“So, what do you consider cheating? I consider X, Y and Z cheating.” Then, let him answer and don’t judge his answers. Find out what happened in his past relationships (how they ended, was there infidelity, etc.) as well. Just try and be as open as possible. Remember what happened in a past relationship is not indicative of what might happen in the current one.
Another way to bring up infidelity is to rent a movie like “Unfaithful” or “Fatal Attraction” and start a conversation about what he considers cheating. This way you are bringing it up casually.
Talking is one of the best tools you can have for a life of fidelity. It doesn’t make you crazy – it just makes you human!
Q: There’s the very cliché line that “cheating is in a man’s DNA.” Is that true?
Rea Frey & Stephany Alexander: While we think women tend to be more emotional and men more physical, we all want to be wanted and needed. Cheating is usually indicative of something else missing in a relationship – regardless if you’re a man or a woman. Do we cheat for different reasons? Absolutely. Are we meant to be monogamous? Who knows. I think if we were much more honest with ourselves we could avoid infidelity altogether. If you know you get bored, find a partner who is willing to let you be that way. Don’t box yourself into a lifestyle that doesn’t work. We’re all different. Be up front about who you are and what you really want from a partner.
Q: Your book says it’s designed to help women tune in and find clues at any stage of their relationship—tell us about your book and why these things are so important.
Rea Frey & Stephany Alexander: You can redefine your relationship and your relationship rules at any time. Relationships need constant tending – they don’t just stay the same forever. There are different rules that apply at different times in our lives. We change, we grow, and we don’t often do that together. The Cheat Sheet is designed to help you get to that affair-proof place in your union. Whether you suspect your partner is cheating, you want to have the tools and the wherewithal to catch someone now or in the future, you want to know how to move on with or without your partner, or you just want to read some relatable stories, take some quizzes and learn how to be your own private detective – there is something for everyone. If you’re in a relationship, this is the book for you!
Related: 4 Biggest Mistakes Men Make In Bed
Q: Okay, I had to ask it, what’s the top five ways to know your significant other is cheating?
Rea Frey & Stephany Alexander:
1. Partner brings a new, random person up in conversation all the time.
2. Partner becomes increasingly private about cell phone usage and computer time (such as hiding screen when texting and spending more time on the computer or changing the screen display when you enter the room). He might also refrain from answering the phone around you, turns the ringer off or takes longer than usual to call you back.
3. Behavioral changes (such as getting more defensive, pulling away emotionally or physically, wanting less sex, more sex, or suddenly showing off new sex skills).
4. Takes sudden business trips or stays away for unexplained amounts of time.
5. Unaccounted for hairs/perfume/makeup/cigarette smoke on clothing.
Q: And most important than any top five list, you say “trust your gut, trust your instinct”, why is that important?
Rea Frey & Stephany Alexander: We talked to several private investigators and one of them said women who thought their men were cheating were 100% right (while men who were suspicious were only right about 40% of the time). Women just know when something’s off: you can feel it and sense it and that’s usually because we are in tune with our wants and needs and our relationships. Pay attention to the signs. They will tell you the truth before any amount of investigating will.
Related: The Truth About Infidelity
Q: One other quick question to add--the book mentions "how to affair proof your relationship." Is that possible?
Rea Frey & Stephany Alexander: It’s absolutely possible! You just have to both be willing to work on it. The number one way to achieve this? Make your own relationship rules and discuss them clearly with each other. We are taught by society to pick a mate and live happily ever after, but we aren’t really given the tools to achieve this. There’s not a “one size fits all” way of approaching any relationship, so it’s up to you and your partner to make your own rules. This goes for seeing other people, being open, and realizing that attraction to someone else is completely normal. If you realize attraction is normal, you can focus on prevention. (For instance, play this game: If you find yourself attracted to someone, play out the scenario. Imagine what happens after the steamy fantasy. Imagine paying bills with your lover, fighting over dinner or the kids. Take it from fantasy to reality.). Cheating is about feeling wanted and needed. You’ll want that no matter who you are with – cheating is never the answer, so come up with ways to reinvent your relationship over time. The grass is rarely greener on the other side.
What's your advice for figuring out if a man is being unfaithful or for "affair-proofing" your relationship?