If you think infidelity has invaded your marriage, then chances are something -- not necessarily sexual infidelity -- is encroaching on your turf, and it is making you feel uncomfortable.
Let’s take a look at some of the more obvious signs of infidelity. Chances are you are noticing changes in your spouse’s behavior. She or he is unreachable at times when they used to be reachable. There are times when your spouse is absent, and you never really know for sure where s/he is. A new name or a presence keeps popping up. Time spent on the computer has increased, and there is a secretive feeling to it. Your spouse quickly minimizes the screen as you approach, or you intercept suspicious messages.
When you suspect your spouse of infidelity, you have experiences that feel strange at first and then gnaw in the pit of your stomach. Some typical signs are:
- Your spouse has developed new interests that are not odd, in general, but strike you as odd because they are new to your spouse, such as tracking an out-of-town sports team or noticing cultural events in a different city.
- If you share a car, you may find signs of another’s presence: a re-positioned seat, a new cd, or strange odds and ends in the console.
- You may notice that your spouse is keeping the cell phone with them all the time, taking calls in private, or being vague.
- You may notice your spouse taking a renewed interest in his/her appearance.
- There is a change in your sex life.
- You may be picking up on new fragrances or perplexing bills or notes.
- You may notice your spouse wearing accessories or clothing that they clearly value, but did not come from you.
Even though you can’t make out the whole problem, your intuition is telling you something isn’t adding up quite right. You are finding signs that something is wrong and different. Your spouse’s answers momentarily mollify your concerns, but later heighten them when you realize the answer is sketchy and incomplete.
On a gut level, you feel like something is amiss.
If you are someone is suspicious by nature, slow yourself down. It is reasonable to run your thoughts by a therapist or close friend to gain perspective. It is also reasonable to talk to your spouse to gain clarification and understanding.
It is not unusual to be of conflicted mind about what you are seeing. On some level, if your spouse is having an affair, it is reasonable to not want to know. Your mind can come up with ways to shield you from consciously knowing the truth even when you already, subconsciously, know it.
At the same time, if an affair is present, your spouse has an interest in keeping you in the dark. That means you may well be living in land that feels surreal. Someone you love is telling you that what you are seeing isn’t there.
Your challenge is to honor yourself by accepting what you know to be true, based on your experiences. At first it may be episodes that you’re experiencing that just feel wrong. As you stay present to your feelings and experiences – especially with the help of a therapist – the truth of the circumstances will become clear.