Trust is one of the most important parts of a relationship, but sometimes it can be difficult to figure out whether or not your partner is being completely honest with you. Luckily, there are some telltale signs that someone is not trustworthy, and there are some common habits that could indicate your partner is hiding something from you. If you have an instinct you can’t seem to shake, and you happen to find your partner engaged in these suspicious behaviors, it might not just be in your head.
“People engage in these habits because they feel a level of guilt and responsibility,” couples and family therapist Tracy K. Ross, LCSW tells Bustle. “They may have justifications outwardly, but an internal moral compass will express what it really feels … It can be impossible to experience this complex set of emotions without some ‘tells.’ Often there is an unconscious wish to get caught and have your partner really understand what is going on for you.”
Everyone reacts differently when it comes to their privacy — whether or not they have something to hide — but if something seems off, it can be useful to know what is considered some questionable behavior. If your partner does some of these seven common things, experts say they may be hiding something from you.
1. They’re Vague About Their Whereabouts
Although you don’t have to keep tabs on each other every second of the day, it’s never a good sign if your partner is vague about where they have been or what they have been doing. “When someone answers vaguely or tangentially about their whereabouts, either in person, via text or phone, then there is a possibility they have something to hide,” Barbara Winter Ph.D PA tells Bustle. If this is the case, your best bet is to confront them about it, in hopes they will be honest and upfront.
2. They Share Way Too Many Details
The opposite can be true as well — sharing too much detail may be a sign they are covering something up. “They [may] go into too much detail about where they were or who they were with when you ask an innocent question,” says Ross. “If you ask, ‘Where’d you go for dinner and who was there?’ You may get a long explanation that seems fishy, because often the cover up is worse than the crime.” Once again, if your instinct is telling you something is off, communication is key.
3. They’re Avoidant
Someone who is hiding something will avoid spending time together, conversations about certain things, making decisions, making plans, etc. “You may notice it’s hard to pin them down about time together or planning,” says Ross. “If they can avoid time with you, they think they may be able to avoid the guilty feelings or the potential for something to slip out.”
4. They’re Protective Of Their Phone
Someone with something to hide will likely be very protective of their phone. “They receive text messages at odd times and get defensive when asked about them, or they say they are from someone about something that doesn’t make sense,” says Ross. “You find yourself thinking, ‘That’s odd’ and then dismissing it thinking, you must be imagining things. This is the classic telltale sign and coverup, and the phone is the primary method of communication.”
5. They’re More Involved In Work Than Usual
“They have more reasons to stay late at work, more after work obligations, or more business-related trips than normal,” says Ross. “This is the perfect way to try to hide something. When it happens in small doses, it seems reasonable and may not be questioned, but little by little you notice a pattern or something just doesn’t sit right.” It may be true that a recent promotion or change in situation with their career is causing your partner to be more involved at work, but if you have any reason to question this, ask your partner directly.
6. They Constantly Blame You
If your partner constantly puts the blame on you for any insecurities you may have, it’s not a good sign. “Gaslighting — a particularly virulent process that causes the recipient of the information to question themselves and their reality — includes things like ‘No, that never happened’ or tangential nonsensical explanations to questions,” says Winter. And it’s important to be aware of it, because gaslighting, in some cases, can be a form of emotional abuse.
7. Their Sexual Habits Change
If your partner is hiding something, it may affect your sex life. “They start avoiding sex, or they make more of an effort to have sex — two sides of the same coin,” says Ross. “If someone is hiding something, this can be a way to avoid intimacy with you or distract from suspicion.”
If your partner is engaging in these suspicious habits, it may be time to have a serious conversation and find out whether or not they are being fully honest with you.