spouses provide much of the work and income of most private investigators,
and every PI has developed his list of "tell tale signs of a cheating
Here's a list derived
from articles by private detectives Bob Brown and Edmund J. Pankau,
and female private detective Victoria Frelow of Scotland Yard Investigations
(no, it's not that Scotland Yard).
Note that though
I've phrased these points in terms of the husband as the cheater, most
also apply when it's the wife who's cheating.
From Bob Brown
- At the beginning
of an affair, the husband may actually be more affectionate than usual
due to guilt feelings.
- Later, after
the affair has been going on awhile, he often starts finding fault with
the wife as a defensive mechanism (i.e., to justify the affair in his
- Cheating husbands
often lose interest in domestic activities, such as spending time with
the kids, fixing up the house, lawn care, etc.
- Cheating husbands
may have a change in sexuality (i.e., more sex, less sex) as well as
unexplained sexual requests.
- The cheater's
relationship with his family will almost always change, that is, he
will tend to become more distant, cold, or fault-finding (i.e., he starts
to blame the family, especially the wife, for his behavior).
- Financial changes
may become noticeable. The wife may notice unexplained credit card charges
or withdrawals from the family's checking account.
- Grooming habits
change. A cheating husband may buy a new wardrobe or a lot of new clothes,
or may just suddenly start to become more attentive to his personal
appearance. The wife may notice frequent bathing, more careful grooming,
a new cologne, a new exercise program, etc.
- Physical clues
to the affair may start appearing, such as lipstick on shirt collars,
perfume odors on shirts or jackets, secretion stains on underwear. Or
the wife may discover pieces of paper with notes or phone numbers, unexplained
match books, receipts, condoms, etc.
- The husband's
driving pattern may change. The wife may find the car needs gas more
often than before or she may monitor the car's odometer and find the
husband is putting a lot of unexplained miles on the car. Brown recommends
that suspicious wives keep track of the mileage on their husband's car
and even monitor the time they leave for work and the time they come
home. "Keep a calendar and note the times," he says. "This should help
establish a pattern. If your mate claims to be working late, check paycheck
stubs to verify this overtime."
- On occasion,
the wife may notice her husband whispering into the phone. He may look
alarmed when he sees her observing him and may hang up suddenly. There
may be abrupt hang ups when she answers the phone herself. (Want to
know who called? If you have touch tone dialing in most parts of the
U.S. you can dial *69 to get the number.) (1471 in the UK- Editor)
- The wife may
find unexplained, repetitive charges on her husband's mobile phone bill.
Often these will be calls her husband made right after leaving home
in the morning and right before coming home in the evening. According
to Brown and most other PI's, the mobile telephone bill is one of the
best ways to catch a cheating husband. Try calling your husband's cell
phone company to get additional details about mysterious calls. The
reason is that the bill for mobile services lists every single call
made (unlike a bill for conventional phone services, which list only
long distance charges). Thus, if you suspect your husband is cheating,
and he doesn't have a mobile phone, it wouldn't be a bad idea to buy
- Brown comments
that "Female cheaters are more discreet in the selection of a lover.
This is most likely because of their concern about sexually transmitted
diseases. Most females are looking for a longer lasting relationship
than a `one night stand.' In past years men were the aggressors; in
society today, with the increase of women in the work force, women have
become equally aggressive." He also mentions that "When a female is
having an affair she tends to have more of a `glow' about her." (Presumably,
when a guy is having an affair, he doesn't have the glow.)
From Ed Pankau
The following are
possible indications of a cheating husband, says Ed Pankau:
- Hair gets longer
- Clothes get flashier
- Changes cologne
- Boxer shorts
become bikini underwear
- Joins a health
- Starts a diet
Watch for any changes
in his "pattern" of living, says Pankau; this can alert you to the fact
that a new partner or relationship has entered his life. Among the specific
changes to watch for --
1. He changes cologne,
clothes, or switches from boxer shorts to bikini underwear.
2. His daily travel
(driving) pattern changes
3. He becomes hard
to reach at the office or on the road and starts coming home at unusual
4. His spending
patterns change; you find unexplained charges on credit card bills or
phone bills (especially mobile phone bills).
If you become aware
your husband is cheating you should consider following up with targeted
surveillance during unaccountable times, advises Pankau. "Through the
conduct of thousands of divorce cases, I have found three main areas
of investigation common to these matters: background, financial, and
child custody investigations," he says. "Each of these investigations
has a specific goal and requires the proof of different facts."
From Victoria Frelow
"There are several
ways to recognize and catch a disloyal partner," says Frelow. "It is
usually discovered with a sudden change in behavior. For example, your
partner wants to go places alone, or he or she doesn't show any true
affection or have a sexual appetite. Your partner stays out late with
unexpected meetings, or receives pages in the middle of the night. The
home is inundated with strange phone calls coupled with whispered conversations,
or your partner suddenly panics and hangs up the phone when you enter
"Also be aware
of any close platonic relationships. Most friends will not approve of
the cheater's ways but will remain very dependable. Some friends will
actually help the cheater get out of the home and will often provide
an iron-clad alibi for the cheater. Don't get upset or blame the friend
for his/her part in the plan. You must understand although it is difficult,
that the cheater's buddy will assist the cheater out of loyalty. This
emotion usually stems from a long lasting or childhood friendship...
"What can we do
to catch cheating spouses? First of all, the cheater must not know that
you suspect him/her. Although it is difficult, you must still treat
the cheater the same way as you did prior to suspecting him/her of cheating.
Give the cheater plenty of room to hang himself/herself, don't try to
interfere with the cheating behavior. If you suspect the cheater is
actually cheating at home while you're away, make false plans to be
away one weekend and stay at a local hotel. Park down the street from
your residence, then watch and wait. But before you try some of these
suggestions, make sure you are willing to accept the consequences without
violence. Have a plan as to what you intend to do if your suspicions
are indeed confirmed."
Frelow is very
emphatic about the need to avoid violence in these situations at all
"I cannot emphasize
enough the importance of not resorting to physical violence," she says.
"You run the possibility of having criminal charges filed against you,
an arrest record, possible jail time, as well as a fine, which will
only increase your pain. IT ISN'T WORTH IT!"
Joseph Ryan is
a private investigator and director of Washington Research Associates
in Denver, Colorado. This article is excerpted from his recent book,
"Check Him Out! The American Woman's Guide to Background Investigations."
To learn more about the book, visit http://www.check-him-out.com