Things have changed over the last few weeks. Our business has shifted in major ways. Businesses are shutting down across the United States. Oil prices dipped into the negatives. Infidelity, in the other hand, has jumped up by the thousands.
A recent interview with Paul Keable, the Chief Strategy Officer of Ashley Madison, revealed that the infidelity website is seeing an increase of over 17,000 new members per day. He mentions that: “The reason to join us [Ashley Madison] is there are fractures, often, at home, and those are going to be amplified, dramatically. So, if you’re under quarantine or in working from home situations with your spouse and not having [the] respite [of] going into the office and being away, people are going to look at this as an outlet, even if it won’t be a physical interaction, at least in the short term. But having someone to talk to who’s having similar feelings is going to be a relief, and it’s potentially going to be of value to a lot of people who are experiencing that.”
People are still having affairs, but the medium changed. We read an article from Jonathan Roel on PI Feed discussing how live streaming services have changed the rules of extra marital affairs. This is worth the read since it talks about the fact that some “streamers” build connections with their viewers. He asks the questions: “what if your spouse was giving money to another person?” – “What if your partner canceled dates or events to watch someone else, online?”
Now we’re asking the question – how has Covid19 changed the rules of extramarital affairs?
Is it still happening? Absolutely. Here is an article from Slate where a woman is asking for advice on how to keep her “head on straight” as she’s having an affair from a social distance. She’s looking for advice on how to keep her affair active, without making a risky decision that could destroy her marriage. I’ll have to give it to her, some people that engage in extra marital affairs have standards. Others, cheat on their spouse and come back home infected with Coronavirus.
The point is, people are still having affairs, but the mediums have changed. The rules have changed. The signs have changed. Our jobs, as private investigators, have changed.
We have received an increased number of calls from clients who are wanting to conduct infidelity investigations – after – the Covid19 crisis settles. One of the main reasons we are getting these calls has to do with the patterns their partners are seeing that no longer add up.
Now that their partner is at home, the small “quirks” and daily “tasks” changed. Sure, the pandemic has changed the way people act, but does this change your scheduled conversations with your boss from 5:00 PM to 6:00 PM? Does this change the fact that you were obsessed with working out 2 hours a day, only to be home without the desire to stay fit? You used to shower all the time, now you do not do it as much. Your taste in music changed. The way you talk. How you act around your spouse?
We get it, Covid19 has changed everything around the world. For us, one of the top key indicators for private investigators is a change in behavior, but some changes simply do not add up. Now that our clients are forced to be locked in with their partner in extremely close proximity – small patterns that were overlooked in the past, are starting to become more noticeable.
Some of the signs our clients identified have to do with the type of “work” calls being made. Our clients are starting to see patterns in the way that some calls sound less professional than others. Patterns that coincide with phone conversations followed by emergency grocery shopping – or some other excuse to leave the house.
Other signs have to do with possessive elements – your spouse no longer letting you near their mobile phone, laptop, or iPad. Others have to do with being secretive about the messages and calls.
We received a call from a distraught wife that claimed that her husband and her argued out of the blue, and he had to leave to calm down and have some personal alone time.
Some people are seeing that their partners are getting up earlier than normal or staying up later than normal. If they are unemployed, this could be their way to cope with the current situation. If they are working from home – their schedule should have stayed about the same. Maybe they are having a virtual affair, or they are using this time to communicate with their affair partner without having to worry about prying eyes.
To make a long story short, our clients are seeing things that are not adding up – and they are coming to us for help.
As far as what we can do for them, right now, we are extremely limited. We are conducting pre-surveillance investigations and social media investigations. Surveillance, which is often the best tool to catch an affair in the act, is a hit or miss service during this time. We cannot sit outside a residence 24/7 waiting for the spouse / partner to go active and leave the residence – this would be cost prohibited. In theory, you could call us right before your spouse / partner goes active, and we could rush out to the location and conduct surveillance while they leave.
There are services like GPS Tracking that we could offer, however, for us to track a vehicle in Florida we need to have permission from a vehicle owner. If your name is not on the registration, this idea goes out the window.
That would leave us with Social Media Investigations to track down hidden social media accounts. We can locate hidden assets, conduct comprehensive background investigations, and even offer digital forensics on your partner’s mobile device to identify erased text messages, photos, or hidden applications.
We are not fully out of options, but we must get creative in the way we continue to service our clients. The fact of the matter is that infidelity is still taking place – now more than ever. The medium changed, and our agency is working hard at adapting with it.