“Don’t wait up, hon, I’m working a bit late tonight.”
Alex wasn’t alarmed when her lawyer husband uttered that line for the first time six years ago. Business is picking up, she thought, just what he wanted.
The phone call became a regular, expected event by the end of the year. Along with it were solo dinners and evenings that gave Alex plenty of time to think about what was really going on.
DIDN’T ADD UP
“I didn’t think anything of it at first, but then it became twice a week almost every week. Some things didn’t add up,” said Alex, who did not want her last name used.
“I’d get no answer on his cellphone and he’d say the battery was dead. I called his work line and no one would pick up. He told me he did his work in a conference room because it was quieter.”
Turns out, her husband was getting what he wanted, and Alex was the last to know about it. When she confronted him, he would deny he was having an affair and dodged her questions.
She asked his friends but they were mum on the topic. She checked his credit card and cellphone bills but found nothing that implicated him.
At the same time, Alex found that she was having self-esteem and trust issues. She felt insecure and rejected.
“I had no proof yet, but I wondered how he could love someone else,” she said.
At her wit’s end and in a last-ditch effort, Alex hired a private investigator to secretly tail her husband. Three weeks later, she showed her husband a picture of him walking hand-in-hand with a co-worker.
“His face went white like a ghost. He was stunned and, of course, he tried to make up an excuse,” she said. “I kicked him out.”
Alex and her husband divorced two years later.
When people are desperate for answers they turn to Winnipeg’s Janie Duncan, operator of Duncan Investigations, to obtain solid proof of a mate’s secret romps.
Her investigations into a person’s suspected infidelity have led her to the city’s seedy massage parlours.
“It’s a huge industry,” said Duncan, who’s been a private investigator for 17 years.
Trends seem to be changing. In the past, most of her clients were women. Today, more men are hiring her to find out just how faithful their wives are.
“It’s at epidemic proportions,” Duncan said. “People forget about their vows. They think the grass is greener on the other side but when the sex wears off the grass is never greener on the other side.
“People really aren’t as committed (as they used to be),” she said. “It’s easier to leave a marriage than to work on it.”
Based on recent cases, she’s found an increase in the number of people who cheat on a spouse with a friend. Once caught, women tend to admit their mistakes, apologize and seek counselling, Duncan said, while men deny, deny, deny, even if the evidence is in front of them.
“I can only take photos and videos of them going from point A to B. I can’t make any assumptions,” she said. “I’ll leave that up to the courts.”
Some people do their own sleuthing to catch a mate. Companies cash in on products such as electronics, CSI in a box, and computer software.
Oh, the lengths people will go to have piece of mind.
One of the quirkier products Toronto-based Spy Tech distributes is the CheckMate semen detection test kit.
“I was surprised how popular the item is,” said Spy Tech owner Ursula Lebana. “I guess there’s still a lot of suspicion out there about cheating.”
CheckMate detects traces of dried semen in underwear and other articles after sex using the five-minute test. A chemical is applied to the stain, then transferred to trace paper before a reaction compound is added.
A colour reaction will let you know if semen is present. The solution doesn’t damage the test subject.
One Toronto father used it to find out of his 13-year-old daughter was sexually active, Lebana said.
Packs of two test kits sell for $50 on CheckMate’s website, www.getcheckmate.com.
Technology has improved by leaps and bounds, and so have the investigative tools and gadgets used to pry and spy. Cue James Bond.
For concrete evidence, tiny surveillance cameras can be used to catch an adulterous spouse in the throes of passion with someone else.
“Covert cameras can be so small that you can hide them in just about anything, and they can be wireless,” said Cheryl Stearns, operations manager of Optima Systems Inc. on Pembina Highway.
Hidden cameras can be wired into most household items. Planters, wall clocks, children’s toys, you name it.
Systems are so sophisticated they can send still images to a person’s cellphone, or people can dial in and watch whatever is happening in the room on a computer.
A basic hidden camera costs about $150, while advanced systems cost hundreds of dollars.
Polygraph tests, sound amplifiers, telephone conversation recorders, and GPS vehicle tracking devices are some of the other products and services out there.
It is illegal to attach a GPS device to a vehicle without the owner’s approval, Stearns said.