What to do if your partner is cheating online

By Gemma Crooke

In 2014 it has never been easier for people to cheat online. Social networks such as Facebook are just the tip of the iceberg; now there are dating websites aimed specifically at married men/women looking to cheat, universal mobile apps such as Tinder, Grindr and Snapchat and online chat rooms designed purely for people to share intimate material with one another or even to arrange meetings for sex. Anyone tempted to cheat in this way definitely isn’t short of opportunities and outlets to do so and one study suggests a depressing 2.5% of British married couples have engaged in some sort of virtual infidelity on an illicit encounters website.

If you suspect that your partner is cheating online it can be difficult to prove it and you may find yourself questioning your own judgement to the point of emotional turmoil. Laptops, tablets and phones can be password protected or kept out of your reach and any incriminating evidence can quickly be removed. Therefore if you want to find out the truth about your partner’s online activity you have to be clever and somewhat devious in your approach and remember that sometimes their reaction can be just as telling as any hard evidence you might find. Here’s what to do if you suspect that your partner is cheating online.

Don’t accuse

Making direct accusations in the initial stages will alert your partner to your suspicion and probably make them more careful when it comes to hiding their deceit. To begin with, don’t make accusations or even ask them too frequently what they are doing or who they are talking to. Instead watch their behavior and monitor the time they are spending online. Are they smiling and happy when they are interacting online and so they shut webpages down when you come into the room? If so it could be a warning sign of cheating.

Ask to see their belongings

If they are up to no good then your partner will not want you to have access to their phone, computer or tablet. So make them squirm and ask to see it. Again, don’t make accusatory demands as they will probably act in defense and refuse on the basis of you being unreasonable. Instead say something like ‘my battery is flat, can I borrow your phone to quickly send a text?’ or ‘I left my laptop at the office, can I borrow yours to check my email?’ If they stutter, delay or otherwise show reluctance or refusal towards this reasonable request then you know that there is something to hide.

Suggest time out

Another giveaway sign of virtual cheating is increased time online, hasty replying to texts/emails and unwillingness to spend time away from the computer. Suggest taking time out from technology by locking your phones and laptops away for the evening while you watch a movie or go out for dinner and observe your partner’s reaction to this thoughtful suggestion. If they have nothing to hide then spending some time together should be appealing but if they appear disinterested or even irritable at the prospect of being without technology for a few hours then it shows where their priorities lie.

Investigate

If your suspicions are mounting then it may be necessary to start a little detective work. To do this you will need to gain access to their phone or laptop so pick a time when they will not be around (or even when they are sleeping) and do a little digging. Searching their internet history will provide you with an account of the websites that they have recently visited– unless it has been deleted which in itself could raise suspicion. A quick internet search can also be revealing as many of the advertisements on generic websites are often based on your most recent Google searches so this could be an indication of what they have been looking at. If you can gain access to their email accounts you may be find registration emails to websites, confirmation of dating apps purchased or even condemning emails from other people. You could also consider installing keystroke software which traces passwords or security programs such as K9, which can keep records of the internet history even if it has been deleted.

Confront them

Once you feel that you have enough evidence then it is time to confront your partner. Print off emails, internet history, phone bills and call into question the amount of time they have been spending online and their secretive or defensive attitude about their internet use. They will probably still deny it and if they do own up they may play it down because many people believe that is isn’t ‘really cheating’ when there has been no physical contact. Regardless, online cheating – whether it be the exchange of sexual material or even just emotionally opening up to a specific person over a period of time – is generally the first stepping stone to traditional cheating and in any case, they have still been deceptive towards you and invested their time, attention and potentially their money if they have subscribed to a paying site to another person whilst neglecting you. Ultimately only you can decide how to move on from that.

This is a freelance article from Gemma Crooke.

 

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