Bett Porter in the L word Are you being overly jealous, or is there really something to worry about?

I have always been fascinated by time travel. In books, in movies, in anything. Thanks to Facebook’s On this day, travelling back in time suddenly doesn’t seem so out of reach.

Many years ago, I suspected my then-girlfriend was cheating on me with a mutual friend. At the time, I ignored my gut and blamed myself for feeling insecure in the relationship.

After all, even if my girlfriend would do such a shady thing, surely my friend never would. They did start dating immediately after our breakup but part of me always wondered if it began before we ended.

Fast forward a few years and said mutual friend shares a Facebook post “On this day 4 years ago we fell in love”. There is a picture of the two of them, her and my ex. I can’t help but do the math. Four years ago we were on a trip together, definitely not broken up yet.  Now, in the present, I don’t have much of a reaction, except confirmation that my gut was right those years ago.

I feel some embarrassment that it was silly social media that confirmed the overlap. Looking back on the last months of our relationship, there were 5 clear signs she has headed away from us and towards someone else.

1. She keeps many secrets

Secrets are things kept hidden, including not telling the whole story. Aside from good secrets like surprise parties, generally, if there is secrecy in a relationship something is awry. For example, she doesn’t tell you that she met up with a friend for lunch, or that she had a friend over while you were out of town. Maybe it’s not a big deal. But then why keep it secret? One of the biggest giveaways of shady behaviour is how secret she keeps her technology around you.

2. Technology is on lockdown

I have never been a snooper, either in personal things, or cell phones. But when, post-argument, Ex said I could go through her phone, I did. And the next day all her texts from Former Friends were deleted. She also began carrying her phone everywhere with her, including into the bathroom when she showered. Overprotectiveness of an electronic device is not typical relationship behaviour. Even if it doesn’t mean what you’re afraid it means, it’s likely that there is something going on that she doesn’t want you to know about.

3. Her words and actions don’t line up

For some women, it’s easy to lie with words. “I see a long future with you,” she may say. And she may even mean it when she says it, particularly if she’s not in tune with her own feelings and motivations. But when you hear those words and then notice her actions don’t match, it’s time to pay attention. For example, she says she’s committed but she avoids you, stops sharing her world with you, or becomes short and distant, there’s a disconnect. When people feel guilty, it’s not uncommon to project their feelings onto someone else.

4. She has inappropriate boundaries

Having poor boundaries doesn’t always equate to deception. But when you communicate your boundaries and they are crossed (evidenced by secrets kept, technology on lockdown, and misaligned words and actions), that is clear disrespect for you. That is not loving and could be a sign she’s getting her needs met elsewhere.

5. You have a gut feeling

I remember when I knew. We were all out together, a night out with friends. Ex and Former Friend went to the bar together to get drinks. As I chatted with our other friends something made me look up and look their way. Prior to this moment, I had never given a single thought to Ex being interested in her or in anyone else. But in that instant, I saw Ex looking at her in a way, smiling her small charmed smile at her and realized that’s how she used to look at me. My gut knew, even before I had all the information.

Sometimes when things don’t add up it means that something shady is going on. Just because she exhibits one of the above behaviours doesn’t mean she’s got a side chic. The biggest indicator of deception, or its opposite – trustworthiness, is when there is a clear pattern over time.