Cheating is nothing new. Secret flings and discreet meetings have been orchestrated by unfaithful partners ranging from beggars to kings for hundreds of years, and truth be told, there’s likely no end to infidelity in sight. Perhaps as open relationships and marriages become more commonplace, the casual hookup with a relative stranger will become a less serious offense against the heart. In fact, some might even come to view the occasional boink as healthy … sexy, even.
But what about those who count on the honesty of an exclusive relationship? What about the obliviously faithful? Love is blind after all.
Not everyone is truthful about their promiscuous habits with the people they’re supposedly dating. Go figure — people still lie about cheating, especially now that online communities have made the game that much easier to play. Without so much as a whisper of the transgression — the evidence lost in deleted emails and erased text messages — anyone can now start a steamy profile and check the box marked, “discreet relationship.” Just think about how often NSA appears on Craigslist nowadays. And what about our password-protected emails and accounts? All you have to do is clear your private data, and your boyfriend or girlfriend will be none the wiser.
Now perhaps more than ever before, sexual secrecy has become the cornerstone of many social networks and online dating communities — fling.com and xtube.com [NSFW], just to name a few. That said, as we transfer our lives online and live out fantasies in the digital world, how can we tell if our better halves are stepping out for a little play on the side?
Essentially, what are some of the telltale signs your lover is using the internet to meet, greet, and heat up the sheets with another person other than yourself?
1. Are they chatting online when you’re around?
Chronic chatting when you’re actually in the room could be just another way of neglecting you, because they might busy laying the groundwork for a discreet encounter with another person. True, everyone chats online these days, but when partners close or minimize chat windows when you come close, that’s a good indication they’re up to something they don’t want you to know about.
2. Are they obsessed with deleting their text messages?
Text messages can include some pretty risqué language and leave a trail of breadcrumbs leading right to a motel with a do-not-disturb sign hanging on the doorknob. If your lover is deleting their messages constantly, then you can be relatively sure it’s not because they want to save room on their phone for more pictures of the two of you together.
3. Do they close emails whenever you show up?
Like chats, emails can really reveal the true intentions of a person. Unlike chats, however, emails are much more pointed, and the questions are much more focused. When and where do you want to meet? Does your husband suspect anything? Would you like to see some more x-rated photos or what? Who knows what other details and photos a lover could send to their partner in crime?
4. Do they keep their digital life separate from you?
Almost everyone these days leads a double life — there’s the life where we venture out to the bar, attend matinees, and cook dinner at home; and then there’s the life we lead online, where anyone can flirt, exchange photos, and arrange an erotic rendezvous. If your partner isn’t sharing his online behavior and comments with you — some even block their girlfriends or boyfriends from seeing their Facebook comments — then that should definitely send up some red flags.
5. Are they deleting their online history?
“Where have you been?” a disgruntled lover may ask when you come home late, but shouldn’t we be able to ask the same question about each other’s online lives? If you use your lover’s computer from time to time and you find that there’s absolutely no history to speak of, then you might wonder if they’ve been signing in to their adult networks to keep up with some saucy communications.
6. Are they hesitant to let you use their phone?
Phones record almost everything — sent and received text messages, outgoing and incoming calls — and you never know when a steamy sext from your booty call could arrive. If your partner is extremely hesitant about loaning you their phone, even if only for a few minutes, then you might wonder if they’re afraid that you’ll see something they’ve previously kept hidden from you.
Really, there’s no way to know for certain whether or not your lover is cheating on you without confronting them.
A strange email could just be some questionable spam in their inbox, and flirty chats with old flames may just be harmless fun. Nothing short of a confession (or catching them in the act) will prove that they’re guilty. But if your lover is going to extremes to mask their online (and offline) behavior, you should go with your instincts and either ask them about their suspicious behavior or at least tell them that it bothers you.
Technology may make covering a cheater’s tracks easier, but always remember that nobody can hide forever, not even in the digital world.
Originally appeared on The Minds Journal.
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