If you’re in a long distance relationship, chances are you’ve wondered at least once whether your partner might cheat on you. Well, I’ve got good news and bad news for you.
Let’s start with the good news: I wouldn’t take this as gospel, but several research studies suggest that cheating does not occur more often in long distance relationships. The researchers concluded that the risk of cheating in a relationship was much more strongly associated with the quality of the relationship and the personalities involved.
Now, ready for the bad news? No one wants to think that the person they love (or are growing to love) might be lying to them or cheating on them. However, lying and cheating can happen, and distance makes deceit easier to hide, for longer.
Signs That Your Partner May Be Cheating…
If you spot some of these signs in your long distance relationship, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your partner is misleading you, but be cautious.
They are signs that your partner might not be being completely honest with you. You should at least consider the possibility that all is not as your partner wants it to seem. Your partner might be cheating on you, considering ending the relationship, or may even already be married to someone else.
1. There is a sudden and persistent change in his or her behavior or communication patterns.
2. They are often unavailable to take your call on a moments notice and seem to be perpetually busy—they have many evening, weekend or holiday commitments.
3. They seem perpetually rushed and harried whenever you contact them. They are only relaxed when they contact you, at a time that suits them.
4. They rarely talk to you from home. They usually call you on the way to or from work, or during business hours.
5. They always want to come visit you rather than having you visit them.
6. They won’t acknowledge your relationship on Facebook or in other public ways.
7 You know they have a history of cheating in past relationships (Please Note: This does not mean that they will cheat on you, but bear in mind that past behavior is one of the best predictors of future behavior.)
8. They frequently talk of someone in particular, and of time spent alone with that person. Or they talk about a whole new group of friends they’ve suddenly started hanging out with.
9. They don’t seem eager to introduce you to these new friends or to other people in their lives.
10. You spot inconsistencies in their stories. For example, they tell you about going somewhere for work, or out somewhere with friends, and then seem to have forgotten all about that outing when you bring it up later.
Six Things To Do If You Suspect Your Partner Might Be Cheating
Relationships are complicated, and long distance relationships are more complicated than most. If you see one or more of the signs listed above, don’t immediately freak out! Instead, think carefully about what you what you want to do next.
1. Talk to them
If you’re ready to share your concerns with your partner, my book 21 Important Things To Do If You Suspect Your Partner May Be Cheating is full of practical advice to help you tackle those difficult conversations. You can download it right now and start putting your game plan together. Your conversations are likely to go much better if you think carefully about what you want, and how you want to approach your partner, before you bring it up.
If you don’t feel ready to go there yet, talk with your partner about other meaningful topics. When you talk together about things that matter, you will get to know them better and your relationship will grow stronger and deeper. Here is one easy way to find questions that will spark good conversations…
2. Notice inconsistencies
Stay alert for times when what your partner says doesn’t match up to how they say it or what they do. This will tell you important things. But …
3. Don’t jump to conclusions!
Don’t make the mistake of assuming that you always know exactly what is going on. Interpreting nonverbal and indirect communication is a guessing game. Sometimes you will guess wrong (particularly when you’re in a long distance relationship), and something you thought might indicate that your partner is lying to you simply means they’re having a bad week. This is why you need to also …
4. Pay attention to patterns over time
Don’t read too much into a single sigh, or reaction, or story. Pay attention to patterns you see emerging more than any single exchange. However, on the other hand you should also still …
5. Trust your instincts
If something doesn’t feel quite right, it may be because there’s a mismatch between what your partner is saying directly and what they’re saying indirectly (how they’re saying it and what they’re doing). If that gut feeling that something is wrong persists, trust it, and try to figure out where it’s coming from.
6. Ask your partner to clarify
Don’t make a habit of interrogating your partner about every minute of their daily schedule. if you find that you are constantly suspicious and tempted to second guess everything your partner is saying, your relationship has a problem regardless of whether they are cheating. However, if there’s something specific that’s bothering or confusing you, bring it up. Explain how you’re feeling and ask them to clarify. It may all be due to a simple misunderstanding.