Contrary to popular belief, most lying and cheating does not get discovered because a suspicious spouse is good at interrogating a partner (eg, Where were you? Who were you with? etc).
Typically, cheating spouses get caught in one of two ways:
In most cases, deception and infidelity are uncovered by mistake. A husband or wife decides to come home from work early; a third-party inadvertently reveals the truth; an unpaid parking ticket reveals a spouse’s true whereabouts; an e-mail exchange is accidentally sent to the wrong person; and, so on.
To spy, or not to spy
Surveillance, by comparison, is an attempt to discover the truth by monitoring a spouse’s behaviour. If you’re dealing with a lying and/or cheating spouse, some type of surveillance is almost always needed.
While monitoring a spouse tends to be the most effective way to find out what is going on in a relationship, spying on a spouse can also cause problems. Is it ethical to monitor a husband or wife without his or her knowledge?
On the other hand, if you’re dealing with a lying and/or cheating partner, how do you address the problem until the truth is out in the open? Fixing problems requires a full accounting and acknowledgment of the issues involved.
Slowly, slowly, catch the monkey
* Keep a journal of your spouse’s reported activities. Write down the times, dates, places, other people involved, excuses given, etc. Your journal will become invaluable as you compare what’s said with phone bills, credit card statements, ATM withdrawals, talk to other people, etc. A cheating spouse is likely to change his or her story, or question your memory, so keeping a record of everything is critical.
* Plan a surprise visit at work, or come home at unexpected times, or make announcements about having to work late, then come home early, etc.
* Keep track of your spouse’s vehicle mileage, receipts, credit card statements, ATM withdrawals, phone records, etc.
* If you can, check your spouse’s mobile phone call log. Look for an unusual number of phone calls. Keep in mind that cheating spouses often store their lover’s phone number under someone else’s name: a friend, a co-worker, etc.
* You can also purchase surveillance equipment (hidden cameras and voice-activated recorders) or download computer monitoring software (keyloggers) which will make it easier for you to monitor your spouse’s activities.
* Never confront your spouse until you’re certain that you have enough evidence to make your case. And never reveal all of your evidence at once. Most cheating spouses will try to concoct a story to fit the evidence presented. But, if you withhold some evidence, and let your spouse create a story, it gives you the opportunity to use the remaining evidence as leverage. And by strategically withholding evidence, your spouse will start to question exactly how much you know, increasing the odds that he or she will tell you the truth.
Overall, if you find anything suspicious, do not confront your spouse until you’re certain that you have enough evidence to get a confession.
And again, think for a minute about how your spouse might try to dismiss your accusations (eg, we were just joking around, I was just flirting, it was a misunderstanding, we’re just friends, nothing happened, etc). If you can anticipate how your spouse is likely to respond, you can try to gather the evidence you need to counter what he or she says.
Next: Who you gonna call?
Midas is our new weekly columnist on crime, security, private investigation, urban survival skills and related matters. Midas is a private security and intelligence firm based in Kuala Lumpur. Its operatives include ex-military intelligence and ex-police personnel, ex-lawyers and civilian analysts. Leave your comments below, or direct your personal queries to [email protected]