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11 Tactics Cheaters Use To Hide Their Infidelity—From A Psychologist

Mark Travers

Few things are worse than being cheated on, but the fear that your partner might be unfaithful can be just as tough. That nagging uncertainty can keep you up at night and make you second-guess everything—all while slowly chipping away at the trust in your relationship.

Thankfully, psychological research can help us cut this awful process short. An April 2022 study from Personality and Individual Differences explored the common strategies cheaters use to hide their infidelity. According to the author, cheaters have been found to employ over 53 different strategies to hide their infidelity—and up to 70% of them are willing to use seven or more at the same time. However, there are 11 strategies that are most commonly relied on.

These are the most common, subtle strategies that people use to hide their affairs—each of which can be spotted by paying close attention.

1. They’ll Show You More Interest Than Usual

To cover up their infidelity, cheating partners might go out of their way to make you feel like you’re the center of their world. They do this by being overly affectionate, performing more acts of kindness, giving unexpected gifts or initiating sex more frequently than usual for your relationship. This sudden increase in attention is often a tactic to divert suspicion and reassure you of their devotion.

2. They’ll Leave No Digital Trace Of Their Affair

Cheaters often go to great lengths to remove any digital evidence of their affairs. They delete incriminating messages, emails and call logs to ensure nothing suspicious remains on their devices. When using social media or messaging apps around you, they’ll be extra cautious—avoiding opening certain apps or turning their screens away from you. They might also set their phones to silent or do not disturb mode to prevent notifications from their affair partner when you’re nearby. This vigilance in managing their digital footprint helps them keep their infidelity hidden and maintain the illusion of innocence.

3. They’ll Have A Burner Phone Or Email Account

To keep their online infidelity hidden, many cheaters go as far as purchasing a second phone dedicated to contacting their affair partner. This burner phone allows them to communicate freely without leaving a trace on their primary device. In addition, they may create secondary email accounts to keep any evidence of their unfaithfulness separate from their regular accounts. These hidden communication channels help them manage their double life and reduce the risk of getting caught.

4. They’ll Ensure Everything Is Password Protected

Cheaters often rely heavily on password protection to keep their activities hidden. They might change passwords that were previously shared—or add new ones to devices that were previously unprotected. Additionally, they may secure individual apps and folders with their own passwords to ensure they can’t be accessed without permission. When not using their devices, they make sure they are locked and kept out of sight. This extra layer of security helps them maintain their secrecy and prevent you from stumbling upon any evidence of their infidelity.

5. They’ll Be Calculatedly Discreet

Cheaters take great care to be discreet when meeting with their affair partner. They choose isolated and remote locations where they are unlikely to be recognized—ensuring these places are ones you would never visit. To avoid being spotted, they meticulously plan these encounters, and often use valid excuses for their absence—such as a work meeting, a hangout with friends or a trip to the gym. This calculated discretion helps them maintain their cover stories, and ensures that nothing seems out of the ordinary.

6. They’ll Suddenly Have A New “Friend” Or “Colleague”

Cheaters often disguise their affair partner as a new friend or colleague. If their attempts at discretion fail—and you notice them spending time with someone new—they’ll downplay your concerns by insisting that the person is just a friend or a new coworker. This explanation is meant to reassure you and deflect any suspicion about the true nature of their relationship. By framing their affair partner as someone innocuous, they try to keep their infidelity hidden while also maintaining your trust.

7. They’ll Keep Their Affairs Short And Sweet

Cheaters are very careful to keep their interactions with their affair partner limited and brief. They avoid meeting or contacting them too frequently to minimize the chances of arousing suspicion. Additionally, they often ensure that the affair doesn’t last too long, aiming to reduce the risk of getting caught by reducing them to flings. By keeping their involvement with their affair partner short and discreet, they attempt to maintain their facade of fidelity in their primary relationship.

8. They’ll Still Seem Invested In Your Relationship

Cheaters are meticulous about maintaining a facade of normalcy. They make a concerted effort to avoid any noticeable changes in their behavior towards you. They’ll speak to you in the same familiar manner and continue to give you attention as they always have. This consistent behavior helps them deflect suspicion and maintain the appearance of being fully invested in your relationship.

9. They’ll Use Their Friends As An Alibi

Friends are often the most common scapegoats for cheaters, and use them as convenient alibis to cover their tracks. If their absences raise questions, they attribute them to visiting a friend or a close colleague. However, they keep their affair a closely guarded secret from these very friends to prevent any leaks that could expose their deception.

10. They’ll Seem Calm And Collected

Cheaters go to great lengths to appear calm and collected to avoid raising suspicion. They meticulously plan their interactions with their affair partner—ensuring they coincide with times when they’re unlikely to be at home or when they can easily justify their absence with a new hobby or activity. For instance, they might take up fishing, golfing or running to provide a plausible reason for their recent absences. They also minimize asking you about your day in the hope that you won’t probe too deeply into their activities.

11. They’ll Do Their Best To Act Normally

Maintaining a sense of normalcy is crucial for cheaters to evade suspicion. They avoid spending excessive money on their affairs to prevent any unusual transactions in their bank statements. They refrain from making noticeable changes to their appearance or routines, and keep up with their daily habits as if nothing has changed. By keeping up these routines and behaviors, they aim to create the illusion that everything is as it was before the affair began.

Curious about your own propensity to cheat? Take the Propensity Towards Infidelity Scale to get a science-backed answer.

Forbes

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