The day of love ... and infidelity

For many, Valentine’s Day conjures up images of love, romance, flowers and chocolate.

But for detective agencies across the United States, the romantic holiday is a boon for business as it is the ideal time for a spouse to catch a cheating mate.

“Valentine’s Day is the biggest day of the year for private investigators,” says Tony Delorenzo, of Private Detectives of America, a New Jersey-based company.

“This year, we’re doing surveillance Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday because if somebody has a lover it will be on one of those days to catch him.”

Delorenzo and several other sleuths contacted say that in the run-up to the February 14 holiday, they have been overwhelmed with appeals by men and women seeking to find out whether their partner is unfaithful.

“Let me put it to you this way,” says Paul Dank, co-owner of Advanced Surveillance Group, a detective agency based in Michigan and with offices in 14 other states. “We’re having a real, real difficult time finding anybody else that can assist us with surveillance right now and we are referring cases to other companies.”

He says Valentine’s Day is an opportune time to catch a cheating partner as it is the one day lovers will battle all odds to be with each other.

“People involved in a relationship tend to make a big ceremonial meeting on or near Valentine’s Day to celebrate it,” Dank says. “They feel they have to do something new, special so they go out and buy new underwear, flowers, candy and they get a hotel room with a jacuzzi.”

Telltale signs of a cheating spouse are the surprise “business trip” or late office meeting, unexplained gifts and the depressed friend who needs a shoulder to cry on.

“This is the one day when infidelity and extramarital affairs reach their peak,” says Ruth Houston, author of Is He Cheating on You: 829 Telltale Signs. “Any man who is cheating has to buy his mistress a gift; there’s no way he can get around that if he wants to stay in her good graces and in her bed.”

She says men or women who suspect their partners need to be extra alert on Valentine’s Day and look for credit-card receipts, new jewellery or lingerie, and unusual appointments so as to nail their partners.

“If she’s wearing a red lace bra and panties, don’t believe it if she says her girlfriend bought them for her,” she advises. “And if he shows up wearing a Rolex, the guys down at the sports bar did not take up a collection to buy it for him.”

Jeanine Davis (41) says she nabbed her husband with another woman on Valentine’s Day last year after hiring a private eye to track him down that evening.

“They followed him and found him having dinner with her at a restaurant, and then they took pictures of them kissing in the parking lot and he spent the night at her place,” says Davis, who is in the process of getting a divorce.

Private Detectives of America’s Delorenzo says he is working on about 50 infidelity cases this year. He charges between $500 and $1 000 to confirm to a client whether a spouse is cheating and $650 for five hours of surveillance.

One spouse who may be in for a Valentine’s Day surprise this year is a Michigan man whose wife spotted an e-mail confirming his hotel reservation for Tuesday, when he was supposed to be undergoing a special training session at work.

“The job is booked and he’ll be under surveillance Valentine’s Day,” Dank says.—AFP

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