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To learn more about infidelity and how to deal with it we turned to couple counsellor and sex therapist Irene Oudyk-Suk. She shares her insights into some of the most common indicators of infidelity and offers tips on how to approach your partner with your concerns and how to bounce back from a broken bond.
1. Know what to look for
It's hard to label the signs of infidelity that one should look for, says Oudyk-Suk. More often than not, it's a simple gut feeling that causes one to become suspicious. At this point you may begin picking up on subtle, but potentially telling changes in the behaviours of your partner. Behavioural changes that could indicate something is amiss include:
• Increasing distance: Your partner may slowly or suddenly begin to pull away from the relationship.
• A change in spending habits: New personal credit cards, expensive dinners, unexplained purchases and new clothing could all be potentially suspicious.
• A change in intimacy: Your partner may begin to seek less -- or in some cases, more -- physical intimacy with you during an affair.
• A change in habits: If your partner is staying at the office later than usual, attending more late-night business meetings or even going to the gym more often it may raise red flags.
• A change in privacy: Changed passwords, hidden cellphones and restricted laptops would all seem curious if your partner once shared everything (or almost everything) with you.
However, it is very important to note that these signs are not ironclad indicators of infidelity, says Oudyk-Suk. Before you make any accusations against your partner ensure you have evidence to back up your case.
Page 1 of 2 -- Learn how to calmly approach your partner with the subject of infidelity on page 2
2. Know that you won't always see the signs
It's very important that unsuspecting partners -- those who are blindsided by their partner's infidelity -- know that they are not at fault for missing the kinds of signs mentioned above, says Oudyk-Suk.
"When people commit to another person they don't expect affairs to happen, they trust that this person won't be unfaithful," she explains. "People can and do miss these signs all the time, simply because when you trust someone you don't expect the worst of them."
3. Approach your partner calmly
Once your suspicions arise it can be hard to contain them. With or without proof, there is a best practice for approaching your partner.
"There are definitely some approaches that are better than others," says Oudyk-Suk. "The best way to approach it is to let your partner know you are feeling insecure within the relationship," she advises. "Stay calm, talk about your fears and explain to them why you are scared. Let them know that you are concerned that they may be involved with someone else."
Many unfaithful partners will often feel tremendous guilt, says Oudyk-Suk, and while disclosure will always be difficult you are more likely to get an honest response if you approach your partner in a peaceful manner, rather than attacking him or her.
4. Decide on the next steps
Oudyk-Suk is eager to point out that therapists today know more about the "neuroscience of relationships" than ever before, and that with hard work, time and a commitment to your partner, it is possible to work through infidelity within a marriage.
"There is hope, and healing is possible with a good therapist who understands the dynamics of this type of betrayal," she explains.
Find a therapist who you and your partner are both comfortable with -- one who can be sympathetic without getting overly involved and who can remain a neutral figure as you work through the process of rebuilding your relationship. "It won't happen overnight and it takes a lot of hard work, but we are able to help couples repair their relationships," says Oudyk-Suk.
No one begins a relationship imagining that it will one day be tainted by infidelity, but unfortunately, for many, infidelity will become a reality. If you have suspicions about infidelity in your relationship, let them be known. Keep the lines of communication with your partner open at all times, and if infidelity happens to you but you believe in the love and strength of your relationship, don't be afraid to seek help.
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