If you feel overwhelmed by unreasonable jealousy in your relationship, the situation might be all in your head. Sometimes, though, it's not. If you can't tell whether what you feel is valid, follow these easy tips to determine if your boyfriend is cheating on you.
Is he suddenly much more careful about his appearance? If he starts paying attention to his style, and especially if he shops for new clothes and underwear, he may be cheating on you. More showers, more frequent haircuts and cleaner shaves are signs of trouble, too. Like a peacock, he may be strutting his stuff for someone else.
He may start taking better care of his car, cleaning out the fast-food wrappers and even having it washed more often. Does he demand that you take any of your personal items out of "his" vehicle? In the most extreme case, he may even buy a flashy car, one he thinks will give him a dashing new image.
Is he absent-minded and less affectionate? Or maybe he's more attentive but is erratic and defensive about it. Either can be a sign of a work problem, a life problem or big trouble in the relationship.
The worst sign might be if he avoids kissing and hugging but still wants sex. That could mean he's involved in an emotional affair, not simply a physical one.
Well-known signs of infidelity include lipstick on his collar, smears of makeup and the scent of strange perfume. You may notice the aroma of shower products you don't have at home. If he doesn't want you to see him naked, he may have playful scratches or bruises from being with another person. Hairs you don't recognize when you do laundry might simply be from someone who stood near him at work -- or they may be a sign of trouble.
If his work hours change or if he starts spending extra hours at a volunteer project or class, you should wonder about it. If you know someone he works with, try complaining in a good-natured way about all the overtime and see what response you get. If he suddenly needs to go out of town overnight or for a long weekend when he never did before, that's a strong clue there might be more to his story.
Telephone and computer secrets
You should wonder if he starts being more careful about leaving his phone around or if he's newly protective of his email. If you want to check his level of protectiveness, tell him your cell phone battery is low and ask to borrow his phone -- then see what he says. If he does lend it to you, run through the call log if you can. Look for hang-up calls or calls from people you don't recognize or who have never called before.
Does your boyfriend have a history of infidelity? Has he been married several times, or did he have affairs before he knew you? Are you the one he had the affair with before he left his previous wife or girlfriend? If he has run around before, even if it was with you, it may be a pattern for him.
Trust your intuition. If something tells you there's a problem, pay attention. The one exception is if you have been betrayed before. Some traumatic experiences breed lifelong distrust. If it's not you, though, and he's not planning a surprise party, something's going on.
If your feelings get the better of you, go ahead and ask him. This can be a tricky step. He might lie, telling himself it's to protect you. He might tell you it's all in your head. He might also confess. Organize your evidence in your mind -- and make sure you really want to know the truth. Sometimes, it's better to live with uncertainty.
Many women choose to ignore the signs of infidelity. Others decide to take action, perhaps by demanding that the affair stop. If you know something is going on, at least you will have the information you need to make a choice.