Catching a cheater takes a lot more than just asking questions and demanding answers. In the end, it takes some real investigative skills to catch a cheater.
But before you dive into amature-detective mode, check yourself to make sure you’re ready to go down this road. Are there unresolved issues in your relationship that are making you feel insecure or paranoid about your partner? If your partner is acting distant or odd, it’s important to talk to them and ask them what’s going on, before jumping to the conclusion that they’re cheating.
However, if you have a clear suspicion your partner is cheating, there are a few different things you can do to find out if those suspicions are valid.
If you’re want to catch a cheater on your own, here’s how to get started:
Be very observant.
Watching how your partner reacts to different comments and situations is key when it comes to catching your partner in the act, says New York Times Best-selling Author and relationship sexpert, Mary “Honey B” Morrison.
“A cheater has the tendency to get sloppy after a while,” explains Morrison. “So make sarcastic comments like ‘What’s the naughtiest thing you did today?’ and see how they react.”
Pay attention to their actions and words.
Are their actions and words congruent? “If they say ‘I’m only interested in you,’ but you catch them texting with other people be wary—even if they have a good excuse,” says licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Lauren Korshak. “Any time someone’s actions and words don’t line up, it’s a red flag.”
Go where they’re not expecting you.
For example, if you never go to the gym but he/she does it might be a good time to go check it out. If you know your partner goes at a certain time, start going at the same time and see how they react. Are they excited about working out with you and spending more time together, or do they seem nervous or peeved by it? How they react can say a lot.
Monitor those credit card/checking accounts.
Whether you have a joint account or not, scan over their statements and pay attention to where they’re spending money. Does anything look questionable, like a $200 dinner you know you didn’t go on? Or gifts that you never received?
Say you’re going away for the weekend but come back early.
When the cat is away, the mouse will play. See how your partner reacts when you plan to go away for the weekend but then those plans fall through. You could also just plan for a night out without them and see what happens.
“Call your partner as usual. Inquire about their plans for the evening/night. If he/she exhibits abnormal behavior, return home early,” says Morrison.
Call them out when their story doesn’t line up.
If you have that gut sense of distrust about something and you ask the person about it, does their story make sense or are there holes in it? “Does their answer seem true and give you a sense of relief, or do you still have a nagging feeling that something is wrong and have a feeling of anxiety?”says Korshak. “Those feelings of anxiety, unless they come from previous trauma of being cheated on, are good cheater antennae.”
Often, if we’re not used to people cheating, we write off a behavior and think someone is acting strange or going through a phase. Instead, take note of it, and confront the behavior. Say, “I notice you’re acting jumpy and nervous. Is there something you’d like to share with me?”
Ok, so it may sound stalker-ish, but if you’re convinced your partner is cheating, you must have proof, and catching them in the act is the greatest proof you can get. If you suspect the cheating is occurring after work, follow them when they leave the office. If they’re disappearing a lot on the weekends, see where they go.
If all else fails, and you’re still unsure, you may want to hire a detective. Being your own sleuth can be challenging, that’s why there are experts that can do it for you. There are private detectives that specialize snuffing out infidelity.