Have you been noticing that your husband’s behavior is inconsistent with his past phone etiquette? Are you wondering if these changed behavior patterns are signs your husband is sexting someone else? Well, your worries are not unfounded. After all, technology is a double-edged sword. While it can facilitate communication and cooperation in healthy relationships, in unhealthy ones, it can become a tool to enable a straying partner.
The rise of online affairs or cheating in the virtual realm further complicates matters because it can be hard to define these transgressions using the traditional parameters of fidelity and infidelity. Studies say that most surveys on cheating are a gross underestimation because many people simply won’t admit to cheating while many others do not define infidelity outside the sexual context. In that case, do you too wonder if your husband sending inappropriate text messages to another woman counts as cheating?
We consulted psychologist Nandita Rambhia (MSc, Psychology), who specializes in CBT, REBT, and couple’s counseling, to help us understand the scale of the problem here, how to recognize it, and how to resolve it.
9 Signs Your Husband Is Sexting Another Woman
Did you know most surveys on infidelity report that roughly 50% of couples in monogamous committed relationships report either cheating on their partner or being cheated on by their partner, be it in the USA, India, or the UK? This is only a conservative estimate.
Conservative because we do not know if these respondents considered other kinds of nonphysical affairs such as emotional affairs or cyber affairs as cheating. To answer that, a survey specifically on the question “What would you consider cheating?” was conducted on BBC Radio. 71% of the 2,066 adult respondents said that sexting IS cheating.
So, you are not alone when you wish you could see what your husband is doing on the internet or snoop on his phone. You feel suspicious and ill at ease seeing your husband acting in a shady manner, even if it’s just online. Nandita too agrees. “Only the format of cheating changes here, thanks to the internet. But it still is cheating,” she says, adding, “Cheating after all is getting into another romantic relationship – physical, emotional, long-distance or virtual, without the consent of your partner.”
Then, how do you ascertain whether your suspicions are legitimate or unfounded? These 9 signs your husband might be sexting another woman are definitely a good starting point. None of these can ascertain if your husband is indeed cheating on you. But they might help you with the confidence to ask your husband about his behavior and not let him dismiss your concerns.
1. Your husband is always on his phone/device
Do you know what is Phubbing? This is not only one of those most apparent signs your husband is sexting another woman but also a big-time relationship ruiner. If your husband is texting another woman every day for romantic or sexual reasons, you will see that reflected in the time he spends on his phone.
When you see your spouse spending too much time on their phone, you would either feel worried that your spouse has been taking a lot on their plate at work or wonder if there is something else that they are not sharing with you. But if this behavior change has led you to believe that he might be cheating on you, you have likely been seeing more signs your husband is guilty of Snapchat cheating than just this one. Let us look at some other red flags.
2. Your spouse is secretive with his phone/device
A cheating husband, who is having an online affair, will start behaving very secretively. It’s simple, he doesn’t want you to look at his phone. So, he will do everything to physically distance you from it. For instance,
- He will take his phone with him everywhere
- He will sleep with his phone under his pillow
- He will tilt the screen away from you when he is using it
- He uses text message codes to communicate
- In the case of a device such as a desktop, he might move it to a more private space in the house, such as the garage or the basement
- He might change the position of the desk in such a way that the back of the screen faces the door or the rest of the room
- Your husband locks you out of his online world
Another way of maintaining secrecy would be to keep you completely locked out from his virtual life. Partners, especially those who co-inhabit by marriage or otherwise, end up sharing passwords to phones, email accounts, social media accounts, payment apps, ride-sharing apps, etc. Access to each other’s phones is often a taken-for-granted reality.
However, if you suddenly find yourself without access to your partner’s phone, or device, and the virtual world that lives in it, chances are that there is something in there he doesn’t want you to see. If your husband sent pictures to another woman and received some in return, he wouldn’t like you to be able to access them, now would he? Along with changing old pins, did he put in place new ones? Say, on his photo gallery or a messaging app? That says a lot!
Related Reading: How To Get Over Insecurities After Being Cheated On – 9 Expert Tips
4. He creates a new social media account/email id/phone number
A user on a mothers’ chat forum asks, “My husband has a second Facebook account. Is he cheating?” She further says (edited for brevity), “I suspect my husband is cheating. A few days ago, he was using Facebook on my laptop and forgot to log out. I went through his Facebook messages and discovered he sent a friend request to a woman. I went through her friend list and discovered they were already connected. Not with his regular name, but with a shortened name. I am sure it is him. So, basically, he has set up a second FB account. I do not know what to think. I want to ask him, but I do not have solid proof. Very confused right now.”
If this sounds familiar, please know that none of the 28 responses on this page says that she is “just overthinking it”, or that she should ignore it. They either advise her to catch her cheating partner red-handed or to ask him about it. What you should do in the situation, we discuss with our expert later in this article. For now, know that if your partner creates a second social media account with an alias or a new email account, without your knowledge, there probably is a reason why they do not want you to know about it.
5. He has started talking about the importance of privacy all of a sudden
Imagine you and your spouse have always believed in sharing the phone, passwords, and your virtual lives. When one of you can’t reach for your phone, you ask the other to pick it up and pass it to you. When they are not around, you also pick up the call on your spouse’s phone.
And then one fine day, your husband starts talking about “personal space”, “privacy”, “individuality” etc. He starts making it clear that he will avoid touching your phone because that’s your personal life. While personal space and privacy in a relationship are not red flags on their own (in fact, they’re the hallmarks of a robust connection), a sudden and unexplained insistence on privacy is definitely something to worry about. When combined with other signs your husband is emotionally cheating, it can paint a picture. You know what it means!
Related Reading: 9 Psychological Facts About Cheating – Busting The Myths
6. When he is on his phone, his body language is flirtatious
Another most obvious sign your husband is sexting someone else are the smiles, the open and relaxed body posture, the slumped back, a spunk in his step, etc – just a flirty vibe when he is on his phone or when he receives a notification that you can catch across the room.
You know how you can notice a teenager romancing on his phone? An adult would be the same. Trust your gut on this one. Your husband is neither talking to his boss nor having a conversation with his mother with that grin plastered on his face.
7. His phone etiquette has suddenly changed
If your husband is texting another woman every day, a lot will change in the way he handles his phone. From the frequency to the way he reacts when his phone has a notification, to where he attends his calls and texts, a cheating husband’s habits will change to accommodate the new person and the secrecy around them. For example, notice the following:
- Does he leave the room to attend a call or to respond to a text when he never did that before?
- If he regularly clears his chat history and call logs, it’s an indication your husband deletes texts from another woman (or calls, for that matter).
- Likewise, if the ‘Recently Deleted’ folder in his phone’s photo gallery is always empty, it could mean that he has been wiping his phone clean of photographic evidence that he is sexting – nudes and all
- Does he delay picking up the phone to check notifications when he was always quick to respond earlier? Or vice versa
Is he attending to or responding to texts from an unknown number(s) much more frequently?
Related Reading: How Does A Guy Act After He Has Cheated?
8. Your husband gets defensive when you ask him about it
One of the clear signs of a cheating husband is that he will get defensive when confronted. He might offer excuses or try to rationalize his behavior but even he knows that he is lying and that you can see through him. So, his natural reaction to questions from you might involve aggression, passive-aggression, complete denial, or even gaslighting you in different ways. Pay attention to the following:
- If he turns the table by asking you questions about your conduct or some past issues or your other non-romantic relationships in the same conversation or soon after, he is trying to deflect the conversation
- If he chooses this time to talk about how you have led him to feel isolated, without admitting to his behavior, he is engaging in manipulative behavior. He is again hiding things from you by shifting the focus from him to you
- If he tries to shower you with presents, compliments, and attention, without addressing your concerns, he is love-bombing you with an ulterior motive
Note: Accusations of infidelity can be hard to take, especially if they are not at fault. Allow your partner the space to react to it in their way. But in a healthy loving relationship, your partner would ideally address your concerns in a clear way and to your satisfaction, even if they take some time to do it.
9. You can sense that you are growing distant
There are many reasons why we cheat on partners we’re committed to. While we discuss these points next in the article, know that all these signs and red flags you see around you ultimately depend on this classic warning sign of infidelity. Do you have a nagging sense that you and your spouse are growing apart while he is growing closer to someone else?
A man who is distracted somewhere else will naturally not put the same energy into his current relationship. This in itself doesn’t mean that he has completely withdrawn himself emotionally from his relationship with you. But if you are seeing more signs your husband is not in love with you anymore, your marital relationship might be in crisis.
5 Reasons Why Your Husband May Be Texting Another Woman
By now you must have a clearer idea whether your doubts are unfounded or something troubling has taken hold in your married life. We hope you also feel more confident about approaching your partner and talking to them about it. (Don’t do it just yet. We will tell you how to go about it.)
However, you don’t want to jump the gun with assumptions and add fuel to fire without understanding a few things first. Even if this is a serious case of cheating and lying that leads to a separation, you want to do this without it permanently ruffling up your life and your sense of self-confidence. We asked Nandita about the reasons why people cheat. It might give us insights into why your husband may be texting another woman.
1. Lack of love or an emotional bond in the first place
While this may not be true in your case, let us get this one out of the way. Nandita says, “Many couples in societies where arranged marriages are prevalent, or couples who choose to get married because both partners check certain boxes of an ideal match on each other’s lists, or who jump into marriage too soon without allowing for an emotional bond to develop, may frequently see cracks in their relationship develop. Especially in the form of infidelity by one or both spouses.”
Dr. Greg Baer, M.D., in his book, Real Love in Marriage, echoes this point. He says, “Infidelity occurs in every case due to a lack of “real love” in a marriage or relationship.” According to him, many couples mistake love vs attachment. They lack “real love” and replace it with “imitation love”. They expect their spouses to make them happy. And when life takes over, or the happiness is gone, “they naturally conclude that their partner is somehow failing to hold up his or her end of the agreement. They both feel abandoned and betrayed.”
Related Reading: 10 Things That Make A Good Relationship – As Per An Expert
2. Technology makes infidelity easier
“These days it has simply become easier to cheat with dating websites and social media, than in the pre-internet times. There is easy access now. Methods of cheating are varied and abundant,” says Nandita. A fascinating study by The Open University further corroborates this. It finds out that “the internet makes infidelity more likely” by making “covert contact with another person easy” and “making it easier to engage in behavior that might be avoided in real life.”
Two anonymous user responses in the same study sum it up wonderfully.
- “I tried to stop but neither of us could, it would start again and since it was so easy, with all the technology we carry around it was an amazingly comforting and sexy thing to have. With long working hours, an online relationship is like fast food, ready when we are, naughty, cheap, very often eaten alone without the exhaustion of social niceties”
- “I have a deep mistrust in the internet and feel it massively facilitates infidelity. My ex-husband is inherently a very shy man, but he can act more confidently and attract the attention of other females online. I strongly believe he would not have had so many affairs without the internet”
3. Differences in sexual desires
“When a partner has a stronger desire or a slightly different kind of a desire from the other, they might feel compelled to look elsewhere,” says Nandita. Sexual incompatibility can be a major motivation for cheating, in general, and cyber cheating, in this case. With mismatched libidos or kinks or desires, people feel encouraged to look elsewhere.
Lack of sexual compatibility, like no other reason listed in this list, is an excuse for cheating. It is extremely common as no two people can have the same sexual needs and experience their entire lives. People with healthy marital lives work on these differences and find healthy ways to address these issues.
4. Differences in commitment levels
Talking about another significant reason why your husband could be sexting somebody else, Nandita says, “If the value system of both partners is different and one of them believes in and displays low commitment levels in the relationship, this may lead to that person exploring in various ways.” There is another aspect to this mismatch in one’s value system – one’s definition of infidelity.
The Open University study mentioned earlier points to this incompatibility in the value system of both partners. “What is experienced as infidelity online can vary from person to person. What might be seen as casual chatting by one partner, is hurtful and disloyal to the other, for instance.” Remember the 71% of respondents from the BBC Radio survey who considered sexting as cheating? What about the remaining 29%? Could your husband or your wife be one of them?
5. To fill a void
Another important driving force behind cheating is the desire to fill a void. As life moves on, with new responsibilities and health changes, the mental state of each partner may change as well. To cope, one partner may resort to going into their shell while the other feels lonely. “Your partner may be feeling misunderstood, or not understood, or neglected by their other half. They may try to fill that void by seeking someone else to talk to, or to bond with,” says Nandita. Emotional neglect and loneliness are one of the top reasons why people cheat.
As a result of this neglect, a person can suffer from low self-esteem issues or feelings of self-doubt. “If partners don’t build an environment of communicating these things to each other, it can make one feel stifled, leading them astray,” says Nandita. Your partner too could be sexting another woman to either seek external validation or to fill an emotional void.
Again, this is no excuse for cheating. But this may help you understand where they are coming from, empathize if possible, and help you two make a fresh start if that is what both of you want.
What To Do When Your Husband Is Sexting Another woman
“Irrespective of this information coming to you out of the blue, or even if you had a prior inclination to your husband’s cheating ways, it still hits you in your gut. You get that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach and find that your world has fallen apart,” says Nandita when talking about how disorienting the experience of infidelity can be for the victim partner. “You might feel completely at loss as to what to do next,” she adds.
This is where we come in. Let us look at what you can do once you find out or have a strong suspicion that your partner has been cheating on you through online methods.
1. Talk to him
There is no other way around this major thorn in your side. At this point, you either have evidence that your partner has been sexting some other woman, a strong suspicion, or an inkling. In either case, communication is the healthiest medium for finding a solution.
“If initiating the conversation yourself doesn’t seem easy, ask a neutral third party to do the talking for you. But the point is, at some point, you will have to address the issue,” says Nandita. Here are a few things to keep in mind when confronting a cheating spouse:
- Stabilize yourself first and remain calm. Take as much time as you need to do so before confronting your partner
- Do not play mind games with your partner in the meantime. That’s unnecessary pressure on you and your relationship
- Once it’s time, be stern, look them in the eye, and ask them about it. Stay polite. You can use a business-like formal tone in the process
- Don’t point fingers or state accusations. Instead, lay down your findings. Tell them how it looks to you, instead of saying what they did
- For example, say, “I found you have a fake account. Why do you have it?” instead of “Why have you been cheating on me?”
- Be prepared for them to first negate your accusations. Give them a reasonable time to respond to you
- A reasonable time is what seems reasonable to you depending on your situation, your partner’s personality, the ease of communication you two share, etc. It could be overnight, a day of work where he has some space to gather himself, or a weekend. If he needs more time, he should ideally communicate that to you
- After this stage, you both can decide to take some time or even physical space that is mutually agreed upon before you can sit and talk about it
Note: Make sure to keep your kids, if you have them, out of this conversation at all costs. Try to send them away to a friend or relative when confronting your husband. Don’t rely on “speaking softly”. That usually doesn’t work when tempers flare.
Related Reading: 10 Common Marriage Reconciliation Mistakes To Avoid After Infidelity
2. Don’t forget to talk about the reason
If you would like to give your relationship a fair chance, you should be solution-oriented. Nandita advises focusing on the reasons why he has been sexting other women. “He may give false reasons initially, but you two need to talk about what exactly is driving him to do it,” she says.
This does not mean that you are obliged to let it go, or that you are preemptively forgiving your SO. This only means that you are together looking for the cracks to see if you can mend them. Dr. Baer, too, suggests that if the victim can see the cause of infidelity and then respond healthily, the marriage can survive an affair and then be strengthened. Regardless, meaningful communication on the issue is only possible if:
- You can step out of your head and see it as a problem you need to solve
- You acquire an empathetic attitude of understanding at least for the time being
- You encourage your partner to speak and provide a safe space for them to air their feelings
- Your cheating partner is willing to make amends or put in the effort to repair the relationship
So, if your partner says that they don’t think sexting is a big deal, you know you both cannot come out of this experience without bringing each other on the same page regarding your ideas of infidelity. Or, if your partner expresses feeling undervalued in the relationship, or simply seeking excitement elsewhere, or that sexting was a sexual kink, you can see where that takes you two.
3. Assess his commitment levels
Take time to gauge his behavior post-confrontation. Observe him from a distance. Once again, you need to be tactful at this stage and get out of your mind space of hurt. Notice his commitment levels. Is he truly remorseful? Is he still committed to the relationship?
Remain objective in assessing the value of his response. Does he regret cheating and wants to make amends? Does his apology feel sincere? Is he saying nice things to soothe you and overlook his behavior, or does he mean them? If he initially expresses anger, does it mean that he does not care, or was that merely a defensive reaction?
This assessment will help you decide what you need to do next. Does your husband respect you? (You could take this quiz to find out.) Will you like to continue being in a married relationship with this person? Do you see hope for the two of you? Or is it better – tough, yes but better – that you two part ways?
Related Reading: 7 Fundamentals Of Commitment In A Marriage
4. Commit to healthy relationship strategies going forward
If you both come to the agreement that the relationship is here to stay and that you would work on the relationship, you both must commit to taking concrete steps.
- Commit to open communication channels going forward
- Take steps to rebuild lost trust
- Consult a marriage counselor who specializes in helping couples deal with the issue of cheating and extramarital affairs. If you are looking for a professional right away, you can find Bonobology’s panel of experts here
5. Focus on stabilizing yourself
Do everything we have told you, all the while prioritizing “self”. Finding your partner cheating can wreak havoc on your self-esteem. You must do everything possible to strengthen yourself to handle this difficult phase, be it to forgive your cheating partner or to move on from the relationship.
From confiding in a friend to spending time with yourself, from focusing on other relationships to ensuring you are getting enough vegetables, you need to focus on your holistic health in every way possible. You will need that to feel stable, sane, and ready to make the right decisions.
- If you notice signs your husband is sexting other women, all around you, and you have two have been growing distant, chances are that you have a cheating partner on your hands
- These signs could include the growing secrecy around their phone, a sudden change in your partner’s frequency or his way of responding to phone calls, texts, or social media
- Your husband may be sexting because he thinks it’s not a big deal. Or he may be trying to fill an emotional void, or exploring sexual kinks
- Many studies have revealed that technology has made cheating much easier, increasing its occurrence
- If you feel betrayed by your partner’s behavior, you must talk to him while focusing on the reasons why he has felt the need to engage in an online affair
There IS hope. Couples who truly recover from infidelity often report having built a stronger bond in the process of rebuilding the lost trust. Nandita too says, “If both the partners are 100% willing to work on their current relationship mutually and honestly from an open space, there are chances it may work.”