Don’t ignore your gut feeling.
If you remember one rule about cheating, let it be this: There are always signs in the beginning. What are those signs? How can you tell if someone you’re dating will one day cheat on you?
Watch out for these particular things, and save yourself unnecessary heartbreak.
Once you start dating someone, how much time does it take to see the signs?
While there is no perfect answer to this complex question, it is safe to say that you will have seen most of the personality traits in someone you’re dating after several months of knowing that person.
In other words, if you have been dating someone for four or five months or longer, it’s safe to say that you know that person pretty well. By the time you have dated someone this long, you have likely seen them in a wide range of circumstances and you have a sense of whether this is a person you can trust to be monogamous — or not.
Sadly, many people continue relationships even after they sense their partner might be cheating, so the second purpose of this article is to tell you to trust your instincts and terminate the relationship soon after you sense potential trouble.
1. Past history of cheating.
Hands down, the number one sign that your new date will cheat on you is if that person cheated in their past relationship. You may not find out this information early on, but it will often come out over time. Some individuals have cheated in the past and won’t ever do it again, but most people who cheated in the past will cheat again.
To feel convinced that someone won’t cheat on you — even though they cheated on their ex — you need to have a lot of conversations on the subject and, ideally, you want to know that this person went to therapy or sought other help (self-help books, etc.) to deal with the underlying issues.
Related: 8 Things You Should Know About Cheaters (According To Science)
2. Flirting with others (right in front of your face!).
Who would do such a thing — flirt with someone right in front of their date? Millions of men and women! It happens all the time so be on the lookout for unbridled flirting right before your eyes.
If your date or new partner flirts with others in front of you, there is a problem. Odds are that this individual needs a lot of attention and that this individual will one day cross the line when you’re not present and shift from flirting to full-blown sexual contact.
If you want to have a long-term monogamous relationship, set a rule with your partner that neither of you will ever flirt with someone in front of one another. If your date takes the plunge and flirts in front of you, talk to friends about whether it is worth terminating the relationship. This kind of behavior is extremely difficult to change, so why not just invest in someone who doesn’t need that much attention from the start?
3. Going MIA for hours or being unreachable by phone.
If your date or new partner occasionally disappears during the day or evening and can’t be reached, this is a sign that he or she may be cheating. If he or she is unreachable for a couple of hours, that individual might be at the movies or the gym. But if someone is out of contact for a few hours — especially at night — it is a sign that cheating may be taking place.
When you talk to your new partner about the “disappearance,” be honest and share that these absences trigger anxiety or insecurity in you. More importantly, however, if this behavior becomes any sort of pattern, the real task you need to take on is to consider whether it’s time to end the relationship.
Simple reminders to take with you…
One of the best rules to remember when it comes to cheating is — wait for it — that your worries about cheating are probably founded unless you have a long history of paranoia with no justification. Most people don’t want to believe that the new person in their life is cheating, so having that sneaking feeling probably means that there really is something to worry about.
If you sense that the person you’re with is cheating on you, take good care of yourself and protect yourself emotionally. Detach a little from the relationship and take a lot of quiet time by yourself so that you can get in touch with your feelings and then make a sound decision about how to proceed.
This article was originally published at eharmony. Reprinted with permission from the author.