Call it women’s intuition. A sixth sense. “Just a feeling” that there’s some action going on in your guy’s love life that has absolutely nothing to do with you. If he’s sneaking around like Tiger Woods, he may think he’s slick, but chances are he’s dropping clues like loose change. These 5 bad-boy behaviors could be flashing-red warning signs:
1. He starts acting overprotective of his cell phone or computer.
This is one classic sign of a cheating heart that you shouldn’t ignore. When simple phone calls or text messages put him on edge before he even picks up the phone, you know there’s something fishy going on. If there were nothing to hide, he (and you) would have no reason to worry. And when he erases voice mail messages, hastily shuts down his laptop when you walk in the room or has lots of hushed phone calls, you’ve got a reason to worry.
2. He starts picking you apart.
All of a sudden, quirks that he used to find charming (the way you sneeze, your tendency to snort when you laugh, your habit of chewing on the cap of your pen when you’re deep in thought…) are targets for his ire. He can’t resist making snarky or outright critical remarks toward you about things that really shouldn’t matter. But don’t try to reason with him. He’s knocking you off the pedestal for one reason or another. It could be to demonize you so it’s easier for him to “justify” his Tiger Woods-style transgressions.
3. He makes cruel jokes that ring true.
He may be joking, but if it stings, don’t turn the other cheek. I once dated a guy – for an embarrassingly LONG time – who constantly teased about his love of Asian women. And what’s worse is that he did it in public – at dinner parties, barbecues, weddings, you name it! This was offensive in 1,001 ways, not the least of which was that most of our female friends were Asian and thought he was a jerk for objectifying and stereotyping them. And I, as you might have guessed by now, am not Asian. Not even close. After putting up with it for more years than I care to admit, I threw down the gauntlet: If he wanted to stay in a relationship with me, he had to ditch the jokes. So, he stopped. Six months later, he left me for a Korean woman (who dumped him a few months later, but that’s a whole ‘nother story). My guess is she didn’t like his jokes, either.
4. He starts taking much better care of himself
without any prompting from you. Has Mr. Sleep Till Noon all of a sudden morphed into Mr. 5 a.m. Boot Camp, cut out carbs, and tossed his college tees and generic jeans for the men’s window-display outfit at Banana Republic? Has he started using hair gel, after a lifetime of wash-‘n-go? Has his overall hygiene taken a sharp turn for the better – but along with that, he’s started showering twice a day (including right after he gets home from a late night at the office) and paying particular attention to trimming his nose hairs and unibrow? Watch out: He may be primping for someone else (and trying to hide the evidence after he gets home). Note: The adoption of any kind of mancessory, however, warrants no worry. That move calls for professional help, not suspicion.
5. He talks incessantly about a female coworker or friend.
“Oh, Kate is so good at this and that, so smart, so pretty, so…I mean, you’d like her, really. That’s all I meant.” Sure, men and women can be friends, but don’t kid yourself by thinking a little Harry Met Sally action couldn’t happen to your guy. Anyone can cross the line. It’s not a given, but sometimes all it takes is a few drinks, a well-timed compliment or one too many long lunches, and boom – the boundaries come crashing down. None of us wants to admit it, but we all know it’s true.