Infidelity investigation - Hire a private investigator or play detective yourself

If there is one hurdle most partners dread crossing in a marriage or relationship, it must be the suspicion, or even worse, the discovery, that your partner is unfaithful. If you suspect your partner is cheating on you, you owe it to yourself and the relationship to find out, and confirm it as a fact. You will need to investigate the infidelity and if necessary, come up with proof before deciding your next move.

TIP: Read the guide to prevent a break up or get back with your ex.

Often, we prefer to close our eyes to what makes us uncomfortable, a situation of 'ignorance is bliss'. But this approach rarely pays off in the long run. We need to confront whatever it is that is causing the problem, in this case, infidelity. It won't go away - if anything, it will only prolong the inevitable. It calls for probing the situation and arriving at the root cause of the infidelity.

Some signs that may arouse your suspicion and could alert you as to whether your spouse is being unfaithful, include:

 • Your spouse fails to display the consideration he/she used to extend to you. You sense a change in behavior for the worse. Sex and intimacy may also become an issue and you sense him/her withdrawing, both physically and emotionally.

• He/she works late and often has no justification for it. They are always making excuses to avoid spending time with you, or have something more important to do. They may also get irritable or defensive if you ask too many questions. In fact they find it difficult to share anything significant about their day. Yet, at the same time, they always want to know your plans (so that they can work around it).
•  They become more conscious of their appearance and pay greater attention to their grooming than previously.

•  He/she rushes to answer the cell phone and immediately moves to another room for privacy. Is evasive when quizzed for details. Often, when you answer the phone, the caller disconnects.

•  There are unusually high credit card bills, or large, unexplained withdrawals recorded on bank statements.

•  Emergency overnight business trips become more frequent.

Don't ignore these warning signs, act on them. If you can trust your instincts and you think your spouse may deny cheating on you, then investigate the infidelity and garner evidence.

If you have the resources, there are many avenues available at your disposal. You could hire a private investigator.

This comes at a price. You could get a list of detective agencies through the yellow pages or on the Internet. You will have to decide what suits your pocket and your situation. Based on the kind of evidence you want and the time spent tracking and gathering proof, the fees will differ.

Play detective yourself

If you find you cannot afford a professional, you could do the job yourself. You might have to do a fair bit of snooping to come up with what you're looking for, or you might even have to resort to technology or spy equipment to investigate the infidelity.

• Look through pockets, drawers, his wallet and cell phone messages, to find proof of receipts for gifts (that you didn't receive), bills for meals (that you never got taken to), or suggestive texts from lovers.

• Or resort to more sophisticated devices that will again cost you. If you would like to check on clandestine meetings, you could purchase a GPS recording device, which would give you details on the exact locations your cheating spouse is visiting. You might be surprised to discover what he's doing while he's supposedly working late. And if you ask him a casual question about where he was and he mumbles something about a working dinner, don't be fobbed off, dig deeper, especially if you find it's happening with increasing frequency.

• If you think the point of infidelity investigation lies in phone tapping, there are many gadgets you could employ for this purpose. Try a phone recorder or the DR-145 45-hour digital audio recorder. This can record conversations and provide you with proof of your unfaithful spouse. There are even hidden cameras that you can use, but these could be tough on your pocket.

Whether or not you have evidence that your spouse is cheating, as long as you are distrustful of his whereabouts or activities, you should bring it out in the open. It is unhealthy for the relationship, to be constantly suspicious and not talk about it.

Choose the right time and place to confront your spouse with your doubts. If you don't have evidence to prove it, and are relying solely on your instincts, tread carefully. If your spouse isn't really being unfaithful, you could be causing serious damage to the relationship with your allegations.

Ensure that you have complete and total privacy. As hard as it may be, don't accuse. State facts calmly and clearly and put forth your doubts in an as matter-of-fact manner as possible. It will help if you can keep a clear head in all this. You may be surprised when your spouse doesn't even bother to deny it, but admits to an affair.

But also be prepared for outrage and sheer incredulity that you doubted his integrity. In such a situation, you have to stick to your guns. You could try threatening to expose him to somebody he holds in high esteem, like his mother for instance, if he doesn't come clean. This should do the trick.

Be direct and straightforward, and hopefully you will have it returned in equal measure. Once it is out in the open, you have to decide your course of action from here on. After all, investigating the infidelity and getting him to admit it, is only the beginning. The real issue - confronting the infidelity and dealing with it - is the harder part.