How to catch a cheater + 6 signs of cheating

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Worried your spouse or partner is cheating?

“Go with your instincts,” says Ken Childs, founder of Paramount Investigative Services, a Beverly Hills, Calif. private investigative service, who has appeared in Access Hollywood, The Dr. Phil Show, The Dr. Oz Show, and Buzzfeed. “If you think someone is cheating, they probably are.”

And cheating is common. A report by the Institute for Family Studies found that 20% of men and 13% of women reported that they’ve had sex with someone other than their spouse while married — though younger women under the age of 30 are more likely than men to cheat.

Other interesting trends in the report emerged: Democrats are more likely to cheat than Republicans or Independents, and by race, the likelihood of cheating is lead by Blacks, followed by whites then Hispanics:

catch a cheat.

This post will help you understand whether your boyfriend, girlfriend, wife or partner is likely cheating, what to do about it, how to catch a cheat, plus how to work with a private investigator to catch an unfaithful husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend.

Plus, what you need to know about hiring a private investigator.

Is he cheating or am I paranoid? 6 signs of a cheating husband, boyfriend, wife or girlfriend

First off: trust your instincts, says Childs whose Los Angeles PI practice frequently deals with requests to catch cheaters. “90% of the time, people's suspicions are substantiated, the rest of the time, the client is cheating but projecting on their partner,” he says.

Childs shares these common signs your significant other is fooling around:

  • Texting with their shoulder turned — then suddenly putting down phone once you walk in the room. Same for using the computer or talking on the phone. “Listen to your instincts,” Childs says.
  • You find a second, secrete phone.
  • Changing passcode to a shared account without a good reason — or a shady excuse.
  • Missed periods of time. For example, you expected them to be gone at the gym for an hour, but three hours passed.
  • A spare change of clothes mysteriously stored in the car.
  • Suspicious charges on the credit card, or unaccounted for sums of cash spent.

Adds Beth Ribarsky, a communications professor at the University of Illinois Springfield: “It’s important to remember that affairs aren’t just the typical physical infidelity that we think of. Emotional affairs involve turning to another partner and sharing thoughts, feelings, and emotional intimacy that would typically be reserved for a spouse/romantic partner. Some emotional affairs remain just that. And, some physical affairs are just sexual in nature. However, it is not unusual for affairs to be both emotional and physical.”

Other signs of an affair, according to Ribarsky:

  • If they once frequently kissed you goodbye or said, ‘I love you,' but they no longer do, they are making themselves increasingly distant from you.
  • They begin spending more time away from home. And, if you ask where they were or where they are going, they are vague.
  • They become increasingly secretive, especially when it comes to technology. Yes, it’s great if they are planning a surprise for you (Yes, I have a friend who thought her boyfriend was cheating, but he was really planning a surprise party). However, if your partner continually hides their phone, takes calls in the other room, quickly shuts the computer when you enter the room or becomes defensive when you ask to borrow their phone, it should make you question what they might be hiding.
  • Are they suddenly putting significantly more emphasis into their appearance? Again, maybe they are just taking on a healthier lifestyle, but when combined with other signs, it can be a signal something is wrong.

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How to catch a cheater

Keep reading about how to:

  • How to catch a cheating wife or girlfriend
  • How to catch a cheating husband or boyfriend

You may work with a private investigator, or use some of the tactics used by professional PIs to catch a cheat. You can find a private investigator near you with Bark >>

Beverly Hills private investigator Ken Childs shares his secrets and tips to catching a cheat:

Childs offers this advice:

1. Trust your instincts

If you sense your boyfriend or girlfriend, husband or wife is cheating — they likely are. Don't ignore your feelings.

2. Note changed behavior

Aside from your gut, actual changed behavior, secretive actions and weird new habits are very good signs of infidelity.

3. An affair doesn't have to end the relationship

People do cheat, but that doesn't mean that the marriage or relationship has to end. Many long-term, successful partnerships overcame cheating.

Tinder reviews for 2021 — is this dating app worth it?

7 apps to catch a cheating spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend

Childs said that if you do not have the password to your spouse's computer or phone, there is no way he or you or anyone else can hack into their device and read text messages or search histories. “Apple offers a $100,000 reward to anyone who can hack their phones,” he points out.

These are similar products on the market that have been promoted as helping to catch a cheat, but all require you have access to the device:

If you are dating someone new and suspect that they may sill be married or live with a partner, PeopleFinders is an affordable and reputable online people search tool.

What is the best free app to catch a cheater? 

Recoverit has a free trial.

WebWatcher app has a one-week free trial.

All Apple devices come with a free Find My Phone feature. iOS users can also use for free the Find My Friends app. Google Pixel users have access to the free Google Personal Safety, and everyone with a cell phone can use Google Maps to track anyone who has shared their location with them at least once.

How can I catch a cheater for free?

If your boyfriend or girlfriend has an Apple product, and they delete their texts, you may be able to find iMessages on their Macbook.

Childs also recommends WonderShare's Recoverit app that can find deleted messages — as long as you have access to your spouse's computer, phone or tablet. Try Recoverit free >>

Also, if you share or have a linked account for an app like Fitbit, Uber, Lyft and see suspicious activity via that technology, that can be useful in catching someone having an affair.

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Private investigator for cheating

If you suspect that your husband, wife, girlfriend or boyfriend is cheating, but they have denied your accusations or skirted you questions, hiring a private investigator can be an excellent way of getting an answer. In addition to offering you the peace of mind that comes with having an answer, evidence uncovered by a PI can be used during divorce proceedings, alimony hearings, and even child custody cases.

How do private investigators catch cheaters?

The tactics that a private investigator use to catch a cheating spouse vary from case to case, but often involve a combination of the following:

  • A private investigator may follow your spouse for a few hours over the course of a week or month. The goal with this surveillance is to usually to either catch them in the act or to catch them in a lie (i.e., they tell you they were going one place but the PI finds them in another).
  • Private investigators can document your spouse's activity in a journal. They'll also use cameras with high-powered lenses to capture photo and video evidence.

Sometimes, evidence will be cut-and-dry. A photo of your spouse kissing another woman, for example, or walking into a hotel with another man clearly indicate infidelity. Other times, evidence will be circumstantial.

It's important to note that private investigators can't break the law in their attempts to catch your spouse cheating. This means that they can't place tracking devices on your spouse's car, hack into their phone, email accounts, or social media accounts, or obtain other private information such as cell phone records. Likewise, while a PI will likely follow your spouse, they must walk a fine line between surveillance and stalking.

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How much does a private investigator cost?

Expect to pay a private investigator $60 to $200 per hour, and a typical case takes a couple of afternoons of following. “It's not as expensive as you think,” Childs says.

Listen to the Like a Mother with Emma Johnson podcast interview with Ken Childs:

Get a quote from a local PI now for free >>

Can private investigators read text messages?

Since it is nearly technically and legally impossible to break into someone's phone, private investigators typically do not hack devices or otherwise use technology to catch a cheat.

Can a private investigator obtain cell phone records?

Just like any other private citizen, private investigators cannot legally obtain phone, financial, or medical records without the person's consent or a subpoena.

PIs do not have any more legal rights to follow, tape, video record, access private records or accounts or otherwise stalk an individual than the average citizen.

Is it legal for someone to hire a private investigator?

It is 100% legal to hire a private investigator.

Is it worth it to hire a private investigator?

Private investigators very often are hired by spouses who suspect their partner is cheating. Tactics are less stealth than many people suspect, Childs says, and typically include following the person in question for a few hours each day over a few days, using video cameras with high-powered lenses, and documenting any behaviors that can prove or confirm cheating.

Do you feel guilty for divorcing a nice guy?

How to hire a private investigator

First, do your homework and abide by this checklist:

  • Make sure the private investigator is licensed and insured
  • Check their Yelp and Google reviews
  • If hiring through Bark, you can see their reviews there
  • Ask how many years experience they have — keep in mind this is not a regulated industry
  • Ask for a reference (ideally, get referred by a friend or attorney)
  • Ask that the private investigator send you a scrubbed report to get a sense of their work and professionalism
  • Call the PI and get a sense of if you trust them and have good chemistry.
  • Avoid anyone who is wearing a cheesy fedora in their profile pic. “You don't want some wannabe cop or tough guy,” Childs says.

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What should you do if you catch your spouse cheating

Typically, people hit the Internet with questions like these when they learn about infidelity or an unfaithful partner, for advice for how to confront and deal with a cheating spouse or partner”

  • “My boyfriend is cheating.”
  • “My girlfriend is cheating.”
  • “My husband is cheating.”
  • “My wife is cheating.”

If and when you do catch an unfaithful partner, the key is to stay calm, wait a few days, then confront your spouse or girlfriend calmly.

“Don't make any knee-jerk reactions and blow it up just because someone slept with someone else,” Childs advises. “You have to think about the rest of your life.”

Differences between the genders when it comes to infidelity?

“Men never cheat up, and women cheat with the complete opposite type of guy” as her husband, Childs has observed. Also, when it comes to facing the infidelity, “men get really worked up, and I think women can handle it a little better,” Childs says.

How to decide whether to get divorced

How to get over your divorce when your husband or wife cheated

However, you could take steps to protect yourself whether you end up getting a legal separation or divorce:

What everyone should ask for in divorce

Can cheaters change? Can a marriage survive a cheating spouse? 

Rabbi Shlomo Slatkin, a licensed clinical professional counselor and Certified Relationship Therapist, is co-founder of TheMarriageRestorationProject.com, a Baltimore, Md., based effort to restore marriages.

Slatkin said there are two parts of confronting the cheater: Addressing the (possible) infidelity and moving forward after.

Slatkin says:

“If you don't have any evidence, confronting your spouse may provoke a defensive response and no admission, so it may not yield any results. I don't recommend spying on your spouse, at the same time you have a right to know if they are cheating on you. Phone records or emails are an easy way to find out if there are any unusual communications going on.

If you do have evidence, make a time to sit down and talk with them and, as calm as possible, present them with the findings. Depending on whether you are interested in staying together after the affair, you will want to insist on finding a good therapist to help you through this.

You are no doubt confused, hurt, betrayed and angry. Realize that this
process of getting over the affair will take time. Try to remain as calm as possible.

It makes sense that you would want to lash out at your spouse and hurt them back and that is not going to be in your best interest in the long run. You will want to find a calm way to discuss what happened with your spouse eventually.”

Childs estimates that about half of his clients who cheated stay in the marriage, and the other half divorce. “About 50% have a super-intense moment with a big blowup, but several clients come back and told me how through therapy and revealing what got them there, they were able to make the marriage work.

Read Esther Perel's bestselling The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity.

Learn more about the best and most affordable online therapy apps.

Is he cheating or am I paranoid?

First off: trust your instincts, says Ken Childs whose Los Angeles PI practice frequently deals with requests to catch cheaters.

What is the best app to catch a cheater?

Childs said that if you do not have the password to your spouse's computer or phone, there is no way he or you or anyone else can hack into their device and read text messages or search histories.

What should you do if you catch your spouse cheating?

If and when you do catch an unfaithful partner, the key is to stay calm, wait a few days, then confront your spouse or girlfriend calmly.

Can a marriage survive a cheating spouse?

Ken Childs estimates that about half of his clients who cheated stay in the marriage, and the other half divorce.

How much does it cost to hire a private investigator?

Expect to pay a private investigator $60 to 200 per hour, and a typical case takes a couple of afternoons of following.

Can private investigators read text messages?

Since it is nearly impossible to break into someone's phone, private investigators typically do not hack devices or otherwise use technology to catch a cheat.

Can a private investigator obtain cell phone records?

Just like any other private citizen, private investigators cannot legally obtain phone, financial, or medical records without the person's consent or a subpoena.

Wealthysinglemommy.com founder Emma Johnson is an award-winning business journalist, activist, author and expert. A former Associated Press reporter and MSN Money columnist, Emma has appeared on CNBC, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR, TIME, The Doctors, Elle, O, The Oprah Magazine. Winner of Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web” and a New York Observer “Most Eligible New Yorker," her #1 bestseller, The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), was a New York Post Must Read. As an expert on divorce and gender, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality and multiple state legislature hearings. More about Emma's credentials.

2 Comments

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It’s been 25 years since my husband’s infidelity and the Lord has been faithful. He directed me to this professional private investigator (CYBS SPACE 279 AT gmail DOT com) who helped me spy on his phone just, I was enable to spy on his phone remotely and I was so mad at him when I caught him. He was appalled when he knew I already found out his unfaithfulness to our marriage. The next morning he came to me and kneel down to apologize for his wrong doing and promise such will never repeat itself. Needless to say, the pain was unbearable, but the Lord carried me and spoke gently to me. The first whisper to me from the Holy Spirit was a question, “do you love him (referring to my husband)? Initially I could only answer with a heavy sigh until He asked a third time and I responded, “yes.” From that time forward the Lord promised that he would do a new thing (Isaiah 43:18-19). The Lord relocated us to a new state and we struggled through the pain together with the Lord as the three-fold cord that brought healing and newness of life to our relationship. I had to position myself to hear and to obey God’s voice and to ignore my flesh that cried out for revenge. Since . It was difficult to shut out the worldly counsel and the other voices. I look back and marvel at His amazing grace and mar

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