How Are Most Affairs Discovered — 9 Common Ways Cheaters Are Caught

Affair and Cheating | | , Copywriter & Sports journalist
Updated On: February 14, 2024
how are most affairs discovered?
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Cheaters may think they’re being cunning with their extra-long passwords and codenames for their lovers but affairs don’t usually last very long. Once a cheater gets too complacent about their abilities to keep their indiscretions under wraps, they’re bound to slip up. But the question is how? How are most affairs discovered? Is it through an unassuming text or that hickey they forgot about?

Though cheaters have their own ways of hiding their debauchery for extended periods, affairs have a way of coming to light. Just because they’ve gotten away with sleeping around for years or have managed to keep a long-drawn-out affair a secret does not mean that a cheater will get away with it. Whether you’re figuring out how to spot a cheating partner or you’ve cunningly landed yourself on this article to try and cover your tracks, let’s take a look at how most affairs are discovered. 

What Percentage Of Affairs Are Discovered?

Psychologist Jayant Sundaresan once spoke to Bonobology on this topic and he said, “When there is an affair on the side, the question is not “Will people find out?”, rather, it’s more about “When will people find out?” If you are wondering “Do all affairs get found out?”, the answer is – in most cases, it’s only a matter of time before you get caught.”

Before we get to the percentage of affairs that are discovered, let’s answer one of the most asked questions – Where do most affairs start from? And the answer is not at a bar or a club. Research suggests that most affairs start in places like the gym, social media, the workplace, and the church (surprising, right?).

People also tend to find affair partners at a social gathering or an existing social circle where they are already familiar with the people present. Affairs also start at volunteering gigs because working toward a common cause seems quite attractive. It can also happen when a missed opportunity with an old flame arises from your past.

Coming to the question of how many affairs are discovered, a survey by (a dating site for extramarital affairs) revealed that 63% of cheaters have been caught at some point. Most of them were caught during their third affair. About 11% of them were caught during their first affair, while 12% of adulterers were caught during their second.

The survey claimed that it takes an average of four years for infidelity or adultery to be exposed. Therefore, if you think that you can cheat and your spouse will never find out about it or you can end an affair without getting caught, think again. It’s not that simple. One minor loose end, and bam! Your sneaky little affair is exposed.

how long do affairs last after they are discovered?

Do affairs continue after discovery? That depends on the nature of the affair and the intensity of feelings between the affair partners. If it was a slip of moral judgment and the cheating partner truly cares about their relationship, they would put an end to the affair eventually if not immediately. But the affairs that last over 5 years or are life-long extramarital affairs certainly witness a strong emotional connection which is hard to break off despite all odds.

So, how long do affairs last? Relationship and intimacy coach Shivanya Yogmayaa says, “It is hard to define the timeline. If the affair is based solely on raw passion, no matter how compelling, it will die its own death sooner or later. Perhaps, if the affair comes to light, one of the partners or both may back out. Or when the thrill of the physical connection fades away, they may realize that it’s not worth the risk of putting their marriage in jeopardy.”

Related Reading: Everything You Need To Know About The 7 Types Of Affairs That Exist

How Are Affairs Usually Discovered? 9 Common Ways Cheaters Are Discovered

How Are Affairs Usually Discovered

How are most affairs discovered then? Infidelity is all around us. If you’re in a relationship, you probably want to know what the signs of cheating are but don’t want to overthink it or launch an investigation into your partner. However, Ashley Madison, a website for married people seeking affairs, garnered 5 million new users just in 2020.

According to studies, 30-40% of unmarried relationships experience infidelity. It continues to be one of the top reasons for divorce, according to a study by researchers at the University of Denver. Figuring out if your husband has slept with someone or your wife has cheated on you may be a little tricky but not impossible.

There are different types of cheating, and not everyone describes it the same way. Therefore, how people find out about their cheating spouses usually varies from couple to couple. Even so, the fact that infidelity remains one of the largest reasons for divorce indicates that you cannot always end an affair without getting caught. Cheaters are almost always caught. Let’s take a look at the most common ways cheaters are discovered: 

Would you tell someone if you knew their partner was cheating on them?

1. How are most affairs discovered? The phone! 

While there are text message codes that cheating spouses use to avoid getting caught, there is no denying that mobile phones are a danger zone for adulterers. According to a survey of 1,000 people on how affairs get exposed, 39% of the respondents said they were caught when their partner read a message or two on their phones.

“I never even suspected he would be cheating on me or that something was going on, but his mistress texted him while I was giving him directions to the gas station. I didn’t confront him immediately, I decided to read more of it. Once I had enough evidence and even sent myself screenshots of his chat, I asked about it.

“Our divorce will be finalized next week. I’m just glad he isn’t the kind of person who uses his phone while driving, so I could get a peek at his cheating ways,” Rayla tells us. It doesn’t come as a huge surprise, does it? Your phone is trouble if you’re having an affair because you’re either always on the gadget or hiding it from your spouse so that you don’t get caught.

2. Affairs usually end, and guilt leads to their discovery

Just in: Cheaters have a conscience after all. According to a survey, 47% of those who admitted to cheating claimed that guilt was the biggest reason behind doing so. Though the infidelity indicates an unhealthy relationship, perhaps there’s room for reconciliation, especially since there’s guilt. After all, recovering from infidelity isn’t impossible.

You might be able to end an affair without getting caught but the guilt of doing it usually catches up. If you’re currently going through a similar situation and would like to work through the infidelity of your partner, Bonobology’s panel of experienced counselors can be of great assistance to help you figure out how to fix things. Meanwhile, you can focus on these steps to rebuild the relationship after your partner’s cheating episode:

  • Do affairs continue after discovery? It may or may not, depending on how remorseful your partner is about the incident. So, first, check your facts whether it’s still on or not
  • Offer yourself some space and time to accept the unfortunate turn of events and deal with the pain
  • If you want to stay and work on the relationship, make sure your partner is on the same page
  • In that case, focus on rebuilding trust instead of brooding on the affair for years
  • Don’t hesitate to have honest conversations about your feelings
  • Talk about a new set of boundaries for this new chapter you are about to embark upon
Healing after Cheating

3. When the cheater lies too much about their whereabouts 

According to a survey, about 20% of cheaters were caught when they got too mixed up in their lies. How to know if your partner is lying about cheating? They say they’re at work, but the receptionist tells you otherwise. He says he’s at Jim’s, but Jim just posted a picture of him in Atlantic City. How are most affairs discovered? More often than not, it’s the cheater’s own undoing. 

If you’ve been pondering “How do wives find out about affairs?” or “How do you know if your husband has slept with someone else?”, it’s when their partners forget where they said they were two weeks ago. The problem with lying is that you’ve got to remember what you lied about and to whom, and since we’re not the smartest creatures, our memory often gives out on us.

4. Fear of getting caught can lead to admission 

Do cheaters want to get caught? I am sure they don’t. But sometimes they find themselves crippled by the anxiety of cheating and fear of getting caught which eventually lead to a confession. While some people live in oblivion, thinking, “Many affairs are never discovered, I’m going to be fine hiding it all.” According to a survey of those who cheated and admitted to it, 40.2% did so because they were afraid their partners would find out through someone else or catch them. 

One could argue that this is perhaps a better way of going about it, since finding out through someone else isn’t ideal for the person who has been cheated on. The whole situation isn’t ideal, though. But you get the gist. We don’t know if it’s the best or the worst way affairs are discovered, but fear usually leads to the cheater admitting their wrongdoing.

Related Reading: Surviving An Affair – 12 Steps To Reinstate Love And Trust In A Marriage

5. Yes, people still get spotted out with lovers

How are most affairs discovered? In the age of virtual dates and text messages, getting caught red-handed with a lover is still not unheard of. Out of those whose affairs were discovered, 14% were caught out and about with their lovers. Being suspicious about the fact that your partner is lying about cheating is one thing, but the hurt is a lot more when you spot them getting all lovey-dovey in Central Park. It’s true that affairs usually end, but this ending must look like one of those scandalous videos on the internet!

More on cheating

6. STDs are the unlikely whistleblower 

The next time you think about searching ‘how many affairs are never discovered?’, think about this instead. A meaningless one-night stand may not leave much room for safe sex (use condoms, kids!) and that increases the risk of contracting STDs significantly. But the concerning fact is that out of those who contracted STDs by cheating, only 52% actually admitted it to their partners. Nonetheless, getting tested for STDs and contracting one still remains one of the top ways in which most affairs are discovered.

7. How are most affairs discovered? The likely whistleblowers: friends and family 

Is it possible that affairs are never discovered? Well, certainly not if someone you trusted with the details of your indiscretion rats you out or your ‘well-wishers’ decide to blow the whistle. “My mother-in-law texted me: “He’s cheating on you”. And it turned out everyone knew about it but me. ‘Everyone’. She said she couldn’t take it anymore, and that he’d been sleeping around with a colleague,” says Janice, a 34-year-old dentist, and mother of two. 

“When I ‘surprised’ him at his business trip, he was parading around with his arm on her back all through their off-site meet. I was shell-shocked. Even the friends I had at his workplace knew about it but never told me,” she adds. If you’re wondering how to spot a cheating partner, perhaps ask your friends and family.

They may have seen something weird going on and didn’t know how to tell you. And to answer your question, “Do all affairs get found out?”, confiding in their close acquaintances is a common loophole that cheaters leave behind. Unknowingly, they are handing over their partners a trail to trace back to the affair.

8. Suspicious spending isn’t really the easiest thing to hide 

How are most affairs discovered? Well, the role of an inconspicuous bank update email or the odd financial statement cannot be ruled out. Studies confirm that even in the case of online cheating, spending money on a lover is often prevalent. Then there is the matter of clandestine meetings in case of affairs unfolding in the real world and not the virtual realm. 

From hotel bills to gifts, from ‘business trips’ to fancy meals and expensive wine, an affair can truly pinch your pocket. These expenses can be hard to cover up or justify to your significant other, leading to growing suspicion. So, the next time you want to know if your husband has slept with someone else or if your wife has been having an affair, you might want to check their bank statements.

Related Reading: 10 Signs Your Husband Is Having An Affair

9. Spy apps 

How do wives find out about affairs? How do husbands confirm if their wives are cheating on them? Simple, they snoop. When there’s a hunch in someone’s mind that the monogamous nature of the relationship is probably in question, it doesn’t magically disappear. When the doubts and suspicions get too bad, people can often turn to spyware apps to figure out what’s going on. The prevalence of such apps disguised as ‘parental control’ apps is a testament to the fact that we love to snoop around.

Key Pointers

  • Cheater’s guilt or the fear of getting caught usually leads to the cheater admitting their wrongdoing themselves
  • Affairs are usually discovered when a partner checks their cheating husband or wife’s phone and finds explosive messages
  • You can’t really hide expensive or lavish spending from your significant other for long
  • Cheaters get spotted out with their lovers or have friends and family ratting them out
  • Then, of course, there are spyware apps to figure out if partners are cheating on their significant others

Do cheaters want to get caught? That’s probably not how they foresee the future of their affair. However, whether you want it or not and no matter how careful you think you’re being, cheating has a way of coming to light. Whether it’s because of a stupid slip-up like saying the wrong name in bed or the result of an elaborate snooping operation put in motion by your suspicious significant other, it doesn’t really make a difference.

There are affairs that last over 5 years, and some may even continue for a lifetime. But when you sail on two boats, one thing is surely at stake – your mental peace and sanity. So, if you’re treading down the path of infidelity, be mindful of the impending risk it poses to your primary relationship. Rebuilding a relationship after cheating isn’t the easiest thing in the world. And if you’re someone who suspects being cheated on, you now know where to look for answers that have eluded you for so long.


1. Are affairs always discovered?

According to studies, 21% of men and 13% of women reported infidelity at some point in their life. Though not all people fess up because of guilt, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t other ways through which affairs can be discovered. Most affairs usually end, and more often than not, the partners who have been cheated on get wind of it.

2. What percent of affairs are never discovered?

When it comes to affairs that aren’t yet discovered, the data is scarce. Since people would literally have to admit to cheating for that data to be made apparent. That in itself goes against the whole ‘affair not being discovered’ aspect of things. Though you should take these findings with a grain of salt, surveys say that 52.2% of affairs that women have and 61% of affairs that men have are never discovered. 

3. What percentage of marriages survive affairs?

A survey conducted on 441 people who have been unfaithful to their partner shows that 15.6% of the couples managed to survive the infidelity while 54.5% of them broke up instantly. Other statistics suggest that 61% of men who have cheated on their spouse are currently married, while 34% are divorced or separated. However, only 44% of women who have cheated are currently married, while 47% are divorced or separated.

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