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Lipstick on the collar - wait that's not your shade!!!
Most of us are familiar with the tell-tale signs of cheating. We've seen enough Lifetime TV Movies to know the top 10. Remember that one or two of these alone can be innocent or could point to other issues such as depression or job burn out.
Communication is key. A sudden waning of affections could indicate other relationship problems or even health issues. Pay attention if you see combinations of the warning signs attention to your feelings and talk about your concerns with your Significant Other (SO).
Your sex life changes drastically. There's lack of emotional contact, and when there is sex, it's vanilla and dutiful. There could also be a sudden, extreme shift your regular intimacy routine, especially trying new things without asking how you feel about can be a warning sign that the new kink is being experienced with someone else.
Unexplained (or over-explained) changes in routine. Leaving for work earlier, coming home late. Working overtime but no extra cash? Always away on a specific set of days - where are you every Tuesday?
3. The New Friend
Your partner is always talking to (or about) a new coworker or friend. Workplace affairs are quite common, considering how much time we spend working together. Follow your gut and pay attention to other behaviors.
We all need privacy and time alone. Someone taking the phone into the bathroom to "read the news" doesn't necessarily indicate cheating. It's the sudden changes in behavior that give it away. A shift from openness to suddenly closing all doors, leaving the room to answer texts, and going to the car to make calls.
5. Changes in Appearance
Your partner's suddenly paying much more attention to their appearance — sudden weight loss, new clothes, and in general primping like a prom queen.
6. Failure to Communicate
Your SO is always on their phone, and when they're not, the phone is hidden, locked, or left in the car. The old school thought was that If you start receiving phone calls from unusual numbers or callers hang up without saying anything, it could indicate an affair. Today, it's most likely telemarketers. Changes in technology make it possible for cheaters to fly under the radar.
7. Cash Flow
Money problems can point to a myriad of issues, but when your partner is working more and still has a cash flow problem, they could be spending on an affair. Gifts, hotels, dinners all add up. All those nights working overtime should boost the paycheck, not deplete it!
Big lies, little lies, and cover-ups. They are avoiding eye contact, and they're always on their phone, and then there's the nervous, hand wringing, pacing when asked: "why are you late?" Pay attention to mood swings and changes in communication; "how was your day?" gets a nasty or defensive response.
9. Memory Loss
You partner remembers everything from a film you saw together; however, the problem is, he saw that movie with his mistress. One instance doesn't point to an affair, more than one and you need to pay attention.
10. Physical Evidence
You notice the smell of strange perfume or cologne. The stench of tobacco on your nonsmoker's clothing. The old "lipstick on the collar" that's not your shade or the worst physical evidence: an STD. In that case, see your doctor immediately. It is non-negotiable!
And Now... Let the Healing Begin
Once the truth comes out, and the affair is exposed, the healing can begin. Day one: no more secrets! This is the first step; it is the trauma stage of healing. You likely feel numb; you are in shock. Be kind to yourself for you are in crises and cannot think clearly. Do not make any decisions during this phase. Give yourself adequate time to stabilize. Sleep, eat, drink water, and call your therapist. Take care of yourself.
Avoid people who try and tell you what to do. Do you want to stay in your marriage or get a divorce? That is your judgment and, and no one can decide for you. It's essential to make your own decisions. Seek help from professionals, especially with communication. Gather as much perspective as you can. Seek counseling or life coaching, attend seminars. Then you can decide what's right for you.
Most importantly, do not blame yourself. The affair is not your fault, you did not cause this, and you didn't deserve to be lied to or betrayed. As you stabilize yourself and have some guidance, you can begin to do some work towards healing as an individual. It is valuable to put some distance between you and the first raw, painful emotions.
Thanks for reading, I'm so glad we're on this journey together!