We’ve all heard the list, which is a mile long. Check credit card receipts, a change in sexual habits, cell phone records for recurring calls to the same number…even lipstick on the collar of a dress shirt.
But what about the spouse who doesn’t exhibit any of those signs, but you continue to believe that something is just not right.
Do you ignore it and hope it goes away? Hire a private investigator? No. Use your head, my lovelies, and you may be able to discover the truth. Now, these are written with husbands in mind, but they do work for wives as well.
1. When you’re following an animal through the forest, it’s fairly easy. He leaves a trail for you to follow; broken branches, hoof prints where he has stepped. Much is the same for the unfaithful spouse.
Now, if you’ve searched the phone records, texts and its turned up nothing, I urge you to give this one a try.
Social media today is the most common form of communication for many people. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter…they all provide venues for people to connect. But how about LinkdIn, BixNik and Networking for Professionals?
The sites that normally spring to mind are the ones we associate with cheating; a spouse on Match.com who lists his status as ‘divorced’, or a social media site he’s using to organize his affairs before he leaves. But my ex-husband’s college girlfriend found him on LinkdIn, and they began messaging.
His company had required him to have his information on LinkdIn as a marketing and networking opportunity. But as it turned out, it never occurred to me that messages could be sent and received as easily as a text – and I was blissfully unaware.
The good news is that, especially since it’s used for networking, it’s unlikely that he’s using an alias or trying to conceal his real identity on any of these sites. You won’t be trying hundreds of combinations of his name and numbers to crack his user name.
The bad news is that you may need a password to discover any messages being sent back and forth. However, you can – at the very least – go in and see who his contacts are…most have photos and their location attached. Business networking sites may merit you little information, or it could provide you the confirmation you’ve needed.
Either way, start there and do a little digging.
2. You’ve looked through the bills, the credit card receipts and still see nothing. Could it be that you’re paranoid? Possibly. Or, he could be better at hiding his tracks than using a card that you already know about.
Now, although it is illegal for you to pull a credit report without your spouse’s permission, there is no rational reason for him to refuse when you sweetly offer to pull a report “to make sure no one has opened an account we don’t know about”.
A credit report will show you the majority of credit accounts opened up in an individual’s name – whether or not that credit is joint or individual. The account can be opened up with different phone numbers, different addresses and occasionally different names. But you can’t hide a social security number, which is what is required to open up the majority of credit accounts in the United States.
My credit report has my birth name, my married name (even though I’m now divorced) and my nom de plume (the name that I write under). But since my social security number has never changed, it all comes up on my credit report. And so will his.
3. If your spouse doesn’t have a job that takes him out of town on business trips, then he could be finding other opportune times in his week to see someone else. Lunch hours seem to be the most overlooked time of day that he can be totally “free” and have reasonable explanations for seemingly benign meetings with members of the opposite sex.
Does your spouse take weekend time to go golfing, ride bikes with a group, or play bowling? Are you sure it’s only his balls that he’s playing with? (Bad pun, but you get the picture.)
One of my best friends Tina followed her husband one day while he was on his lunch hour. She watched him have what appeared to be a completely platonic lunch with a lovely woman in a café near his office. Until they said goodbye.
Tina watched him kiss her on the cheek, then link their hands together the entire way to her car. Tina second-guessed herself all the way home, and throughout dinner that night. And then, a few days later, she decided to follow him again. And again.
I’d like to tell you that the meeting was a fluke; that it never happened again or the woman was a second cousin twice removed. But she wasn’t.
After a few weeks, Tina finally had the courage to confront her husband. After an hour of denials (that she countered with facts she had seen with her own eyes), he admitted to meeting this woman on a bicycle ride with his normal Sunday morning group. They had stopped for coffee before riding home and they had fallen for each other over soy macchiato.
Had Tina never thought to follow him on his lunch hour, or look to his other extra curricular activity time, she would have simply continued on – driving herself crazy – while not ever “knowing” what was going on.
Before I actually knew about my husband’s affair, I asked him countless times, “Are you cheating on me?” And the response was always the same. “When do I have time to cheat on you? I’m either at the office or here. You’re imagining things!”
But I wasn’t.
By using your head and looking below the surface – beyond the obvious – you might be able to discover what’s been happening right under your nose…and spare yourself some unnecessary pain in the process.
Good luck, my lovelies. And happy hunting.
This article was originally published at BlogHer. Reprinted with permission from the author.