Marriage is a journey riddled with ups and downs, but few turbulent moments can compare to the setback of infidelity. Even so, cheating on an intimate partner is not all that common. In fact, statistics suggest that the incidence of cheating in committed relationships hovers around 20%. If for some reason you can’t shake off the gut feeling that your spouse isn’t being faithful to you, it can help to turn your attention to the signs of a cheating wife so that you can confirm or dismiss your suspicions.
After all, it can be agonizing to live in the “I suspect my wife is cheating but I have no proof” limbo, outwardly pretending all is well in your marriage but on the inside, constantly asking yourself, “Is she cheating?” If that sounds relatable and you have been spending much of your time consumed with suspicion about your wife cheating on you, we’re here to help.
Let’s look at the sure signs your wife is cheating, in consultation with communication and relationship coach Swaty Prakash, who has a decade-long experience in training individuals of varied age groups to deal with their emotional health through powerful techniques of communication and self-help.
25 Signs Of A Cheating Wife
So, you can’t seem to get rid of the thought, “I think she’s cheating on me.” Perhaps, you have noticed some changes in her behavior, some new patterns, accidentally read some questionable texts, or found irregularities in her bank account statements and that has led you to think there’s another man in your wife’s life.
But the question is: How do you find out if your wife is cheating for sure? Or how can you be sure what you’re noticing is cheating behavior and not changes brought on by external factors such as stress at work, parenting pressure, or difficult bodily changes like menopause? You’ll need to tie the changes in her behavior to psychological facts about cheating.
If you look closely, you’ll find that there are many emotional as well as physical signs your wife is cheating. Here are 25 such signs of an unfaithful wife to look out for to ascertain whether your suspicions hold any merit:
1. She starts acting distant
If you’re trying to figure out how to know if your wife is cheating, her demeanor around you is the first thing you should pay attention to:
- Does something suddenly feel “off” about her?
- Is she physically present but mentally checked out?
- Does she act cold and distant with you to the point that your wife feels like a stranger?
- Does she no longer want to attend social or family events with you?
- Has she stopped making an effort to communicate?
If so, you may not be wrong in suspecting your wife cheating on you. Swati says that these changes in demeanor could be signs of cheating guilt or stem from her lack of contentment with the marriage. “A change in personality may not be one of the most obvious signs of cheating, but as her life partner, you would feel a certain shift in the way she behaves around you.
“For instance, she may look happier but that happiness has nothing to do with you. Or she may start looking for reasons to spend time away from you. You may even notice that your otherwise expressive and talkative wife has become secretive and distant. She is not interested in discussing her life outside the home with you. Although subtle, these are all signs of how to tell if your wife is cheating,” she adds.
2. Her social life has become ‘too happening’
While hanging out with friends isn’t among the red flags of a cheating wife by itself, you have every reason to be suspicious if she has suddenly started hanging out with her “friends” a lot more than usual and most of her plans don’t involve you. You could be dealing with a lying wife who is using her friends as a cover for her extramarital affair.
If you don’t want to be stuck in the “I suspect my wife is cheating but I have no proof” loop forever, you need to find out the truth discreetly. Edward, a friend of mine who was struggling with the suspicion that his wife was cheating on him, did exactly that, and unfortunately, found his worst fear coming true. His wife, Tracy, a typical homebody, was suddenly going out with this friend or that every weekend.
So one night, he called up the friend his wife was supposed to be with, feigning an emergency and claiming that he was unable to reach her on her cell, and demanded to talk to Tracy. Her friend, of course, tried to cover up for her friend but Edward was unrelenting. Ultimately, she had to concede that she had no idea where Tracy was, and that’s how he uncovered the transgressions of his cheating wife.
3. Is your wife cheating? Pay attention to her cell phone habits
If there was a book on cheating wife signs, there would be an entire chapter dedicated to the correlation between phone habits and infidelity. After all, in this digital era, online affairs are reshaping the idea of fidelity in marriage. If you’ve been at your wits’ end trying to figure out how to spot signs of a cheating wife, pay attention to this. Some of the red flags of a cheating wife vis-a-vis her cell phone habits are:
- Her phone is busy more often than not, and if you’re not around, even at odd hours
- She is always texting someone
- She has started placing her phone face down
- Her phone is always on silent
- She carries her phone wherever she goes
- She has started spending suspiciously long time in the bathroom, with her phone to keep her company
Swaty agrees and adds, “Another one of the obvious signs a wife is cheating on phone is that she remains busy on it almost all the time and is extremely secretive about who she’s talking to/texting. If you ask her a simple question like “Who was it?”, she’d either shrug it off with a non-committal response like “Oh, just work” or lash out at you for not giving her any space in the relationship.”
These are surefire signs your wife is cheating. If you have a strong reason to believe that all those phone conversations and hours of texting involve a secret lover, you may consider checking who she is talking to with the help of mSpy spy app.
4. She winces every time you are near her phone
Not only has her relationship with her phone changed but there is also a shift in how she reacts to you using her phone. This change points to the signs of an unfaithful wife, especially if:
- Everything is now password protected: She has suddenly started advanced password settings on her phone. Not just her home screen but even individual apps, especially instant messaging apps like WhatsApp, are password protected. Maybe because she doesn’t want you to crack cheating spouse text message codes
- Being uncomfortable with letting you use her phone: She gets shifty and restless when you are near her phone. If you ask her to lend you her phone even for five minutes, she will find some excuse to get out of it. If she does let you have it, she will be ready to snatch it away from you at any instant
A person who uses their phone to communicate with their affair partner would naturally be terrified of sharing it, even if it is for something as trivial as clicking a photograph. If you’re looking for physical signs your wife is cheating, pay attention to her body language when you are around her phone. If she guards it with her life and becomes too unsettled, make no mistake that it is one of the guaranteed signs of cheating you cannot miss.
Related Reading: 8 Reasons Why Women Have Extramarital Affairs
5. How cheaters hide their tracks: Erasing web history
You see your wife spending most of her time on her phone or her computer but if you check her web history, you find it wiped clean. Check again a few days later, you may still find everything erased. This is one of the most common signs your wife is hiding something from you.
She wipes out all her activities and logs off from all the accounts and there is an air of deception around. The fact that she doesn’t want you to have an inkling of what she is doing online is an indicator your wife is sneaking behind your back. In fact, this could be one of the signs of infidelity. If she is so thorough in covering her tracks, you too will need to figure out some smart ways to catch your cheating wife.
6. She looks for excuses to pick fights with you
Signs of an affair are rarely as on the nose as smudged makeup and messy hair. If you’re looking for such physical signs your wife just slept with someone else, they may be hard to come by, especially if she wants to keep her transgressions under wraps. Indicators of your wife’s infidelity may often be more subtle. For instance, a sudden tendency to always nag and bicker, and look for excuses to pick a fight with you.
Yes, one of the uncommon signs of cheating is a sudden increase in the conflict in the relationship. Swaty explains, “It is not uncommon for romantic partners to get to a stage when they start finding faults with each other. This is typically a gradual process that begins after the honeymoon period is over. But when there is a new someone in your spouse’s life, this stage of the relationship may make a comeback. Your spouse’s patience threshold decreases and you may find that she is always short with you. Even the things she found cute in the past irritate her to no end now.”
Related Reading: 5 Excuses Your Partner Gives For Cheating On You
7. Your sex life has become dormant
Your wife’s infidelity will likely take a toll on the intimacy in your marriage. If your wife is having a physical affair with someone else, she might not feel like being sexually involved with you and will find reasons to avoid intimacy. Perhaps, she doesn’t feel sexually attracted to you anymore or the guilt of cheating impedes her from connecting with you.
“A decreased level of physical intimacy can be one of the telling signs your wife has an affair going on on the side. Her lack of interest in being intimate with you could be a result of a lack of attraction or total preoccupation with her affair partner,” says Swaty.
8. She seems distant in your intimate moment
“She might even be emotionally distant and disconnected from you on the rare occasion that you do have sex,” adds Swaty. If you have been feeling like your wife has mercy sex with you or that even in your intimate moments, she doesn’t really connect with you, and while her body is with you, her mind is not, it could be one of the signs your wife is having an affair.
Fading intimacy, be it physical, emotional, or sexual, is one of the most common side effects of a cheating wife. If you’ve been feeling that distance creep between you two, it’s a cause for concern. You’re not wrong in thinking, “She’s cheating on me.”
9. She has made a ‘new friend’
Wondering how to tell if your wife is cheating? Start paying close attention to whether there is someone she just cannot stop talking about. Perhaps, she has been telling you about her new friend Michelle. She loves to spend time with her and goes on and on about how great she is. But you have not been introduced to this Michelle around whom your wife’s world seems to revolve of late.
Take a moment to think about why that is. Why hasn’t she introduced you to her friend? Could it be because the person who has caught her fancy is really Micheal, not Michelle? Or a case of a woman being attracted to another woman? To be sure whether her proximity to someone new qualifies as one of the signs your wife has an affair, suggest meeting the said friend. If your wife responds with a hard no, you can be fairly certain your wife is cheating on you.
10. She seems unhappy in the marriage
“I suspect my wife is cheating but I have no proof.” Perhaps, you keep grappling with this thought because you can sense that your wife is not happy in the marriage. While she may have decided to stay married to you, her heart’s not in it anymore. As a result,
- She avoids having any real conversations with you
- You notice that she is her usual self with other people in her life but just can’t seem to connect with you
- Her outlook toward the marriage seems negative like she’s given up in her mind
- The laundry list of her complaints is only growing longer with time but she doesn’t want to do her part in making things better
Explaining why these could be signs of infidelity, Swaty says, “The way we communicate conveys a lot about our feelings and state of mind. When a partner cheats on the other, communication is the first victim. There will be a sudden decrease in spending time together, laying your hearts bare to each other, or even discussing the boring mundane details of your day with enthusiasm.”
11. Your wife seems ill at ease
A home is a safe space. A place where a person can be completely at ease and unabashedly themselves. While that may have been true of your wife as well, perhaps there has been a change in this aspect of her behavior as well. Swaty says, “A cheating wife would like to keep to herself and would also be emotionally uninvolved when you are trying to communicate with her.”
This may be because she is constantly wrestling with her fear of being caught and her desire to be with her new beau. As a result, she may spend less time with you and more time doing her own thing even when you’re together at home. The once cherished quality time makes her uneasy now.
12. Her car mileage doesn’t match her stories
Robert, 44, a resident of Philadelphia, shares that he thought the paranoia over cheating wife suspicions was driving him crazy when he started keeping tabs on his partner’s car mileage. “My wife is cheating on me. My wife is cheating on me. My wife is cheating on me. There was a time when this thought played on my mind on a loop, constantly. It drove to a point where I started keeping tabs on her every move, including tracking her car mileage.
“It was when she said she had spent the afternoon at a spa about eight blocks from our house but her car had been driven for a significantly longer distance that I finally confronted her, and she confessed. Well, our marital problems escalated manifold in an instant and we were headed for divorce within months but at least I was no longer the insecure husband consumed by a single thought,” he says.
If you, too, are losing sleep over what are the telltale signs of a cheating wife, it may be time to turn a keen eye on the seemingly inconsequential things. Perhaps, you will find the answers that have eluded you so far.
13. She has started dressing up and buying new clothes
Once the honeymoon phase is over, both partners tend to pay less attention to their appearances. You’re both comfortable around each other and don’t feel the need to look your best all the time. However, if all of a sudden, you find your wife dressing up a lot more the way she would on your initial dates, she’s dressing to impress. And maybe it’s not you that she is impressing.
Now investing in self-care and trying to look one’s best alone isn’t necessarily a sign of cheating but if there are other clues in place, then it’s definitely worth paying attention to. Even more so if your wife is putting extra effort into her looks but doesn’t really bother about your feedback. It obviously means that all this effort is for someone else’s benefit.
Swaty says, “If you’ve ever paid attention to the body language signs of attraction, you’d have noticed that our pupils dilate or we play with hair when around someone we like. This is a reflection of the fact that even our subconscious works on making us look prettier to impress a potential or existing romantic interest. That’s why a sudden attention to looks could be among the top easily noticeable signs of a cheating spouse.”
14. Her expenses have gone up
Wondering how to spot signs of a cheating wife or how to know if your wife is cheating? The devil may be in the financial details and credit card statements. So, it may be a good idea to go over her bank account statements with a fine-tooth comb. It may be easier if you have a joint bank account but even if you don’t, it may well be worth the effort to get your hands on her financial records.
You may see a huge jump in expenditure. Perhaps, on hotel rooms, lunches or dinner, shopping for new clothes or lingerie. These under-the-radar expenses could be the signs a wife is cheating on her husband. That warrants a conversation, even if it leads to major relationship arguments.
15. She has many mood swings
What are the signs of a woman cheating on you? We’ve got two words for you: mood swings. The stress and inner turmoil brought on by infidelity could make it hard for a married woman to keep her emotions in check. And you may notice her mood swings to extremes without any identifiable triggers. If your partner is secretly cheating, she may exhibit:
- Happy phases: Days when she seems happy, pays attention to you, and seems invested in the relationship. Feels like her old self
- Sudden bad mood: She snaps at you for no reason. You two are bickering non-stop over laundry and she finds herself in a pool of tears almost immediately. You might think that the issues in your marriage are causing her behavior but it is something else entirely
“These dramatic changes in her emotional state may be brought on by the guilt about cheating and her feelings for her affair partner dominating her mind,” explains Swaty.
16. There is something different about her
One of the most underrated signs of an affair is that something about your wife feels different. It’s almost as if there is a part of her you can no longer access. As if she is becoming a stranger to you. Her demeanor has changed. The way she behaves with you is different. There is less happiness and an undercurrent of something ominous has taken over your marriage. Every time she behaves out of character, a voice in your head asks you, “Is she cheating?”
Well, if so much about her has changed with no logical explanation in sight, then the most obvious answer is probably the right one. There is someone else in her life and that has altered her in ways more than one. This is one of the lesser-known side effects of a cheating wife.
17. She has developed new habits
When two people are in a relationship, they start acquiring each other’s habits and tastes. Does your wife have new tastes that you never noticed before? Think long and hard about what new things she may be doing, as this can give you great insight into what may be going on in her life. For instance,
- She may have replaced her drink of choice with a single malt whiskey because the new man in her life has a taste for it
- Picked up a new hobby such as rock climbing or hiking that maybe her beau enjoys
- Acquired a taste for contemporary music or anime shows because she is an older woman younger man relationship and her affair partner’s interests are rubbing off on her
Related Reading: Can A Cheater Change? This Is What Therapists Have To Say
18. She avoids eye contact with you
This is among the hard-to-miss physical signs your wife is cheating. Your cheating wife may try to avoid making eye contact while talking to you and her body language conveys that she is self-conscious and uneasy around you. She’s afraid of you picking up on feelings of guilt that she may be wrestling with.
19. There are too many work emergencies
Has work started to take precedence over everything else in your wife’s life? And if so, was she always a workaholic, or is this commitment toward her job fairly new? If it’s the latter, it could be one of the most obvious cheating wife signs that you need to pay attention to.
Think about it, putting in extra hours at work is the best cover she has for her dalliance. If she has been working late night after night or suddenly has to travel for work, she could possibly be having an office affair or using work as a pretext to meet her lover.
20. Your gut instinct is telling you so
Research indicates that intuition is more than a feeling. It is “unconscious information in our body or brain to help guide us through life”. So if you can’t silence the “my wife is having an affair” thought and your gut instinct tells you that your relationship is in jeopardy, pay heed. It’s not you being a paranoid, jealous husband. It’s the result of your body and unconscious mind picking up on some uncommon signs of cheating that your conscious mind may not have registered yet.
21. She looks for excuses to get out of the house
One of the clearest signs of infidelity is that your wife looks for excuses to get out of the house. Perhaps, she has started volunteering to run errands that she once abhorred. Or has started making up things to do just so that she has an excuse to get out of the house.
The woman who was normally too tired to care whether you had run out of eggs for breakfast is suddenly running to the grocery store at 10 p.m. to grab orange juice. She spends weekends checking items off her errands list. That’s unlike her, right? Such a dramatic change can only mean one thing — something else has her attention, and no it’s not her errands list.
Related Reading: The 7 Types of Affairs and How They Affect Relationships
22. She doesn’t seem interested in making future plans
If your wife is cheating, she may suddenly lose interest in making future plans with you or no longer be excited about the long-standing dreams you’ve nurtured as a couple — buying a new house, having two wonderful kids, and adopting a pet. It’s like your wife has completely erased these things from her memory and her focus has shifted elsewhere. Combined with a few other signs, this may just be enough evidence that something fishy is going on.
23. A drastic change in appearance
One of the characteristics of a cheating woman is that she makes a conscious effort to look younger or more desirable — an effort that may even appear drastic or out of character for her. For instance,
- Getting a new hairstyle that is in stark contrast to one she’s had for years
- Changing her wardrobe in favor of clothes that accentuate the right parts of her body
- Getting highlights in an eye-catching color
- Going the extra mile to shed those few pounds that have been troubling her for a while
If such out-of-place changes are becoming more frequent, it can either be a mid-life crisis or a man in her life. Or both.
24. When was the last time she told you she loved you?
Perhaps your relationship has been going downhill for a while and you haven’t exactly gone on romantic dates or had a lot of sex. However, a few things would stay. Her saying “I love you” to you before she left for work, stuffing an extra cookie in your lunch, or kissing you before bed — these are a few things that didn’t change despite it all. Until now.
Now, not only are you two picking fights incessantly but she has also stopped making those sweet, thoughtful gestures to let you know she loves you. You can count this among the guaranteed signs of cheating. When women cheat, they stop putting effort into their relationships with their husbands/primary partners.
25. She complains about the marriage more than ever
What are the signs of a woman cheating on you? You’ll notice how the smallest issues turn into an overall criticism of your marriage. What used to just be “I can’t believe you forgot to do the dishes again!” has now become “I don’t think we are compatible.” Perhaps she is picking fights to let you know that she no longer thinks you have a healthy marriage and that a divorce might be on the horizon.
What To Do If You Think Your Wife Is Cheating?
If you could relate to a majority of these signs, the suspicion that your partner is secretly cheating is likely turning into a near confirmation of her transgressions. That is heartbreaking. We understand the emotional turmoil you may be experiencing at the moment. However, marriage is too important a relationship to be discarded in a huff. So we urge you to not make any rash decisions in the throes of hurt feelings and raging emotions. If you think your wife is cheating on you, here is how you can handle the situation:
- Take the time to process this blow before you react
- Talk to your wife about your suspicions and urge her to come clean. If you have any evidence of her transgression, now would be the time to present it, so that the truth is out in the open
- Resist the urge to lash out. Allow your wife a chance to put forward her side of the story
- Assess her response carefully. Is she truly sorry? Is she ready to take accountability? Or she is coming up with excuses and looking for ways to blame you for her actions? If her remorse is genuine, perhaps you can consider working toward saving your marriage
- Before you come to that decision, assess your own emotional state and see if you’re still invested in the relationship enough to work on rebuilding trust and repairing your bond
- If so, you can consider couples counseling to find a way forward. If you’re looking for help, skilled and licensed therapists on Bonobology’s panel are here for you
- If not, know that walking away is a perfectly legitimate choice too. You have every right to prioritize self-preservation over saving your marriage after dealing with something as shattering as infidelity
- Suspicions about infidelity are rarely ill-founded. So, don’t dismiss your intuition and look for signs your wife is having an affair
- From being emotionally distant to spending more and more time away from home and/or on her phone, picking fights, seeming unhappy and ill-at-ease, there is a wide spectrum of cheating wife signs to look for
- You may not relate to all of these signs but if a majority ring true, it’s time to address the elephant in the room
- Talk to your wife about your suspicions, and then based on her reaction and your emotional state decide whether you want to give the marriage another chance or call it quits
Discovering that the person you chose to love and share your life with has chosen to betray your trust can be heartbreaking. No matter where you go from here — stay together and try to make it work or part ways — know that the road ahead won’t be easy. However, with time and effort, the pain will let up and you will begin to heal. We hope you find the calm after this storm.
You can look for the signs of cheating and then confront her if you have confirmed that she is indeed cheating. Be calm and subtle when you talk to her, don’t make it a slinging match. Hear her out too.
The clues will be there all over. But the biggest clue is your wife wouldn’t want physical intimacy with you anymore or even if she indulges in sex, she would be rather withdrawn in bed. Lack of intimacy is an absolute sign of a cheating wife.
Try to read between the lines. If she is lying to you, it will be hard for her to remember all the stories she is making up and eventually, she will slip up. She could tell you she was out with the girls last Saturday and suddenly she could talk about an office event she was at on Saturday. People tend to forget when they lie.
If she is not admitting to cheating but you continue to see all the signs of cheating, then be sure she is not coming out clean. You have to get evidence to prove that she is lying about cheating.