Cheating in marriage is a serious issue affecting many couples in the United States and worldwide. The likelihood of cheating increases when either partner has doubts or suspicions about their commitment or relationship. Studies have shown that an estimated 20–25% of married men and 10–15% of married women have cheated on their partners at least once.
Experts cite different factors that can contribute to a partner’s decision to cheat, such as unresolved issues in the relationship, lack of communication, boredom with the routine of married life, or unfulfilled needs and desires. Cheating can happen when people feel disconnected from one another and look for physical or emotional connections elsewhere. For some couples, it might be due to lifestyle changes, such as one partner seeking more freedom than possible within a marriage.
Cheating can also occur when a partner seeks validation outside the marriage — whether it be from someone else’s physical attention or from a feeling of power gained by having someone new interested in them. Of course, other factors, such as alcohol abuse and mental health issues, have also been linked to increased infidelity rates in marriages. Unfortunately, you might never know the cause of a partner’s cheating. If you suspect your partner is unfaithful, it cannot be easy to decide what steps to take. Here are a few that could help you.
Identify Behavior Changes and Look for Signs
If you think your partner may be cheating, the first step is to look closely at their behavior. Cheating partners often exhibit distinct changes in behavior that can indicate something is wrong. Pay attention to signs such as sudden outbursts or mood swings, avoiding physical intimacy, spending more time with certain people or on specific activities without explanation, and secretiveness about phone calls, emails, texts, etc.
Before jumping to conclusions, talk to your partner honestly and openly about any discrepancies you’ve noticed in their behavior — if they tend to be evasive or defensive when approached about it, that could be a red flag. Be prepared for them to deny any misbehavior and try not to become accusatory in your conversation, as this could put them on the defensive.
If you have concrete evidence that your partner is cheating — such as phone records, emails, or other information — it can be helpful to confront them. Of course, it’s important to remember that if you’ve obtained the evidence illegally, such as by hacking into their computer or phone, you could face legal repercussions and should consider consulting a lawyer before doing anything else.
A reliable private investigator might also be able to help you gather evidence and determine whether your partner is cheating or not. A private investigator can use various methods, such as surveillance, background checks, and internet investigations, to uncover information about your partner’s activities.
Seek Professional Support
If you think your partner may be cheating on you, it can be helpful to seek professional support from a therapist or counselor. It can be challenging to process the changes in your relationship without someone to talk through the issues with — even if the suspicions turn out to be untrue, the stress and anxiety will still need to be addressed. Therapy can also help couples work through any communication or trust issues that might have caused one partner to consider straying outside of their marriage in the first place. Plenty of difficult conversations and decisions need to be made, so having a professional to help guide the process can make it much more manageable.
Find Out What to Do with Marriage
Once you have all the facts and evidence, it’s time to decide what to do with your marriage. This can be a challenging and emotional process, so taking your time and considering all possible outcomes before making any big decisions is essential.
If there is still love and trust between both partners, couples counseling or marital therapy may help address the underlying issues and repair the relationship. If too many unresolved problems make staying together unfeasible, then separation or divorce might be necessary. In either case, talking openly and honestly about how each partner would like to move forward will ensure that both parties’ needs are met going into the future.
Suspecting your partner cheating can be a difficult and emotionally taxing experience, but it’s important not to jump to conclusions without gathering all the facts. Take the time to look for signs of behavior changes and evidence that could support or deny any suspicions you may have before addressing the issue with your partner. If necessary, seek professional help — such as therapy or a private investigator — so you can make informed decisions about what is best for both partners in the relationship. No matter what, remember to take care of yourself throughout this process and be sure to reach out for emotional support from friends and family when needed. Ultimately, you can only decide what actions are necessary to resolve any infidelity issues within your marriage.