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Cheaters and Infidelity: What To Look For, What To Do

Copyright 2007, Keith L. Walker, Discovery Services Private Investigators

Suspicion of infidelity is a horrible thing.

It can cause insecurity, anxiety, fear, sleeplessness, depression, and can occupy your thoughts and mind all hours of the day and night. You begin to speculate: What did I do to drive him/her them away? Did I love him/her them enough? Did I smother him/her? Will I ever trust him/her again? Will our relationship ever be the same? What does the other person have that I don't? After a while your health can suffer and your performance at work can suffer.

And then it starts to affect others. Your children can become aware that something is wrong with Mommy and Daddy, and they too can feel insecurity, anxiety, fear, sleeplessness, and they too will begin to speculate.

Infidelity hurts the whole family, especially innocent children. And it destroys the safety and sanctity your home.

I have been a private investigator for over fifteen years and have conducted many domestic investigations, performed many background checks, and conducted many, many hours of surveillance. Throughout the years, I have become sensitive to the red flags that may indicative that someone in a relationship was being unfaithful.

Also, please note that I am not an attorney and am not providing legal advice. When in doubt, check with your attorney or other legal advisor -especially in matters regarding your partner's privacy.

So, let me share with you number of subtle (and not-so-subtle) clues that you should be aware of, if you suspect that your partner is being unfaithful. While none of these "red flags" automatically mean you are being deceived, they should be regarded as possible indicators of deceit, to determine if further investigation is warranted.


Usually, the thing that will tip you off is a change in behavior. So, let's look at just a few of the behaviors that you might observe, if your loved one was being unfaithful:

Behavior At Home: Your partner or spouse
  • Appears distant, show a lack of interest or develop an unexplained aloofness
  • Is frequently tired or lack interest in the relationship
  • Comes home smelling of an unfamiliar fragrance
  • Wears perfume/cologne much more often than usual
  • Arrives home and heads straight into the shower/bath
  • Gets dressed up a little too well (to) for trips to the grocery or running some other kind of errand or menial task
  • Begins to speak more and more harshly to you, or are more sarcastic. Sometimes this is just an attempt to justify their cheating or to give them an excuse to storm out of the room/house
  • Asks about your schedule more often than usual
  • Develops an increased focus on losing weight or pays more attention to their appearance
  • Stops wearing his/her wedding ring and, when asked, can't give a reasonable explanation
Romance: Your partner or spouse
  • Is no longer interested in sex, or he/she makes excuses for its infrequency.
  • Starts to request kinky or other erotic sexual activity (behavior) that you've never done before, including watching porn
  • Shows a new talent in the bedroom (that they might have learned from the individual with whom they've been cheating)
  • Appears reluctant to kiss you, or show affection toward you.
  • Criticizes you for showing him/her attention.
  • Continues giving poor excuses for why he/she is not in the mood to make love.
Work-related: Your partner or spouse
  • Work longer hours, more frequently and keep you from viewing their paycheck/pay-stubs
  • Changes their established routine with no apparent reason
  • Begins discouraging you from calling him/her them at work
  • Is often unavailable when you try to call him/her at work.
  • Returns calls long after you leave a message for him/her.
  • Prefers to attend work functions (or any events) alone and tries to discourage you from attending.
  • Takes more trips for business reasons and even refuses to let you drive him/her to the airport.
Telephone Mannerisms: Your partner or spouse
  • Receives mysterious phone calls.
  • You get an increasing number of hang-ups or wrong numbers when you pick up the phone. Especially if the caller hangs up after hearing your voice and doesn't speak, because often (though not always) is a person who makes a real wrong number will at least ask, Is Fred there? before hanging up.
  • Phone bills show unexplained toll or long distance charges.
  • Hurriedly answers the phone to answer it before you do.
  • Leaves the room to talk on the phone.
  • Whispers while on the phone.
  • Suddenly need a cell phone (or pager) and discourages you from looking at or using the phone or pager.
  • Deletes numbers from caller ID.
  • Behaves differently or ends the telephone calls abruptly when you enter the room. Or appears to hang up quickly.
Paper Trails:
  • Finding credit card receipts for gifts you didn't receive.
  • An increase in ATM withdrawals. Especially those from out-of-town (receipts bear a time/date stamp).
  • Credit card receipts showing purchases from places that unknown to you or seem suspect
  • He/she rushes to get the mail before you do.
  • She/he gets a separate P.O. Box.
  • Unusual phone numbers appear on the bill.
  • The duration and time of the calls appear excessive.
  • He/She are secretive about their cell phone bill.
  • She/He starts to pay the phone bills or credit card bills themselves.
  • You notice business travel or other deductions for travel or other expenses that you were unaware of.
Automobile related:
  • The passenger's seat is adjusted differently than you had left it.
  • Taking child seat out of the car for no particular reason.
  • Finding suspicious items like phone numbers, receipts, lipstick, condoms or strange hairs in the vehicle.
  • Keeping a change of clothes in the trunk.
  • Unexplainable mileage or a lack of additional mileage. For example, if your spouse state they went out of town yet the odometer indicates that only a distance of 25 miles had been driven. Conversely, if your spouse states they'd only been to the office that day, yet their odometer shows many more miles ad been driven, this too, may be a significant matter.
  • They warily guard access to their computer.
  • They shut down the computer as you walk into the room.
  • They add password protection their computer.
  • Or they stay up to "work" on the computer long after you've gone to bed.
  • They have unusual sites showing in their browser history, or erase them after each late-night session.
  • They delete email message more frequently

Again, let me reiterate that these behaviors are only indicators of infidelity and are not absolutes.

Some cheaters are very deceitful and can cover their tracks superbly. They may become more attentive in an effort to compensate for the fact that their attentions are going elsewhere. They behave like "model" parents in an effort to alleviate their guilt. They can juggle the extra-marital relationship, while tending to the marriage in a seemingly flawless way. They may also have friends that will help them to get out of the house or provide alibis for the cheater. These are the people who are the hardest to catch, and the ones who cause the most pain when they are finally caught.

These constitute even more reason to consider retaining the services of a professional investigator.

When You Begin to suspect, just observe -don't accuse:

If, after some consideration, you begin to have suspicions then don't accuse, but just observe.

If you accuse your partner and are mistaken, you risk causing unnecessary and irreparable damage to your relationship damage that may take a lot of time to recover from. And, even if you are correct, it's quite possible that your spouse/partner will be able to explain their behavior in a manner that's sufficient to cause you raise reasonable doubt. And, because they are now aware that you are suspicions, they will be even more careful and more guarded, making it much more difficult for you to determine the truth.

If you become suspicious, don't treat the cheater any differently and don't interfere. Now is the time for careful observation, and not for anger. The cheater will eventually be found out, so it's important to be patient, observant, and to make note of patterns of behavior.

After some patient observation you'll probably be able to provide a great deal of helpful information to a professional investigator, so that the investigator can obtain the evidence and documentation you need. Make note of information such as: the most likely days/times when your partner may be misbehaving, places your partner alleges to frequent, people with whom your partner alleges to keep company.

The more information you have (regardless of whether you think it's important or not), the greater the likelihood an investigator can determine the truth and do it in the most cost-effective manner.

A final word of caution:

If you think a spouse or partner is misbehaving while you're out of town, you may consider pretending to plan a trip out of town, in order to conduct your own surveillance and confirm your suspicions.

You should be discouraged from doing this is because if your suspicions are confirmed, your emotions may cause you to react in a manner that is counter-productive. Emotions can make all us behave in a reactionary way, and at moments like this, it's vitally important to keep a cool head. So, if this idea still appeals to you, consider having a private investigator conduct surveillance during this time.

Absolutely certain your spouse/partner -IS- cheating?

Once you've observed your spouse or partner for a sufficient amount of time, you may eventually feel that it is necessary to confront him/her your spouse.How do you handle it? .

If your intention is to file for divorce if your suspicion is confirmed, then first seek the counsel of an attorney. It is important to understand your options before you decide to confront him/her. Find out about how to protect yourself financially, and get an understanding of the laws regarding child custody and support.

If you feel you absolutely must confront the alleged cheater, make sure to do so at a time when he/she is not rushed or running late. You want them to have time to speak with you. You don't want them to have a reason to leave the room/house. Don't ask while he/she is driving and of course: don't ask while children are present.

Before you actually confront them, ask simple, non-invasive questions to get an idea of their general attitude and willingness to talk in general. You will do this for the same reason that a person operating a polygraph machine might: to establish an idea of their "baseline". So, for example, ask what they want for breakfast, or they have planned for the day or anything else that they can respond to easily. Then just observe their general behavior.

Once you finally confront the person, you'll need to carefully observe their behavior.

You can expect him/her to be defensive. They may become evasive and reply with something like, "What makes you think that?" (trying to see where they'd slipped up). Or, they get indignant, "Why on earth would you say such a thing?" or "I'm offended that you would say such a thing!".

Often, innocent people will respond directly by saying, "Yes" or "No". They are more likely to respond to your inquiry directly, kindly and patiently. They are more likely to show that they are willing to discuss your concerns and to address those things that caused you to doubt in the first place. Cheaters are generally very uncomfortable about addressing the issue and may "explode" and become very defensive and angry.

When confronting them, if may help to inquire about specific occasions when you -know- for certain what the truth is, so you can see if they are lying. This is where a private investigators documentation and report can come in handy because they can provide undeniable truth that can reveal their lies and deceits.

Finally: Do not resort to violence

I cannot stress this enough. Criminal charges and possible jail time will cause you to suffer and will keep you from making sure the cheater gets what they deserve.

If you are the victim of a cheater, then you will probably have some very important decisions to make. So, the first step is always to determine the unbiased, objective truth.

To make sure that you know the truth, consider retaining the services of a professional investigator. They have the experience to deal with these matters objectively and clear-headedly. They also have the equipment necessary to obtain the proof you'll need in case you go to court.

And if you have an attorney, your investigator should work with them to make sure that their combined efforts focus on making sure you reap the maximum benefit.

If your spouse or partner is cheating on you, it forces you into making some very important decisions. The decisions are not only about your own future, but also about your children's future as well.

We make our best decisions when we know the truth and understand the reality of things. The decisions may not be easy, but they are still the best decisions we can make.

Keith L. Walker is the director/lead investigator of Discovery Services Private Investigators in Springfield Massachusetts.

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