From tabloid covers and hidden-camera reality shows to political scandals and high-profile custody battles, society is obsessed with the juicy details of marital infidelity. But when it happens to you, or when you think it might be a possibility, it’s not such a glamorous or attractive idea. When trust disappears from a marriage, it can stir up everything from grief to rage, and there are usually legal implications too.
That’s why, despite a huge modern market for consumer surveillance gadgets, private investigators continue to thrive among a specific clientele: suspicious husbands and wives. Whether you suspect betrayal in your own marriage or you’re just curious about the details of infidelity investigations, the following suggestions will guide you through the process of hiring help to get the truth.
Spot the warning signs
There’s no surefire way to prove a spouse is cheating without hard evidence, so don’t let “red flags” convince you to file for divorce. For example, a cheating spouse might grow aloof and lose interest in sex, but they also might overcompensate by being overly affectionate and having a higher libido. Don’t drive yourself crazy because of behavior or schedule changes alone, but do look out for these big indicators as one of many common signs of cheating.
Every private investigator knows this from experience: if a client suspects something, they probably have a good reason to. If you have a nagging feeling that your partner is keeping something from you, you’re probably right. It might not be infidelity, but if your attempts to address the issue don’t go anywhere, it’s time to find out for sure. Someone can be an expert at covering his or her tracks, leaving virtually no telltale clues or holes in their stories, and still be discovered because their spouse could “sense” that something wasn’t right. Trust your gut, and if you don’t want to be right, or your spouse turns out to be innocent, you should still address the distance that caused your doubt.
Past or present struggles with addiction or abuse
According to Psychology Today, substance abuse and past trauma make people more likely to stray from their marriages. No one should be blamed for being victimized or addicted, but if your spouse has a problem and refuses to seek help, it will affect their decision-making skills, moral compass and emotional maturity. Those are all red flags for infidelity, because cheating on a spouse might not carry the same weight that it would if they had healthier views of sexuality or a better grasp on their own impulses.
Sudden change in appearance
It’s only natural to notice changes in your spouse’s schedule, but you should look at your spouse for the best idea of where they’ve been. If they start paying more attention to their weight or personal style, they might be trying to impress someone else, or letting someone else influence their sense of fashion or self-worth. In a healthy marriage, partners make each other feel confident and attractive, but if you’ve lost that and only one half gained it back, that’s a bad sign.
Hire a private investigator to get the truth
If you genuinely want to get to the bottom of your suspicions, you can hire a private investigator to conduct the research for you. Licensed, trained PIs have more advanced tools and more comprehensive databases than you have access to, including new technology that makes surveillance and pattern detection much easier. More importantly, they’re skilled at collecting information without being detected, and might be able to spot behavior or schedule changes you wouldn’t notice.
It’s not always about peace of mind or exposing a lie, either. Many suspicious spouses hire private investigators to protect themselves legally. It’s common to commission outside research if a prenuptial agreement hinges on evidence of infidelity, for example; to catch your spouse cheating is to guarantee yourself some of their money. In some states, this evidence is one way to become eligible to file for divorce.
Leave it to the experts
No matter how tempted you are to take matters into your own hands, don’t do it. Running your own surveillance mission can get expensive, but more importantly, it’s exhausting and risky. And be careful if you think you can track your wife’s phone without her knowing.
If your marriage is in trouble and you can’t trust your spouse to be upfront, spending your time stewing and plotting might seem like a welcome relief from paranoia and powerlessness. It gives you an “edge” over your spouse that can be empowering, but as long as you continue to dig for clues, you won’t be addressing your relationship openly or giving yourself time to heal. Hiring a private investigator takes the stress and pressure off of you, and allows you to maintain an upper ground and focus on your friends, career, and self until you have all the facts.
Most importantly, leaving your infidelity investigation to the experts will spare you the possibility of confrontation and legal blame. No matter how satisfying you think it would be to catch your spouse “in the act”, it’s also a traumatizing moment that can escalate quickly. When the emotional stakes are so high, you don’t want to stoke the flakes with additional drama and suspense, and you definitely don’t want to be accused of trespassing or voyeurism. Instead, you want to be able to plan your reactions and restrain yourself, and hiring a professional pair of eyes will give you that gift.