(In almost 20 years of this work I have allowed exactly two clients to join me on a case. The second client tells her account. I wanted a real, human voice behind why a woman would hire a private eye for a domestic case. I asked her to write this.)
The question of hiring a Private Investigator was a tough one. There seemed to be a Yin for every Yang, nothing certain, and I just didn’t think I was the kind of woman to do that kind of thing.
The only crystal clear part was that horrible, angry, steak-knife-in-the-gut feeling that my husband of 33 years was having an affair. We’d met at age 15, he’d been my yardstick for every man on Earth for 42 years. And, there seemed to be about $72K unaccounted for from our second mortgage. What? How do you lose track of that kind of money?
I called Spencer Investigations feeling guilty, thinking the phone call in itself was being unfaithful to the father of my three children. I left a message with clear call-back instructions. I had a return email later that day and the first line was “I’m sorry this is happening to you.”
The cynic in me silently responded, “Sure, right, I’m another wife you’re going to make some money on.” When the one person you rely on to be the closest and the most honest welcomes another into the marriage arena, you end up trusting no one and you’re angry at everyone. That was me.
Mike and I set a time to meet. He brought a contract, I brought a list of questions, photographs and info, plus the retainer.
Our conversation started with the “I’m sorry this is happening to you” statement but this time, eye-to-eye, I knew it was true. He’s seen enough gritty situations to identify my hurt. At that moment, I started to trust him and knew we could work together.
We chatted about details, schedules, mannerisms, possibilities and, most importantly, that even with all this prep and all his expertise; we may still come up with nothing.
I returned home and did my homework, watching for signs, noticing unusual behaviors, noting phone usage and planning the first day of surveillance. I took note of clothing, hat, bags, vehicle, direction, etc.
My husband’s first venture to “her” hotel room netted photos of his car…in the parking lot…for hours….through lunch then dinner and beyond. Mike advised that they were tucked in for the night (another steak knife) and suggested we resume the next day. He left but I had to stay hoping that I was wrong.
Starting the second day, with half the retainer left, I was getting desperate and making all kinds of cockeyed suggestions but the private investigator stayed on track reminding me of privacy laws. I’d purchased a GPS Tracking system to attach to the car but we didn’t ultimately need to use it.
A last-minute announcement of a ferry trip started the day. Sitting with the PI at the terminal to help make a quick ID, my husband walked right past us thinking only of his upcoming tryst. He was alone but headed back to her hotel room.
With the extra twist of a lie, keys locked in the car, a call to AAA, more lies; we were set for the PI to catch excellent footage of my husband’s impassioned dash from his car to her room carrying all the bags that we used to take to “our” rooms.
The third day was quiet even though I was miserable. My husband’s lies were compounding and he was tripping on his own words. My retainer had been spent but there was no evidence of the two of them actually together.
We landed the money video on the fourth day, thanks to Mike’s associate PI Al Sidwell. Emerging from their Lover’s nest, they visited two local parks strolling, kissing, fondling and hugging. The additional money coupled with the behavior patterns already set and some top-notch last-minute coordination yielded concrete and heart-breaking proof.
Ultimately, the videos and photographs are useless in a no fault divorce state like California but their presence is proof that I was married to a cheating, lying Schmuck who would take every opportunity to distort our financial situation in regards to our community property just as he took every opportunity to run to his girlfriend’s bed.
A little more sleuthing on my part has revealed several financial secrets including community property funds used to purchase Viagra and an out-of-state visit to a Bed & Breakfast…grrrrr.
Two months later, he’s moved in to his own apartment. I have a great attorney and am trying to find my groove once again. Once the affair was discovered and revealed, yes I told all, our kids are still upset and angry. It wasn’t my dirty lie to keep any longer; it was his to live with.
I had to put my money where my mouth was; it was what I’d tell my own daughter to do if she confessed to me her own marital suspicions. Funny thing? My son said he could tell all along.
He doesn’t feel he was ever caught. In fact, during one discussion, in front of our kids, he got out of his seat, pointed his finger at me and yelled, “You have no proof!” That says it all right there.