Infidelity Warning Signs

Your Quick Guide to Relationship Success
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Your Quick Guide to Relationship Success
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Just about everyone can name the most obvious infidelity warning signs. Hang-up phone calls. Late nights at the office. Unexplained charges on your monthly statement. But what about the more subtle cues?

Steven M Cohn, PhD, LMFT
The Portland Couples Counseling Center
1940 NE Broadway
Portland, Oregon  97232

Couple arguing at the dinner table

Some of the danger signs you may not have thought of include:

  • Suddenly taking an interest in losing weight or coloring over gray hair
  • Finding any excuse to leave the house, such as running errands or walking the dog
  • Wearing a different style of clothing
  • Restlessness or wanting to spend lots of time alone – particularly in a room that contains a computer or phone
  • Losing interest in sex or seeing it as a “duty”
  • Becoming secretive or separating some money for personal use rather than household use
  • Taking more showers than usual
  • Pulling away from other obligations such as bowling league, church, extended family, etc.
  • Taking a new interest in work-related events
  • Talking more about one certain person than about other friends and colleagues
  • Stopping romantic gestures such as cards, flowers, or candy

Wouldn’t it be nice if there were some infidelity warning signs you could spot before you took the plunge and got married?

Recent genetic research is suggesting there may even be a gene that controls “pair-bonding” or the inclination to cheat.(1) The study looked only at men, although dangers of cheating are most definitely present in women as well. The variation of a certain gene was present in 2 out of 5 men, who were found more likely to experience marital discord and divorce. The gene apparently controls the activity of a brain hormone which affects a man’s attitudes toward fidelity and monogamy.

Assuming you’re not going to subject your future spouse to a genetic study, what other important warning clues can you see before marriage? One recent study followed couples through their first year of marriage, taking note of whether anyone had an affair.(2) What they found was that men who had low sexual satisfaction before marriage and tended to invalidate their fiancées were more likely to cheat. On the flip side, women who didn’t communicate positively with their future spouses were more likely to have an affair within the first year of marriage.

A similar study was done on infidelity warning signs after marriage.(3) The study looked at nearly 2,300 married couples. Infidelity warning signs included neuroticism and lower religiosity. Perhaps surprisingly, suspicion of an affair was not correlated with an actual affair.

So, just because you have a suspicion doesn’t mean your spouse is definitely having an affair. It does, however, mean that you may benefit from relationship counseling. If you are seeing some of the infidelity warning signs shown above, or if you are worried about infidelity warning signs, make sure you seek a qualified Relationship Specialist to help you before your relationship becomes irreparable.

End Notes

(1) Walum, Hasse, Westberg, Lars, Henningsson, Susanne, Neiderhiser, Jenae M., Reiss, David, Igl, Wilmar, Ganiban, Jody M., Spotts, Erica L., Pedersen, Nancy L., Eriksson, Elias, and Lichtenstein, Paul. Genetic variation in the vasopressin receptor 1a gene (AVPR1A) associates with pair-bonding behavior in humans. PNAS, September 2, 2008.

(2) Allen, Elizabeth S., Rhoades, Galena Kline, Stanley, Scott M., Markman, Howard J., Williams, Tamara, Melton, Jessica, and Clements, Mari L. Premarital precursors of Marital Infidelity. Family Process 47(2): 243-259, 2008.

(3) Whisman, M.A., Gordon, K.C., Chatav, Y. Predicting sexual infidelity in a population-based sample of married individuals. Journal of Family Psychology 21(2):320-4, 2007.

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Did Your Husband, Wife, or Intimate Partner Cheat on You?

Don't let infidelity, an affair, or a one-night stand destroy your relationship.

With professional intervention it is often possible to work through the pain of betrayal and come out stronger on the other side.

Steven Cohn, PhD is a seasoned Relationship Specialist with extensive experience in working with couples struggling to recover after an affair.