1. Goes emotionally Mia
If he all of a sudden doesn’t seem to give a flying eff about hearing your lazy co-worker complaints, or celebrating the (metaphorical) goals you hit in the gym—or he doesn’t offer up any of his own riveting news—it’s a fair assumption his mind is elsewhere. Especially if only last week, he would give you his undivided attention. “The first sign of an affair is when they are withdrawn from the relationship,” explains sexologistand relationship expert Dr Nikki Goldstein. “It’s a sign they’re emotionally taken up by someone else.” “Our relationship suddenly switched to focusing on him and his needs,” Srishti*, 24, says of the moment she first noticed her boyfriend change. “I wouldn’t say he necessarily lost interest, but he just started texting less and not keeping in touch as often, then being really vague about what he was doing—and making plans every weekend without even sussing out if I wanted to hang out. It wasn’t long before our mutual friends filled me in on what he was getting up to at the parties I wasn’t invited to.”
2. Gets suddenly super-tidy
Where once you’d find his stuff lying about everywhere, now you haven’t seen his iPad, phone or laptop randomly on the sofa/bed/kitchen bench/bathroom floor (gross!) for ages. That’s probably because he’s worried about what sorts of incriminating messages may pop up. Oh, and when his phone is charging? That screen is always face down. Kartika*, 30, said her ex even went one step further: “He would suddenly not bring his phone inside when he would visit—he’d leave it in the car overnight,” she says. “That’s when I thought, ‘Something’s going on!. Who would do that?’” Nine times out of 10, he hasn’t read an article with the title 10 Ways to Be Tidier at Your Girlfriend’s House. Odds are, he’s actually hiding something. And if you’ve still noticed, he’s not doing the best job. Seriously, we clock these things. Oh, and so long, pocket-dump. You know, that really annoying thing men do when they empty their pockets on the nearest surface after a big night out? No more. Just in case you see random food bills of his other date nights!
3. Changes his sex repertoire
If your partner is getting it somewhere else, they might not want it from home, and your sex life can drop off a cliff. Alternatively (and very interestingly), if they want more, it could be a sign their sex drive is ramped up and constantly ‘on’.
“Practically overnight, my ex went from never wanting sex, to being unable to wipe the smile off his face and being up for it constantly. Literally!,” says Shubra*, 29. “At first I just thought, ‘Great, our relationship is getting a second wind’. But it coincided with a new co-worker called Mitali* joining his company, who he couldn’t stop talking about. You would think he’d have had a bit more sense and hide his obvious infatuation from me, but no! It became blatantly obvious that she was the reason for his newfound joy in life.” So perhaps you’re not crazy to feel kind of odd about that kinky move he says he ‘loves’ that you’ve never done together before. Dr Goldstein warns that if anything major changes in a relationship, you should question what motivated it.
4 Goes above and beyond
Being showered with gifts for no good reason for the first time in a relationship? If he’s got a case of the guilts, your partner is most likely trying to compensate for his sh*tty behaviour. “My ex came home late one night which was no biggie,” says Maya*, 28. “But what was unusual was the fact that he showered. He never did that and it didn’t even smell like our shower gel. It’s strange what you notice. I asked him about it, but he just shrugged it off. The very next day, he came home with a new Chanel Boy bag. I knew it was a guilt present. We split up, but I kept the bag!” “Cheaters can get guilty, going above and beyond,” says Dr Goldstein. “It’s terrible, but you don’t want to question if someone is doing something nice for a bad reason.” Alright, perhaps it was your birthday. Maybe he got a raise. Some guys do things ‘just ’coz’, but if yours doesn’t usually, then we smell something fishy.
5. Turns into a bit of a jerk
If he’s started picking fights and accusing you of being a shady lady yourself, it looks like your partner’s paranoia has them thinking, ‘If I’m doing it, they must be doing it, too’. “When I first started dating my ex, he was never jealous,” Priyanka*, 27, says. “I could go out with my girlfriends to a club and he’d always give me my space. But a few months into our relationship, he started to question my every move. I couldn’t go to the grocery store without him sending me texts asking where I was, who I was with, what time I’d be home. A few weeks later I got a call from a friend telling me she’d just spotted him kissing another girl, while I was busy at work. Now, looking back, the signs were there. He became so interested in my whereabouts so that he knew exactly when he could see her and not get caught.” As was the case with Kartika, it could also be used as a means to create space so they can go about cheating. “He’d pick a fight and say, ‘I am going to get cigarettes’ and be gone for an hour and a half,” she says. “I checked his phone afterwards and he was going for a walk so he could call (the girl he was seeing).”
6. Gives into his vices
It’s a no-brainer, really—men who drink heavily or use drugs tend to have no limits and believe that they can do what they want sans consequences. “We’d been dating for two years, moved in together, and he suddenly decided to go back to college,” Karishma*, 29, says, of her cheating beau. “But he said he needed a month to ‘chill out’. And by that he meant get drunk and stoned every night.” It wasn’t until she looked through his phone for something benign, that she realised her partner was doing more than just getting off his head. “His no-limits lifestyle had spilled over into his sex life in a big way; on his phone were all these d*ck pics. He’d never sent me one. I was suspicious. Not long after, I was looking for batteries in his drawer and found an anal douche. I freaked out, so when he went for a run and I had time to go through his phone, I discovered he was having sex with people in our house while I was away. I lost my sh*t and ended our relationship.”