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Is he cheating? A private eye shares his secrets

Jamie Beckman is the lead blogger for the Sexcerpts blog on SheKnows.com. She has written about relationships, health and lifestyle trends for Redbook, USA TODAY, Men's Journal, Men's Health, Best Life and First for Women magazines, as w...

Confidential! Be wary of these signs

No one likes to think their spouse is cheating. But the ugly truth is about half of people admit to being unfaithful sometime in their lives, according to a 2007 survey. We talked to real-life private investigator Mark Chauppetta, who tracks down cheaters for a living, and asked him for the top five signs to look for if you suspect your partner is being unfaithful.

Cheating

Our Q&A with private investigator and infidelity expert Mark Chauppetta, author of Happens All The Time: Cheating in the Good Ol' U.S.A.:

So what is the definition of cheating, anyway?

Cheating is a matter of one's opinion. What may be accepted by one relationship may lead to divorce in another. We, as investigators, investigate what the client believes is cheating based on their own rules of engagement. That leads me to another question I often hear: "If once a cheat, are they always a cheat?" If you want my personal opinion, I'm not so sure that once a cheat is always a cheat.

That's good news. What signs should a person look for if they suspect their spouse is cheating?

As far as signs of a cheater, the list can be long depending on which pop psychologist you subscribe to, so I've provided the top (or "elementary") five signs to look for:

1. He Stopped initiating sex—Or he wants sex all the time.

Many experts will say that the elimination of sex from a relationship is the biggest sign of cheating. Based on my vast experience, any changes in your normal sexual pattern, whether it may be less sex, more sex, rougher sex, different positions, and calling out someone's name other than yours could be an obvious sign.

2. He started caring about his appearance.

Change of grooming habits is another sign. Is your husband all of a sudden now working out at the gym like a lunatic? Has he gone from white Fruit of the Loom to a male thong? Has he retired the Old Spice after 20 years and is now splashing on Obsession for Men? These are all signs to look out for.

3. He's acting secretive.

A sudden need for privacy. Putting passwords on computers, cell phones, or other items commonly used or shared by both individuals in a relationship. According to my experience, key signs could be keeping the cell phone by their side like it is their first child or leaving the room to answer the phone — or not answering the phone and then making a dumb-ass excuse like, "I don't know whose number that is, honey."

4. His normal routine is different.

Has his regular work schedule changed suddenly? Is he leaving early or coming home late? Does your man, who used to be an introvert watching the History Channel, suddenly have new friends, and out of the blue, has he joined an adult kickball league? Very odd, especially if you are not included.

5. He thinks that you're cheating.

When he accuses you of cheating out of the blue. Ever hear of projection?

All the signs I just listed above could also be harmless, but if your woman's intuition (let's face it — a woman's intuition or "sixth sense" is often a very powerful tool not to be dismissed) is raising relevant red flags. Stop making excuses for him, listen, and observe the signs. If he walks like a duck and talks like a duck, well, he's a duck. Just be smart and observe for a while.

Okay, say a person is pretty sure her man is stepping out. What should she do then?

When you are ready you may want to sit him down, talk with him in a calm manner, even if you feel like clawing out his eyeballs out … or recreating the Lorena Bobbit scenario. Just remember that cheaters are good liars, and the first thing they will do is twist and turn the truth around to avoid the conflict. They will make it seem like you are crazy. If this is happening, back off, leave if it is a potentially volatile situation, or hire a professional like me.

For more information about Mark Chauppetta and his line of work, check out his website here.

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