By: Steven Brown
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COVID-19 and Adultery: A Private Investigator’s Perspective
Covid-19 And Adultery; A Private Investigators Perspective
No one is impervious to COVID-19. Every single human on the face of the earth has been impacted to some degree or another. Whether sickness, the loss of a loved one, a business closure, lockdowns, mandates, or a host of other life disruptions, COVID-19 has certainly become a pain point for us all. Add to this the charged atmosphere that politics and pundits incite, COVID has become a hot topic and, unfortunately, one that will not fade away any time soon.
Because of this, I’ve joined countless others who deliberately limit exposure to media. I’ve turned down the volume on self-proclaimed social media experts. And, I’ve grown increasingly skeptical of the “science”. Do you relate? Like me, do you feel the chaos all around you? The clashing of a billion different opinions and the gaping void of a precious thing called “truth”? Wherever you stand on this polarizing virus, I’m sure you, like everyone else, maintain a deep-seated, passionate reason why you fall where you do on the ideological spectrum.
Speaking of varying belief systems, as a business owner and licensed Maryland Private Investigator, I often have a front row seat to the who, what, where, when, how, and why that are at play in others’ decisions. I see the juncture of belief systems and behaviors on a day-to-day basis. And, I witness how his juncture plays out in the ripple effect on spouses, children, and employers/employees, among others.
As a student of behavior (and as a provider for my family), when the COVID alarm sounded and the lockdowns touched off, I wondered how the business of private investigations would be affected. As you know, businesses across industries were severely impacted, with many businesses forever shuttered. Would the pandemic cause a decline in the PI industry as well? Would uncertain circumstances cause folks to look past certain matters for a time- matters of the heart that often sparked private investigations? Or, would these personal crises take precedence over the pandemic, allowing our industry to fare better than countless others? In these unprecedented times, would we witness unprecedented shifts in human behavior? Although a seasoned business owner with over twenty years of experience, who’s viewed more than my share of industry data and spreadsheets and projections, I had no idea what to expect. No one could have possibly been prepared for what we saw unfold over the last 18 months.
So, what did I do? I did the only thing I could do- I waited and I watched. I studied the environment and did what I could to maintain sure footing. I plugged away, continued functioning, and conducted business as usual.
As lockdowns continued beyond the “15 days to flatten the curve”, I began to notice something unusual. Interestingly, the phones seemed to ring beyond the norm. Most calls were domestic in nature and involved a fairly suspicious caller, concerned that their spouse or loved one was having extramarital relations. Additionally, as time went on, numerous publications became available, discussing the emotional toll of COVID and how it may be the culprit for an uptick of irrational decisions. Further reports seemed to indicate that there was an increase in divorce, domestic violence, and other negative events. Certainly, a trend seemed to be shaping up and it warranted a deeper look.
During a virtual coffee meeting with one of my colleagues, this interesting observation arose. We hashed out reasons why there seemed to be an uptick in adultery cases. How could COVID-19 be impacting this? Especially since people were, by and large, staying home and avoiding the “normal” activities of life.
Perhaps, as many recent publications describe, it is because couples spend significantly more time with each other. With remote work, the loss of employment, and children being educated at home, perhaps many are bearing a level of stress they have never had to bear before. While the pandemic has certainly caused some to reprioritize their families, there can be no question that others are experiencing decreasing compatibility and a growing displeasure with their spouse or significant other. With COVID forcing couples everywhere into close quarters for such an extended period of time, perhaps many find themselves looking for an escape. Or, perhaps the adulterer was always present and COVID has simply made it more difficult to mask.
While there is much room for speculation, another interesting observation began to emerge. In particular, interactions with prospects and clients alike seemed to indicate a much more informed clientele. Clients of ours, who have hired us for infidelity investigations, are simply more in tune with their spouse. Not on an emotional level, of course. But, when we discuss the details of their particular circumstances, clients are able to provide more detail and evidence to support their suspicions. In other words, less and less are hiring us with simply a “gut feeling”, but, rather, they are hiring us as a result of hard facts.
And, this makes perfect sense. Being in such close proximity to their spouse, all hours of the day, the opportunity is much greater to notice behaviors that may have gone unchecked prior. For instance, observing secretive texting, or witnessing a partner having to leave a room for private phone conversations, or a host of general behavioral changes- these can all be noticed much more readily. And, when a partner catches on, he or she tends to put the detective cap on and secrets are often discovered.
For instance, during a recent case intake, a client described what tipped her off to her husband’s infidelity. She stated that she often overheard her husband’s conversations with a co-worker. The manner in which they spoke seemed inappropriate for a professional relationship. Not that she heard anything explicit. However, she knew her spouse. She could detect something in the way he spoke to his coworker and that raised concern. This prompted her to look through her husband’s phone where she, sadly, discovered suggestive texts and correspondence about previous rendezvous. When surveillance was conducted, sure enough, we were able to confirm her suspicions with video documentation.
There are a multitude of cases just like this. Not just for our firm, but our colleagues as well. However, in spite of the uptick, I can’t suggest that COVID is the main culprit for the prevalence of infidelity. These cases may have happened anyway, regardless of the added life pressures courtesy of COVID. It’s been my professional experience that people do not need an excuse to cheat, only the opportunity they create. However, this pandemic has certainly increased the ability people have to closely observe their partners, which has made it easier to detect inappropriate behavior.
Suffice it to say, infidelity continues to plague marriages. COVID has not changed that fact. On the contrary, it may have played a role in increasing infidelity. Or, it could have just uncovered what was already occurring. Regardless of which case, the private investigations industry has persisted in the face of COVID. It appears that even a pandemic cannot stop the wayward heart from wandering.
If you’ve found your way to this page, I would venture to guess that you may be suspecting your spouse or significant other of infidelity. If that is the case and you’re interested in the documentation that a private investigation can obtain, to inform decisions or aid in legal proceedings, please give us a call today.
Brown, Kaszak, & Associates is a licensed Maryland Private Investigations Agency serving private citizens, businesses, and the legal community.