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Tuesday, November 08, 2005


How to tell if your spouse is cheating

November 7, 2005

You're reading the newspaper, and your husband or wife could be cheating on you at this very moment.

Not possible, you think?

Of the 19,000 U.S. adults responding anonymously to a national survey about their sexual behavior between 1991 and 2004, 13 percent of women and 22 percent of men reported having a sexual partner other than their spouse while they were married, says Tom W. Smith, director of the General Social Survey at the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago. Although the figures remained relatively stable for men throughout that time, Smith says the numbers for women fluctuated between 11 percent and 14 percent, indicating a "small but clear upward trend."

So, how can you be so sure they are - or aren't?

Relationship and infidelity experts, private investigators, technology specialists and divorce attorneys say if you know the subtle and not-so-subtle signs to look for, they'll point you to the answer.

You can put your five senses to work. Or you can shell out hundreds - or thousands - of dollars to hire a private detective. You can also invest in the newest high-tech products on the market - computer spyware, electronic tracking devices, in-home evidence-gathering kits among them - in an effort to catch cheating mates.

David Vitalli, a private investigator and chief executive of Tru-Test Forensic and Applied Sciences Corp. in upstate Newburgh, says that three weeks ago his company began marketing a patented home evidence-collection kit that will help spouses detect with 100 percent accuracy whether their mates have been intimate with someone else.

The kit contains an ultraviolet light that will detect stains on your mate's clothing that are normally impossible to see or feel. Protein and enzyme formulas included in the kit also will identify the presence of bodily fluids. And if you require further proof, you can mail specimens you've collected in an enclosed envelope to a laboratory for testing to determine whether they match your DNA, your mate's - or someone else's. The kit costs $79.95 (877-362-9900 or Sending specimens for laboratory DNA testing will cost at least $500. (Retaining a private eye can start at $1,000, Vitalli says, and from there, "The sky's the limit.")

"A lot of people can't afford to hire investigators," he adds. "This is science. This is not a gimmick. This is a double-edged sword, though. It can prove you're innocent, or it can prove you're guilty. It can confirm your fears or alleviate [them]."

Suspicious spouses also are now using global positioning systems, or GPS, to track their mates' whereabouts.

Larry Wasylin, vice president of sales and marketing for Magnolia Broadband of Bedminster, N.J., has seen it firsthand in recent months during business trips to Asia. In one instance, he says, he was dining at a restaurant when a colleague pulled out and stared at his cell phone.

"I said, 'What are you doing?' He said, 'I'm looking to see where my wife is.' She was picking up the kids from an after-school program. He said, 'She'll be home in about 30 minutes.' They're marketing it right now under a brand iKids," he adds. "The idea is it allows parents to ensure the safety of their children.... It's not confined to children. People like to know where their spouses are."

Cell phones that capture video can do the same thing, he says, allowing a private eye to tape your mate and then stream data to you. While living in Taiwan about five years ago, Wayslin says he also saw reports about a new chip inserted into a cell phone to allow suspicious husbands and wives to listen in on their spouses' calls without them knowing. Some are using the images they've seen and conversations they've heard to confront the cheaters.

He says you can expect to see this technology hit U.S. markets in the not-so-distant future.

Countless signs

To Ruth Houston, the Rego Park author of "Is He Cheating on You? - 829 Telltale Signs" (Lifestyle Publications, $29.95), gizmos and gadgets won't tell the whole story. For example, she says, GPS will tell you where they are but not what they're doing or with whom. Spyware on your computer will tell you the content of the e-mails going back and forth, but there is information you still will not be able to detect, such as the seriousness of the relationship or the identity of the other person.

Even private investigators are limited by what you tell them. The more detailed information you can give them, the better. She advises, for instance, providing a window of time when you think your spouse might be having a rendezvous, as well as a possible location or an unfamiliar number on your phone bill.

"You don't need a lot of gadgets," says Houston, who has been researching infidelity for more than a decade since discovering her ex cheated on her. "If you know what to look for, you can find countless signs of infidelity using only your eyes, your ears and your personal knowledge of your mate. The key is knowing what to look for."

That involves being tuned into your mate's work habits, daily schedule, and likes and dislikes, Houston says. "Then you can zero in on what's happening. You will see changes across the board. There will be things you pick up in their conversation, personal hygiene, how they relate to you, personal behaviors, changes in all those areas," which she lists on

Some focus on obvious signs (lipstick on the collar, coming home late) and overlook the subtle clues, Houston says. For instance, your spouse takes a sudden interest in things, like volunteering to take over paying the monthly bills - a job you've been doing - to give you, he or she says, a much-needed break.

"You say, 'That's nice,' but maybe he doesn't want you to see the bills and what he's been spending his money on," Houston says.

Don't confront your spouse with only your suspicions, some say. Go with proof.

Even with that, some cheaters will never admit betrayal, taking their cue from the song "It Wasn't Me" by the Jamaican reggae artist Shaggy, says Mark Barondess, a Los Angeles attorney and author of the new book "What Were You Thinking??: $600-Per-Hour Legal Advice on Relationships, Marriage & Divorce" (Phoenix, $25.95).

"They could be having sex right in front of their spouse and tell them, 'It wasn't me,'" he says. "People will do and say anything they possibly can to avoid admitting they were caught cheating."

The little details

When you confront your spouse about suspicions, pay close attention to his or her reactions, looking for anything that would be a break from the norm: a glitch in their body language or a change in the cadence or pitch of their voice, says Greg Hartley, a U.S. Army interrogator for 15 years who co-authored the new book "How to Spot a Liar: Why People Don't Tell the Truth ... and How You Can Catch Them" (Career Press, $14.99).

"This is what catches most liars: We can't practice, rehearse or create enough details to sustain a lie. It's the little details that break a story," Hartley says. "You can ask, 'Where were you at 2 this afternoon?' I can lie and say, 'I was at work.' But if I ask you to give me a time line of your day, the details will bite you."

Hartley's co-author, Maryann Karinch, also says it's important to approach the conversation logically and calmly so that it doesn't get ugly or out of control.

Ultimately, Karinch says, you have to ask yourself which outcome you want. To catch your spouse in a lie? To salvage your marriage? To get a big divorce settlement? To hear he or she is deeply sorry?

"If you want to save the marriage and you are genuinely distressed that the person is cheating on you, then you need to come directly into contact with this person about the facts of the matter and the emotions of the matter," she says. "Put yourself in a situation and engage the person in a mature way. The positive outcome that you're going to have, regardless of what happens to your relationship, is you're going to maintain your self-respect."


That a husband or wife would spend time and money trying to catch his or her spouse cheating "is a huge red flag that this is a relationship that's circling the drain already," says clinical psychologist Tom Merrill, who does relationship seminars, consulting and counseling with his wife, Bobbie Sandoz-Merrill.

The couple, who split their time between Honolulu and Phoenix, offer solutions in their new book, "Settle for More: You Can Have the Relationship You Always Wanted ... Guaranteed!" (SelectBooks, $21.95).

They say spouses can head off problems in a marriage, including infidelity, by working to fuel the fire that ignited during courtship.

"We settle for less once we're married," Tom Merrill says. "Keep alive what you had in your courtship ... by making every moment be a loving kind of moment. As soon as you start letting down on those moments, your partner doesn't feel attracted to you in those moments, and they feel they want to step away. If they're not honorable, then they start to plan their escape."

If you want a relationship that's loving, committed, connected, open, seamless and sexual, "hold yourself to the standard that you want to live in," Sandoz-Merrill adds.

Divorce isn't the only solution after an affair, says Manhattan psychologist Debbie Magids. "Sometimes couples counseling helps you end a bad situation or mend a broken situation," she says. "You need to find out what happened and fix the root of the problems."

If the marriage is to have any chance at survival, she says, the spouse who cheated must work to regain trust. In turn, the spouse who was betrayed must resist the urge to punish or seek revenge and be willing to forgive. "Without forgiveness," Magids says, "you can never have a marriage again."

Before entering a new relationship, establish your own "minimum standard of care" list with what you must have (honesty and monogamy, say) and won't tolerate (your mate being too chummy with an old flame), says Danine Manette, author of "Ultimate Betrayal: Recognizing, Uncovering and Dealing with Infidelity" (Square One, $12.95).

"Write it down so you can refer back to it," she says. "Not only will it help you evaluate your partner and your relationships, it also will help you evaluate yourself and what is healthy."
Copyright 2005 Newsd

Thursday, November 03, 2005


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