Steps to take if you suspect your spouse is cheating
Advice from experienced family lawyer Kim Tan and private investigator Raymond Lim
Kim Tan, consultant at Kalco Law LLC:
Classic tell-tale signs of a cheating spouse:
- Always home late from work and always after dinner
- Increased awareness of appearance and change in dressing eg new clothes, new lingerie/underwear, lots of perfume/colognes
- Sudden increase or introduction of overseas travel for work/conferences etc when this was not the case previously
- Always on the handphone and texting furiously and smiling for unknown reasons at the phone or talking surreptitiously into the phone
- For men, increased spending on the credit card or cash when previously he was frugal or careful about expenses
- For women, unexplained spending, trips with girlfriends or gifts of expensive items and new items of clothing and shoes.
If you have ticked at least 2 or 3 of these signs, you are likely to have a cheating spouse.
You need to monitor the situation. Start with a journal and note the calls and observations about change in behaviour. If it continues daily for a fortnight and it upsets/irks you, it’s time to see a lawyer or speak to a counsellor about this.
Do not confront the spouse. A confrontation will only lead to 2 outcomes. A fierce denial and a breakdown of the relationship or persuasion and coaxing that you are imagining things and the spouse will be careful going forward and you may lose the opportunity to find out the truth.
Be aware of your financial position. You need to also be aware of your financial position in the marriage and also what sort of assets you both have individually and as a couple. In the event that a divorce is imminent, then there may be a need for to take stock of what assets need to be dealt with.
Do not be afraid of the truth. Many times a client will say, “I am upset but I don’t think I can handle the truth”. I will say, if he or she is a good spouse and parent to the children, then either close an eye or have a really good talk or go for counselling. In any event you need to know the truth and make an informed decision.
Avoid discussing this with your children. Avoid discussing this with the children as this will sometimes complicate things and might disturb the children emotionally and psychologically. There is a place and time for everything and until and unless you have concrete proof of any infidelity on the part of your spouse, it is best not to discuss or raise this to your children.
The truth helps you move forward. Finding out the truth will not inevitably lead to divorce. It will however help you make up your mind as to what you want to do. If the marriage is worth salvaging, you should do so at all costs.
Raymond Lim, private investigator at APAC Investigation and Consultancy:
What do you value in your spouse?
Whatever your decision is, do think about what you value in your spouse. If affairs are part of his or her life over an extended period of time, divorce may be a better option. If an affair is a one-time thing, then perhaps you should consider working past it. If your spouse is engaging in an affair, this will mean both of you need to work on your marriage. There is of course no guarantee your marriage will survive, but at least you have tried! Do remember that no one else is living your life, and only you will live with the outcome of whatever decisions you make.
Getting at the truth
Should you decide to “spy” on your spouse to find out the truth, here are some tips you may want to consider. Technology has made cheating easier. However, do remember that technology also provides opportunities for obtaining the evidence needed to prove adultery. In today’s world, we all use mobile phones incessantly, and your spouse may be using it to facilitate his or her affair by texting, emailing, making dates, or engaging in intimate conversation. You may make surprising discoveries by checking into your spouse’s emails and text messages.
Check your spouse’s call log. Look out for an unusual number of phone calls. You should take note that it may be possible that cheating spouses often store their lover’s phone number in the name of colleagues or business associates.
Check credit cards receipts. See if there is excessive spending on items that you are not aware of. You should do all the checks discreetly, without his or her knowledge. The more rational you are when trying to retrieve the information, the more information you are likely to receive.
Track the car. Cars sometimes provide notable clues or even evidence to prove that your spouse is being untruthful. If your spouse is driving and you have access to the vehicle, consider installing a global positioning satellite device which allows you to track the vehicle’s location throughout the day. You can also print out the transaction details from the cash card taken from the vehicle’s IU which may throw some lights into his or her movements.
Use surveillance equipment. Surveillance equipment such as hidden cameras and voice activated recorders which will make it easier for you to monitor your spouse’s activities. Every little information counts, and every piece of information you gathered may be critical in uncovering affair or assist in identifying the third party.
Hire a PI for physical surveillance. Consider hiring someone who is trained in getting evidence. Do not follow your spouse, or be your own detective. You risk being discovered and that kind of confrontation is not healthy for anyone involved in the situation. A licensed private investigator can provide you with details concerning your spouse’s relationship with others; who the person is, where they go, how long they spend time together, how often they are together. A private investigator will also provide documentation in the form of reports, video recording and photographs which will be important during divorce settlement negotiation.
Be very certain that there is concrete evidence of infidelity before you make any such accusations against your spouse. Things can take a very sudden and ugly turn if your spouse is not cheating and you are being overly suspicious or paranoid. It is always best to observe for a while before forming your conclusions.
For advice on handling the situation and to know your rights, you may want to consult a family lawyer. A private investigator will be of help in verifying your suspicions.