If you knew a potential partner was going to cheat on you, would you date them? Probably not. But we can’t predict who will be faithful and who won’t be ahead of time. Or can we?
Being able to spot a cheater requires picking up on certain behaviors; the kinds that make you stop, think, and take it slow or end it with someone.
“It is the totality of specific behaviors that will give you the best (or maybe the worst) impression of a prospective partner,” says FBI criminal profiler Mary Ellen O’Toole. “If you are going to become involved with someone, you need to know about the five main areas of their life: social, occupational, family, personal and secret. And the best way to accomplish that, aside from an honest discourse, is through observation.”
It may be harder to spot a potential cheater as early as the first date, but here are some key indicators that may help:
They’re Almost Too Charming
Was he/she just so smart, fun, likable, exciting, that you couldn’t resist? Dr. Paul DePompo, psychologist and director of the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Institute of Southern California, says “Mr. or Ms. Charming” will lack real empathy when you’re let down, like they cancel a date last minute for no serious reason, but it’s also hard for you to stay angry. “They’re focused on their own gratification, spends money lavishly to impress, and is likely to blame others when problems occur.”
They’re Hyper-Flirty and Hustle You Into Bed
This can be a sign that he/she is just a player and looking for sex, or it could be disguised as them being sexually deprived. “Deprived may come across as extra flirty, and they may make unwelcomed sexual jokes and comments,” DePompo says. Nice pants, I can see myself in them… “Yet, in conversation, they may become hyper-focused on morals in order to minimize the importance of sex.”
They’re Protective of Their Phone
The few times you’ve been out, does it seem like your date spends a lot of time on their phone or is privately texting or talking when you aren’t around or your back is turned? It’s always a red flag if they’re giving their mobile device more attention than you in the beginning. And, if it feels like they’re being secretive about who he/she is contacting, take caution.
They’re Vague With Explanations…
This is especially true of their absences or if you’re date is unreachable at times. “If you just started seeing someone, and you call with no response [but later] they say they were ‘just chilling’ as opposed to something specific like ‘helping my friend move,’ they could be seeing someone else,” says psychotherapist Kimberly Moffit.
…and Usually Include Inconsistencies
Their stories don’t match up; he/she breaks dates without explanation or contradicts themselves when talking about things that happened at “that thing last weekend.” “If you notice inconsistencies in what your partner says about how they spend their time, money [or] activities, and what is really going on, that can also be a sign,” adds therapist and author Dr. Sheri Meyers.
They Hint That Monogamy’s Not Their Thing
Perhaps you’ve actually had this conversation and they’ve mentioned coming from parents who cheated or admitted to cheating before. Kelly Armatage, a cognitive behavioral therapist, relationship coach and speaker says it’s unclear whether there’s a so-called cheating gene, but a small study suggests having a parent who had an affair leaves you at a greater risk of cheating on your spouse, too. “A cheating belief system runs along the thought patterns [of] ‘It is ok to cheat.’”
They Check Out Other People in Front of You
Their focus should be 100% on you especially in the beginning and if you notice they have a wandering eye or even notice them flirting with other girls or guys, it could be a sign that they’re going to cheat in the future. Even if they’re interested in you, when it comes to cheating, much of it is situational, Armatage says. “Spending time in settings with many attractive people can make cheating more likely.”
They Seem Vengeful
If your date talks about being cheated on, and seems bitter about it, he/she may use YOU, to get even with everyone! Armatage notes that if your partner isn’t over getting cheated on, they might want to get even. In fact, Armatage said, these individuals may feel entitled and that they’ll less guilt as a result of having been cheated on.
They Look Like a Cheater
Our first impressions can be quite accurate and informative, even when based on limited information, says Professor of Social Psychology at Eastern Connecticut State University, Dr. Madeleine A Fugère. “[In heterosexual relationships] research shows that women can accurately detect whether men have been unfaithful in the past just by looking at facial photographs, and using the men’s masculinity as a key cue; in reality, the men with more masculine facial features were more likely to have reported being unfaithful,” she explains.
They Drink a Lot
Fugère notes that individuals who report more problem drinking are also more likely to cheat on their partners. “Researchers suggest that a lack of impulse control or self-control may contribute both to drug and alcohol issues and an increased likelihood of infidelity. Alcohol consumption may also be linked to an increased likelihood of flirting with others.”
While it may be easy to get wrapped up in if your new date could be a cheater, it shouldn’t be the first thing you look for in a date. Pay attention to how you initially feel around them. Be aware of who you’re getting involved with before getting too involved. Don’t let the chemistry get the best of you.