It's not that easy to catch a cheating partner. Often the things that make you suspicious of your significant other can come from your own insecurities, paranoia, or just misreading some strange differences in their behaviour. It means that it's hard for anyone, even someone who has been cheated on in the past, to know when it's happening. But if there's anyone who has a good chance of discovering signs of infidelity, it is someone like David King.
King has 20 years experience as a private investigator, and is currently the managing director for Lipstick Investigations. His company's main service is gathering visual documentation of infidelity, but after dealing with so many clients over the years, he has seen which suspicious turned out to be valid and which didn't.
"I will back a woman's intuition every single time", he said in an interview with Femail, "There's something in their minds that's not right and some of the things they may come to me with might sound a bit strange but more often than not we investigate into it and they're dead right."
Aside from intuition, there are some telltale signs that may suggest your partner is being unfaithful, based on King's own experience and research in the field. The company's experts say the figures of men and women are roughly even, but women are more likely to pick up on behavioural differences, meaning most of their clientele are women seeking to figure out whether their boyfriends or husbands have any secrets.
"Men start to take a bit more care. They might work out a bit more, or be clean shaven more often, or start dressing a bit better or smelling nicer," David said, "A change of appearance is generally quite strong."
Technology, as you can expect, has vastly changed how cheaters act and communicate with their lovers. David explains that you can pick up on infidelity through how your partner interacts with his phone:
"Suspicion starts coming through in technology.
"You might see a message pop up in your partner's iPhone that looks a bit weird, or he is more protective of his phone. He may have put a password on it, whereas he never needed one before."
While the private investigator admitted he's not qualified to comment on the psychology of a cheating person, he reported that his clients frequently report their partner seemed to be more angry than usual, starting arguments and getting into shouting matches far more often than usual. Men will pick fights that will give them the opportunity or excuse to leave and be out of contact under the belief they're taking time to cool down.
"If men are guilty this can manifest itself as anger. Husbands will often manifest anger into a relationship, and this can sometimes work as a way to get out of the house."
"Men will come home late, or go out without their partner when they previously would have taken them with you."
This gives them an excuse to not come or to head out of the house, but people can find other seemingly innocuous reasons to head out alone, such as going out for a walk. "He could be going for a legitimate walk but it sounds strange in their relationship," David said.
The investigator's role is to catch them out on the lie, usually through surveillance, using forensic tools, hidden cameras and night vision equipment. So there are things that David tries to avoid, such as the technique of "honey trapping", wherein a decoy is sent into their favourite bar or gym to flirt with the partner and see how they react. David believes people have "unrealistic expectations" and it rarely gets results.
If you want to read more on this topic, it's worth checking out the new study that revealed the person your partner is most likely to cheat on you with.