Here at Messy Marriage I always try to encourage spouses to persevere in their marriages with the help of the Lord, even though sometimes a major problem, like having an affair, can rock a marriage to its core. If this is, or might be, your situation, my hope is that you aren’t immediately running for a lawyer to get a divorce.
However, I DO want to break through any denial you might have by listing some red flags that indicate an affair could be happening. I also hope to wrap up with a bit of guidance on this destructive vice in a marriage.
So today I’ll be sharing some of what I’ve gleaned from a Huffington Post* article on the subject, as well as some other insights from around the web. I’m combining those insights with some of my own thoughts, as well as biblical insights on how to deal these red flags.
8 or More Red Flags that Could Mean Your Spouse Is Having an Affair
1. You’re no longer having sex (Probably the biggest sign!)
This could also include …
- Your spouse suddenly requesting kinky or other erotic sexual activity—including watching porn
- Demonstrating a new sexual skill (most likely learned from the “illicit lover”)
- Resisting kissing or showing other types of affection to you, especially in public places
- Offering weird and suspicious reasons for not being “in the mood”
2. Cellphones become strictly off-limits
This might be evident by …
- Mysterious phone calls that include “hang ups” or “wrong numbers” when you pick up the phone
- Phone bill shows unexplained long-distance charges; or same, but unknown caller on bill, etc.
- Your spouse regularly and quickly tries to pick up the phone before you do
- Your spouse leaves the room to talk on the phone or whispers into the phone
- Deletes numbers from caller ID
- Behaves differently or ends call abruptly when you come in the room
- Cell phone bills are kept away from you
3. He or she suddenly needs “space”
This is often shown by …
- Chronically acting tired and disinterested in your relationship
- Developing an interest in a new and all-consuming activity—like racquetball, for example—that keeps your mate away from home
- Discouraging you from visiting him/her at work or coming with him/her to work-related social events
- Not responding quickly or being available for your calls
4. You don’t go to bed at the same time
Your mate might also …
- Frequently come up with odd excuses for why he/she can’t sleep and must go do “something else”
- Make a habit of going to bed much earlier in order to escape any suggestion of sex
5. Your spouse is uncharacteristically unreliable and flaky (odd)
The “mother-load” of options here are:
- Begins to wear styles that are vastly different than his/her usual norm
- Makes a habit of missing dinner/family meals, or events with your kids
- Speaks more critically, sarcastically, and/or harshly to you than normal and for no good reason
- Often smells of a perfume/cologne you don’t wear
- Daydreams or appears distracted more and more
- Keeps a change of clothes in his/her trunk
- Odd and unexplained mileage shows up on his/her car’s odometer
- Criticizes you for showing him/her affection
- Gets a private P.O. Box for no good reason or without telling you
- Suddenly takes many more business trips out of town
- Shows an excessive interest in knowing your schedule, but avoids telling you his/her’s
- Stops wearing wedding ring, but can’t give a good reason why
6. Physical fitness (attractiveness) becomes more of a priority than ever
You might see your spouse …
- Suddenly dressing more provocatively or becoming obsessed with appearance
- Constantly wanting to work out or lose weight, especially when there isn’t an obvious need to.
- Getting dressed up for “running errands”
7. When confronted, cheaters have major outbursts
This can be shown by …
- Losing his/her temper over small requests for information that used to be easily offered
- Manipulating you into feeling like the “bad guy” for asking for more details
- Generally being more defensive, stressed and hostile for no good reason
8. He or she values privacy above all else
Examples of of this are …
- Won’t let you drop him/her off at airport when leaving for a business trip
- Won’t let you see the checkbook or bank account
- Separates his/her cell phone account from yours, and/or won’t let you see the bill
What if you read through this list and see lots of red flags in your own marriage. What should you do, then? First of all, take a deep breath. Second of all, whisper a prayer to the Lord to calm your heart. And most of all, don’t push the panic button and demand a divorce. Simply get busy being proactive in the Lord’s power.
What to do if your spouse might be having an affair …
1. Turn to the Lord for comfort
Pour out your pain before Him. Grieve and release your hurt to Him though torrents of tears. He knows what it feels like to be cheated on. And He is the only One who can truly minister to you with the healing and perspective you need. Nothing your spouse can do or say will bring you the peace of mind that the Lord provides in abundance.
Here are some Bible verses to meditate on and apply to your hurting heart: Psalm 55:16, Psalm 62:5-8, Proverbs 3:3-5, Isaiah 26:3-4, Isaiah 43:1b–2 4a, 2 Cor. 1:8b-10, Phil. 4:4-9, 1 Peter 1:6-7, 1 Peter 5:7. Make it your goal each day to find more verses that remind you of God’s nearness.
2. Seek out a good, Christian counselor
Find a counselor who you can talk to about these “red flags” to know for sure what is legitimate and what might not be. Your counselor can also help you navigate the way to approach this with your wayward spouse. That’s so very important!
But I also want to reiterate both the “good” and “Christian” part of this suggestion. Don’t just go to the first counselor you see listed or the one closest to your home. Ask your church and/or your godly and trusted friends who they would recommend.
Above all, recognize your limits and emotional blinders on this one, so that you do NOT go it alone! This is a situation requiring more expertise and objectivity than you, or any person going through this, can possibly possess. WithOUT a counselor’s guidance you’ll only be signing up for more heartache in the end.
3. Lean on your church family and godly friends for support
This includes asking trusted and confidential friends to be a sounding board for you, as well as being your constant prayer partner/warrior in this fight of your life.
Remember Matthew 18:20! #powerfulandeffectiveprayers
4. Read Christian books that address this issue
Arm yourself with the truth and wisdom of others who’ve walked where you’re walking or who have expertise on how to deal with infidelity. Here are some great books to consider: Unfaithful: Hope and Healing After Infidelity (Kindle version is only $1.99 right now!), Torn Asunder, Shattered Vows: Hope and Healing for Women Who Have Been Sexually Betrayed, Winning Your Wife Back Before It’s Too Late, and Winning Your Husband Back Before It’s Too Late, just to name a few.
5. Make time for God each and every day
This is the tag-along to number 1 above—turning to the Lord for comfort. Don’t just receive His comfort and leave Him in the dust—hurrying back to your mate to find a way to patch things up. Because, if you do, you’re bound to lose this battle for your marriage. So while you wait on your mate to wake back up to you, realize and embrace the fact that the Lord is your One, True and Faithful Spouse!
This article originally appeared at MessyMarriage.com.