The guy you are dating leaves you with butterflies in your stomach, knows how to have a great time and may seem like someone you could consider spending more time with in the future, but you can't shake the feeling that he might be hiding something from you. While you may assume that cheating is not common or won't happen to you, a study conducted by Amy Wilkins and Cristen Dalessandro at the University of Colorado-Boulder, suggests that cheating is an expected part of dating culture. Whether he guards his phone, is reluctant to bring you around his friends or otherwise tends to be flaky, knowing whether he has wife or a girlfriend requires that you take a careful and objective look at your dating situation.
1. Erratic Behaviors
Odd behavior is one sign that your boyfriend may be hiding a wife or a girlfriend. Although we all enjoy a certain amount of privacy while on the phone, constantly excusing himself to take a call can be fishy. If your boyfriend only talks to you during business hours, it might indicate that he has a wife or girlfriend at home who occupies his time during the evenings. Only meeting for lunch dates or while on business trips may also be signs that your boyfriend has a romantic life outside of your relationship. Leann Knobloch of the University of Illinois identified several characteristics that couples self-identified as leading relationship uncertainty including discussing finances, the role of family in a relationship and deciding on religious beliefs. Your boyfriend shying away from these topics may not point to him having another woman, but it can indicate that there are issues within the relationship that may also be a cause for concern.
2. Autonomy in His Personal Life
While the concept of autonomy, respecting each other's lives and interests outside of the relationship, is one of several relationship rules identified by Leslie Baxter of Lewis and Clark College, too much autonomy may indicate that there are elements of his personal life that your boyfriend is trying to keep from you. Though your boyfriend may have a valid and reasonable explanation for why he doesn't talk to his family or doesn't have many friends, refusing to bring you around his social circle may be an indicator that he wants to keep your relationship hidden away. If you have never met his friends or family in a social situation, there is a chance that he does not want his friends to spill the beans about his wife or girlfriend.
3. Private Romantic Dates
A private candlelight date can make for a very romantic and intimate evening. If, however, your boyfriend insists that all of your dates be at private, romantic venues, this may be a sign that he is attempting to lay low and avoid being spotted by the friends or family members of a potential wife or girlfriend. Casually ask to do something that is a bit more in the public eye, such as going to a baseball game, taking a painting class or going bowling. If your boyfriend resists, it might be a sign that he is afraid of being spotted.
4. Social Networks
Though there are many people who opt not to participate in the social networking phenomenon, many people do have active Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts. Not having a social media presence isn't a guarantee that your boyfriend is hiding a relationship, but the fact that he doesn't want attention drawn to him does raise a red flag. Also suspicious is a Facebook or Twitter account with very little personally identifiable information, such as a lack of photos and very few followers.
5. Being Objective
Many people in relationships find themselves so blinded by love, or sometimes by the idea and desire for love, that they can sometimes overlook otherwise obvious signs that may indicate sinister motives in the relationship. Take a step back from your relationship and try to look at the relationship objectively, as if you were looking in on a relationship between one of your friends and her boyfriend. If you consider the actions of her boyfriend to be unacceptable, shady or strange, then there is good reason to assume that your boyfriend's behavior has cause for concern.
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