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17 Characteristics of a Cheating Woman | Plain Signs You Miss

Anna Khmara

Anna is a certified life transformation and relationship coach with an in-depth focus on positive psychology and transactional analysis. Using her 3+ years of experience, she helps her clients understand the essence of the problem, build self-esteem, establish healthy relationships, find harmony, and manifest their dreams into reality.

Women cheat in relationships almost as often as men, but they do it much more covertly. So then, how can you tell if your wife or girlfriend is cheating if they are so good at hiding it?

Several explicit cheating woman characteristics, typical for most cheaters, could indicate or predict an affair.

In this article, we will try to figure out the main traits of a cheating woman. We’ll also look at her psychology and behavior patterns that could help understand if she has cheated or is going to. Read on for more details.

How Often Do Women Cheat in Relationships?

Extramarital affairs have a long history and are certainly not uncommon in our society. A 2020 survey by the Institute for Family Studies analyzed 1,282 married individuals to determine how often people cheat.

The researchers found that women engage in extramarital affairs two times less often (10%) than men (20%).

How Often Do Women Cheat in Relationships?

This study is an extension of previous research by Wendy Wang in 2018 on who cheats more. It turns out that married women cheat less only on average. For example, among both sexes aged 18 to 29, men’s infidelity is lower (10%) than women’s (11%).

But with age, they switch roles. It means that the common belief that men are the primary cheaters is a myth.

Reasons Why Women Cheat

Cheating is usually defined as sexual intercourse with someone other than a current partner or spouse.

These days, however, we can also include emotional and digital (using social media) affairs to the list. In other words, cheating is any action that breaks the emotional and physical intimacy in the current relationship.

The reasons people cheat often depend on the outside circumstances and personality traits of cheaters. A 2020 study on infidelity analyzed psychological and social factors that motivate people to engage in an affair. The researchers outlined the following reasons for cheating:

  • Low satisfaction in current romantic relationships;
  • Lack of communication;
  • High conflict;
  • Desire to have more sex;
  • Lack of love;
  • Low commitment;
  • Feeling mistreated by a partner;
  • Situational clouded judgment (e.g., because of alcohol intoxication or stress), etc.

The psychology of cheaters is mostly the same for both sexes, and men’s and women’s motives differ only in how they are prioritized. For example, the main reason for men’s infidelity is a desire to have more sex and mistreatment from their partner.

At the same time, the leading reason for cheating women is dissatisfaction with their current romantic relationships. The second and third most cited reasons are the desire for emotional doping and love for another partner.

Cheated-on Partners are Partly at Fault

Alright, blaming the infidelity victim is not fair in some cases. Especially when talking about their personalities, not their deeds. But, some studies suggest that uninvolved people have some traits in common that probably put them into these situations more frequently than others.

Which traits are those?

2020 research by Dr. Meghna Mahambrey from Ohio State University sheds some light on this issue. She analyzed the data from 1,577 interviews during the National Survey of Midlife Development. As a result, she distinguished five big traits common to all victims of infidelity.

  • Low openness. A person is not intelligent or adventurous enough, which sometimes seems boring to a cheating partner, causing her to satisfy her emotional needs elsewhere.
  • Lack of conscientiousness. The partner’s unreliability and immature behavior can push the other person to commit an affair.
  • Introversion. If the current partner is not outgoing or doesn’t lead an active social life, their significant other might start looking for someone more appealing from their point of view.
  • Agreeableness. A cheating woman can get too accustomed to her partner’s helpful and sympathetic nature and even expect that her adulterous behavior will be excused.
  • Neuroticism. Such traits as moodiness and constant nervousness often lead to infidelity.
Cheated-on Partners are Partly at Fault

Most Obvious Characteristics of a Cheating Woman

Now, it’s time to look at the personality characteristics of cheaters that will help predict infidelity in romantic relationships. The potential cheating spouse or girlfriend often displays certain behavior tendencies or changes.

That’s why it is easy to create a typical cheaters’ profile. By paying attention to both the traits and behavior of your woman, you’ll get a better understanding of whether she’s cheating at the moment or is prone to it in the future.

Low self-esteem and validation seeking

One of the most common characteristics of a cheating woman is looking for someone else’s confirmation of their worth. Seeking validation is normal for most people, but only in healthy quantities.

Cheating ladies, however, need it on a daily basis. Several studies suggest that it is a way to avoid depression and anxiety when a person doesn’t have constant reassurance of their worth from others.

At the same time, their current partner is no longer a valuable source of validation for them. Instead, they need other men to want them to find happiness, which is usually ephemeral, meaning it doesn’t last long.

But this new relationship is always way more important for a cheating woman than what she has with her legitimate partner.

Constant lying about everything

Lying is typical behavior for all humans, says Jason Gale, communication and relationship expert. But for the cheating personality, it is a way of life. Fortunately, several telltale signs can help to detect the lies.

For example, one survey on deception detection determined the following characteristics of false statements: inconsistency, too many details, verbal and vocal uncertainty, negative complaints, etc.

For example, cheating women often lie about minor things, adding many unnecessary details. Most of the time, it doesn’t even make sense. But it’s one of the common traits of a cheating woman that you should pay attention to.

Skilled liars, on the contrary, can make up a believable story and use body language and the appropriate intonation so that their husband or boyfriend does not suspect anything.

She accuses her partner of cheating

One of the most evident characteristics of a cheating girlfriend is when she accuses her partner of infidelity out of the blue and without any evidence. Unfaithful women genuinely believe that if they cheat on their partner, everybody does it.

So she might often say that she’s afraid that her partner will cheat and that she would be devastated. It’s a number one red flag.

She often says she doesn’t deserve her partner

When a woman cheats on you, she may say things like “I don’t deserve to be with you” or “You’re so much better than me.” Sometimes a woman can even tell her partner right from the start that she is not a good person.

This way, she thinks she gives her boyfriend a warning which will help her justify her actions in the future. To be fair, this so-called honesty is also one of the characteristics of a cheating man.

A sudden change in sexual appetite and habits

An unexplainable huge appetite for sex or the lack of it are among the main characteristics of a cheating woman. She could suddenly express more sexual desire towards her boyfriend than usual because her affair partner makes her feel sexier.

Another explanation is that she feels guilty and gives her current partner a lot of intimate attention. The opposite situation is when a cheating woman gets satisfaction from other people, and she doesn’t need any extra physical intimacy with her husband or boyfriend.

The research on cues to infidelity by T. Shackelford and D. Buss adds a few other significant characteristics of cheating affairs. They are changes in sexual behavior, exaggerated affection, and sexual boredom.

She likes to keep her personal life a secret

Another one of the signs of a woman having an affair is that she suddenly becomes less open about her day, whether at work or home. A cheating woman often tries to avoid talking about her whereabouts because she’s afraid to spill some details that would uncover her secret. She also puts locks on her computer, which was password-free until recently. This way, she prevents you from seeing her emails and text messages from other men.

Sudden changes in phone usage

The behavior of a cheating wife regarding her phone is often very defensive. First of all, she always puts the password on it and sets all the messages to notifications. This way, they won’t show on the screen.

Second, she carries it around with her and can even put it under her pillow while sleeping. And lastly, she uses the phone almost all the time – she receives a lot of phone calls and text messages.

And whenever someone calls her, she leaves the room and stops talking if her partner comes closer.

Changes in phone usage

A few other probable characteristics of a cheating woman are that she constantly looks through her partner’s messages and additional information on the phone but doesn’t allow anyone to look into hers.

There are even examples when a person has two phones, one of which she’s hiding to lead a double life.

She has many friends among other men

One of the main characteristics of an adulterer is that they spend a lot of time with friends of the opposite sex.

One interesting study revealed that there is always some level of attraction between friends of the opposite sex. Therefore, the occurrence of a romantic relationship is only a matter of time.

Nobody says that platonic friendship doesn’t exist, but people in relationships usually spend more time with their significant other than with their best friend.

So, a cheating woman will probably go out or to parties with her male friend and invent excuses why her husband can’t go with them.

Daily conflicts and gaslighting

One of the most common traits found in cheaters is that they try to manipulate their partners and turn things upside down using verbal conflicts. For example, they find insignificant reasons to get mad or upset with their boyfriend and blame them for their failing marriage or relationship.

It’s actually a distraction tactic that helps switch the focus from one person or thing to another. So while the victim spends time defending themselves, they ignore their cheating spouse’s true nature.

Staying out of the home more than usual

One of the other important characteristics of a cheating woman is that she’s rarely around. For example, she might start a new hobby that requires time outside the house, especially on weekend evenings.

At the same time, she doesn’t invite her boyfriend to participate because, as she says, she needs time for herself and personal space. A cheater will rarely talk about her hobby after she comes home.

Or she starts going to the gym almost daily. It is especially suspicious when a woman works long shifts and then finds the energy to do extra physical exercises. So, it might be one of the signs that a wife is having an affair.

She’s working late, even on weekends

It is a classic sign of a cheating woman. A renowned psychologist and marriage researcher, Shirley Glass, said that the workplace is the most “fertile breeding ground for affairs.” In her clinical practice, almost 46% of unfaithful wives met her affair partner through their work.

Yet, working long hours is not enough to assume infidelity. There have to be a few other specific things that indicate that your wife is cheating on you at work. First, her explanations of working late are vague.

Second, these new working emergencies aren’t characteristic of her job. And lastly, a cheating woman will never want you to come to her workplace to pick her up after the long shift.

She’s a narcissist

Researc shows that women high in narcissism are more likely to commit infidelity in a long-term relationship. Marriage with a narcissist is a challenge even without dealing with cheating. But if we talk about their personality traits, infidelity is in their blood.

Living life for their benefit and well-being is their primary goal, so they believe that they deserve to “have it all.” These cheating women want instant gratification in the relationship.

They don’t care about other people’s feelings and often don’t even try to cover up their affair because they don’t think it’s a big deal.

She gets bored quickly

One thing cheating says about a person’s character is that they are adventurous and can’t stand slow-paced life. That’s why they often seek entertainment outside their marriage if the current partner cannot keep up with their active social life.

One of the essential characteristics of a cheating woman of this type is that she doesn’t plan to leave her husband and is only interested in casual sex. And since not many people want to have an open relationship, such women keep their multiple partners a secret from each other.

She’s done it before

They say, “once a cheater - always a cheater.” But is this opinion justified? Do the cheating tendencies travel from one marriage to the other?

It turns out they do. 2017 research on serial infidelity showed that people who cheated in the previous relationship are three times more likely to cheat in the next one.

The study also outlined several personality traits of serial cheaters, such as dependency on others (attachment), self-doubt, openness to new experience, low commitment, etc.

She’s emotionally unavailable

One of the evident signs of an adulterous woman is that she’s emotionally distant from her partner.

The critical signs of an emotionally unavailable person are their lack of affection, appreciation, and disregarding their partner’s emotional state, writes Sherry Gaba, LCSW, for Psychology Today.

While a faithful wife would be interested in her husband’s day or issues at work, a cheating one couldn’t care less.

Emotionally unavailable

She’s lost her emotional connection with her current partner and doesn’t want to share her innermost feelings with them. If you used to have intimate conversations in your marriage, they usually disappear when your wife has an affair.

She suddenly starts improving her looks

One of the physical signs your wife is cheating might be her sudden interest in how she looks. She might also change her taste in clothes and choose a more feminine style. For instance, she buys and wears dresses, high heels, short skirts instead of the usual jeans.

Of course, the style change is not a primary sign your wife is cheating on you. But if she dresses to kill and goes out without her partner, she’s probably trying to impress someone else.

She’s not interested in long-term plans

If a cheating woman doesn’t want to discuss joint plans, such as going together on vacation, it’s a sign she’s not interested in the progress of her relationship with the current partner. It’s not a direct sign of a wife’s affair, but it says a lot in combination with others from this list.

Final Thoughts

We’ve looked at the most evident characteristics of a cheating woman and typical personality traits of an adulterer that include validation seeking, low self-esteem and commitment, self-doubt, lack of empathy, and others.

However, any one of these signs taken in isolation might not indicate cheating. For example, some women are reserved or constantly self-doubting, while others are open to new adventures, and none of them are cheaters.

The main point here is that these behaviors are exaggerated or deviate from the usual behavior.


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