Top Five Signs Your Valentine Is Cheating On You
Relationships are tough. Without trust they get a whole lot tougher. The problem is that jealousy clouds rationality, increasing our paranoia that the other is being disloyal. Healthy couples intuitively find that balance between trust and jealously, paradoxically wanting each other to be free and to be possessed at the same time. As Valentines day approaches we have decided to make a list of signs that your significant other is cheating on you, hopefully helping you see through your jealousy by grounding you in psychological principles.
1. You don’t touch each other anymore
Humans need touch and we can’t be happy or healthy without it. From the moment we are born, physical touch is the vector that lets us feel connected to those around us, helping to lower the existential anxiety that is our birthright as sentient beings forced to deal with the isolation of being separate organisms. Touch is the way we bridge the chasm of separateness. Frequency of touch goes down for most couples after the passionate honeymoon period of the relationship has passed, but if it has become almost nonexistent warning bells should be sounding.
2. Your partner frequently accuses you of cheating although there is little or no evidence for it
This one falls squarely in the psychoanalytic tradition and is called projection. We take some aspect of ourselves that we can’t face and project it onto someone else in order to find psychic relief. Accusing you of cheating is an unconscious way to lower some of the burden of guilt, placing you on the hot seat for awhile instead. If you are the one being forced to explain your actions you aren’t really in a frame of mind to consider what your partner is up to.
3. Marked change in emotional engagement
You want to consider the baseline of your partner’s emotional engagement towards life and people, because we all have different natural temperaments. Depending on how long an affair has been going on there are two ways emotions directed toward you tend to go. One is turning up the emotional thermostat, picking fights about trivialities and finding fault everywhere. This is probably an unconscious strategy to make the relationship go south, either forcing your hand to decide to break up or just making the relationship seem like more trouble than it’s worth so that cheating feels justified. The other route is to turn down the emotional thermostat, basically checking out. This is due to no longer feeling connected to you because these feelings are now centered around someone else.
4. Sex life is nonexistent
Couples tend to have lulls in their sex lives so you don’t want to make the mistake of considering this sign, or any other sign for that matter, in a vacuum but instead as one data point. But humans are sexual beings and if your advances are being met with excuses or outright rejection one explanation for why is that your partner’s sexual needs are being met somewhere else. One strange outcome of an affair is that your partner might come to secretly feel guilty about cheating on this other person with you.
5. Lots of excuses for spending free time away from you
This one is pretty obvious, but we have a remarkable capacity to ignore the obvious when we want to, rationalizing facts to protect our psyches and keep ourselves from facing the uncomfortable truth. The biggest impediment to sustained cheating is time spent with you. If you have been noticing a consistent pattern where your partner is unavailable it’s worth asking why. We all need time away from our relationships and finding fulfillment in other channels is actually quite healthy, but what we are talking about here is a long-term pattern where you frequently find yourself alone and don’t really know where your partner is.