I mentioned on my personal blog yesterday that I have recently discovered the programme Cheaters. I’m now in my third week of bedrest so it’s understandable that a woman finds some guilty pleasures to occupy her time!

The very premise of Cheaters is all about people suspecting that their partners are playing away and putting 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 then says ‘How does that make you feel?’ or something equally stupid followed with the question of whether they want to confront their partner. They are 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 and 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, but 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 show that is syndicated worldwide.

So if you are a Mr or Mrs Suspicious, here are some thoughts to bear in mind:

I believe in acting 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 have 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 or 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 you 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 Colombo or Miss Marple may seem like fun, you are going down a path of no return because whatever the outcome, your 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 are caught up in trying to get their partner to admit it and you need to acknowledge the signs around you. If your partner has always behaved in this way, and you’ve now decided that 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 phone) off at home/when they are with you? Unless it’s a work mobile, this is generally not 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 That He’s Cheating. Many of these can also be attributed to women.

Remember that if you are suspicious and it does prove unfounded, the experience does uncover a lack of trust. Relationships rely on a foundation of trust. If you have trouble trusting and have issues that affect your current relationships, confront your issues. If you can’t do it on your own, go and see a relationship counsellor and get to the heart of it before you wreck anymore relationships and further erode your 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 frightening!

Good luck!

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