for. If you notice that your partner is getting irritated with you, even for the most minor things, it could be a sign that they are cheating. 

They become defensive and nervous when you inquire about their recent activities. They might be taking out their frustration on you, or they might be pushing you away. 

Benefit of doubt: Of course, there could be other reasons why your partner is easily irritated. Maybe they are worried about something going on in their life. They could also be planning a surprise for a special occasion and trying to keep it a secret. Before jumping to conclusions, it can help to have an honest discussion with your partner about what is going on and how you can support each other. 

What to do: If your first thought about their mood swings is, “I think my boyfriend is cheating on me,” then it is better to process that thought. To do this, you can gather more information by paying attention to your boyfriend’s behaviours. Then, approach the topic calmly and non-judgmentally, share your feelings, listen to their perspective, and see if they have a reasonable explanation for their mood swings. 

Your Friends and Family Notice a Change

Red Flag: If your friends notice something wrong with your relationship dynamic, it could be worth paying attention to their concerns. Your partner may be displaying behaviours that are out of character or acting more suspicious than usual around them. 

Cheaters often experience feelings of guilt. As a way to justify their actions to themselves, they may try to make their partner look bad. Some may even try to start fights or create a hostile environment to achieve this.

Benefit of doubt: Perhaps your boyfriend feels uncomfortable around some of your friends for personal reasons, or you might not have the complete picture of what is happening. 

What to do: Do you still think you are in an unhealthy situation? That your boyfriend is cheating in the relationship? If that is the case, try to ask your partner about the behaviour your friends have noticed and see if they have an explanation. You can also talk to your friends and get more details about their observations. If nothing works, consider seeking advice from a professional counsellor to help you work through these issues. 

Technology Changes

Red Flag: In today’s digital age, cheating has become easier due to the widespread availability of technology. A common sign to look out for is when your boyfriend starts being overly sensitive with their electronic devices. For example, they might have a second phone or email account you know nothing about. It could be a red flag if they start taking calls in private and seem defensive when you get close to their gadgets. 

Benefit of doubt: Your boyfriend might prefer to have privacy over what he does and who he contacts, and there is nothing wrong with that. 

What to do: While it is natural to feel curious, snooping is a breach of trust that could damage your relationship. Instead, consider talking to your partner and expressing your concerns in a non-accusatory way. Ask them to show you the messages or explain why they are being secretive. If they are unwilling to be transparent, it may be time to question their response.

Cheating in a relationship can have devastating consequences, such as eroding trust, causing emotional pain, and potentially leading to the end of the relationship.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is my boyfriend cheating in our long-distance relationship?

Being in a long-distance relationship already has its own challenges. For example, it can be hard to find time to talk to each other, keep up with each other’s lives, or even satisfy emotional and physical needs. 

Most importantly, if the relationship dynamic is not strong, long-distance could also lead to doubts about what the partner is up to, questions, and other trust-related issues. 

If you suspect your partner in a long-distance relationship is cheating on you, we provide some tips and points you can read. 

The below tips can help you notice if there is any strange change in your dynamics. 

However, do remember that the most important thing to do if you suspect cheating is to have an open and honest conversation with your partner. 

Some of the points you could look into are:

  • Look for changes in behaviours such as lack of communication or interest in you (See: How Do I Tell If He Loves Me).
  • Notice if your partner suddenly avoids certain topics or becomes defensive when you discuss how you have been feeling lately. 

As mentioned previously, the changes in behaviour could also be due to personal problems such as mental health issues, family stress, or work burnout. 

Hence, if you notice these signs for long enough – the first thing to do would be to talk to your partner. 

If your partner is not willing to open up or further increase your suspicions, it would be better to consult a mental health professional such as a therapist

What is considered cheating?

The concept of cheating does not have a one-size-fits-all definition. This is because cheating depends on the partners and their relationship. 

For example, if a couple is in an open relationship and has consented and agreed to have multiple partners – their engagement with others would not be considered cheating. 

On the other hand, if one partner either emotionally or physically engages with someone else without the consent or knowledge of their current partner – it is cheating. 

In general, cheating is when a partner breaks any trust or commitment of their loved one. For example, breaking trust could include:

  • Kissing or having sex with someone else
  • Texting romantically 
  • Developing a deep love for someone else and hiding it from the partner

If you suspect that your partner is cheating, try to have an honest conversation about this. You can also bring this topic up in a safe environment, such as during psychotherapy

If you find out that your partner hasn’t cheated on you, you can still seek therapy to set realistic couples goals to prevent any future conflicts!

If you have experienced cheating in a relationship, therapy can provide a safe space for you and your partner to address the underlying issues that contribute to cheating.

What causes a man to cheat?

There is not a single reason as to why men cheat. 

For example, in a 2020 study, 87.9% of the research participants confessed to cheating in their relationship. 

The participants shared their reasons for cheating, and some of them were:

  • Anger
  • Self-esteem
  • Lack of love
  • Low or no commitment
  • Need for variety and excitement
  • Neglect in the relationship
  • Sexual desires
  • Dye to situations or circumstances (ie a more vague answer)

If you ask yourself, “Is my boyfriend cheating?” and want to find out why – it may be a good idea to either talk to your partner about it or seek couples therapy together. 

Do remember that none of the reasons are valid to excuse cheating. If your partner has cheated, it is best to confront them about it. 

Cheating is a partner’s choice, and it is their responsibility to become accountable for their actions. Your partner cheating does not say anything about you as a person. 

At Talk Your Heart Out (TYHO), our Therapists are always available to help you manage your emotions, set healthy boundaries, and move on from an unhealthy relationship. Reach out today if you need help. You are not alone!

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