The Heartbreaking Reason Your Partner Might Suddenly Dote On You More Than Usual

It's no secret that a lot of us dream of having a partner who will shower us with love. It can feel good to be doted on and confidently know that your significant other treasures you (as they should). However, lovey-dovey affection isn't always a given in relationships. A 2011 study published in The Family Journal revealed that a discrepancy in emotional affection is one of the most common relationship problems faced by couples.


If a distant or lukewarm partner suddenly becomes a total softie, spoiling you with attention and speaking your love language like a pro, it might appear to be a good thing at first glance. However, this shift could indicate an issue even larger than emotional distance or lack of affection: infidelity.

Though you might expect a deceitful partner to act coldly during an affair — and this does happen in some cases — it's also possible for a partner to become more attentive toward you and your needs while pursuing someone else on the side. Here's how to spot this red flag and what to do if you think your S.O. is being unfaithful.

When affection becomes a sign of trouble

Obviously, it's not a good idea to assume just any uptick in affection is a sign of cheating. Especially if you've asked your boo to show a little more tenderness, it's possible that they're simply warming up and feeling more comfortable expressing love lately. On the other hand, if the change seems to have come out of nowhere, it's a good idea to take note. "If all of the sudden, they start acting totally different in their affection toward you, it could be a sign," Rob Alex, a relationship guru who co-created Sexy Challenges and Mission Date Night, told Bustle. "Hopefully, it is just that they appreciate you, but many people report that at the initial stages of cheating, a partner actually becomes more affectionate."


This could come in many forms, from grand romantic gestures to everyday praise and physical touch (particularly if these acts weren't a part of their repertoire before). Gift-giving is another common sign of cheating, as Dr. Paul Coleman, a psychologist and the author of "Finding Peace When Your Heart Is In Pieces," shared with Prevention.

Often, doting isn't the only giveaway that a partner has something to hide. Other clues that your other half could be having an affair include secret behavior (like keeping their phone out of sight or not disclosing where they're going), shifts in mood, complaining and criticizing you or the relationship, and changes to your shared sex life.

Why cheaters sometimes act more loving

Cheating can cause a lot of pain and heartbreak in a relationship, so what would drive an unfaithful partner to dial up affection while doing something so destructive? It mostly comes down to guilt, according to psychotherapist and co-founder of the Aspen Relationship Institute Lori Kret. "If the partner is feeling guilt, instead of ending the affair that is meeting a psychological need, they may try to address the guilt by becoming more present in the relationship and putting in more effort," Kret explained to Glamour.


Kret also said that a fear of getting caught can motivate a cheater to dote on their partner more, and in some cases, this can make way for manipulation and gaslighting. If you bring up your suspicions, your significant other might point to their affectionate behavior to try to convince you that you're wrong. Dr. Leon F. Seltzer, a retired clinical psychologist specializing in couples conflict, also writes on Psychology Today that some people may use praise as a retention behavior to corner you into forgiving them in case you find out.

If you suspect your S.O. is two-timing, don't rush to make an accusation — doing so could destroy your relationship, especially if it turns out that your partner is innocent. Once you've had time to assess the situation, calmly approach your partner in a private, neutral setting to discuss your concerns. Even if they don't fess up, listen to your gut when deciding how to proceed.