In an ideal relationship, neither partner would cheat, but it still happens. Maybe you have a sense of uneasiness in your relationship and feel that something could be off. You might have seen certain changes or new behaviors in your significant other that you can’t seem to explain away. Your instincts may also convince you that there is something going on that needs to be confronted. So you may be wondering, naturally, how to know if your girlfriend is cheating. Throughout this article, we will investigate a few signs that your girlfriend could be cheating and how to proceed if you receive confirmation that your suspicions are true, as well as how to remain as levelheaded and unbiased as possible to ensure that you don’t jump to conclusions.
How To Tell If Your Girlfriend Is Cheating
According to various mental health professionals, there are numerous signs that could indicate that you may be dealing with a cheating partner. They advise that the most important thing to look out for is sudden changes in your significant other. If she is suddenly displaying suspicious behavior that is out of the ordinary, it could be cause for concern.
For example, one sign she’s cheating may be that your girlfriend is suddenly acting weird about you being near her phone, and it seems to be a significant shift. Maybe she is receiving more text messages than usual or has suddenly put more barriers in place to lock her phone. Perhaps she always sets her phone with the screen facing down, seemingly anxious about what messages may appear. Each of these behaviors, especially if they seem to be appearing suddenly, could indicate that your girlfriend has something to hide.
People who are cheating on their partners may spend more time out of the house and seem to drop out of contact for significant periods of time. They may spend time making sure they look their best before they go out for these outings, in some cases making sure to wear new clothes. Maybe your girlfriend states that she’s working, running errands, or out with her own friends, but does not answer your calls or texts and seems to go off the map. This behavior might be suspicious, especially if it seems to be happening regularly.
Another sign that your girlfriend might be cheating is if she appears to be acting overly affectionate and starts paying attention to you more frequently. This could look like saying "I love you" often or showering you with gifts out of the blue. This does not necessarily mean she’s cheating, but if it seems abnormal or unlike her, it could be something to pay attention to. Some people who are cheating on their partners try to compensate for the guilt they feel. They may go overboard with kind gestures in order to keep their partner from suspecting what is going on or to help themselves feel better about pursuing a new partner.
In other cases, a partner may be more distant, have a change in their body language, or show less interest in sex. If there is a sudden shift in your sex life, that could be one indication that your girlfriend is getting these needs met outside of the relationship or that she’s hiding something. However, there are many other reasons that a couple’s sex life could shift over time, including stressors, mental or physical health challenges, etc.
Although these could be signs your girlfriend may be cheating, it is important not to jump to conclusions if you see some of this behavior happening. There could be other explanations for the way she is acting. If you do notice a shift in your relationship that is concerning, it is important to discuss these concerns directly with your girlfriend instead of letting your mind fill in the blanks.
What Do You Do If You Suspect She May Be Cheating?
If you suspect that your girlfriend might be cheating on you, don’t jump into a conversation with her right away. Before bringing your concerns to your partner, it is important that you take the time to identify how you are feeling. Understand how their behavior is making you feel so you can go into the conversation ready to clearly communicate your emotions.
The next step would be to openly discuss your concerns with your girlfriend. Try to keep a calm, even tone as she may be less likely to be receptive to a conversation in which you are coming across as angry or accusatory. Instead of making statements such as "Who have you been going on dinner dates with?", “Why are you spending all this time with that new friend?”, or "Why don’t you ever want to have sex anymore?" focus on conveying how you feel with ‘I’ statements. This may sound like “I feel scared or uneasy when…”
While you are having this discussion, pay attention to how your girlfriend is responding, both verbally and non-verbally. Is she avoiding eye contact while she’s talking? Is she quick to become defensive, denying that she is doing anything wrong and responding with anger? Or is she receptive and open to hearing your concerns? How your girlfriend reacts to your concerns may provide more clarity into whether your suspicions may be true, but keep in mind that everyone responds to things differently.
Perhaps this conversation can allow you to gain insight into something that has been going on with your girlfriend that has nothing to do with her having another sexual relationship. For example, perhaps she has been very stressed at work or about her family but hasn’t yet wanted to talk about it. Or her best friend is going through a crisis that she wasn’t comfortable sharing with you, and she was spending extra time with them to help out. This could provide clarity into her seemingly strange behavior.
There’s also a chance she admits that you are right and says she has gone outside of the relationship. While it is typically not helpful to find out every detail of the encounter(s), you might ask your girlfriend if she knows what led her to cheat or whether there was any outside influence. If she expresses remorse and states that she wants to work through this and continue the relationship, it can be helpful to immediately set boundaries. This may look like spending some time apart while you take the time and space to process your emotions around what you have discovered.
Processing Betrayal In A Relationship
Perhaps your fears have been confirmed and you have discovered that your girlfriend has been unfaithful. There may be many thoughts racing through your head, from "Why would she do this? How could this have happened?" to "Should we stop talking or should I give her another chance?" It can be challenging to decide how to move forward, whether it means working to repair the relationship or parting ways.
First, it can be beneficial to reflect on the relationship. Maybe she provided some indication of why she felt the need to cheat. If not, you might reflect on the relational dynamic. There are many potential reasons why an individual might cheat on their partner, ranging from anger about unmet needs to feelings of "falling out of love." Some individuals may experience fears around commitment which can lead them to seek a “way out” of the relationship.
Others may have difficulties with low self-esteem and find the affirmation from a new or particular person intoxicating.
You may not have all the answers as to why your girlfriend did what they did. However, it can be helpful to recognize that cheating is a complex issue, and there are many factors that can contribute to it. These factors may or may not have anything to do with you or the health of the relationship. It is important to remind yourself that you are not to blame for your partner’s actions. Even if there was a disconnect within the relationship, cheating is ultimately the decision of the other person.
You may be asking yourself - is this something that can be fixed or is it bound to happen again? Can a relationship be rebuilt after betrayal? Let’s dive into some of these questions.
Is It Possible To Rebuild Trust?
It is possible to repair the damage caused after a betrayal and move forward in a relationship, however, it does take time and effort. It requires both individuals to be fully committed to putting in the work required to rebuild trust again.
If you decide to move forward with your girlfriend, are the same problems bound to keep repeating themselves? Despite what some relationship “experts” may say, professional relationship therapists say that phrases like, "once a cheater, always a cheater" dismisses an individual’s ability to grow and change. If your girlfriend takes full responsibility for her actions and is determined to examine the underlying issues, this is a positive sign that she is committed to making sure it does not occur again. Being willing to put in the work to address the root of her behavior and any issues in your relationship is crucial.
On the other hand, experts agree that if a partner is blaming you or other external factors for their actions, this is one indication that the same patterns may repeat themselves. If your girlfriend shows little insight into why she cheated, it may not bode well for the future. It can also be a negative sign if she seems to lack remorse or dismisses your emotions, stating that what happened was due to something you did or didn’t do.
It is important to acknowledge that there is no guarantee that you will not get hurt again. While this reality can be difficult to accept, it is essential to remember that every relationship can involve risking the possibility of being hurt. We cannot guarantee how another person will feel or how they will treat us; rather, we can only decide whether the relationship is worth showing up for even though the future is uncertain.
Take time to reflect on the relationship and what you would like for the future. If you find that your girlfriend seems to be committed to gaining an understanding of her behaviors and finding a way to move forward, that leaves you to decide what is right for you. You might take the time to ask yourself: do you feel like you will ever be able to trust her again? Do you still want to be in this relationship after what has happened? Do you think these problems are fixable and are you willing to put in the work to try to resolve them?
There is no right answer to these questions. Some people may decide that cheating is not something they could ever tolerate, while others are open to working through it if their partner is remorseful and committed to remaining in the relationship. Try to remind yourself that at the end of the day, this is your decision. While you may receive input from others, it is important to proceed in a way that feels right for you.
Coping After Betrayal
It can be extremely difficult to come to terms with betrayal in a relationship, as it can bring about some painful emotions. You may find that you are trying to avoid your feelings or block out what happened. Ultimately, allowing yourself to acknowledge what has happened and feeling your emotions fully is key to healing. Instead of pushing your feelings down, name what you are experiencing – maybe it’s grief, humiliation, or shame. You might also consider writing in a journal, as expressive writing can be beneficial for reducing the intensity of difficult emotions.
It is also important to prioritize self-care during this time. Try to pay attention to what your body needs; do your best to eat consistent meals even if you don’t feel hungry and remain hydrated. Carve out plenty of space to engage in calming activities, like taking a relaxing bubble bath, listening to music, reading, or watching your favorite TV shows.
As previously mentioned, it is perfectly okay to set boundaries with your girlfriend during this time. You may find that you need some space without seeing or talking to her to work through your emotions. Don’t be afraid to set healthy boundaries and ask clearly for what you need.
Lean into your support system during this time. Clearly express how others can help you, whether accompanying you on a fun activity for distraction, listening without giving feedback, or offering alternate perspectives. It may also be beneficial to seek out the support of a licensed mental health professional, whether that be through a private practice or online. They can provide a safe space for you to process the difficult emotions you are experiencing and find ways to cope and move forward.
Online Counseling With BetterHelp
Whether you decide to work on your relationship or part ways, connecting with a mental health professional can help you navigate any difficulties you are facing. If you have decided to remain in the relationship, you and your girlfriend might consider couples counseling. Through the BetterHelp online counseling platform, you can work with a therapist who can help you to find ways to rebuild trust and communicate in healthy ways about concerns within the relationship.
If you have decided to part ways, you might also decide to seek out therapy in order to process difficult emotions around the betrayal you experienced. BetterHelp is an affordable and convenient option for online therapy that allows you to connect with a licensed therapist from the privacy of your own home. You can participate in sessions over the phone, through video chats, or by using live messaging. These different options allow you to choose the method of communication that feels most comfortable for you.
The Effectiveness Of Online Counseling
Whether you believe you are dealing with a cheating boyfriend or girlfriend, or have any other problems you’d like to discuss, online therapy can be a valuable resource for both individuals and couples. One study found that online cognitive behavioral therapy improved young adult women’s self-esteem. Additionally, it increased their ability to forgive themselves and their partners after living through a harmful relationship.
Feeling as if your girlfriend might be cheating on you can be disheartening. While you should be able to trust your gut, sometimes things aren’t as they seem. It’s important to gather information and ask questions before jumping to conclusions. The stability and trust built within your relationship depend on it. If you’re having a difficult time processing potential or actual infidelity, a licensed online therapist can help you move forward.
Frequently Asked Questions
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