|“But I’m not sleeping with him, we just talk all day.|
Ok so here we go on part two of what to do when another man starts gaining some traction on your wife’s interest level. Part One is here.
As an aside, I’ve never had to do any of this with Jennifer and the majority of this information is a distilling of the overall viewpoint I gained from the Talk About Marriage boards on how to intervene in a situation where cheating is starting to happen.
So let’s learn a few simple things about people who are cheating. If you Google for signs that you spouse is cheating, you can come up with hundreds of somewhat contradictory signs, but it all boils down one simple thing. They just exhibit a change their behavior somehow. If they had been reliably doing A B and C, but suddenly they start doing X Y and Z. It doesn’t matter what A B C or X Y Z actually is you’re just looking for the change in behavior.
The second thing to know about cheaters is that they lie. Lies are like rats, for every lie you catch, there’s usually a hundred you didn’t. You may catch them in a fairly minor lie that may not seem to directly relate to cheating, but you never know. The lies can start small, like simple omissions of information – like I had lunch with a guy I’m very attracted to that I work with. Then slowly ramp up to bigger things like secret bank accounts, “I can’t leave work the boss is making me stay”, “it’s your baby” yada yada yada.
The third thing to know is that cheaters are basing their entire decision making framework on the belief in that they are able to get away with it and not experience a negative outcome. As an example – I can very much enjoy a fantasy experience of dreaming about robbing a bank and loving all the money – but I don’t rob banks because I believe I’ll get caught. Actual bank robbers believe they can get away with it and getting caught is a horrible shock to them. For the most part robbing a bank these days requires someone completely delusional considering the amount of cameras et al. Likewise people that are cheating are assuming that they can get away with it; that there are no consequences for their actions. The delusion also extends to thoughts like “I love them both, just differently”, “I can’t help myself” and so on.
The fourth thing to know is that the entire thing is addictive to the cheater. The whole thing of “it just happened” really does happen, but usually it gets spread over many small occasions rather than one bizarre event. What happens is usually the cheater experiences something pleasant with a member of the opposite sex, a flirt, a smile, something nice, a little attention and it’s all completely harmless. So they go back for another little nibble on the good feelings. Then they go back for another little nibble. Fast forward a couple weeks and the Dopamine has kicked in and the full OCD-like symptoms of interest in another person has started to take over their thought process. Now they can’t live without lunch with the love interest, they have to call them repeatedly, they need their texts and so on. The more serious it is the more evidence will pile up.
The answer to this combination of changed behavior, lying, delusion and addiction is to drag it all out into the ugly light of day. And to do that you’re going to need information and documentation… you gotta spy on them.
I do have two serious warnings about spying though. The first is that it will drive you paranoid and half crazy just doing it. Then even innocent things can seem more than it really is to your crazy thinking. The second is that if you get caught spying and your spouse was doing nothing with anyone, you’re going to look like a lunatic and that could damage the relationship. So never get caught and never start this without at least some evidence that they are being shady.
Now the first thing I recommend is that you keylogger their home computer. I recommend Spector Pro for this. Never used it myself, but has many great reviews all over the Internet and seems to have a great set of features.
The next thing you can do is tap her cell phone. As far as I can tell as long as the phone plan is in your name, you’re good to go legally on tapping “your own phone” that she just happens to be using. There are dozens of websites that offer to sell this stuff and I have no particular recommendation. Importantly you can get ones that track the GPS location of the phone.
There are also GPS tracking devices for use in cars, though it seems like they are less reliable and if you’re going the cell phone tap route you may as well get a good one of that.
If you’re suspecting the relationship is physical and happening in your own home, you can go for a huge variety of nanny cams that are motion activated. If you’re catching her out and about, there are a variety of spy cameras or even most good cell phones take decent pictures or even video anyway.
Then you lay low and collect information. Print a hard copy of everything and anything that looks bad. If she’s going to some guy’s house (GPS tracked her there), you need to snap shots of her going in and out. Absolutely do not tip your hand that you are spying until you have solid evidence against her.
You need to visit a few attorney’s offices and grab a few business cards and whatever divorce handouts they have. Also do the same thing for marriage counselors.
Once you have solid proof that something inappropriate is going on, you unload the whole thing on her and drag it all out into the open. Here’s your list of 53 phone calls to Mr. X in the last two weeks. Here are all your texts to him. Here are the photos of your breasts you sent him. When you said you were at the movies with your sister on Friday you cell phone GPS was at his house for two hours. You’ve been to his house four times in the last two weeks. Here are all the emails where you said he was fantastic in bed, here’s a photo of you both holding hands in public. Whatever it is just lay it on with a shovel.
Then she has a simple choice.
Choice One. She breaks it off with the other man, as in completely off, NO CONTACT beyond a final message to him “sorry my husband caught me, I’m going back to him, this is over”. This all happens in front of you by the way. Any repeated attempts by him to contact her need to be ignored, or if it becomes threatening in any way it becomes a police matter via 911 and/or restraining order. The no contact is absolutely vital in that she needs to be weaned off the addictive effects of contact with the other man.
She also needs to comply with immediate STD testing, regardless of whether or not she said it was physical. That can be done at her primary doctors. If there is any possibility of pregnancy I’d advise testing that as well. This is one of those “reorient her to reality” things. It doesn’t matter what she says happened, cheaters are liars and lying liars need to pee into a cup. You don’t have sex until the results are in.
Depending on circumstance it may be worth paternity testing any and all children you have with her. If you’re catching her now, what’s to say she wasn’t cheating then.
Then she also needs to agree to attend marriage counseling together.
Choice Two. She needs to pick a divorce attorney from one of the business cards. There’s no way in hell you’re going to let her cheat on you and not stop.
Now usually all this should stop her in her tracks cold. Most times you’re probably going to get a huge emotional reaction, crying, screaming, wailing and even puking for a full on remorse display. Or it may all be too late and she just opts for option two.
What may happen though is she’s going to opt for option one and then because she is still hooked into the other man emotionally etc, she’s going to try and wriggle out of it and continue things. So tomorrow I’ll talk about Plan B.
And naturally all this assumes that you want to save the marriage even after discovering what you uncover. These are serious choices; a knee jerk “kick the bitch out” usually ignores the difficulty of unpicking a long marriage relationship. Kids, money, house, savings. It’s not an easy road no matter which you choose. Many marriages can recover from affairs both emotional and physical and end up stronger for it. Others… others sadly don’t. Affairs suck. I can’t make the stay or go choice for you, everyone is different.