There are many possible life events for which the human heart is not prepared: death of a loved one; being diagnosed with cancer; falling victim to a mental illness. The simple yet complex reason for this unpreparedness is that we become accustomed to a certain way of life. When that life is complicated by a formidable and enigmatic obstruction, we tend to search desperately for answers. Infidelity is one of those possible life events that we are unprepared for. Unfaithfulness is particularly hurtful because the victim has given their love, heart and soul to another human being; all while expecting the same in return. Relationships can be extraordinarily complex, precaution is a warranted measure when approaching someone with a real or imaginary predilection for infidelity. These are the most common signs of a potential cheater, the more evidence that is present, the likelier it is that a real problem exists.

They are emotionally distant. This is pretty easy to observe but extraordinarily difficult to accept. Emotional detachment from someone you love is like a punch to the heart. Unfortunately, this disconnection is too often a prelude to relationship deterioration. For a potential cheater, it’s easier to distance oneself emotionally from someone than to confront the real problem.

There is a lack of intimacy, or sex. When two people are in love with one another, it is natural for intimacy and/or sex to take place. In the event that your partner shows no interest in either, it may be a sign of infidelity. This is especially true if no prior issues existed in this area. If nothing else, this behavior is indicative of some type of emotional or physical disconnect.

Constant need for privacy. This is not to disregard the reality that every person requires a period of “me time,” and there is absolutely nothing wrong with this. However, when your partner says things like to “I need to be alone,” “Just let me be,” or  “I need some time to think,” on an all-too-frequent basis there is almost certainly some type of problem.

A sudden defensive attitude. It’s normal for two people in a serious relationship to understand the differences between each other’s personalities. Flaws are generally understood and subsequently accepted. It is peculiar, then, for one half to suddenly become defensive regarding any observable shift in behavior. Rational dialogue is a necessity for any relationship; if this becomes an issue, then there’s likely some type of problem.

Irregular financial habits. Two people involved in a serious relationship understand the importance of monetary resources. Usually, any outgoing money is acknowledged and accounted for. If your partner, all of a sudden, drifts from this mutual understanding and engages in splurges for which they cannot account, it may indeed be a sign of detachment at best and infidelity at worst.

An abrupt change in appearance. We all want to look our best for various reasons, however, an abrupt change in appearance without explanation is uncommon, especially for those who have shown little interest in the past. Those in a midlife crisis often cite a change in appearance as a motivation to look younger and more presentable. Of course, the desire to appear more attractive to the opposite sex is a very real possibility.

They ignore your inner circle. One telltale sign of a cheater is a sudden disconnect from your circle of friends. For cheaters, it is much easier and convenient to separate from those close to you than to be upfront about their true feelings. This is even more conspicuous if your partner and social circle were close at one point in time.

They guard their phone and computer. Nobody likes having their phone tampered with. In a serious relationship or marriage, however, it isn’t strange to meddle around with your partners phone. Really, it’s not that big of a deal, unless they have something to hide. If your partner suddenly objects to what, was at one time, not an issue than it may warrant additional caution.

They are excessively late. Anyone in a committed relationship will tell you that a schedule is paramount to making things work. This is especially true if someone is married, has kids, or other obligations for which they are responsible for. A sudden abdication of responsible behavior is strange, particularly if that person cannot account for such conduct.

Something came up at work. Things happen at work. Sometimes, we’re asked to go “above and beyond” in order to do our jobs. If your partner cannot explain the rationale behind such requests, then something is amiss. Having to work is a common and convenient excuse because it is so commonplace. Your partner should be able to fill you in on the need to spend extra time at work.