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Discovering Infidelity - One Woman's Story

By Ruth Houston

The day I discovered my husband was cheating on me is forever etched in my mind. I will never forget my bewilderment, shock, confusion and my uncertainty about what to do next. I was totally devastated.

How I Found Out

As a freelance journalist and editor, I work from my home office. I accidentally stumbled onto Frank’s infidelity while doing interviews for an article assignment for a women’s magazine. To insure the accuracy of my notes, I always tape my interviews using a recording device attached to my office phone. While transcribing the interview tapes, I was shocked to find that I’d unknowingly recorded a number of incriminating phone calls made by Frank from our bedroom extension. Interspersed between the interviews, were revealing conversations he’d had with or about the women with whom he was involved.

A Perfect Marriage

That Frank might be cheating on me was the farthest thing from my mind, even though his behavior had been a little unusual the past few months. When infidelity did cross my mind, it was just a fleeting thought -- one I dismissed as quickly as it occurred. It was so far-fetched that I didn’t even give it serious consideration. Frank and I had an exceptionally good marriage (or so I thought). People who knew us -- even strangers, (male and female) often commented on what a “perfect couple” we were. I wrote relationship articles which appeared regularly in women’s magazines and earned me frequent guest spots on Good Day New York and several nationally syndicated radio talk shows. Our marriage (my second and Frank’s third) was the envy of all our friends. Still, I was at a loss to explain some of the odd little things Frank had recently said and done. Nothing major -- just small insignificant things that were out of character for him and didn’t seem to make any sense. I chalked it up to male menopause (Frank was nearing 50) or stress from the heavy overtime he’d been working. Little did I know that these seemingly inconsequential things would turnout to be telltale signs.

Right Under My Very Nose

From the conversations on the tapes, I discovered that Frank had not one, but three lovers. I was dumb-founded to hear him boasting to a friend about his weekend morning “quickies” with Alexis, his early departures from work for afternoon trysts with Michelle, Marlene’s weekend stay at our apartment while I was away on a business trip and more. Even more astounding, was that all these things had taken place right under my very nose. In light of my discovery, I now saw Frank’s behavior through different eyes. And I became keenly aware of how many telltale signs I’d missed. Many of the odd things Frank said and did suddenly began to make sense.

Wendy’s Story- Another Infidelity Victim

On one tape, Frank mentioned a birthday he’d recently attended which was given by his best friend Max. No other details were supplied except that the party was for Max’s girlfriend. Since Max’s wife, Wendy was a friend of mine, I told her what I heard. Working one single piece of information, Wendy conducted what I consider to be a masterpiece of detective work. In less than 2 weeks, she managed to find out the name of Max’s girlfriend, her phone number and address, where she worked, the address and phone number of her job, and was able to pinpoint approximately how long the affair had been going on. Wendy also found out exactly where and when the birthday party had taken place, how much it cost, the names of several guests who attended, and verified that that Max was indeed the person who arranged and paid for the event. She even confiscated a gift for Max’s lover that he’d hidden in the trunk of his car. Since Wendy and Max co-owned a business, she immediately took steps to protect herself financially by transferring the bulk of their joint funds to a separate account -- much to the surprise (and embarrassment) of Max when he attempted to withdraw funds without her knowledge. Their marriage survived -- largely because instead of sitting back and being a passive victim, Wendy immediately searched for confirming telltale signs. She found them early enough to take positive action and get her marriage back on track.

If Only I’d Recognized the Signs

Discovering that Frank was cheating was truly devastating. Being a naturally trusting person, I was oblivious to most of the telltale signs, despite the fact that they were staring me in the face. I later learned that many telltale signs begin to crop up when a man first starts think seriously about infidelity. For months I agonized over how things might have turned out differently if I’d recognized the signs when they first began to appear. It’s possible that I might have been able to save our marriage if I’d known the significance of those signs. If not, I could have at least saved myself a lot of heartaches and pain by preparing myself mentally and emotionally, and protecting myself legally and financially from a marriage that ultimately ended in divorce. Yet, my marriage was not unique in this respect. It was one of the millions of marriages impacted by extramarital affairs.

9 Years of Research and a Promise

At the time there were less than 5 books available on the subject of infidelity. Desperate for information, I endured the embarrassment of purchasing them at my local bookstore. As I struggled to make sense of what was happening, I began earnestly researching the topic of infidelity so I could find out how to handle the situation. My research led to my writing a series of infidelity articles based on information gleaned from leading marriage and family therapists. Although I gained a wealth of knowledge about and coping with infidelity and recognizing the telltale signs, for me, this knowledge came too late. Frank and I eventually got a divorce. But I promised myself that when I recovered from the trauma of that experience, I would share this information with other women in similar situations.

The Infidelity Statistics are Shocking

It was shocking read the statistics citing how widespread infidelity is. Though they vary from study to study, the most widely accepted figures indicate that between 50 and 70 percent of married men (between 38 and 53 million men) have cheated or will cheat on their wives. One study found that 2/3 of the wives (26 to 36 million women) whose husbands were cheating had no idea their husbands were having an affair -- largely because they failed to recognize the telltale signs. Yet the media continues to treat infidelity as a form of entertainment. Movies, novels, soap operas, talk shows, gossip columns and women’s magazines continue to dramatize, trivialize and glamorize extramarital affairs. Few people other than its victims take it seriously.

An Infidelity Book is Born – Gathering More Facts

Is He Cheating on You? – 829 Telltale Signs is the first of a series of information products for women who are victims of infidelity. It’s based on not just my personal experience, but on 9 years of in-depth research on the topic of infidelity. I’ve read thousands of accounts of infidelity, interviewed hundreds of women about their personal experiences and the experiences of women they know, and dozens of cheating men. I’ve read hundreds of articles, studies and transcripts on infidelity and spent countless hours surfing the Net checking out websites, chat rooms, forums, message boards and discussion lists that deal with infidelity and related issues. Is He Cheating on You? – 829 Telltale Signs is the result of all those efforts. It’s the book I wish I’d had when those first telltale signs began to crop up in my marriage. If I’d recognized those signs early on, things might have had a different ending.

A Multitude of Telltale Signs

Is He Cheating on You? is probably the largest collection of telltaIe signs ever compiled. It documents hundreds of signs of infidelity, including a multitude of little-known telltale signs not listed anywhere else. Despite the subtitle, it actually contains 950 telltale signs. Even after the cover was designed, I continued to add telltale signs until the final version of the manuscript was sent to the printer. And readers continue to e-mail or phone me with telltale signs that were not included in the book. What’s different about Is He Cheating on You? is that it tells women how to spot the warning signs of infidelity without using gadgets, surveillance equipment or private investigators. All of the telltale signs documented in Is He Cheating on You? can easily be found by any woman using only her eyes and ears, her personal knowledge of her husband and the information provided in the book. No special skills or equipment are needed. The signs are conveniently grouped into 21 categories so a woman can easily find the signs that apply to her husband or her marriage. A few of the signs are listed in more than one category so that no one will miss an important telltale sign.

Sharing Information with Other Women

This is my way of sharing all the information I gathered about infidelity, with other women in this traumatic situation. It’s unfortunate that any woman would ever need a book like this, but the facts speak for themselves. Millions of acts of infidelity go undetected every day. Unsuspecting women need an easy-to-use, reliable, inexpensive tool to help them find out the truth about what’s going on. I am committed to providing them with that information.

Empowered by Knowledge

Knowledge is power; and I firmly believe every woman should know how to recognize the telltale signs of infidelity. The future of her marriage may well depend on her ability to recognize the telltale signs in time. There’s nothing worse than not knowing-- or being the last to know. But the first step in solving a problem is knowing that the problem exists. If a woman doesn’t know her husband is cheating, there’s little that she can do. If she’s oblivious to the fact that her marriage may be in jeopardy, by the time she finds out what’s happening, it may be too late. She will have had no chance to try to get her marriage back on track, or to prepare herself emotionally or protect herself from the devastation that lies ahead. Rather than being proactive and making conscious decisions about what to do, she’ll become a helpless infidelity victim, swept along with the tide.

A Fighting Chance to Save the Marriage

On the other hand, if a woman recognizes the telltale signs and understands what’s happening, she stands a fighting chance of being able to nip the infidelity in the bud on her own, or seek professional help. More importantly, she can take steps to prepare herself mentally, financially and legally for the possibility that her marriage may come to an end. At least she won’t be taken by surprise, and end up being the “last one to know”.

Who This Book Is For

Is He Cheating on You? is not just for wives who suspect their husbands of cheating. It’s also for :

--the millions of unsuspecting wives who’ve never even considered that an affair might be going on.

--women who’ve been cheated on in the past want to make sure it doesn’t happen again

--women who are trying to reconcile with a cheating husband and want reassurance that the affair is no longer going on

--women who think it could NEVER happen to them (no one is immune)

--women who know their husbands are cheating and want to get solid proof

--women who want to know ahead of time what to look for, in case it ever happens to them

--women who in view of the high infidelity statistics want to know where they stand in their current relationship

--single women who want to avoid entering into or staying in a relationship with a cheater

--Men who suspect their wives of cheating (many of the signs are universal and apply to both sexes)

--people with female friends or relatives who are being cheated on and who are in denial

--people who don’t know how to tell a woman her husband is cheating – give her the book and let her find out for herself

No Marriage is Immune to Infidelity

One of the most surprising things I learned about infidelity is that no marriage is immune. Infidelity knows no boundaries. “Good husbands” can cheat. Infidelity can occur even in happy marriages. It can affect couples of any race, creed, color or economic background. Rich or poor, young or old, newlywed or approaching a fiftieth anniversary – infidelity can happen to anyone – even you. The likelihood is very high that, given the current statistics on infidelity, every woman will experience being a victim of infidelity at some point in her life. So I feel strongly that Is He Cheating on You? is a reference book that belongs on every woman’s bookshelf. This is important information that no woman should be without. The future of her marriage may one day depend on her ability to recognize the telltale signs in time. Armed with this book and her personal knowledge of her husband, she’ll be able to easily spot the warning signs.

The Purpose of This Book

The purpose of Is He Cheating on You? – 829 Telltale Signs is not to make women suspicious of their husbands. The purpose is to make women aware of what’s already going on. Statistics prove that infidelity is happening all around us. Just pick up a newspaper or listen to the nightly news. Infidelity touches 80% of all marriages. It is my sincere hope that this book will open the eyes of the millions of women who are unaware that their husbands are having an affair. It was written to make women aware of the many telltale signs that indicate possible infidelity. Every woman deserves to know the truth. It’s my firm belief that if more women knew how to recognize the signs of infidelity, more marriage could be saved. With Is He Cheating on You? every wife now has an affordably priced tool to keep her from being the last to know.

A Final Word

To any woman who suspects her husband of cheating, I implore you - for your peace of mind, for your physical health (think HIV/AIDS and other STDs), for your mental and emotional well-being, and for the future financial well-being of yourself and your children too -- find out if what you suspect is true. Don’t speculate – investigate! Take it from someone who has lived through infidelity – find out before it’s too late. Believe me, in this day and age, you can’t afford to be the last one to know.

*Frank, Marlene, Michelle, Alexis, Max and Wendy are not their real names. The names have been changed to protect the guilty as well as the innocent.

NOTE: Despite my traumatic experience with Frank, the story does have a happy ending. I’ve been happily re-married for almost5 years now, to a wonderful man who also values the sanctity of marriage as highly as I do. (Ironically, he too, was cheated on by his first wife.)




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