Divorce and Infidelity

The decision to divorce is never an easy one.  Typically, it is one wrought with frustration and uncertainty.  The factors that go in to the decision vary greatly from couple to couple, yet one of the most prevalent scenarios often involves adultery or the suspicion of adultery. While some couples can overcome the damage done by extramarital affairs, it often times is the tipping point for many.  When suspicions of infidelity arise they can be difficult to navigate.  The uncertainty and distrust can become toxic, regardless of an actual indiscretion.  Yet, the initial suspicion can also be the first indicator that something is not right.  If that is the case, then there are other warning signs that can often serve as indications that a partner is being unfaithful.

In a recent article for Daily Mail, Marilyn Stowe, one of the UK’s most well-known family lawyers, and author of Divorce & Splitting Up: Advice From a Top Divorce Lawyer, offers advice on how to best tell if infidelity is an issue in your own marriage.

Stowe claims that one of the major signs that something may not be right is a drastic change in hygiene or appearance.  If your partner wore the same sweatpants every Saturday for the duration of your marriage, and didn’t reach for a razor unless it was a holiday or special occasion, then a sudden interest in new clothes and a stubble-free visage may be suspect.  Especially if you had previously been on them to buy some new clothes or up their grooming habits, randomly beginning to take heed without provocation can be an unfortunate sign of adultery.  Similarly, unless they have recently been given a push by their doctor to get healthy, a new gym membership can appear quite out of place.

Another symptom of infidelity is a heightened awareness of the location of his cell phone.  Also, if he begins to set or change the password on his smartphone or computer without any logical reason, there could be cause for concern.  This is, of course, a slippery slope, and you surely don’t want to be sneaking a peek as his text messages and recent phone calls – sometimes simply the fact that you find yourself considering the task is enough to warrant a further look at the state of your marriage.  Yet, sometimes the confirmation is needed – and if one looks hard enough they will often find it, especially when these tell-tale signs are present.

A third sign involves finances.  Extramarital affairs can be an expense, and often times tracks will be covered by new credit cards in only their name, and extra effort will be exerted so that you do not come across the bill.   Business travel is often times a convenient cover, and a red flag if an influx in “business travel” occurs alongside any other warning signs – especially if their job never involved traveling before.

According to Stowe, other questionable behaviors include the proposal of separate vacations, a significant dip in intimacy and avoidance of physical contact, and the proclivity to pick fights and criticize.

Ultimately, these behaviors are only symptomatic of a larger problem.  If there is an indiscretion revealed then there is a distinct problem to be addressed.  But, if there turns out to be no actual infidelity, then the problem still exists because there must have been a reason for your initial uncertainty in the first place.  These doubts can often be addressed in counseling, and some problems can be overcome – yet sometimes there is nothing that can be done and divorce is in inevitable solution.  When this is the case, it is a hard and emotional decision and one that cannot be summed up with a list of symptoms.  Each marriage and each divorce is different – and at Fields and Dennis we tailor are approach to the individual situation, providing compassion and legal expertise to get you through this tough time.