It was the fifth time this week that Claire noticed Noah leaving the room to attend a phone call. Her surprise was slowly transforming into suspicion. Is he, by any chance, having an online affair? She read a study on the internet which states that out of 176 married couples, 5-12% of the partners got involved in online infidelity. Claire and Noah aren’t married but have been living together for three years and the word ‘secrecy’ practically doesn’t exist in their book. But now, it seems she is sharing an apartment with a complete stranger!
It took Claire some time to wrap her head around the thought of him having an online affair as it was beyond her worst nightmares. A bit reluctantly, she started playing Sherlock on Noah, scanning for signs he is cheating online. The fact that he has recently changed his phone password, he is glued to the screen forever, and he seems to be living in a distant parallel universe despite being so close – it all added up to reaffirm her doubts.
Then one day, an open chat on his laptop convinced Claire that her gut was telling the truth. More often than not, the Claires, Michaels, and Brads around us catch their loved ones hooked on multiple online affairs. You may or may not consider its consequences to be as dire as sexual infidelity. But at the end of the day, cheating is unacceptable no matter in which shape and form it happens.
If you need conclusive proof that your partner is having an online affair with married man or that they are getting addicted to online affairs, we can help you spot the subtle changes the online affair(s) has brought into their way of life.
17 Signs Your Partner Is Having An Online Affair
Have you noticed the paradox in the connection between technology and relationships? A smart device is a blessing when two lovers staying oceans apart can facetime to feel each other’s presence more vividly. On the contrary, the same device can aid your partner in looking for a new mate online.
Emotional unavailability in the relationship is a major reason that can push your partner to the verge of an online affair. Perhaps, for them, it becomes an escape route from the humdrum responsibilities, and a hopeless attempt to fulfill those aspects of their life that are lacking in your relationship. Plus, there is a certain convenience factor in an online affair that attracts most people like moths to the flame. It doesn’t involve physical intimacy, which drops the chances of getting caught. And as an online affair is often like a fleeting phase, it’s less worry and more excitement!
All that being said, there is no loophole to justify an emotional affair at any stage. For your personal benefit, we have jotted down 17 tell-tale signs of online cheating. Now, whether you want to slam the door in their face after this or decide to work on your issues, that remains open-ended.
Related Reading: Everything You Need To Know About The 7 Types Of Affairs That Exist
1. Their phone password changes out of the blue
It’s quite normal for couples to share their phone password as long as the intention behind that is not snooping. My partner and I often access each other’s phones, maybe to order food or watch Netflix. We remain at peace because we both know how to respect the other person’s privacy.
Once this trust element is built in a relationship, sharing passwords becomes a non-issue. The problem arises when you have had the same equation for years and suddenly, your partner refuses to reveal their new password. There is no doubt it’s fishy and clearly points toward the signs of online cheating.
2. They are on the phone at odd hours
In case you are not aware of it, online affairs during coronavirus have become more common than ever. Studies suggest that 25% of marriages have been exposed to the evil eye of infidelity. Plus, observing the signs of spouse cheating online became as easy as pie, given that you had to spend a lot more time together than usual.
Pandemic or post-pandemic, if your husband locks himself in the study for a work call giving up his FIFA time every day, we smell an online affair. Or is your wife busy texting in the middle of the night when she thinks you are asleep? Maybe you should get a little worried.
3. They are constantly smiling and staring at the screen
An online affair is no less than a virtual world of fantasy. Heavy words like ‘commitment’ and ‘trust issues’ don’t weigh you down. It’s all about the sheer joy of fun conversations, showers of compliments, exchange of flirtations, and maybe even nudes. Naturally, the go-to facial reaction is always a grin on your face.
Peter, a law student, says, “My first clue to finding out the truth that Matt was having an online affair with married man was his constant smiling face. Whether he was on a call or engaged in incessant chatting, the smiling never stopped. “I just scrolled through a fun meme,” he’d say. He could have probably come up with better excuses to make it more believable.”
Related Reading: 7 Tips To Forgive A Cheating Boyfriend
4. They never leave the phone unattended
When a person is addicted to online affairs, the cell phone is their most sacred possession. Nobody is allowed to touch it, not even a peek at the screen. Remember we were talking about Noah’s online affair earlier? In their case as well, this is exactly what struck his girlfriend.
Claire was utterly surprised to see him carrying the cell phone to the bathroom. If not that, he would either keep it clutched or slide it into his pocket. This whole hush-hush thing about their phone makes it rather obvious that the person is definitely hiding something.
5. Online affair makes them happier and more easy-going
You know, there is an odd side effect of having multiple online affairs. Now that your partner is content with their emotional needs, they suddenly transform into this happy-go-lucky person. Every little thing about you that used to annoy them, doesn’t seem to bug them anymore.
They are hardly bothered if you are going to too many parties or inviting friends all the time. You now miss the way they used to crave your attention. Even though their cheery behavior may look like a positive change on the outside, it is nothing but indifference toward the relationship and clear signs of online cheating.
6. They hide their friend list on social media
Justin, an investment banker in his 30s, says, “I didn’t care to think much when my partner changed the privacy of their friend list on Facebook. Then I noticed that I am blocked out of their other social media accounts as well. They told me those accounts were deactivated, which was yet another big, fat lie.”
A person becomes extra cautious when they are involved in an illicit online affair. And trying to banish you from their virtual community is the very first masterstroke to play. This is definitely one of the signs he is cheating online or she is sexting with someone else.
Related Reading: 18 Complications Of Having An Affair With A Married Man
7. The emotional distance is noticeable
If your loved one has emotionally checked out of the relationship, it will make you feel like you are living with their mere shadow. They are sitting right next to you, having a conversation, and yet it seems they are miles away. Lack of affection and intimacy in a relationship is one of the obtrusive signs of spouse cheating online.
Suppose it was a long day at work. The thought that kept you going was to reach home and cuddle your bae to sleep. You got back home, you waited and waited, yet they didn’t even look up from their screen. Those cute back hugs in the kitchen or gentle kisses before bed – it has all vanished. Only you are left behind, in a dead-end relationship, sinking slowly into loneliness.
8. Posting pictures with you becomes a risk factor
Say, your partner doesn’t go to the extent of blocking you on social media. But they would definitely try to limit your presence on their feed. You can no longer convince them to share a cute picture from your last coffee date on Instagram. You wonder, “When did she ever refrain from online PDA? Public opinion has never stopped her from posting our pictures before.” Well, your partner seems to go by that logic now. Don’t be surprised if they hide their relationship status from their profile too. After all, that’s how an online affair begins in the first place, by leading a double life.
9. Sex seems like a routine job
Nobody can invest their hundred percent in a physical relationship if there is an online affair taking shape on the side. For a change, this time, let’s dive into the mind of a cheating person. Alex, a 26-year-old digital marketer, tells us about his series of online affairs during coronavirus.
He says, “My relationship with Ana was bordering on the verge of a breakup, at least from my side. After the first affair kicked off, I stopped feeling attracted to her. The spark was long gone and our love-making became a cold, unfeeling act just like any other task of the day.” If your relationship crisis has escalated to the point of looking for signs of online cheating, you might be experiencing a lack of passion during intimate moments already.
Related Reading: 9 Expert Ways To Let Go Of Hurt And Betrayal In Relationships
10. They get highly defensive of every action
How to know whether your partner is engaged in multiple online affairs or not? They will try to defend themselves for completely trivial matters. When faced with a slightly pointed question, they might get shocked, upset, shout, break things around the house, or try stonewalling you until you back off.
And the worst part is, whenever your partner feels cornered, they shift the entire blame on your shoulders for every problematic situation that’s taken place in the relationship. If there is an online affair, deception and distorted truths will go hand in hand. As one lie is cooked up to cover another, you will notice them having a hard time keeping their story straight.
11. They start spending more than they make
Sarah, a young entrepreneur, says, “One fine day, I discovered that my husband has transferred a lump sum from our joint account to his personal one, that too without consulting me. Along with the other signs of spouse cheating online, this one hit me really hard. I took the liberty to thoroughly check his bank statement, and the limitless spending on luxury clothing and jewelry simply took me aback.”
Sarah clarifies it was not her intention to invade his privacy. “But then, what did I have to lose?” she says. So there you go – if your partner, along with displaying these other signs, is also talking about cutting expenses and living on a budget all of a sudden, chances are they are getting addicted to online affairs.
Related Reading: 8 Steps To Deal With Your Spouse’s Emotional Affair
12. They need more privacy
“How about you go to bed and I will join you in half an hour?” or “Can you just leave me alone for a while? I need some space.” Sounds familiar? This was the story of most online affairs during coronavirus because the cheating person felt that their partner was breathing down their neck all the time. However, it’s a no-brainer that a person having an online affair would seek privacy and time away from others at home. The fear of getting caught cheating heightens in front of their partner, lest they read facial expressions or overhear a phone call.
13. A specific name always pops up on the screen
It is a textbook sign of an ongoing online affair. The cheating partner tries to play clever and save the phone number of their new lover under the name of a colleague or a friend. They probably think it will eliminate the doubts in the mind of their partner. Little do they know that when the same name blinks ten times a day on their phone, it invites suspicion more than ever. If you know this particular ‘colleague’, ring them up when they are supposedly engaged in a call with your partner. The truth will reveal itself immediately.
14. They are keeping a secret account on a dating site
Now, this can be a little tricky for you to find out, but it is one of the most undeniable signs he is cheating online or dating a number of men on Tinder. Maybe you could ask someone trustworthy to help you track them down on online dating sites.
My friend Roger faced a similar situation once. In his exact words, “I imagined her to be an epitome of honesty before I realized she is actively present on multiple dating sites. I was shattered to know she is having an online affair with married man after married man. It took everything away from our relationship – trust, respect, love.” We don’t wish for you to go through the same trauma, but if your partner is maintaining a dating profile, the repercussions might be ugly.
15. They are suddenly very concerned about looking good
Ah, what is this new obsession with looking trim and proper at all times? Earlier, your partner used to be this ‘oversized t-shirt and messy hair’ person at home. But now, they are laying out their best clothes to get dressed for a zoom meeting. They are overtly conscious about eating healthy and have become more regular at the gym, which is again unusual. Don’t mistake this over-enthusiasm to look attractive for a self-care routine. Maybe there is a third person in the equation influencing every aspect of their life.
16. They’ve started showing more affection
As contradictory as it may sound, some people implement it as a foolproof way to not get caught. After all, we are human beings and can’t entirely avoid our conscience. When the guilt trip affects them badly, your partner may try to overcompensate for their dishonesty.
Recently, my colleague Erin shared her experience with me, “I think it started the day Ross brought me breakfast in bread. I was in awe! What happened to the man who barely looks at me before going to work? And then there were more surprises, romantic dates after years, physical intimacy, and new nicknames. I was living in a dreamy bubble until it was pricked and I caught him having an online affair.”
Related Reading: 13 Cheating Guilt Signs You Need To Watch Out For
17. The browser history is enough to rat them out
Perhaps it’s not ethical to inspect signs of online cheating by snooping into your partner’s personal data. But if your relationship has come to this point, it’s the only way left to get yourself out of this misery once and for all.
A quick scan through their digital footprints and voila, you know which dating sites they are visiting, who they are chatting with, and some more unpleasant information that you wish you didn’t discover. Trust me, your guardian angel would try to stop you from taking such a drastic step, but it’s your best shot at beating them at their own online affair game.
We understand that it must not have been easy to sit through the whole article. Sometimes, you have to do certain things for the sake of your mental health and for the benefit of the relationship even though you don’t want to. We sincerely hope all your suspicions are proved wrong. If you do find out that you’re being cheated on, let it sink in, feel your feelings, reach out to your support system, and confront your partner before you rush to a hasty conclusion. May you have all the strength and courage to face the storm!
Most online affairs fizzle out within 6 months to a maximum of 2 years, depending on how well the cheating partner manages to hide it, or how soon they lose interest and move on to the next prospect.
Online infidelity has been steadily increasing in the past two decades ever since the easy accessibility of the internet. There was a rapid surge in numbers of online affairs especially during the pandemic for obvious reasons. People resort to internet infidelity to fulfill those aspects of their physical and emotional needs that their partners can’t address. According to studies, 20-33% of American internet users go online to meet their sexual desires.