Most couples go through times when the feelings they got from the first flush of love fade, but if they get a gut feeling that their partner is being unfaithful they should listen to it. It doesn't mean they are correct, but it does mean they should be doing some work on their relationship. See my articles Making the Perfect Marriage' and The Language of Love' for ways you can improve things.

The Clues for Infidelity - sex has a unique smell, so use your nose!

Underwear in the glove box

You often see films where the wife discovers her husband has been cheating because she finds a pair of ladies' sexy underwear in the glove box of the car. Come on! How ridiculous! What woman is going to forget that essential part of her wardrobe? Any girl will tell you, she just wouldn't do it. Not unless she was blind drunk anyway.

Perhaps in the heat of the moment, that piece of flimsy fabric got lost under the car seat and later found by the erring male? I still don't buy it. The woman would have spent ages hunting for them until she found them unless she wants to wreck your marriage and deliberately put them in the glove box - now there's a thought.

Again, come on guys, if you found them and put them in the glove box, are you going to leave them there for the wife to find? She will know you didn't buy them for her because they won't have a shop label on them and trust me, we women know if a pair of knickers are new or not!

I sometimes think there must be a lot of really stupid people out there. Why don't the films show a guy leaving his jocks behind in the woman's car?

Lipstick on the collar

Another clue the movies show us is the lipstick on the collar. We all know how rare it is for this to happen. If a guy is serious about hiding something from his wife, he will trash the shirt. Most of the lipstick from the mistress's mouth is more likely to end up on his mouth or other parts of his anatomy, not his shirt. Unless the mistress did it deliberately? Most men don't wear lipstick so guys won't be able to use this clue to catch their wives out.

Phone records

Now we're talking. Assuming your cheating spouse is limited in the brain's department and doesn't have a prepaid mobile phone to use for setting up those clandestine meetings, you could check the phone records and note any numbers that seem suspicious and called often. Caller ID and redial buttons on the phone are great snooping tools. If your partner is showing unusual paranoia whenever you touch their mobile phone, be alert! If the house phone rings a lot and no-one answers when you pick up, it could be the other woman, or man. Or it could just be kids playing games.

Increased spending on clothing or grooming

This is often a big sign - new hair-dos, perfume or cologne, clothing and underwear. Makeup and a sudden interest in cosmetic surgery to make them look younger are also signs, especially if your partner is nearing middle age. You can check the bank statements and credit card or eft-pos transactions. The clever adulterer uses cash for everything and is a master at accounting fraud. They also put the new clothes through the wash and destroy the purchase labels and receipts. If they are even more cunning, they will buy a few new items at a time and be completely open about it, asking your permission first, to make you think they are doing it to look more attractive for you.

Decrease in desire for sex (with you)

If your sex life has dwindled and your partner isn't complaining about it, then the chances are, he or she is getting it elsewhere. Of course, you need to be careful before you make any accusations; they may be suffering depression, busier at work, overtired, worried about something... If you have invited your mother to live with you, be prepared for your partner to have less enthusiasm for nighttime frolics. It puts a dampener on things if your partner knows the mother is in the next room!

Unexplained absence

If your partner suddenly has an increased number of meetings, or appointments that make them late home or away overnight, then this could be another clue that something is amiss. If they tell you there is no phone where they are going to be, apart from their mobile phone, take note. Try and find out the name of the hotel or business function and check the phone books or Internet for contact details. Then make a phone call to check if they arrived safely. Have a good excuse ready if your partner hops on the phone. Look for receipts when they return home and again check the bank accounts.

Personality changes

Has your partner suddenly become chirpier, nervy, moody, critical, excited, bouncy any noticeable change in personality has to have a trigger. Please make allowances in case your partner has a mental illness. Post natal depression, clinical depression, bi polar disorder, schizophrenia, etc.

Most erring spouses suffer a fair amount of guilt because of what they are up to and although it's exciting for them to have a new love paying attention to them, they probably still have some feeling for the one they are married to. Hence the guilt. To cope with that guilt, they will have to brainwash themselves to believe that what they are doing is not wrong.

Some of the excuses

"I deserve some happiness," is a common justification.

"It's my partner's fault because..." Shifting the blame works well.

"No-one will get hurt." Another conscience soother.

"Other people do it."

" I couldn't help myself."

"It's only sex. I still love my spouse.'

Please note - if you walk in on your partner making love with someone, they are definitely cheating on you!

How you will feel about it, and what you can do, are the subjects of my next article.

Before you make any accusations, make sure you have proof. You could cause a lot of harm by reproaching someone who is innocent. You could even drive them to do what you have been accusing them of!

All the best, and I hope your suspicions were unfounded.

3,439 - 7 - 0 - US

Michelle MacKinnon was born in New Zealand, in 1957 and she lives with her husband in Palmerston North. In 2008 she published a double award winning novel called Escape from Eden and in 2009 she published an award winning children's picture book called Bluebell Mary. Michelle has seven children, three adopted and four by birth. Since her training as a General and Obstetric nurse, Michelle has been involved in many different vocations from beekeeping, alternative medicine, and hobby farming, to accounting, marketing, and voluntary counselling. Writing has been a lifelong passion and in 2008 she completed a Graduate Diploma in Creative Writing at the Whitireia Polytechnic in Wellington, New Zealand.