Almost everyone has been in a situation where they think their partner might have his or her hand in someone else’s cookie jar. And while catching the guilty party in the act can sometimes mean snooping on their phone or reading their e-mails, some players play so hard that the evidence is almost impossible to find.
That's where Barbara Wofford, a licensed investigator at Kinsey Investigations in Los Angeles, and Daniel McBride, president of American Eagle Investigations in New York City, come in. Here's how they solve one of life’s most frustratingly common mysteries—the case of the cheating lover.
Wofford says that if a client wants to snoop on his or her partner, they need to provide some basic info, like his/her partner's home and work addresses, the make and model of his/her car and license plate number, and his/her daily schedule. “If [your partner] usually leaves the house at 7:15 a.m. for work and says they’re at the office until 5 p.m., we would go to the home well before 7:15, follow them, and make sure they go to work," she says.
Wofford points out that not all of these cases end in “ah-ha’s!” though.
“I had a case where a man claimed he went golfing starting at 4 p.m.,” she says. “It was in the winter and got dark around 5, so his wife was very suspicious. But, indeed, he was golfing with three other men in the dark at a well-lit golf course, smoking cigars the entire time."
As you might suspect, the time it takes to catch someone is relative to how good they are at hiding the affair—or perhaps how badly they actually want to be caught. “One woman asked us to follow her husband on a road trip,” says Wofford. “He was supposed to go to Palm Springs for work. The first thing he did was pick up a woman. The two of them drove all the way to Las Vegas! Luckily, the investigator I had follow them was also licensed in Nevada. He went inside the Venetian Hotel and filmed them checking in together. We provided the client with photos of the suspected female—it turned out to be a friend of hers.”
Dang, that’s cold!
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Photo evidence is the best proof, and Wofford is quick to provide that to the partner who hired her after it's obtained. “We provide still photos and any film we capture,” she says. “We never confront the cheating party, though. And I don't make any judgment calls. I get the footage, give it to the client, and let the client decide what to make of it.”
When you catch cheaters for a living, you learn pretty quickly what the warning signs of infidelity are. “It could be a simple change in behavior, says Wofford. “Like all of a sudden, the woman's husband is working out, buys some new clothes or a sports car, or has a different hairstyle.”
Suddenly working late all the time and using the computer or the phone more frequently than normal can also be tip-offs, says McBride. “If he's guarding his phone and always has it on him so nobody can look at it—that can be suspicious," he says. "Or if he puts a code on his phone if there wasn't one before or deletes his text messages or incoming calls. … Also, if the husband doesn't want to have sex with his partner anymore or his sexual desires change suddenly, that’s a big sign.”
Wofford and McBride also say that if you strongly suspect your partner is getting something on the side, the odds are, you’re probably right. “Four out of five times, the person is cheating,” says Wofford.
McBride states a higher, scarier number: “It's about 85 percent of the time when a woman suspects her significant other of cheating,” he says. “People come to us if they have a very strong suspicion.”
Peace of mind is priceless, but it doesn’t come cheap. Wofford charges $90 per hour of service, and McBride says his invoice could run into the thousands.
So if you’re just feeling a little jealous, might be better to start an open dialogue with your partner about your concerns—and solve this mystery together.