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Betrayed Spouse 101
Suspicions and Strategies - Get the Proof!
(with special thanks to ivillage members Spygrrl2002 and Leopardspot)
You've seen WAY too many red flags. Something's up. Or worse, you KNOW. You saw an email, overheard a phone call, saw them together. Whether you're looking for proof to back up suspicions, or gathering facts to add to what you know, these resources will be invaluable.
Do you have caller ID? If so, scroll through and view all incoming calls. Don't have it? Sign up for the service, Buy a caller ID box and hide it under the bed or anywhere inconspicuous.
Any unfamiliar numbers? Or familiar numbers that appear more than others? Scrutinize the phone bill, or the caller ID memory. Are there a lot of 800 numbers (including 888, 877 and anything beginning with 8)? If so, call them. Are they telecommunications companies? Odds are your spouse is using prepaid calling cards so they won't be traced to their amore. Repeat the same steps with their cellphone and that bill. All this goes for a pager, too. Scroll through the call log and look for repeat numbers.
Does your spouse always intercept the phone/cellphone bill before you? Or do they have non-detailed billing on their cellphone (something they can request - its just a total with no breakdown of calls). If your name is on the phone bill, you can request a breakdown of the bill to be sent to you. If not, you may have to get a little sneakier. I went to the website of our wireless provider, and with some of my husband's personal info (stuff any wife would know) I managed to create an online account, using MY email address. I was easily able to access his cellphone bill online, including a breakdown of all calls made and received. They even emailed me when it updated.
Try to figure out the password on their cellphone (if you don't know it already). You can access a cellphone voicemail without using that phone - just call the number from any line and when the message begins to play, key in the passcode. Keep in mind many cellphones require a # or a * before or after the password.
Get the passwords. People in affairs can be remarkably careless. They seem to think that since they're soooo discreet, they'll never be found out. And since they'll never be found out, there's no reason to get TOO nuts about secrecy. They may have that secret hotmail or yahoo email account, but the password for it is probably your daughter's name. Or the dog's name. Or the same password they have for their ATM card.
Check out the 'cookies' on the computer to see what sites have been visited. If you use internet explorer as your browser, this is easily done by going to Tools/Internet Options/Temporary Internet Files/Settings/View Files. AOL has a folder titled "cache" that holds cookies. Click into each file and look at it. This will give you a history of where he/she has been. Are there free email sites in there like yahoo or hotmail? If so, go to those sites and play around with user names and passwords. Its worth a try. If you've already checked the email account and found nothing, they may have an account you don't know about.
Spy Programs. There is a plethora of computer software out there that can log keystrokes, take snapshots of webpages, view emails, etc. without anyone but you knowing it. I got some definitive proof of my husband's shenanigans with just such a program. Two that I have tried and liked were Winguardian and Spector. A WORD OF WARNING: You should only be installing spy software on YOUR OWN COMPUTER. If you install on a computer owned by your spouse's employer or by anyone else, its technically illegal and you could get in a LOT of trouble for it. Keep that in mind. No software is perfect, and if your spouse's work computer gets trashed due to the way one of these programs interacts with whatever they've got installed on there, you could be in serious trouble. If your spouse is fairly computer savvy, you need to be aware that if you download it to a computer from the internet, it will leave traces in your cookie folder, temporary internet files folder, history, etc. Be sure to delete from those folders, and then delete AGAIN from your recycle bin to remove the trail. If you buy the CD Rom and install from that, there will be no traces in those folders. There is a device you can also purchase that logs keystrokes and IM/Chat info. This is not software, but an actual device with its own memory that you plug into the computer. It can then be unplugged, attached to another computer, and the files can be viewed that way. The product is called Key Katch. AOL also has a way to keep a log of chat room conversations - the drawback is, you have to know which chatroom the cheater frequents. Go to "Help" on AOL for info.
Search the net. Try the member directories on AOL, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc. You may be surprised to see that your spouse has a profile that you know nothing about, or made changes to a current profile that you're unaware of. Try logging onto a search engine like www.google.com. Type your spouse's name in quotes and add + and your state to narrow it down (as in "John Doe" + CA). Then click the Groups tab and do the same thing. That will bring up postings made to newsgroups, messageboards, etc. A similiar search can be done at www.hotbot.com by going to the 'Look for' box on the left side of the screen and selecting 'the person' from the dropdown menu. You also need to check the more popular personals sites. Cybercheaters frequently post ads claiming to be divorced and sometimes even admitting to being married but looking. Try these: www.match.com, www.kiss.com, www.udate.com, www.matchmaker.com, www.lavalife.com, www.americansingles.com and of course, Yahoo Personals and AOL Personals. Most will let you set up a trial account with an email address. Go to a free email service like Yahoo or Hotmail, set up a phony account, then go to these sites, set up a phony profile, and see if your spouse is there. Some will even let you browse without setting a profile.
3. Get it on tape
It's possible to go to an electronics store like Radio Shack and get a small device that will record telephone conversations. If you're looking to confirm your suspicions, fine, but BE AWARE that it won't likely be admissible in a court of law if you're going for hard 'evidence', and if you install it on anything other than your personal phone, again, there's a legal issue. There are also certain states that have laws against wiretapping, but this is usually in association with business, not private use of a telephone.
You can also plant a tape recorder. If you know he/she is supposedly working late tonight, you can buy a small voice-activated recorder and hide it in the car. It will turn itself on when the sound level registers high enough, and most record on 45-90 minute tapes. I've been told the noise it makes turning on and off is all but inaudible in a moving car. One betrayed spouse I know put it in the pocket on the back of the driver's seat, deep down. It recorded perfectly and there was no danger of it sliding out from under a seat on a quick stop. You can also use one in your home, but you've got to be pretty sure they'll stay in the room you plant it in.
The White Glove Inspection
Do you suspect a work affair? Check that briefcase. Check that purse. If I'd had any suspicion about my Husband before D-Day and had searched his briefcase, the cat would have been out of the bag in a heartbeat - I would have found condoms! I've know women who've found sweet cards, men who've found love letters, and just about everyone has found an incriminating receipt for a dinner or a hotel. Which brings me to my next point:
Check those credit card bills! One betrayed spouse had a husband who told her he was working, but a receipt for dinner plainly stated that he was at a restaurant at a time when he swore he was at the office. When confronted, he then claimed that he and 3 guys from work did a 'working dinner'. Really? Why were there only 2 of everything ordered then? Two entrees, two drinks, two desserts. Can you say BUSTED? Another great trick, if you need some hard evidence - if you think you know of the motel your spouse may have met their Other Woman/Man or you see something on the credit card bill with the hotel name on it, call the hotel. Tell them you are your spouse's secretary, and you need them to fax you a copy of the bill for their expense report. If you don't have a fax machine, or don't know someone who's fax you can borrow, go to Kinkos or Mailboxes, etc. Many of them have fax service and for a fee (usually just a few bucks)they'll provide you their fax number for your incoming faxes. I know a spouse that used this and got not only the bill for her husband's motel room usage, but it included his driver's license # on the bill - proof positive that he'd been there and presented his license.
After you're done checking the briefcase, the purse, the pants pockets, the wallet - move on to the car. Look under the seats and in the ashtrays, in the cracks of the upholstery. I wholeheartedly suggest you do this while your spouse is either sleeping soundly or just plain gone.
Snoop That Little Black Book
Open up their address book or their PDA (i.e. Palm Pilot, etc) if necessary. If they have an Personal Data Assistant and you don't know how to use it, do a search for the company website. There are basic use instructions on all of them. Get into the address book and look for anything out of the ordinary, match up with the telephone info you've collected, if possible. I've heard of cheaters putting their amore's names in the book spelled backwards and followed by Inc. (i.e. Y-RAM, Inc. for "Mary") or just listing by last name with a first initial. Take any numbers that look suspicious, write them down, then do a search on a reverse lookup site to get a corresponding name (provided they're not unlisted). One good site for this is www.reversephonedirectory.com. If your spouse has something listed as a company or place of business and it doesn't show as a business on a reverse directory search (and what legitimate business would have an unlisted number?), I would be highly skeptical. You may not get all the answers you need, but it can put you on the right track.
6. A Drastic Test
I say drastic because it is. If you've gone far enough to need this test, you probably already have quite a bit of damning information already. But in the interest of covering all the bases, here's the information. The test is called CheckMate. CheckMate is scientifically formulated to detect a certain enzyme that is produced by the male prostate gland. This enzyme is found at very high levels in a mans semen. As long as the article to be tested (i.e. underwear) has not been washed, invisible traces of dried semen will remain present for long periods of time. If any semen is present, even smallest trace amounts, you will see a purple color appear instantly. With women, its obvious how well this can be used. For men, it is equally effective. Long after the initial sex act a man continues to secrete small amounts of semen. These dried / invisible traces of semen are present in a mans undergarments after each sexual encounter. Even if a man uses a condom during sexual intercourse or even if he only engages in oral sex, there will still be traces of semen in his underwear. Your husband may try to tell you he masturbated and that's how it got there, but I stress again, if you've reached this point, you probably already have other information.
Hire a Private Investigator
Be prepared to pay, as it can be expensive. Ask your prospective PI if they have GPS monitoring. GPS (Global Positioning System monitoring involves secreting a GPS sensor on the cheater's car, enabling the PI to monitor remotely all the locations the sensor has traveled to. This can cut down on your fees, since the PI wouldn't have to actually follow the spouse. The data could be reported to you, and frequently visited sights can be logged, narrowing the time the PI would actually have to be out to get photos, video, etc.
I would recommend you do your own snooping first, as you're likely to come up with something, but if you're in a situation where they've covered their tracks well or their snooping generally occurs during working hours or out of town, this may be a good option for you. Go through your local yellow pages, or better yet, see if you know anyone who knows a divorce lawyer. They will most likely be able to recommend a reputable service.
Now you've got some of the tools to do the digging. Once you have the evidence you need, you're ready for the big confrontation. Would you like to know what you're probably going to hear? Read on....