Certainly, when two people decide to get married, neither one ever wants to imagine that the other might be unfaithful. In the beginning of a marriage, this is often the furthest thing from either spouse’s mind. Unfortunately, however, at times, relationships do become strained. People make choices that surprise us, and they act in uncharacteristic and unexpected ways. Sometimes, the people we love most can unfortunately hurt us the most too.
You may find yourself in this situation. You may have the unfortunate suspicion that your spouse is being unfaithful to you. Perhaps he is coming home later in the evening than usual. Maybe she is taking more work trips than ever before. Suddenly, you notice that he cares about his appearance and going to the gym more often than usual. Perhaps your relationship feels strained and distant. You may be noticing odd purchases on your credit card that you can’t account for. You suspect cheating, but you don’t know for sure.
You may ask yourself, how will I ever know? My spouse will deny any wrongdoing if I ask – so what signs should I look for? These are reasonable and understandable questions. Obviously, each relationship is different and you know what your “normal” is. You know your spouse, and you know when he or she is behaving uncharacteristically. Having said that however, there are generally some signs that you can look for if you suspect that your spouse may be cheating. Some of these signs include:
- Your spouse seems distant and uninterested;
- Unexplained changes in your sex life;
- Your spouse seems to be argumentative or picking fights for no reason;
- Changes in your spouse’s work routine or travel routines
- Increased secrecy with phones or computers;
- Unexplained changes in wardrobe or grooming habits;
- Unexplained purchases.
These are only a few signs of many potential indicators that something may be amiss. If you notice some of these signs, there are steps that you can take to investigate further. It is important to note though that within the bounds of the law there are things you can do, and other things you absolutely should not do.
If you are considering spying on your spouse, it is always the best decision to consult with an attorney first. The advice in this article is no substitute for speaking with your own legal counsel about your circumstances and intended actions. Nevertheless, here is some helpful information about what you can and can’t do generally if you suspect that your spouse may be cheating.
Staying Away from Spyware
In our world of smart technology that seems to grow ever smarter, many people are tempted to install spyware on their spouse’s phone or computer. Some are tempted to place tracking devices in cars, or recording devices in homes. We would caution you to resist this urge. Although these methods can be easily used, many of them are actually illegal and in violation of both federal and state law. Other articles on our website explain more clearly the parameters of these laws and how spyware may violate them. If you are considering using spyware or spying on your spouse without their knowledge by using technology, we would encourage you not only to consult those articles but to speak to an attorney immediately.
What You Can Do
Having cautioned you against the use of spyware, we will acknowledge that there are other legal ways to attempt to have your suspicions confirmed or denied. Some of those ways include:
- Hiring a private investigator: One of the best legal ways to find out whether or not your spouse is cheating is to hire a private investigator. These professionals have many resources at their fingertips to investigate your case in a legal way. They may be able to track your spouse’s location, take pictures of your spouse in public places, install legal surveillance equipment, run background checks on individuals that your spouse may be associating with, and otherwise help you to obtain information in a legal way.
- Acting as your own private investigator: There are also some steps you can take to investigate your spouse that are completely legal. For example, there’s nothing wrong with following your spouse to see or if he or she is going to the places that they claim to be going. If your spouse says that he or she is going to the gym for example, you fully entitled to go to the gym yourself to see if they are there. Likewise, if your spouse claims to be working late, you are absolutely entitled to show up at his or her office to see if that is in fact the case. You are also fully entitled to keep close tabs on your finances and investigate any suspicious spending. You may also want to reach out to your cell phone provider to ask for a call log. If you see any suspicious numbers, you are within your legal rights to dial those numbers and see who answers. There are many ways to gather evidence in a legal way, it is just important to consult with attorney first to be certain that you are doing so.
- Utilizing social media: While it is wonderful to live in a world of social media that keeps us connected with others who we may rarely get to see, and to touch base with friends, family members and acquaintances we have met at all stages of our lives, it can unfortunately also often serve as a catalyst for extramarital affairs. It allows for the possibility of easy connection with former significant others, as well as for messaging and communication that the other spouse may not be aware of. In addition, it makes it easier to flirt with acquaintances or even perfect strangers. Social media offers both accessibility and the potential for secrecy, and so it can be very dangerous for a marriage. On the other side of the coin, however, it also provides some opportunities to catch a cheating spouse. It is not at all in common for an affair to be exposed by noticing unusual Facebook activity, Instagram posts, or tweets. While you are not entitled to hack into your spouse’s account without their knowledge, you are fully entitled to monitor the social media that you can see for suspicious activity. Keep track of who likes your spouse’s photos and posts, who comments on their activity, and any connections that you may be unfamiliar with. This can go a long way toward uncovering marital misconduct.
Taking the Next Step
Fortunately, suspicions sometimes amount to nothing. Sometimes, you believe the worst only to find out the best. It could be that your spouse truly is overwhelmed at work, or stressed out about something that causes he or she to be distant and act in an uncharacteristic way. On the other hand, suspicions can also be valid. If you intend to take action to investigate you are entitled to do so, provided that you stay within the bounds of the law. Talking to an attorney who understands the law and can give you guidance is always advised.
At the Law Office of Dustin McCrary, we are here for you. We always encourage our clients and potential clients to consult with us before taking any actions that can have significant legal ramifications, and investigating your spouse certainly falls into this realm. If you have additional questions about spousal spying or any other divorce-related matters, we encourage you to call us soon. We look forward to helping you through this process.