Considering that infidelity becomes a cause for concern at one time or another in as many as 80% of American marriages, is it any real surprise that some spouses will go to incredible lengths in trying to find out whether their spouse or romantic partner is cheating? Not only will people spend incredible sums of money to uncover evidence of infidelity, but it may become a pursuit that largely consumes their waking lives.
Take Marsha R, a housewife from the south shore of Long Island, who thought her husband of 17 years had a girlfriend on the side. Although she admits her family is struggling financially, Marsha spent nearly $3,000 on a private detective who came back with the seemingly good news that her husband really was working all those hours of overtime at work.
Unsatisfied with this result – and several thousand dollars poorer – Marsha actually quit her job so she could do her own research. After she ran up the family credit cards to hire another detective and to buy gadgets to track her husband’s activities, Marsha got a nasty surprise. Although she had zero facts to support her contention of a cheating spouse, her husband turned around and filed for divorce, his legal paperwork citing the fact that she had quit her job and increased their debt significantly in her attempts to prove he was being unfaithful.
For Angela Baylor of Cleveland, she was on the receiving end of extensive attempts by her boyfriend to prove she was cheating. Although she insists she was not, she was amazed when she learned that her boyfriend spent nearly $15,000 to pay three different detectives to follow her, to have a special tracking device added to her vehicle and secret home cameras to watch her every move, to buy her cell phone records, and to actually pay someone at her job to report back on her movements.
Now involved in litigation to try to get some of the money back, since she believes her boyfriend tapped her checking and savings to help fund his investigation, Baylor reports, “It’s been a year now and I still can’t believe what he did.”
She also adds a wry wrinkle to the story. Baylor says that not only did her boyfriend fail in his efforts to detect her cheating, that he ended up falling in love with the woman salesman at a spy hardware store where he bought equipment to perform surveillance on Baylor.
“They’re supposed to get married in April. Can you believe it? To this day, I still find myself looking for secreted cameras and voice-activated recorders. I’m not sure I’ll ever trust anyone again,” she says tearfully.
In fact, many cities boast such specialty stores that offer cameras that are so small, they fit onto eyeglasses, into a tie clip, and can be concealed easily throughout the home and office. Likewise, through such stores you can buy all types of recording devices, including those that monitor and catch phone calls and even whispered conversations.
Joe Fairleigh of Burlington, Vermont, says he learned about the world of spy hardware when his wife decided he was cheating on her. His first hint of a problem came the first time he noticed a car stop at the curb in front of his home and a woman jump out to steal their garbage. Since he had heard that information thieves and celebrity stalkers do similar things, he expected that some stranger was trying to learn his financial details. Fairleigh says he was unprepared when he happened upon a credit card bill that included nearly $2,000 in charges for cameras, recorders, a tracking device and the services of a detective agency that paid someone to collect his trash.
Yet you might be surprised to learn that Joe and his wife, Megan, are still married. They recently moved from the greater New York area to Vermont to start a whole new life, away from family and friends Joe blames for making his wife wonder about him.
Writes Megan Fairleigh in email, “I know what I did was wrong. But I felt so hurt at the thought he might be cheating on me, I felt like I had to do something to prove it. I spent two months doing nothing but finding out new ways to spy on him. And you know what? He wasn’t cheating at all. But I spent an awful lot of money before I realized the truth.”