Among the many unintended side effects of our technologically super-connected world is a rise in adultery rates. “Pocket-level” online access (via smartphones and tablets) has made it easier than ever before to arrange for and carry out affairs in a seemingly covert manner.
But while these devices may convey a sense of privacy from a person’s direct surroundings, they also create and carry a complete record of digital interactions, and thus a record of the affair.
Many cheaters will engage in several prototypical behaviors in order to avoid having their partner discover that record. Knowing these patterns can assist you a great deal in uncovering the truth. Here are 5 signs of adultery in the digital age.
Confirmed dishonesty in communication
Often, this is the stage where you may truly first became suspicious of your partner. Having long taken your partner’s word about where they go and who they go there with, an inconsistency has cropped up, one you’re unable to reconcile.
Sometimes this can happen through things like tagged pictures on social media, whether on your partner’s direct account or on the account of a friend they were supposed to be with.
Other times, the discovery happens through unintentional access to the offending partner’s online accounts through avenues such as open browser tabs.
You’ll likely question your partner about the inconsistency or odd behavior, only to be reassured you’re “being crazy,” “paranoid,” or even “silly.”
Often this conversation has put your partner “on guard” beneath the surface, and thus will serve as a lead-in to one of our next signs of adultery.
Likewise, you will likely be on guard, which is why we recommend you look out for the next signs accordingly.
Your partner takes a sudden interest in digital security
You might have seen this coming, once you think about it. After all, there’s that digital record, and things your partner doesn’t want you seeing inside his or her devices. Often the next sign of adultery in the digital age is that your partner will suddenly secure all their devices.
Phones suddenly have passcodes, as do laptops. Your partner may get upset or look startled if they find you trying to use one of their devices for totally innocent reasons.
On shared devices, you may find cleared browsing histories, or that they have their own password-protected profile all of a sudden.
These are all progressive warning signs of an affair, and should be put into context with changes in patterns as you look for more signs.
Your partner’s “small” screen time (or general screen time) increases
In spite of their sudden interest in digital security (or more likely BECAUSE of it), your partner suddenly spends much more time texting on their phone, or utilizing their laptop (often when you cannot see the screen), etc.
Keep in mind that a rise in screen time alone may not be an indication of anything suspicious. However, combined with our first two, not to mention, our last two signs, we recommend taking it seriously.
This is particularly true if a feeling of distance between you and your partner has developed around the same time as the signs of adultery begin to crop up.
Changes in communication, habits, and behavior
Most people already assume that affairs will breed emotional distance from their partners. But this is far from the only type of communication cheating affects.
Your partner may become unresponsive via text or phone for extended periods of time. They may be unwilling to share their location with you, or they may establish an irregular pattern of lateness that they are either uncommunicative about, or hyper-communicative about.
If either is out of their norm, it should be noted.
A sudden focus on YOUR digital habits
One of the biggest signs of adultery in the digital age is if your partner, in context with any of these other signs, becomes extremely suspicious of YOUR digital activity. Maybe they demand the code to your phone, or constantly ask who you’re texting.
They could even outright accuse you of cheating, flirting, etc. This is because cheaters not only carry heavy guilt about their behavior, but also spend a lot of time trying to normalize and rationalize it.
Which means they begin to assume if they’re doing it, you must be, too. And worse, they tend to project the negative feelings of self-loathing from bad behavior onto you, because you’re the person they’re wronging. This process of rationalization helps them create circumstances where the cheating is your fault, in their mind.
They need a reason to be upset with you in order to justify their infidelity, and often this comes in the self-convinced narrative that you must be cheating, too.
Once they begin to view you in this light, innocent behaviors become suspicious. I often counsel clients that the moment your spouse begins to accuse you of cheating is the moment you can safely assume that they either already are, or soon will be cheating on you.
I’ve identified the signs of adultery, what now?
First of all, don’t panic. And don’t have a big, blown-out confrontation with your spouse. It will only make them harder to pin down if they realize you’re suspicious, and could lead to them gaslighting you.
Instead, we recommend hiring a professional private investigator to track your spouse’s movements and document any nefarious activities via time-stamped video.
If you live in the Denver or greater Colorado area, we can help. Contact us to get started on a free consultation. We’ll be much more than a contractor who provides you with the answers you’re desperately seeking. We’ll be a rock and shoulder for you to lean on in these difficult times.