They're just good friends ... right? 6 red flags if you are being cheated on

SUBTLE SIGNALS: All is not as it seems... photo: thinkstock
SUBTLE SIGNALS: All is not as it seems... photo: thinkstock

Recent pictures of Miley Cyrus's boyfriend Patrick Schwarzenegger have caused quite a stir, after he was reportedly spotted getting cosy with another female in Cyrus's absence during the spring break.

Rumours were rife that he was cheating on Cyrus, but he fired back with the line most women have probably heard before: "We are just friends."

This standard line has been spewed by many celebs and personalities caught acting inappropriately with members of the opposite sex.

Many people who have been in relationships can attest to that "Hmm ." feeling at seeing their partner interact with a member of the opposite sex who he or she pegs as "just a friend".

Are you a paranoid and jealous lover, or could you be on to something with your suspicions?

A survey of more than 1450 members of the dating site Match.com revealed that 11% of respondents say that men and women cannot "just be friends", while 62% admitted they had been in a platonic friendship that turned romantic or sexual.

But before you press the panic button, we solicited the help of relationship expert Elijah Padi about how to distinguish if your partner's alleged friend is more than what they claim.

"This kind of affair is very difficult to detect because it is committed right under your nose and in the comfort of your environment, by the two people you trust most," Padi says.

But it is, he cautions, advisable to tread carefully to avoid being paranoid.

AM I CRAZY?

Padi says it's important to determine why you suspect your partner's friendship for being dodgy in the first place.

"Some people have trust issues that were inherited from their childhood.

"Maybe they were deceived or disappointed by their parents, family members, or their high school sweetheart, and when they grow up they are more likely to distrust their partners.

So, if you suspect something sinister, ask yourself if this suspicion is motivated by your current observation or by your programmed distrust.

"If you have been hurt in the past, you are more likely to be paranoid," he says.

HERE ARE THE RED FLAGS

According to Padi there are subtle signs that could prove that you are being taken for a ride.

These are the top-10 signs that the only thing missing from the "just-friends" phrase you are being fed, is "with benefits".

Red flag 1

The spouse always speaks highly and reverently about the friend.

What you hear: "She is an amazing cook, your dumpling flopped, ask her for the recipe."

Red flag 2

The friend is always complimenting the spouse or vice versa.

What you hear: "Wow Maria, you give Angelina Jolie a run for her money in that dress."

Red flag 3

Both the spouse and the friend like or prefer the same things.

What you see: They are going on about the WWE match while you wonder if Brock Lesnar is a salad dressing.

Red flag 4

The spouse keeps on suggesting that the friend be invited to jointhe couple for dinners or outings.

What you hear: "Oh honey, you made reservations for two? Joyce is joining us for our romantic candle-lit dinner, I thought you wouldn't mind."

Red flag 5

The spouse is very active and talkative in the presence of the friend, and very reserved when they are with you.

What you notice: The sound of crickets singing a hymn in the background as the two of them chat animatedly.

Red flag 6

The friend knows most of your spouse's needs.

What you hear: "Wow, Vee got me Superman boxers. How did she know he's my childhood icon?"

I SUSPECT SOMETHING, NOW WHAT?

Padi says it is always advisable to take your time to calm down after you find out that something has been happening between the two.

"What is important here is to recognise what kind of emotional patterns you are experiencing. Some patterns are typical and normal, and some are unhealthy and can lead to hurtful consequences."

He says while it is normal to feel hurt, sad, angry and depressed, planning anything drastic can only exacerbate the situation.

"In cases of infidelity it is important for couples to evaluate their relationship and reach healthy decisions about whether to stay together and work to improve the relationship or to separate."

Whether you stay or leave, Padi stresses that you will need to find a way to let go of the negative emotions connected with the infidelity. "The injured partner needs to let go of her or his desire to punish the participating partner."

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