Lie detector with text

Is your partner cheating?

How can you tell if your partner is cheating on you? Yep: just ask a friend. People are pretty good judges when it comes to detecting infidelity, research shows.

Being cheated on sucks – no need for science to tell you that. And yet, scientists who study relationships can tell you precisely why cheating is downright awful. Research has shown it’s one of the most harmful things that can happen to a couple, and it’s the leading cause of divorce. When someone is cheated on, anxiety, anger, and self-doubt are all to be expected. And both the cheater and the betrayed partner are likely to become depressed.

Naturally, if you’ve ever thought your partner was cheating, you’ve wanted to confirm – or hopefully, reject – your suspicions; who knows, your worries might all be in your head, right?


No need to hire a private detective. Lucky for you, scientists have come up with a method to tell if your partner is cheating: your friends. People tend to be good judges of others’ behaviour, research has shown. Often all it takes is watching someone for a short amount of time to accurately intuit what that person is about.

So what about cheating? Can people detect a cheater just by looking at them? A team of US researchers took it upon themselves to find out. In two studies, they tracked down almost one hundred university students in relationships.

Related: My Friend’s Husband Is Cheating, Should I tell Her?

Spot the cheater

First of all, each student confidentially revealed to the researchers whether they’d cheated on their partner, emotionally or physically. Then the researchers brought the students and their partners into the lab and had each couple hang out and do a drawing activity that lasted three to five minutes that was filmed.

Next came the interesting bit: five outside observers watched the short videos to see if they could detect the cheaters. It turned out they could tell which students had cheated on their partners. And all it took was watching a short video clip of the couple hanging out.

Not to be trusted

What gave the cheaters away?

Something about their behaviour and how they interacted with their partners told the observers that cheating students were not trustworthy folk and that they weren’t committed to their partners.

So if you suspect your partner is cheating on you, asking what your friends think might not be a bad idea. If they’re suspicious of your partner, chances are good you have every reason to be too.


Reference: Lambert, N.M., Mulder, S. & Fincham, F. (2014). Thin slices of infidelity: Determining whether observers can pick out cheaters from a video clip interaction and what tips them off. Personal Relationships. (2014) 21:612-9.


Worried your partner could be cheating, and need someone to talk to? Why not start with our forum, Let’s Talk. Our moderators can help you with all your questions.


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Recent Comments (14)

  1. I feel depressed coz of…
    I feel depressed coz of betrayal by my husband

    1. (No subject)
      Hey Pessy,

      I can imagine the feeling. What exactly happened?

      Have you been able to talk to your husband about this?

  2. Sorry namesake but sit…
    Sorry namesake but sit confidently with ur husband ad have a crias talk then regain ur trust

    1. Thank you Peshy for your…
      Thank you Peshy for your encouragement.

  3. I don’t trust my boyfriend…
    I don’t trust my boyfriend because of how he s acting for the past one week anaweka profile pic ya dem kwa whatsup yake na write MY LUPE when I ask her he just say that he likes fun pliz help I like the guy so much I can’t live without him am dieing inside my heart what can I do

    1. Hi Judith, So sorry about…
      Hi Judith, So sorry about this. Have you told him how this is making you feel? There is no way to tell if for sure your partner is cheating on you but if you have concerns the right thing to do is to share with him your concerns alongside with your fears. Even if this is just fun for him he needs to know that this hurts you. Check out this article;-

  4. I have a boyfriend but she…
    I have a boyfriend but she is married when we have sex he told me that jichunge husipate mimba do you think if I can gate pregnant by mistake will this man help me or he will run away plz advice

  5. I have a feeling that my…
    I have a feeling that my fiancee is cheating on me, but when I asked him about it he told me he wasn’t.. That he’s just a flirt.. our introduction is next month but I’m having serious doubts..I don’t know what to do

    1. Hello Precious,there is no…

      Hello Precious,there is no way to know for sure if someone is cheating on you. The best thing you can do is try to communicate with your partner. Be honest with them about your suspicions and your feelings along with your fears. I know this can be scary to bring it up but try to just tell them why you suspect something is wrong and not just accuse them a cheater. Generally if we hold on to our thoughts you might take things the wrong way believe something without knowing if it is real or not. Check out the following article;- 

  6. my love have recently been…
    my love have recently been acting different ….I have waited for her for almost 4 years so we can get married n yet she says we wait ….am tired plz help wat wll i do u feel things are not good

  7. Hello Josee, thank you for…

    Hello Josee, thank you for reaching out to us and we are sorry you are going through a hard time. When it comes to matters of marriage, it is completely normal for partners to sometimes feel nervous or anxious about it. Keep in mind this is a life-long commitment that you will both be embarking on and though it is definitely exciting, approaching ones parents can be nerve-racking for fear of rejection or misunderstanding. As such, communication is an important part of any relationship. Have an open and honest conversation with your partner. Explain how their actions are affecting you and the relationship. Try not to be confrontational because that would put them on the defensive and the resulting conversation would not be productive.  Be ready to listen to their fears and feelings and respond to them as well. Furthermore, we are here to help guide you. Go through the following article with your partner and all the best 🙂 Stay safe Joy and have a wonderful week ahead!

  8. I have a girlfriend who…
    I have a girlfriend who lives 2Kilometres away from where I stay. last week I visited her at night to know her whereabouts after ameachiliwa kutoka Hos and she was in another Guy’s house. This has occurred for several times even before she was admitted. What does this mean pliz coz am stressed.?

    1. Hello Mc, thank you for…

      Hello Mc, thank you for reaching out to us. We are sorry you are going through such a hard time.
      Communication is an important part of any relationship. Have an open and honest conversation with your partner. Explain how their actions are affecting you and the relationship. Try not to be confrontational because that would put them on the defensive and the resulting conversation would not be productive.  Be ready to listen to their fears and feelings and respond to them as well.
      This article has some pointers that could help you learn how to better communicate.

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