Tips for Discovering the Truth

Despite popular belief, most lying and cheating does not get discovered because a suspicious spouse is good at interrogating a partner (e.g., Where were you? Who were you with?).

Typically, cheating spouses get caught in one of two ways:

Accidental Discovery:

open box conveying surprise

In most cases, deception and infidelity are uncovered by mistake (see Park, Levine, McCornack, Morrison and Ferrara). A husband or wife decides to come home from work early, a third party inadvertently reveals the truth, an unpaid parking ticket reveals a spouse’s true whereabouts, an e-mail exchange is accidentally sent to the wrong person, and so on.

Monitoring a Spouse:

Surveillance, by comparison, is an attempt to discover the truth by monitoring a spouse’s behavior. If you’re dealing with a lying and/or cheating spouse, some type of surveillance is almost always needed.

While monitoring a spouse tends to be the most effective way to find what is going on in a relationships, spying on a spouse can also cause problems. Is it ethical to monitor a husband or wife without his or her knowledge (see is it ethical to monitor a spouse)?

On the other hand, if you’re dealing with a lying and/or cheating partner, how do you address the problem to get the truth out in the open? Fixing problems requires a full accounting and acknowledgment of the issues involved.

Practical Tips for Catching Lying and Cheating:

  • Keep a journal of your spouse’s reported activities. Write down the times, dates, places, other people involved, excuses given, etc. Your journal will become invaluable as you compare what’s said with phone bills, credit card statements, ATM withdrawals, talk to other people, etc. A cheating spouse is likely to change his or her story, or question your memory, so keeping a record of everything is critical.
  • Keep track of all incoming phone calls. Record the time and number of all calls.
  • Plan a surprise visit to work, or come home at unexpected times, or make announcements about having to work late, but then come home early, etc.
  • Keep track of your spouse’s mileage, receipts, credit card statements, ATM withdrawals, phone records, etc.
  • If you can, check your spouse’s call log. Look for an unusual amount of phone calls. Keep in mind that cheating spouses often store their lover’s phone number under someone else’s name: a friend, a co-worker, etc.
  • You can also purchase surveillance equipment (hidden cameras and voice activated recorders) or download computer monitoring software (keylogger) which will make it easier for you to monitor your spouse’s activities. Using such equipment can, however, can raise some legal issues (see surveillance issues).
  • Never confront your spouse until you’re certain that you have enough evidence to make your case. And never reveal all of your evidence at once. Most cheating spouses will try to concoct a story to fit the evidence presented (for example, see husband won’t confess). But if you withhold some evidence, and let your spouse create a story, it gives you the opportunity to use the remaining evidence as leverage. And if you strategically withhold evidence, your spouse will start to question exactly how much you know, increasing the odds that he or she will tell you the truth.

Overall, if you find anything suspicious, do not confront your spouse until you’re certain that you have enough evidence to get a confession.

Think for a minute about how your spouse might try to dismiss your accusations (e.g., we were just joking around, I was just flirting, it was a misunderstanding, we are just friends, nothing happened, etc.). If you can anticipate how your spouse is likely to respond, you can try to gather the evidence you need to counter what he or she says.

Finally, listed below are several more techniques, products, and services designed to help you catch a lying and cheating spouse.

Resources and Information for Catching a Lying, Cheating Husband or Wife:

In most cases, the options listed above are very effective when trying to discover the truth about a cheating spouse. If, however, none of these options work for you, several more are provided below. Hopefully, you can find a technique that will work in your specific situation.

Additional Resources:

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