According to a recent Gallup poll, having an affair is one of the most immoral things someone can do. In a survey of 1,535 adults, a full 91 percent considered infidelity to be morally wrong—that’s a higher percentage than things like polygamy, human cloning, and even suicide. And it’s no wonder—the ideal of marriage promises us a partner who will always be there for us and who will be our most trusted companion for the rest of our days. Being betrayed by this person cuts us to the core.

But, despite the destruction infidelity causes, people still cheat. They do so for a variety of reasons. Perhaps they’re dissatisfied with their sex life, emotionally unfulfilled, or maybe they’re just plain bored. But all of them have secrets.

Certain things are true of most cheaters—things they’ll never admit to you. And if you’ve never been inside the mind of someone who has chosen to commit adultery, you might never know these things. It is important, though, to know the truth about cheaters and about just how deceptive they can be—especially if you suspect your spouse might be engaged in an affair. In that light, let’s take a look at seven things a cheating spouse doesn’t want you to know so that you can know what you’re really dealing with.

They made a conscious choice to betray you.

This truth can be the hardest one of all, and so we’ll get through it first. Your cheating partner didn’t “make a mistake.” They didn’t “let their emotions get the best of them.” And they certainly weren’t “seduced” by some homewrecker. These statements take the power—and consequently, the blame—from the cheater. The truth is this: your cheating spouse made a conscious choice to betray you.

Cheating is always the choice of the cheater. They could have stopped and made any number of less hurtful choices along the way, such as communicating their needs to you or even simply calling it quits and talking about divorce so that they could be free to do as they please. Instead, they chose to betray you and lie about it. Your cheating spouse will likely seek to lay the blame anywhere they can, but they don’t want you to know just how deliberate their actions are. So don’t be fooled when you hear, “I don’t know how it happened.” They know. They just don’t want you to know.

They’ve left a digital trail.

In the age of the internet, nothing can ever be truly forgotten. Deleted Tweets and Facebook posts can be dredged up. Reddit accounts can be searched. Phones can be scoured, and deleted files can be restored. Your cheating spouse doesn’t want you to know it, but they’ve likely left a trail of digital breadcrumbs during their extramarital escapades. Usually, your spouse’s smartphone is the key to finding out what’s really going on. This is a device that combines all of their photos, videos, voice messages, and social media accounts—something will be there.

If your spouse is having an affair with a co-worker, their work email may also be filled with evidence. If and when your cheating spouse is caught, don’t let them convince you that you have no proof. Do a little investigative work and ask their permission to examine their digital footprint. If they refuse, you know something is up. If you find something, your suspicion will be confirmed.

They’re addicted to the thrill.

One thing that no cheater will ever tell you is that they’re not only in it for the extramarital romance and sex but also the simple thrill of the sneak. Having an affair excites people—that’s a big part of why cheaters risk so much for comparatively little reward. Holding onto a well-kept secret, sneaking out at odd hours, and even occasionally dropping the name of the “other” man or woman can bring about an addictive rush of adrenaline.

This effect is sometimes known as the “cheater’s high” and comes as a result of successfully getting away with something. A cheater may even begin to take risks, such as talking more and more about the person they’re cheating with or openly flirting with them in public and on social media. Cheaters are almost always addicted to the thrill of cheating, so watch out for these risk-taking behaviors if you suspect something is going on.

They’re talking trash about you.

Chances are, your cheating spouse is highlighting your faults while talking to their extramarital lover and may even be spreading blatant misinformation about you. There are two reasons for this. The first is that nearly every cheating spouse who has a conscience will feel the need to legitimize their affair in some way. To do this, they’ll focus on your bad qualities in order for the cheating to feel somewhat justified to those around them.

The second reason lies in the discomfort of the other woman or man with whom they are cheating. Being the “other woman” or “other man” has its downside—these people are dating someone who is already in an involved relationship. It can be easy for the focus of the affair to begin feeling used or as if they will always take second place to the wife or husband. And so the cheating spouse will reassure them by reinforcing the idea that their husband or wife is awful. But if you ask, they’ll never admit to this. If your spouse is cheating, you may need to engage in a little damage control by finding out what they’ve said and negating it.

They’re spending your money on their affair.

Think back on how much money you spent when you were dating your spouse. There were flowers, drinks, restaurant bills, gifts, and much more. When it comes to your bank account, all of this can really add up. Your cheating spouse doesn’t want you to know it, but they’re doing the same thing with their new fling. And worse, they may be using your money to do it. Marriages are built on trust, and so many couples have a joint bank account or some other way of sharing expenses. An unfaithful spouse is likely to take advantage of this and consequently attempt to disguise their new spending patterns.

What’s more, because of the guilt, a cheating spouse may spend freely on things that they think will make you happy, buying you lavish gifts. Cheating is expensive, and the last thing an adulterer wants their spouse to know is exactly how much they’re spending on their illicit activities. If you suspect something is up, don’t hesitate to take a look at your last few bank statements in detail.

They’re lying to themselves.

Likely, your cheating spouse isn’t just lying to those around them—they’re also lying to themselves. And what’s worse, they may not even realize it. Self-deception is a defense mechanism that many people engage in when they’re doing something that they feel guilty about. Cheating spouses may tell themselves that their husband or wife is to blame for their behavior. They may even convince themselves that their spouse is a terrible person or that they are the ones being victimized and are simply seeking an escape.

This is a lot easier than cheating on someone who loves and trusts you. A cheating spouse may come to believe these lies truly and so will begin to treat you differently. They may become hostile, rude, or negligent as their inner narrative changes to make them into the villains. Keep an eye out for behavioral changes like this. Although a cheater will never admit it, self-deception is one of the keys to an affair.

There’s almost always more to the story.

Finally, one of the most infuriating things about a cheater is that there’s always more to their story than what they’ve told you. What’s worse, they may not ever reveal the full truth. Many people who cheat feel intense shame and guilt over what they’ve done and will do anything to avoid fessing up to the full extent of their betrayal. If confronted, they’ll try to give just enough information to satisfy you. Unfortunately, what they say is often just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

For the spouse who has been cheated on, this is incredibly frustrating. When you’re betrayed, you want to know everything—you want to know the who, why, where, and so on. But know that if you choose to stay and reconcile after an affair, getting the full truth may be difficult, if not impossible. There’s always just a little more to the story where affairs are concerned.

If you’ve been cheated on, the pain can be indescribable. There is hope, though—marriages can be saved if both parties put time and energy into addressing exactly what went wrong. Some of the strongest relationships are those that have been broken and re-forged.

If your spouse isn’t interested in that, though, and if they continue clinging to their secrets, it may be time to move on with your life and seek happiness elsewhere. You can’t make a life with someone who has things they don’t want you to know, so shed the deception and start seeking happiness.

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