My boyfriend and I have been together for two years and two months. He's a wonderful man, but I've been noticing some strange things that lead me to believe that he might be cheating on me. For example, he doesn't want me to see his phone, and before he used to have a picture of me on his phone wallpaper, but suddenly he has a picture of himself instead.
Just yesterday we were at the beach having a great time when he decided to check his voicemail. I was close enough that I could hear the messages, which were clearly left by another woman — he just smiled while he listened. I have no problem with him having female friends, but what was particularly off-putting was that when he was done listening, he said, "It was the guys." I've known my boyfriend long enough to have built a wall of trust between us, but all these little things lead me to think that maybe he might be cheating. He says he loves me very much, but I'm starting to doubt him. Does this mean that he is cheating on me or will be soon?
— Doubting Darla
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Dear Doubting Darla,
I wish I could tell you with certainty whether or not your boyfriend is cheating on you, but obviously I can't. I will say, however, that if you've been dating for over two years and you're suddenly feeling uncomfortable about certain things, don't ignore your instincts. Regardless of whether or not he's engaging in any kind of intimate relationship outside of your own, there's something about his behavior that's making you feel insecure. And sudden insecurity in an otherwise healthy relationship is definitely a red flag.
Ask your boyfriend what's going on; you don't have to accuse him of cheating, but I think it's perfectly reasonable to tell him that for the first time in your relationship, you're doubting his honesty. Once you confront him, your boyfriend can handle it one of four ways: he can offer a completely reasonable explanation; he can tell you that you're imagining things; he can get defensive; or he can admit to doing something behind your back. Unfortunately, aside from the last, none of these offer a 100 percent guarantee of truth, but I do think you can use his reaction to get a better sense of things. In the end, my best recommendation is to follow your instincts; usually there's a reason they're trying to tell you something.