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Sunday, October 2, 2011

#28: 8 Signs He's Had An Affair

Is it someone else's lipstick on his collar? Those strange nights “working with the accountant” ... all night? Or something more subtle that has you on edge? If you want to find out if he's being – or has been – unfaithful, these are the things to look out for.

At some point, you will probably have a partner who cheats on you. Or at least that's what the statistics suggest. Research has unanimously concluded that men stray. The 1990 Kinsey Report states 37 percent of men and 29 percent of women are unfaithful, while a University of Chicago survey claims 70 percent of men and 30 percent of women have had affairs!

Okay, you're probably convinced that while some men are obviously playing away from home, your man is faithful. Maybe. But, even if we go with the more conservative of these figures, you've still got a one-in-four chance that he's getting up close and personal with someone else, but calling you “baby”. Or that he's done it – and just not told you.

Although I have no explanation to proffer for this phenomenon, I have known several men who only realized how much they loved their partners – after being with someone else. Having been struck by this guilt-fuelled epiphany, many guys will do anything to avoid further undermining their relationship with, say, the truth. Instead, their on-the-side action dissolves and they simply go back to the way things were. Or so he thinks.

But a betrayal of this magnitude carries with it an emotional load that simply won't be wished or pretended away. Signs, behaviours and mannerisms will fliter through and you have every right to be aware of what they are. Please note, however, that this information must be used wisely or you could end up branding an innocent man guilty on the strength of one or two of the following indicators should be thought of as proof absolute of adultery. Even three should be treated with as much objectivity as you can muster. Four or more and you've got a case.

Can't I spoil the woman I love?

I've been told by numerous female friends that generosity is one of the most endearing traits a man can possess. Be it a modest posy for no apparent reason or the purchase of a pair of shoes his partner admired one evening while window-shopping, the material generosity is pretty much secondary to the generosiity of spirit involved.

When, however, a disproportionate material generosity – like one that involves carats or the term “first-class” - begins to spring forth from the kind of person who took you to his favorite cafe on your birthday, you have a right to think twice about what's going on. Out-of-character spluring on ludicrously expensive gifts is a prime indicator of a panic reaction to overwhelming guilt. He's trying to buy forgiveness for a crime you don't know he's committed.

Needless to say, if said gift was purchased with joint funds, the man in question is obviously not bright enough to conduct an affair and not have you find out about it.

“Hi honey, I'm home”

After a number of years together, couples inevitable choreograph a sexual routine that is mutually satisfying yet repetitive. And while scope for modest variation exists, the essential nature of the love-making remains unaltered.

When, however, you notice that his libido has skyrocketed over a short period of time, one of two things is happening – but both involve a lie. Either he's developed a Viagra addiction or he's got a whole lot of horniness but one less means by which to release it.

But it's not just his hormones talking here. Believe it or not, many men can discern between sex and lovemaking. And one who is retreating from a betrayal could well be craving some closeness and intimacy from the woman he's realized is the right one for him.

It is crucial to stress, though, that a single instance does not a heightened libido make. Before you start thinking “affair”, there has to be a pattern of an out-of-character need for sexual gratification.

Old dog, new tricks

The same degree of caution should be exercised when he introduces new sexual tricks and techniques into your repertoire. Imagine how you'd feel if if you decided to enhance your lovemaking with a few ideas gleaned from the Kama Sutra or this humble blog, only to be suspected of having learnt it from someone else?

So what should arouse concern more than you? I'd keep an eye out for any requests he makes for you to alter your rechniques on moves that he's always been plenty satisfied with in the past...

The look of lard

Remember when he came home with a new gym card saying, “From now on, I'm going to look after myself”? Doubtless, some men mean just this, but there are also the types who decide to buff the bod a bit before they expose it to someone new. How do you tell which it was? Consistency. If he hung on beyond his initial enthusiasm, he obviously gained some genuine reward from the training. In other words, the only person he was doing it for was himself.

Either way, his attendance will wane; what matters is whether it stabilized or plummeted. (If it goes up and down erratically, there's a chance he's using the health club as an alibi for being late after work). If it stabilizes, you're in the clear. If it plummets, there's the chance he's realized that the only person he wants to be naked with is you. And since you're more than familiar with what he's offering, why continue the charade?

Conversely if his rate of health club visit jumps dramatically – especially after work or on weekends – he could been covering an entirely different type of work-out.

“You're home early...”

Dramatic shifts in his work schedule can spell relationship trouble. While many are aware of the affair cliche that plays out along the lines of “I'm sorry darling, but I have to work late tonight. I'll eat someone... I mean something – listen to me, I'm so tired I can't even form sentences – on the way home.” Quite.

When, however, his schedule suddenly snaps back to eight-hour-days, chances are he's put more than just a specific project to bed. This is doubly true if the phrase “quality time” starts popping up in his conversations with you.

“With this ring...”

Perhaps you never noticed it at the time, but in retrospect, was there ever a period in which a ringing telephone could startle him so that he would launch himself across the room towards the phone at lightning speed? Ditto his mobile.

If the subequent conversations featured hush phrases pathetically coded to sound like business speak - “Oh, thanks for the call. I don't know if I'm ... available then. Can I check my schedule ... and call you back ... in the morning?” - put one and one together. I'm sure they'll add up to “affair”.

The point is if his reactions go from mildly panicked to verging on ambivalent in a short time, it makes sense that something (or someone) is no longer posing the threat it once did. On its own, this change in response shouldn't be thought of as consituting guilt. However, team it with a sudden drop-off in after-hours calls from “the office” and you can come to your own conclusions.

Future shocks

If he's the type of man who became uncomfortable when discussing anything long-term, be wary of sudden changes of heart. As pointed out earlier, the cheating men often only realizes which of the two women in his life he really wants to stay with after doing a compare-and-contrast exercise. And having decided that you're the girl for him after all – meaning his deception – many men finally pop the question or make declarations of eternal devotion.

Before you're even tempted to forgive this betrayal – which by the way will remain an unvoiced secret - remember that it's not actually him talking from the heart. What you're hearing is in part the voice of guilt. Again, implement this knowledge only if you're utterly convinced that infidelity has been the case – and it's supported by at least three other categories in this post. After all, you could blow a good, solid relationship by telling a man who's decided he wants to be with you forever that the only reason he's doing so is because he was sleeping around. This is relationship TNT – so on this occasion, don't rely solely on your intuition.

The crying game

While in no way trying to excuse the actions of a cheating man, many are not without conscience. Long after the tryst has been called off, the self-loathing and guilt remani. Especially when he's been carrying the heavy secrets of his past and wondering when and if they'll ever catch up with him.

This is a serious emotional load to bear and despite his best efforts to mask it, there will be times when the strain will force its way through his facade. Sudden teary outbursts – note the use of the plural – from a man who would ordinarily rather grimace than cry out in pain bear some examination.

Let me once again point out that this is not the basket into which you should be putting all of your eggs. The cause of his pain could be entirely unrelated to his monogamy or otherwise, but you've got to admit that it's no stretch to suggest this this could well be the behavior of a man with a secret that's slowly – and deservedly – driving him crazy.

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