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Is your partner suddenly actively secretively? They may think they're a real-life James Bond who has covered their tracks meticulously, but they're usually wrong.

Cheating is, to the cheater, clandestine and exciting — just like being a spy! “They always know,” your unfaithful partner or spouse has heard people say about cheating, perhaps millions of times. It is no surprise, then, that they feel just a little bit, well, smug, when they start that affair and you seemingly actually don’t know yet.

As the affair goes on, your cheating spouse may begin to feel like they’re some kind of real-life James Bond. They get the secrecy, they get the sex, they get the sense of glamor. As the affair goes on, they may even become cocky about the whole thing, relaxed in the perceived knowledge that you’re too stupid to ever find out what they are up to.

What are the ways in which your partner thinks they have the whole sneaking around doing secret stuff down, and how can you use those exact methods to find out whether your gut feeling is right?

1. They Have A Convincing Cover Story

Undercover Metropolitan Police officer Bob Lambert built up an elaborate cover story to infiltrate social justice groups in the 1980s. Besides building up an extensive reputation within the groups he gathered intel on, he started a relationship with “a fellow activist”, and even had a child with her — all while being married to someone else “in real life”. He took on a job as a gardener to explain lengthy absences, and told the woman who loved him that his father was in a nursing home suffering from dementia, and was “too far gone” for a visit from him to be worthwhile.

Cheaters don’t have access to the same resources that Bob did (unless they’re very rich), but they usually make sure they have what they think is a convincing cover story.

(Usually, I say, because a friend’s neighbor was recently visited by a man who first spent time loitering outside their house, and when my friend inquired, the man answered that he was there to visit “his girlfriend” — pointing to the house of her married neighbor!)

Cheaters may make a habit of going on business trips, especially easy for some self-employed professions, suddenly take up a new and very involved hobby that you’re not invited to or would find very boring, or begin to spend a lot of time with friends. Some even go as far as to post pictures of their visit to their friend or their time with their hobby group on social media (even if they were only there for 10 minutes, spending the other hours with their lover), to prove they were really there. Taking up jogging or walking is another excellent cheating cover. “Working late” may just be the oldest cover story in the book. It still works. Until it doesn’t.

How do you know if your partner is really doing what they say they are doing? Short of hiring a private detective, you need to know that if your intuition is telling you something’s up, it almost always is. That is, you have a little private detective in your brain already, telling you, even if your conscious brain is resisting the notion, that something isn’t right. You can further inform that intuition of yours by asking questions about who else was at their hobby, what route they took on their jog, how they spent their nights on that business trip, and so on. Of course they’ll lie if they’re cheating, but they’ll feel awkward and like they’re about to be caught as they do so, and you — already knowing your partner — will gain a better idea of whether or not they are lying.

You could also try calling them while they’re away. If they don’t answer where they usually do, that’s a sign in itself. If they answer but you hear weird things in the background that make it sound like they are not where they are supposed to be, that’s more info for you.

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