After 10 years of coaching separated men, I have yet to meet a guy who on his wedding day imagined himself someday looking up signs of a cheating wife.
And yet, a shocking number of men do in fact find themselves faced with real suspicion of their wife's affair.
Multiple statistics show us that infidelity will be some sort of issue for anywhere between 30% and 50% of married people. So if you have a gut feeling, or if you've noticed a few possible red flags on your own, you are not crazy or insecure for wanting to get the truth.
The first major thing I want to say is that my heart breaks that you're here. Know that you are not alone. Other men have been through this, and they survived. No matter what you discover, you will too.
The second thing I want to do (and I promise, we will get to the signs that you came for here in a sec) is to give you an odd reassurance: If it does turn out that your wife is cheating, then it's worth knowing up front that this part right now - the part where you go from not suspecting an affair to seriously suspecting one - is often the most jarring and painful part of this process. This part really, really sucks. But, if you get through this part, I'm very confident you can get through the rest.
That's not at all to say that confronting an affair, or enduring an affair, or any of those other things are easy. But, there is a unique excruciating pain and heart-damage that happens when you first go through affair discovery.
With that out of the way, let's start talking about some of the most common signs of a cheating wife that I have observed in my decade and change of helping and observing men going through separation.
Important Rules To Know About These Signs
First, let’s get on the same page for what we’re covering in this article:
These are signs only, not hard proof.
What does this mean in practice?
It means the men whose wives are in fact having an affair will say yes to many of these signs. At least some of these signs WILL show up in 99% of cheating wives. But, saying yes to many of these signs doesn’t necessarily PROVE that your wife is cheating.
On the other hand, if you read through all of these signs and say “No” to everything except maybe a couple of the behavioral changes (which could also be explained by a generic loss of love in the marriage), I would feel confident telling you that your wife is at least not having a physical affair.
Why bother reading then? Because as a rule of thumb, the more proof that you want, the more you have to invade her privacy to obtain it.
The huge advantage of the signs of cheating listed in this article is they do NOT require any invasion of privacy. They are all possible to detect with nothing more than observation. Quiet observation, perhaps, but observation nonetheless.
Little of what we cover in this article constitutes hard evidence that you could take to a courtroom to prove she's cheating. If you want that, finish this article and then go read [how to catch a cheating wife].
Instead of viewing them as proof, view these signs as correlations with infidelity. The more of these signs that you can say “yes” to, the more right you are to be suspicious about a potential extramarital relationship.
NOTE: Although I’m not an attorney, from my understanding, it would be fair to label most of the signs covered in this article as Circumstantial Evidence. To be clear, Circumstantial Evidence is still admissible in a courtroom, but it can be easier to argue against and is not typically enough on its own to prove “beyond a shadow of a doubt”, although enough circumstantial evidence may support “a preponderance of the evidence”. It would be hard to imagine cases where Circumstantial Evidence alone would outweigh a reasonable, well-supported alibi. The same holds true for your wife in this article.
My Bias: I am a marriage optimist
Remember, my job here on Husband Help Haven is to help men save their marriages.
This means that I am going to do my very best to be charitable to your wife.
I will start by making it very clear - until you have concrete proof, you must, as her husband, give her the benefit of the doubt.
I know it's not fair to talk about duty to the marriage when we're investigating infidelity, but bear with me. We will get to that part later.
Snooping is not required for any of these signs, and that is on purpose. When possible, I advise men not to intrude on their wife's privacy even when they suspect an affair. However, I ultimately defer to the best judgment of the individual man.
Looking For High Behavioral Deltas (aka. Big changes)
Delta is a Greek letter that is used in mathematics to represent the change in a variable, and it is also used to represent the difference between two numbers
Some of the signs we talk about will be that she's doing something new that she didn't used to do before.
Others will be signs where she's NOT doing something that she used to do before.
The thing we’re looking for most across all of them is high behavioral deltas.
What does that mean?
It means that with any of these signs, the individually observed CHANGE in her behavior is what is most alarming over the behavior itself.
EXAMPLE: For example, look down to one of the first signs: “Becoming less affectionate”... If you and your wife have never been affectionate, or you’ve had a years-long decline in your physical affection, then even if you notice a somewhat noticeable cutback of affection, it just doesn’t have the same potency as the man who is consistently affectionate with his wife, and then suddenly she no longer gives affection and rejects all of his. The higher behavioral delta in the latter example makes it more noteworthy.
In other words…
The more suddenly and intensely a given sign has developed in your wife, the louder the alarm it should raise in your mind.
Alright? Have you at least skimmed the above rules?
If so, with all the necessary groundwork laid, let’s dig deep into the most common signs of a cheating wife that I've seen in the past 10+ years of working with men to save their marriages.
Psychological Signs She’s Having An Affair
Remember, the keyword here is "changes". For example, if your wife has consistently had periods throughout your marriage where she became disinterested in affection, her becoming less affectionate in the present day doesn't carry the same weight.
Sudden or Strange-Feeling Emotional Distance
- Rapidly growing distance in the relationship
- Becoming less affectionate
- Avoiding eye contact
- Spending less time with you
- She does not confide in you, and it may even feel like she purposefully keeps you from seeing parts of her life.
- Note that if she IS confiding in you, she probably isn't having an affair.
When evaluating this group of signs that your wife may be having an affair, pay special attention to the two qualifiers that I listed:
- If your wife is suddenly unavailable for connection, but also clearly doesn't want to address that distance with you, that raises an eyebrow.
- Similarly, when you get a strange feeling about the specific way your wife is distancing herself from you, that is something to pay attention to.
The most direct sign of infidelity on this list is probably avoiding eye contact, as it could be most directly tied to a guilty conscience.
Again, the more this is a change from the norm, the more alarming it is.
If your wife is the conversational type who always makes eye contact, and then a few weeks go by and suddenly you notice that she never looks you in the eye, it begs the question: what happened? On the other hand, if she is always the timid sort, this sign might not mean much to you.
Strange Changes in Your Sex Life
Again, we're really looking out for the delta - the amount of change from where you were to where you are today.
The biggest concern would be if your sex life was thriving, then it completely went dead, or the other way around… It was dead and has suddenly kicked into high gear. Oddly enough, I've seen men who later found out their wives were having an affair experience either extreme.
Weird Vibes Around Routine Physical Intimacy
Another eyebrow-raising thing would be if your wife is oddly shying away from non-sexual physical intimacy in a guilty sort of way.
- If you go to hold your wife's hand and she pulls it away or seems unavailable in a way that just feels off
- She refuses a hug or turns her cheek to a kiss in a way that, again, just doesn’t sit right with you
That could also be a sign something's going on, similar to the previous sign.
That being said, remember, there are explanations besides infidelity for either of these behavioral changes having to do with physical touch. A suddenly dead-end sex life could be explained by hormones, life stress, depression, or any number of other things. On the flip side, hormones can play a massive role in ramping up a woman's libido too.
You may wonder how an affair could lead to increased irritability.
My working theory is that for most women, walking through life with a guilty conscience just weighs on a person and causes them to be short-tempered.
When she hates herself most, she is most likely to be hateful.
It takes hard work to lie to yourself as consistently and completely as is required for a cheater to convince themselves they’re justified in cheating. It takes “mental labor” to uphold the distance between her guilt and her ongoing choices.
This is especially true if your wife is in a stage of her affair where she feels conflicted about it. The bigger the side of her that feels really and truly guilty or doubtful about the affair, the more internal frustration and anger with herself may be projected outward to you.
But, like the others, in isolation an irritable wife doesn’t = cheating. But in combination with a few of the other signs, your suspicions just might have some weight.
One Final Disclaimer For All The Behavioral Signs of Cheating
It's important to mention that a resentful wife who has just recently asked for separation/divorce may also present many of the behavioral signs listed. If that’s you, it’s possible that the emotional distance, eye-avoidance, and all the rest, is legitimately explained by a sort of psychological switch flipping at the moment that she told you she wanted out. Extreme changes like that are normal.
Additionally, it's important to remember that even if there is something your wife is hiding from you, and even if your suspicions that she's not telling you something are indeed correct, with these signs in particular, we simply don't know if that hidden thing is an affair. There are other secrets that spouses can keep from each other besides infidelity.
Smartphone-Related Signs Your Wife Is Having An Affair
These are probably the most common signs of infidelity for one simple reason: your wife's phone is what connects her to her most private and accessible means of communication.
Whether that's through Facebook messages, WhatsApp, some other social media, or even just a straight-up phone call, the fact is that smartphone technology has made cheating easier than ever before in human history.
In fact, some of you reading this may be dealing with an emotional affair which still, as you read this, remains entirely smartphone-based.
The entire substance of your wife's extramarital relationship is texts or social media messages on her phone. This is what I would refer to as an emotional affair, so be sure to check out the Emotional Affairs 101 section if that is something you think you might be dealing with in your marriage.
What are some of the most worrying signs of a cheating wife you can find on her phone?
She Guards Her Phone With Her Life
- She no longer leaves her phone unattended… Her phone is ALWAYS on her person or in her purse; never just sitting out on the counter.
- She puts her phone down as soon as you walk in or get in view of the screen.
- She installed a screen guard to make it harder for other people to see her screen.
- She started password-protecting her phone when she didn’t before, or she changed her password.
Above are a few common examples of what this might look like in practice. Each of these things has one thing in common: suddenly, your wife really cares about keeping her phone private.
Chances are, your wife is a smart woman; she is going to try to keep these changes subtle and under the radar. She might try to make up a reason why she needed to change her password to cover her tracks. If something seems fishy, just know that these signs are on this list for a reason.
Huge Spike In How Much She’s Texting / Calling Other People
- She is always busy on her phone.
- Late-night texting.
- Constantly checking the phone.
- Mysterious contacts.
- Deleting text messages and call history.
- Huge surge of calls or texts to an unknown number (check your phone bill).
Each of these signs is a different way of displaying an unavoidable side effect of having an affair - there is a huge surge of communication between your wife and this unknown person, especially at the start of the affair relationship.
Think about how often a new couple texts or calls each other. It’s so much that it’s annoying to the people around them.
Affair relationships follow a similar pattern. Even if your wife is paranoid about secrecy, infatuation will make her do risky things. So, while it might not be true that every single wife maintains suspiciously frequent communication with her affair partner, odds are that there will be at least a few weeks in there where she is completely tunnel-visioned on her phone.
Maybe that's how you feel like she is right now.
Again, put yourself in the cheater's shoes here. There's a huge surge of communication; you want to be texting or calling this other person all the time, but you really don't want to get caught. If you were her, what steps would you take to hide your tracks?
Some wives are more self-conscious and prone to secrecy than others… Where on that spectrum does your wife fall?
The biggest red flag would be if your wife is immersed in her phone late into the night on a regular basis, with vague or mysterious descriptions of who she's communicating with. And you catch her deleting calls or texts from an unknown number.
Even being charitable, that^ gets hard to explain.
PG-Rated Physical Signs of Cheating
Remember what I said at the start of this article: the signs that I'm going to list below are not hard physical proof that your wife is cheating. These are, again, suspicious physical signs that your wife may be having an affair.
Compared to the previous two categories of signs in which we were looking at her behavior or her phone, these are going to be things that are more sensory-based: different looks, smells, feels, or even location.
She Cares How She Looks: Sudden Interest in Personal Appearance
- New workout routine
- New wardrobe
- Makeover or change in style
- She is dressing seductively
If your wife has someone new to impress, then she is naturally going to care about her physical appearance in a way that she may not have in some time. Each of the signs listed above are potential specific examples of what that might look like.
You can see that it's not as simple as just getting a new wardrobe item or two (although that is indeed a common sign). It can also extend into hygiene routines and even fitness routines… Even more so since additional gym time provides schedule cover for an affair relationship (more on that below).
Remember, she herself is going to be at least somewhat careful to not set off any alarm bells. But, most wives who cheat still can’t help putting some extra attention into their appearance, so odds are that you’ll be able to observe some noticeable shift in her beauty care.
Change in Daily or Weekly Schedule (that include more time away)
- Unexplained absences
- New hobbies or interests
- Working late more often
- She’s hanging out with her single friends more
Of everything we’ve covered so far, this is probably the sign of a cheating wife most men think of first.
After all, any type of physical affair requires two people physically meeting in the same location…
That takes time. That takes driving. And often these meet-ups happen outside of her normal routine schedule - the time has to come from somewhere.
Since we don't expect your wife to come out and tell you that she's going to be an hour late from work because she's planning to meet up with her affair partner, the simple fact of the matter is that schedule changes are a red flag.
If your wife is suddenly changing up her schedule, or has started making a habit of being out at odd hours, it's up to you to decide how plausible her explanations are.
Again, I do advocate giving your wife the benefit of the doubt where you can. It's possible that her schedule changes really do have an innocent explanation.
Like the other categories, the most worrying thing would be if you are seeing all of these signs together.
A Noticeable New Smell
- Might be good or bad, male or female
There's not much to say about this one. You either notice something or you don't; the nose doesn't lie.
This can be on a spectrum of tameness.
For example, it might be that your wife buys a new perfume for herself with a vague explanation for why she bought it and or why she's wearing it out on a given time. On the other hand, you might pick up the cologne of the other man, leaving her stumbling to explain where that smell is coming from.
- Have there been a couple of times where your wife seemed oddly hellbent on getting to the shower?
Another pretty self-explanatory one that only applies to the wives who are having a physical affair.
If your wife has a history of making risky decisions, it's all that much more likely that she will poorly plan her trysts and find herself in a situation where she is uncomfortable being unshowered in your presence.
Maybe she’s worried about how she looks, smells, whatever. The end result is, she has no choice but to make a beeline for the shower.
Social Media Red Flags
Similar to the phone-related signs that we discussed earlier, we live in a digital age. Social media platforms serve as communication platforms for many people.
Another reason social media often contains clues to her affair is that the apps themselves are easy to password protect or even hide altogether. If your wife is having an affair on Facebook or WhatsApp (or some other platform), she gets an additional layer of security over more conventional means of communication like plain texts and calls.
In this article, we will talk about signs that you can observe on her front-facing social media pages, as well as signs that she may be using the social media platform itself to communicate with her affair partner.
Signs Of Cheating You Might Find On Her Public Social Media Pages
- Connecting with new people, especially of the opposite sex
- Increased activity on social media
- One guy, in particular, is always commenting or liking her posts (don't drive yourself crazy!)
Now, I hesitate to share this one. The reason is that I've seen too many men go crazy stalking their wives' social media pages looking for proof that she's having an affair. I highly DIScourage you from being one of those guys.
However, that being said, there are two potential forms of affair exposure that you may be able to glean from your wife's front-facing social media pages.
Attention-seeking social media activity
Sometimes the way that your wife's personality changes during an affair skews her more towards publicly displaying her happiness and success. Or, maybe she has thrown herself in with a new group of people that happen to be active on social media, so she is too.
Lots Of Interaction From A New Name
The second sign of cheating derives from a brazen affair partner who is unafraid to publicly interact with your wife on social media, as if in some sort of inside joke between the two of them.
EXAMPLE: For example, I had a guy one time whose wife told him that she had met a guy after they were already separated, and had only been dating for a short time.
However, once he figured out who the guy was, he was able to look back 6+ months on her Facebook page and see comments, likes, and other interactions between his wife and this other man… Even including plans to get together for lunch, MONTHS before she had told her husband she wanted to separate! Obviously, this changed the game for this particular guy, and it was a very important discovery.
If you start noticing one strange name in particular pop up over and over again in either the comments or the likes, at the very least you know there's some form of a relationship there.
Again, I'm going to repeat this because it's so important: do not cyberstalk your wife.
It's not worth it and it will only serve to drive you crazy and drive a further wedge between the two of you.
There's a difference between validating a suspicion that you already have and trolling her social media for any possible indication that there might be someone else. One is a tactical mission, the other is desperate and clingy.
Secretive Direct Messaging Behavior:
- Deleting chat history or app history
- Password protecting her social media apps or turning them private
- You discover new social media apps or accounts on her phone, e.g. WhatsApp
We talked about the ways you might be able to pick up signs that your wife is having an affair from public social media pages like her Facebook, her Instagram, her TikTok, etc.
But that's only half of how a social media platform might be part of an affair relationship.
The other way is if your wife uses it for direct private communication with the other man. For example, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Snapchat are all very common ways that I have seen wives maintain an affair, even sometimes alongside texting or phone calls.
So, what are some simple ways that this might turn up to you, the suspicious husband? You might notice an app icon on her phone screen that you didn't notice before. "Honey, I didn't know that you used WhatsApp?"
Or, maybe you noticed that she has grouped all or some of her social media apps into a password-protected folder on her phone. Or, you discover that she has been using Invisible mode so that other people can't see when she logs on.
Work-Related Signs Your Wife Is Cheating
If you suspect that your wife may be having an affair with a coworker, my heart goes out to you. That is an extremely difficult and painful position to be in.
There are three reasons that your wife having a workplace affair is one of the worst-case scenarios for you:
- They are incredibly hard to catch. Her job might provide her with endless cover for the affair.
- It forces your wife to be sneaky both at home and at work. She will be worried about getting caught not just by you, but also by her employer or coworkers. This forces her to get really, really good at wearing a mask of deception beyond what most affairs already do.
- Workplace affairs are incredibly hard to quit. Even if your wife breaks off the affair, if she still sees the other guy every day, it’s only a matter of time. This means there’s an additional cost to ending the affair; she has to get away from him within her job or get out from her job altogether.
As bad as that sounds, I want you to know this:
It's not insurmountable, even if your suspicions are true.
I want to tell you right up front that I have seen men reconcile from situations like this. But, it's hard, and as you can see, the job component makes things a lot more complicated and tends to prolong the whole process.
I'm putting the cart before the horse. Let's see if we can figure out if there's even anything to be worried about first. There are broadly two groups of work-related affair signs that I have seen in my 10 years of coaching men through separation, which I will describe in greater detail below.
Spending More Time at Work, or Talking to Coworkers
- Longer hours become more and more frequent
- Silence during her business trips, or weird vibes after she gets back
It's hard to imagine an easier way to provide cover for an affair than if the affair is with a coworker.
Working late… After-hours phone calls or text exchanges... And if your wife is in any kind of sales or executive position, then even frequent business trips or out-of-town continued education…
All of these things are perfectly plausible for the professional woman.
And yet, any one of these things could be fabricated to keep you from knowing how she is truly spending her time.
- Those late hours could be hours with the affair partner.
- Those late-night texts could actually be the substance of an emotional affair.
- And those business trips could either be real business trips, but the other guy will be there… Or, a made-up business trip to provide cover for what is actually a very private trip.
How can you possibly know if your wife is having an affair with a coworker?
Well, even though each of those real-life work things that I listed are plausible, most of them are also plausibly occasional.
In other words, if it's always been normal for your wife to have an odd after-hours call, or a quarterly business trip or a late night, whatever, and suddenly she's doing any of those things with way more frequency… She’s going out of town every month instead of twice a year, or she's “working on a project” late into the night every weekend (both real examples of affair cover that I’ve seen).
That sort of change in frequency does in fact stand out.
New or Closer Relationship with A Specific Coworker?
- Talking about a specific coworker more often
- Increased communication with coworkers outside of work hours
- Late-night phone calls with a boss or peer
- Always texting back and forth about “work stuff” with one coworker in particular
If this is your wife, you instantly know what I'm talking about here.
You can easily think back to many times in the past few weeks or months where she has stayed up late into the night talking to a coworker about some project. It's become the norm for her to stare at her phone texting a coworker about “work stuff" seemingly 24/7. You've always thought she had an oddly close relationship with her boss, but now it seems to have gone to another level.
Again, what we're looking for here is the delta. We're looking for the amount of change.
What was the baseline that your wife was at before there might have been an affair, and has there been an increase beyond that which isn't explainable by anything other than an affair?
As we're considering that, we're also considering the alternative explanations, thereby doing our best to be fair-minded and even charitable to your wife.
Nonetheless, it is very common for a husband whose wife is having a legit workplace affair to notice a huge increase in after-hours calls or texts to one coworker in particular. If that’s you, you’re allowed to raise the red flag.
Final Sign - Your Gut Tells You Something’s Going On
Last, but far from least.
Study after study has shown that husbands and wives are very, very good at knowing when their spouse is having an affair.
QUOTE: Wives who suspect cheating are right 75-80% of the time, and men who suspect cheating are right 50-60% of the time.
You know your wife. You know what is normal for her, even when she's not doing well.
So if there have been alarm bells going off in your head over something that your wife did or said - multiple different times - no one can fault you for investigating further.
You are not paranoid just because you suspect your wife is having an affair. Suspicions do not mean you are crazy. In fact, there is a good chance that those alarm bells are coming from something legitimate… Even if it doesn’t turn out to be an affair.
What Should You Do If You Answered “No” To Most Or All Of These Signs?
If you have read through this entire article so far, and VERY FEW or NONE of the signs matched your wife, I would revisit exactly where your suspicions are coming from.
The reason for that is this: after 10 plus years helping men fight for their marriage, we have now covered all of the most common signs of a cheating wife.
While this list is not completely exhaustive (perhaps I will come back and add more to it later), I cannot think of a single guy in recent memory whose wife was having an affair, and who would not also have answered yes to a significant portion of the signs described above. Which makes sense since these signs are based primarily on my experience!
That means if you are answering “No” to all of these signs, that leaves you with one of two explanations:
- Your wife is indeed having an affair, but you aren’t seeing any signs because she is highly deceptive and manipulative, bordering on sociopathic levels.
- Your wife is not having an affair, and your suspicions are coming from something else. Either your own insecurity or perhaps some other non-affair deception from your wife.
You can probably guess which one I’m going to tell you to lean towards. #2 is the charitable option.
What If You Suspect An Affair Now More Than Ever?
Did you find yourself nodding along to just about every sign of a cheating wife that I described?
Or, was there a category or two of signs where you ticked almost every individual sign listed?
If that's you, you are allowed to want more answers. And you might have some very hard questions yourself, about your desire to continue in this marriage.
The good news is, wherever this painful and difficult journey takes you and however you decide to respond to it, you can find starting point resources entirely for free here on Husband Help Haven.
What Should You Do Now?
Chances are, your best bet is going to be one of the two options below, depending on where you’re at emotionally:
- If you are feeling like you need to get a final answer about whether your wife is cheating or not, then my suggestion would be to head over to this article that walks you through the methods I’ve seen men use to get hard-proof of cheating.
- On the other hand, if you are starting to question your marriage and you need encouragement to keep going, my suggestion would be to go through my affair resilience training, starting with the Affair Severity Quiz tool below.
Take the Affair Severity Quiz to learn the path forward for your marriage:
No matter what you decide, I want to thank you for taking the time to visit Husband Help Haven and learn more about what might be going on in your marriage.
My mission here is to help men like you save their marriage. I have seen marriages turned around from the worst imaginable situations.
I know that where you're at is brutally hard, and the best advice I can give you is, no matter what you do, do these three things:
- Focus on what you can control.
- Take it one day at a time.
- Keep going.
It will get better eventually, I promise.
Much manly love,