WITH everyone gushing about how 'perfect' their partner is, any worries about your own relationship could be amplified by Valentine's Day.
Worryingly, cheating dating site Ashley Madison says February is one of its strongest sign-up months – as the romantic day fails to live up to people's expectations.
So do you have an inkling your partner is cheating on you this Valentine's Day?
Fabulous spoke to psychotherapist and cheating expert Lucy Beresford, Ashley Madison's resident specialist, to identify the tell-tale signs someone is having an affair.
Sound familiar? It may be time to cancel that V-Day present delivery…
1. Phoney behaviour
No-one really needs two phones anymore. So if your partner absolutely insists on having more than one – unless they work for a company that doesn’t allow personal material on a work phone – then you’re right to be suspicious.
Angling their phone screen away from you when a message comes in, taking their phone with them into the bathroom or lowering their voice when they are on a call are also red flags.
2. Fit the bill
Taking a healthy interest in exercise shows you want to stay fit for your partner and take the physical side of your relationship seriously.
But if you've noticed your partner has become obsessed with their appearance or fitness levels, without a boost in affection or attention to you, it could be that their focus is on someone new.
Either they are trying to impress someone, in the hopes of starting an affair, or something is already happening.
3. Computer says no
Most of us browse happily on our computers without worrying about the traces we leave behind.
Because let's be honest, MI5 aren't bothered about your Pinterest history, funny cat videos or Google searches for your next holiday.
But for a cheat, their browsing history is a shop window to all their plans and secrets.
If they have any sense, they'll have either set their browsing history to 'private' or 'clear' their history while making their plans to stray.
So if they've been using their computer a lot, but their browsing history shows as empty, you need to be concerned.
Have you noticed a change in sexual frequency? This can go one of two ways.
Either your cheating partner is now so full of confidence and the joys of Spring they can’t keep their hands off you.
Or they are comparing you to their lover, so they withdraw from you in the bedroom.
Either way, the key thing to watch out for is any changes to routine.
Unfortunately, romantic ruts are common, so if you start to notice big changes in the bedroom, this could be a sign there are now three of you in the relationship.
5. Name dropper
You know what it’s like – when you have someone new in your life, you want to talk about that person all the time.
In a fresh relationship, people use every opportunity to squeeze that person, their thoughts and ideas into conversations.
So watch out if a new name keeps cropping up, as it means this person has wriggled their way into your partner’s life and is often on their mind.
It could be someone your partner knows through work, a friend they've developed feelings for or someone they met at the gym (although more likely the supermarket or coffee runs during lockdown!)
6. Makes scents
Everyone has a smell, meaning your nose may be able to detect your partner's affair before your brain can make sense of it.
It could because the other woman's scent is lingering on their skin, but a whiff of soap is another tell-tale sign.
After a day outside the house, our clothes and bodies acquire our familiar musky smell, with perhaps an overtone of coffee or a general pong of the commute (if your partner can't work from home at the moment).
But after sex with a lover, many attempt to wash off their smell, so you're right to be suspicious if they come home smelling like shower gel, rather than the daily sweat.
7. On the defensive
If you eventually decide to confront your partner, you can expect a true cheat to become very defensive.
And as all the military people say, the best form of defence is attack.
Your partner may accuse you of barking up the wrong tree, or try to make you feel like you don’t know your own mind.
They could accuse you of jealousy or of making stuff up. They might even accuse you of being the one having the affair.
This defensive behaviour is understandable – no-one likes to be caught out – but it also needs to be challenged.
If you hear your partner getting defensive, you know you’re probably onto something.
8. The micro-moves
Micro-cheating is where people are unfaithful in smaller, harder to define ways.
There’s nothing wrong with following another woman on Instagram or having them as a friend on Facebook.
But if you notice your partner is liking every single photo or excessively private messaging this person, then you need to have a conversation about over-stepping the boundaries.
You should really come to an agreement about what's acceptable and what's considered micro-cheating.
If the two of you disagree on this, it could spell problems in the future.
AshleyMadison.com is the leading dating community for married people looking for a discreet affair.
Every month the site sees over 11,000 new affairs started in the UK alone.
Lucy is a broadcaster, presenter, writer and psychotherapist. You can buy Lucy's books here and find out more on her website www.lucyberesford.co.uk.
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