I enjoy helping people figure out how to maintain healthy relationships, with others and with themselves.
When You Think Your Spouse is Having an Affair
As an online writer, I look for frequently searched keywords and phrases so that my articles are more likely to be seen on Google's search results. When researching phrases for coping with cheating spouses, I was shocked to learn that there are a few thousand monthly searches for surviving an affair, but nearly a hundred thousand searches on how to have one!
Looking deeper, I found that there are also just a few thousand searches each month for topics relating to how to hire a private detective or investigator, but many thousands of people offering their detective services for pay.
If you think your spouse is cheating, hiring a private eye will only be as good as the detective's skills. It's truly one of those areas where you get what you pay for. An investigator may have many contacts that will provide sensitive data or could be relying on public information and stakeouts, which proves costly for his or her clients and doesn't produce great results.
Before you hire someone to spy on your spouse, do some footwork of your own with these tips and tools, you'll be able to save time and money, and you will get to the bottom of things quickly and effectively.
Signs that Your Spouse is Cheating
Maybe your gut's telling you something is wrong, but you can't quite put your finger on it. You don't want to make unfair accusations or ask questions that imply you don't trust your partner if they're not doing something wrong since that can hurt your relationship. If, after taking a look at these signs, you discover that you do have sound reason to suspect an affair, you may still want to avoid asking questions temporarily.
If your partner thinks you're suspicious, they may make it harder to discover what's really happening. In my opinion, it's better to investigate first and ask questions later. If you discover they aren't having an affair, your spouse won't feel resentful long after you've dropped the subject if they never knew you wondered about the possibility.
- They suddenly become more agreeable than usual.
- They seem distant and forget important events with you.
- They no longer have an interest in doing things together or talking, though they used to.
- They stop investing time and effort into the household's needs.
- They suddenly have a new, terrific friend that seems to interfere with your relationship or normal routines.
- Other friends may act differently around you than they used to.
- Sudden loss of interest in sex.
- Sudden changes in appearance as if they're trying to impress someone - dressing nicer, working out, or a change in how often they buy new clothes.
- Unexpected changes in credit card purchases, cell phone bills, or debit card withdrawals.
- They start avoiding you, stop telling you about things, lie, or act secretive.
- They may start using more than one cell phone, often explaining the second one as being for work purposes. (This provides an excuse to leave the room when a call comes in.)
- Seeking excessive privacy for certain calls (going to another room and closing the door, or leaving the building to step outdoors.)
- Clearing computer history and/or hiding pages when you enter the room.
- Browsing dating websites or Craigslist and saying they are "just curious."
- Presence of downloaded applications to erase cell phone evidence, or a lack of cell phone records (old texts, calls placed and taken, and photos usually remain on a user's phone. If they've been deleted, there may be a good reason.)
- Unwillingness to share their phone and e-mail access codes despite their claim of commitment and trust to you.
How to Snoop and Investigate Discreetly
Sometimes a few easy steps can uncover a spouse's affair. Then again, some people cover their tracks very well, either to protect their own reputation or others' feelings. (I know, if they really cared about someone's feelings, they wouldn't be having an affair in the first place!)
Before we start looking at investigative steps you can take, I want to talk to you about the idea of snooping. Some people take great offense at the idea of snooping. They claim it's a breach of trust, and they're right about that. "If you don't trust your guy or girl, just leave," they'll say.
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Their advice is not necessarily practical. You probably realize this, or you wouldn't have read this far. You might be worried about an affair because you've seen indications that something has gone wrong with your relationship, and you want to set things right again. Maybe you think your partner's preparing to have an affair, but if it hasn't happened yet, you'd like to know how to get your relationship back on track before it happens.
Another reason people fear affairs is their own insecurity. If you're insecure and your partner has not given you reasons to be suspicious, it may be tempting to use these methods to reassure yourself at first, but doing so often leads to compulsive behaviors.
You may find yourself unable to resist checking up on your partner, and in doing so, you'll eventually be discovered and it can destroy your relationship even if your partner has done nothing wrong at all! I don't suggest using these methods to address insecurity when there aren't at least two of the signs of cheating discussed earlier.
Ok, back to business...
Nine Easy, Low-Tech Investigative Techniques
For some of these methods, you will need to obtain passwords from your partner or bypass security controls on his or her cell phone or computer. If you bypass security codes, you could be on the hook for illegal activity depending on the laws in your state, so you should become familiar with what the law does and doesn't allow you to do, or avoid getting discovered.
- Look over the information you can find on your partner's cell phone. Do you see frequent calls to or from an unfamiliar number? Do you see calls identified as someone you know calling much more often than they used to? Cheaters may assign a man's name to his mistress's number to mask her identity or vice versa. Write down any numbers you don't recognize and run them through several search engines to see if it hits upon any useful information.
- Examine text messages. Frequent texting may also be shown on your cell phone bill. Some companies provide more thorough information than others, and some require you to make a request to see what numbers sent and received text from a phone on your account. Either way, reviewing your cell phone bill periodically will instantly reveal if your partner's been texting dozens of messages a day to another number. Another important piece of information that's easier to see on your cell phone bill than the phone (though it can be there, too) is call duration. Is she spending two hours on the phone with a certain number?
- Look at photos stored on the phone.
- Look for cell phone applications like Tiger Text and Stocks. (You don't want your woman having 'em either!)
- Use the free "Find my Phone" app available for iPhone users to track all the phones on your account. This doesn't require access to your partner's cell phone or his consent, but it does require that both the phone you're using with the application and the phone that's being tracked are on the same account.
- You can install a keystroke logger on your spouse's computer. These software programs are difficult to detect, but you should also know that it may be illegal to use keyloggers. There are restrictions about who can and cannot use them, when, and why. You may violate federal wiretapping laws if these restrictions aren't followed. If you go this route and your spouse discovers how you obtained your information, you could face jail time if you haven't followed the strict limitations. If you meet the requirements and install this software, it can send e-mails and screenshots to an e-mail address that you specify.
- Get access to your partner's computer and access his or her e-mail and social media accounts. If there's a chat program installed, look for chat histories. Check the deleted and trash folders (they're not always the same) to see what has been removed. Review the Sent Messages folder to see what your partner has sent to other people.
- Check your partner's browser history and cookies. If they have been deleted, check again in a few days. If they've again been deleted, be concerned.
- For a fee, you can hack your spouse's cell phone and get real-time or historic location data, text messages, e-mail contents, and more by downloading apps of your own. A simple internet search for spy applications will reveal a number of applications with varying costs, ease of use, and features. The programs take several minutes to install and are not easily detected on the target's phone. For an overview of how these aps work, watch this video. (I do not endorse any specific company or website for this purpose, including the one responsible for the video.)
How to Retrieve Deleted Texts
If you need to retrieve deleted texts from a cell phone, follow these instructions from the computer that your spouse uses to synchronize his or her phone. It will only provide texts sent between the two most recent syncs, but that may be enough, especially if they don't synchronize very often.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Questions & Answers
Question: My spouse never uses a computer to sync his phone, and he never leaves anywhere without it - not even in the house! He takes it from one room to another, so it's hard to get access to the phone. Is there any other way to get what I need?
Answer: If you have access to the cell phone bill, perhaps. You'll at least be able to see what numbers he's calling, and then check them against a reverse directory.
Question: Should I suspect my partner if he is online on Whatsapp, at almost the same times as the person I suspect he is cheating with?
Answer: If there are other reasons to suspect him of cheating, then this might be an indicator, yes. By itself, it's a little weak.
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