Recently, I’ve discovered the programme Cheaters. I’m now in my third week of bedrest so I’ve been in much need of some guilty pleasures to occupy my time!

The very premise of Cheaters is all about people suspecting that their partners are playing away. They put the Cheaters detective agency on the case to reveal the deceit. Joel Greco, the extremely annoying host, then presents the file of information with accompanying footage to Mr or Mrs Suspicious and asks, “How does that make you feel?”, or something equally stupid. Then he asks whether they want to confront their partner. Hello! They’re on a TV show! They have no choice but to confront their partner! It’s part of the deal!

Once the confrontation takes place, things generally turn nasty with fists and insult flying. The guilty party always takes the high road by turning the tables and making out that Mr or Mrs Suspicious is in the wrong for involving the Cheaters show. Obviously this is a cop out (and gaslighting). However, it does beg the question:

Do we need a programme like Cheaters to find out if our partner is cheating?

Much as I enjoy watching the show, as I’m convinced all of the participants are fruitloops, there is clearly no need for Cheaters. It’s entertainment. But what a show like Cheaters does prove is that if you use the head on your shoulders, mixed with common sense, powers of analysis and ok, yes, in desperate times, a detective agency, you can find out all of this information without having to humiliate yourself on a worldwide-syndicated show.

So if you are a Mr or Mrs Suspicious, i.e. you suspect that your partner/spouse is cheating, here are some thoughts to bear in mind:

Act on cold hard facts, not flip-flappy paranoid suspicions.

If you confront someone based on a suspicion and they aren’t cheating, you erode the trust in the relationship. If they are cheating, two things can happen: They panic and admit it. Or… they play with your paranoia and continue to lie.

Assess your potential for paranoia.

If you’re someone that thinks your partner is cheating because they had an extra shower, were nice to you, not so nice to you, told you that they were too tired for for sex, and all because they were being genuine in each of these cases, be veeeery careful. People who’ve been cheated on before or who have low trust issues, or who are generally possessive and jealous, are not good judges of whether someone is cheating. If you’re Mr/Mrs Paranoid, hire a detective (if you can afford it) to do your dirty work or gather the facts yourself. Go easy on the dodgy wig and rain mac.

Ask yourself if you’re reacting to your own insecurities rather than any actual substantive evidence.

If you have already confronted your partner and they’ve denied any extra-curricular activity, ask yourself, What is it that I won’t let go of?

Be your own detective agency.

Only start an investigation if you have genuine reason to suspect your partner. While playing Columbo or Miss Marple may seem like fun, you are going down a path of no return. Whatever the outcome, trust of your partner is clearly in question. That said, if you do decide to go down this track, check out my tips on playing detective.

Make sure you read all of the signs.

Often people get caught up in trying to get their partner to admit it. Acknowledge the signs around you. If your partner has always behaved in this way, and you’ve now decided they’re cheating, you also need to ask what has changed for you. Ultimately, though, you are looking for unexplainable shifts in behaviour and attitude and how these impact on the relationship.

  • Is your partner acting out of the ordinary that can’t be explained away?
  • Are they suddenly working late even though you happen to know that their workload hasn’t increased?
  • Are they stuck in a rigid routine? Cheats tend to squeeze all knowing and unknowing parties into a routine to make their cheating easier. Do they get very antsy about breaking from routine and act like it’s a massive strain to change?
  • Do they turn their mobile (cell) off at home/when they are with you? Unless it’s a work mobile, this generally isn’t a good sign.
  • Do they give a lot of convoluted explanations to simple things like suddenly smelling different, why they’re late, not turning up etc?
  • Do they say that you’re a couple but only conduct the relationship after hours?
  • Do they say that they’re one place but someone else tells you that they’re elsewhere?

For other signs of cheating, check out Signs They’re Cheating.

Remember that if you are suspicious and it does prove unfounded, the experience uncovers a lack of trust.

Relationships rely on a foundation of trust. If trust issues affect how you show in your relationships, confront these. If you can’t do it on your own, do couples therapy along with individual therapy. Get to the heart of your trust issues before they further erode your relationship and self-esteem.

And remember, be prepared for the possibility of discovering what you expected and then some. Think about what you will do if you discover the worst, and also prepare yourself for the unexpected. In an episode of Cheaters, the woman suspected that her man was cheating, but when she found him in the hotel room, he was in a gimp mask and PVC pants and being beaten by a domanatrix. There is so much at play in a situation like that, it’s scary!

Good luck!

FavoriteLoadingAdd to favorites