Cheating is bad. We’ve heard it a million times. But it happens all the time, and usually without warning. The affair might start out innocent, like a little flirtation or extra time spent with a coworker. Or it might get triggered in an instant, after one drink too many and one can’t-miss invitation from a sexy stranger.
Whether your partner’s affair builds over time or lasts for one night, you don’t want to be caught off-guard. If your SO is about to cheat, they will exhibit warning signs. It’s up to you to sniff them out. Here’s a list of risk factors for infidelity. Trust me, you’re better off catching them before the affair starts, than picking up the pieces after it’s done.
He’s a dude
Guys cheat because of what makes them men: testosterone. They have a primal urge to spread their seeds, and if they’re not happy in bed, they’ll look to someone else to satisfy their needs.
She feels neglected
Women don’t typically cheat because of a physical urge; they do it because they feel an emotional void in the relationship. If she’s being distant, watch out. She might be looking for a new connection.
They’re making big gains at work
Authority in the workplace puts your partner most at risk for cheating. Think about how you feel when your boss gives you a stellar review, or you get a huge raise. You feel like you’re on top of the world. That surge of confidence empowers potential cheaters to make moves on someone they’ve been eyeing.
They’re a “9-ender”
Studies show that cheating rates increase before a milestone birthday. We don’t have a clear explanation for it, but we do know that major birthdays make people freak out. Their fear of getting older might push them to make reckless decisions. So, if your partner is a “9-ender” (between 29 and 59), look out for suspicious behavior. They might have the urge to start their new decade with a literal bang.
They spend quality time somewhere else
Researchers call it “environmental” risk. If your partner spends a lot of time at work, on business trips, or engaged in personal hobbies (read: away from you), they’re building relationships completely separate from your sphere of influence. Taking you out of the equation makes it easier for them to be unfaithful. That’s why housewives cheat with their neighbors, and 38% of cheating women have their first affair with a boss or colleague.
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They’re bad-tempered and insensitive
Everyone’s got different degrees of the Big Five personality traits. Here’s how they’re described:
Openness: An appreciation for new experiences, imaginative, curious, less tied to routine.
Conscientiousness: Organized, efficient, dependable, self-disciplined, prefers routine over spontaneity.
Extraversion: Assertive, social, energetic, talkative, gets stimulation talking to other people
Agreeableness: Compassionate, cooperative, trusting, helpful, even-tempered
Neuroticism: Tendency toward anger, anxiety, depression, vulnerability; impulsive, emotionally unstable.
People with low scores of the Big Five have the opposite of what’s described above. Someone with a low score of “agreeableness” and “conscientiousness” is undisciplined, spontaneous, dishonest, and insensitive. They’re also more likely to stray.
He has unfaithful friends
As the saying goes, you’re only as good as the company you keep. Turns out, 77% of cheating men have friends who have also snuck around. Don’t assume your man won’t give into peer pressure. If he has an unfaithful friend, he might think he can get away with it too.
They’ve cheated before
Almost half of cheaters will cheat again. Find time to gently broach the topic of past relationships with your SO. If they admit they’ve cheated before, or they give you some half-ass excuse for why things ended in the past, there’s a chance you have a serial cheater on your hands.
You’ve been cheated on
If you’ve had unfaithful partners in the past, you’re three times more likely to be cheated on again. Be especially vigilant about the telltale indicators your SO is about to sneak around.
Expose That Would-Be Cheater — Before It’s Too Late!
Relationships are messy. Affairs are messier. Keep your eye out for these red flags of future infidelity, and you might save yourself from a very sticky situation.