What are the signs of wife infidelity? For the most part, they are similar to the signs of husband infidelity: working late, unexplained phone calls (particularly if they are hang-ups when you answer), attempts to lose weight or look younger, and loss of interest in sex (or sometimes, increased interest in sex).
Steven M Cohn, PhD, LMFT
The Portland Couples Counseling Center
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Portland, Oregon 97232
However, there are some key differences between the signs of husband infidelity and the signs of wife infidelity.
One study found that there are warning signs even before you get married.(1) In couples where the wife went on to be unfaithful in the early years of marriage, researchers found that the woman was less likely to communicate positively before the marriage, and that both members of the couple were more likely to speak negatively to each other. This may seem obvious, but it is an important finding in that these signs are different from those seen in couples when the husband is later unfaithful. In those cases, premarital signs of infidelity include lower male sexual satisfaction and lower male positive communication.
Perhaps not surprisingly, men are more likely than women to favor non-exclusivity in relationships.(2) Statistics tend to show that as many as 60% of men have extramarital affairs but only 40% of women do the same. Recent research has shown that men, compared with women, are more approving of casual sex and report more frequent and explicit sexual fantasies. Additionally, men report an earlier age of first intercourse, a greater number of sexual partners and a higher incidence of intercourse and masturbation.(3)
Information on the differences between signs of wife infidelity and that of husband infidelity can make you wonder what makes a person cheat. One theory holds that there is a genetic basis to cheating.(4) Cheating has been shown to be about 41% inherited, while the decision as to the number of sexual partners to pursue is approximately 38% under genetic influence. While neither of these numbers is overwhelming, it does explain why some wives would never dream of cheating, while others think there is nothing too bad about it, even if they are raised in similar circumstances.
And, much as women hate to admit it, the hormonal cycle may play a role in when men should be looking for signs of wife infidelity. A study out of England showed that women were more interested in having an affair, but not more interested in sex with their husbands, near ovulation. They also found that their husbands were more attentive to them near ovulation. This research suggests that there is an evolutionary reason for the cyclical changes in attitude: women are seeking sex with anyone who can impregnate them to assure survival of the species, while men are interested in keeping their wives close during ovulation to assure survival of their family line.(5)
No matter what the reasons, there are signs of wife infidelity that should not be ignored. If you suspect your wife is having an affair, you owe it to yourself and your marriage to seek relationship counseling from a Relationship Specialist.
(1)Allen, Elizabeth S.; Rhoades, Galena Kline; Stanley, Scott M.; Markman, Howard J.; Williams, Tamara; Melton, Jessica; Clements, Mari L. Premarital Precursors of Marital Infidelity. Family Process 47(2): 243 - 259. (2008)
(2)Boekhout, B.A., Hendrick, S.S., Hendrick, C. Exploring Infidelity: Developing the Relationship Issues Scale. Journal of Loss and Trauma 8:40: 283-306, October - December, 2003.
(3)Alexander, M. G., & Fisher, T. D. Truth and consequences: Using the bogus pipeline to examine sex differences in self-reported sexuality. Journal of Sex Research, 40, 27–35. (2003)
(4)Cherkas, Lynn F., Oelsner, Elizabeth C., Mak, Y.T., Valdes, Anna, Spector, Tim D. Genetic Influences on Female Infidelity and Number of Sexual Partners in Humans: A Linkage and Association Study of the Role of the Vasopressin Receptor Gene (AVPR1A). Twin Research and Human Genetics 7(6): 649-658. December, 2004.
(5)Gangestad, S. W., Thornhill, R., & Garver, C. E. Changes in women’s sexual interests and their partners’ mate-retention tactics across the menstrual cycle: Evidence for shifting conflicts of interest. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B, 269, 975–982. (2002)
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Did Your Husband, Wife, or Intimate Partner Cheat on You?
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Steven Cohn, PhD is a seasoned Relationship Specialist with extensive experience in working with couples struggling to recover after an affair.