How to Tell if Your Partner Is Cheating on You, According to a Private Eye

No relationship is perfect, and cheating is a lot more common than you think (for both sexes). But how do you know if your significant other's cheating on you? Well, if they're on Ashley Madison, you probably already know (and, sorry about all that...).

But then there's the rest of the unfaithful population who stick to more traditional routes -- or, you know, Tinder and any other dating site that's not weirdly geared towards affairs. How do you figure out if those folks are cheating? We enlisted the help of Michael McKeever, a New York private investigator whose been in the business for over 35 years, for tips on finding out if your significant other is living on the down low.


Be suspicious of makeovers

A new gym membership or diet may mean something’s up. McKeever says to take note "if they're concerned about their appearance more than before."

Be wary of sneakiness

Being secretive with a cell phone is a huge sign. “Maybe their phone is locked when they put it down, or they’re deleting texts.” Perhaps they’re just planning you a really great surprise? Or, you know, they’re texting someone else. "Also, [look out for] unexplained absences -- like, they go to the bank, should be back at 4, but they come back at 5:30." If they're frequently late, or switching up their schedules, they may be up to something.


Strategize your investigation, and stick to it

Basically, everything is relevant. You need to get the details, and you need a plan. McKeever says: "One of the things that surprises me is someone will say, ‘I think something is going on with my husband. Let’s formulate a plan, we’ll do this, we’ll do that.’ And then they say, ‘Well, Thursday night is no good, ‘cause he goes out with the guys from work.’ [But], if you think the person’s lying to you, why do you decide that this part is something he’s telling the truth about? You know, people will just kind of gloss over things."


Trust your gut

Most of the time, people who believe they're being cheated on end up being correct. "You know, they’ve been married to someone for a while -- they know their habits, they can say, ‘Now he’s dressing nicer all the time,’ or ‘He didn’t wear cologne, now he wears cologne.’ You know, the obvious, apparent changes,” McKeever says.

Women are far more intuitive about this kind of stuff, too. "It’s pretty much known in the private eye business that if a woman hires you, probably 90% of the time or more, she’s not wasting her money. If a man hires you, probably 75% of the time or more, he is wasting his money."


If you're going to follow them, get your timing right

Post-weekend is the prime tailing time. "If you want to tail somebody, because you suspect something’s going on, and you know what they do on the weekend -- like you’re home with the kids on the weekend -- that makes Monday more significant," McKeever says.

"Sometimes people say, ‘He used to come home at 6 on Wednesdays, now Wednesday and Thursday he comes home at 10:30/11 and he always has an excuse, but he used to not be that way.’ Well then, you focus on those days. But sometimes people say it’s completely random."

Those random cases are when it’s best to look at what they’re up to after the weekend. "Or when you come back from vacation, and you know that he’s been with you for 10 days, when you get back, that makes those few days more important."

Be patient

"If you can pretend like you’re not suspicious and pay good attention, you’re better off than if you’re bugging somebody every day with things like, ‘How come you came home at 10:30? I thought you were gonna be home at 9,'" McKeever says.

If the person you’re trying to catch thinks you’re suspicious, they’re going to change up their routine and make it harder for you to tell that something’s up. "Be patient, and pretend like you’re too preoccupied with other things. Playing it cool is definitely better."

Just, please, don't Gone Girl anybody.

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Lucy Meilus is a staff writer for Thrillist and has absolutely no idea how to play it cool. Follow her on Twitter at @Lucymeilus.