The Scarlet Letter: How To Tell If Your Significant Other Is Cheating

Written by on June 11, 2012 in Relationships - No comments | Print this page


There is no surefire way to tell if your significant other is cheating unless you actually walked in on his affair.  Somehow there is a nagging feeling deep down inside suggesting that something is not right.  If only he wore the Scarlet Letter like the adulterous character in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter.  The character wore the letter “A” for adultery.

Even though that won’t ever happen with your significant other, you can still look for the A in your partner.  “That’s A in Appearance, Actions, and Attitude” (Ricci 2009).  Read on for more details.

  • A for Appearance

She takes more interest in her appearance.  She used to complain that sexy lingerie didn’t feel comfortable and now all of a sudden, she has a whole new set from Victoria’s Secret.  Or your husband starts wearing new cologne and spends more time in front of the mirror grooming himself than you do.

  • A for Actions

She is quick to grab her phone as soon as there is an incoming text.  If you have an iPhone, those texts automatically just pop up on your screen even if the phone is locked.   She also quickly logs out of her e-mail or switches to a different screen when you walk into the room.   If you two don’t live together, your nightly talks with her have went from 30 minutes to 5-10 minutes.

  • A for Attitude

You boyfriend/husband seems more distant.  He shifts priorities away from you and the implied Saturday dates have been replaced by th inordinate time he supposedly has to spend in the office.  He finds every flaw to pick on and you two seem to argue about the littlest things.  In his mind, he is comparing his lover with you.  She gives him the attention you haven’t been giving him since you have been working on your career or are your many business trips.  He seems to have more fun with her and it has been a drag with you.

Some other possible signs:

  • She receives calls in the middle of the night.  The fact that the other person is comfortable enough to place a non-emergency call in the middle of the night is a red flag.  Even if it is the crazy ex that can’t let go, it is her duty to tell the person to be respectful and not call so late.  For every 10 calls she ignores, she answers one of them.  That person is going to keep calling for that 1% chance that she will pick up.  It is her job to make you feel comfortable and not look so suspicious if she really isn’t cheating.
  • You boyfriend has a mysterious friend.  You have never heard of her before and for some reason he mentions her from time to time.  As for the beauty of social media, you have noticed some suspicious virtual banter exchanged on his Facebook profile.  Thank you, social media.

“If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, looks like a duck, then it must be a duck.”  The signs are all there.    They will be different from one relationship to another, but if your gut feeling is telling you that something is wrong, there might just be.  As I always like to say, when in doubt, there is no doubt.

However, before you accuse him of infidelity, take a step back and evaluate if you are just being insecure and overly jealous.  Has he ever given you a reason to be jealous in the past?  Even if you have been cheated on many times in the past, don’t let your past boyfriends/girlfriends get in the way of your present relationship.


About the Author

M. Yu

M. Yu is a single, working professional who lives in New York City. She has eclectic interests, ranging from cancer research (her day job) to traveling to writing for the Relationship Category on QLR. She has an active dating life and views every life experience as a learning lesson. View all posts about healthy relationships.