Sadly, the last few weeks of February and into the beginning of March are marked with a higher number of relationship problems. Investigators will typically notice an increase in marital and relationship cases in April and May as these events work their way into the investigative industry. The catalyst for this surge of course is Valentines Day.
For some couples, it is a turning point in the relationship. The specific reasons appear varied at first glance. For example, it may be that one partner or spouse has an impression of being neglected but is giving their significant other one last chance to demonstrate their love at Valentines Day. When the show of affection does not come through as expected, the relationship deteriorates. In fact, this year one woman was so disappointed with her lack of attention on Valentines Day that she assaulted her boyfriend, which landed her in jail. Another scenario is where one or both relationship partners are looking to get out of the relationship but they want to wait until after V-Day for appearances or out of consideration. This scenario occurs during the Christmas Holiday season also.
A third February scenario is when a person who is in a relationship is also involved with another person in an affair. Valentines Day puts the philanderer in a difficult position of juggling both relationships. The subject will sometimes feel animosity towards the partner in their primary relationship, feeling as if they are holding them back from happiness with their paramour.
When an investigator gets a relationship case in the Spring, it can be helpful to look back to activities during February. A subject will sometimes be less cautious around Valentines Day as they feel the pressure and guilt from another relationship. Credit card receipts are an obvious place to look, but another excellent source of intel is ATM activity. First see if it matches the typical pattern for the subject, and then check the locations of ATM’s used to see if they are near where the subject was supposed to be at that time.
Cell phone records are great if available, but a subject in a relationship might use their office land line for illicit calls to avoid detection. Getting these records might sound difficult. A skilled investigator can come up with legal scenarios of obtaining a phone record.
When a subject is married or living with a partner, evening dates are less common. Lunch and afternoon meetings happen more frequently. Restaurants near where the parties work have the advantage of using up less time for travel, and more time for the couple to spend together. Even though it it riskier, cheating couples are often less fearful of risk, and sometimes thrive on it.
Cell phone records of the client can be helpful. A cheater will often call their spouse right before they leave to meet a girlfriend/boyfriend to check in, and then call again upon returning. This establishes a time frame for when a meetup may have occurred, and limit the distance that might have been traveled. Calling hotels or restaurants in that radius after the fact can discover possible information. On Valentines Day even florists are a good source of info. Don’t overlook calling the same florist which sent flowers to the spouse, if that merchant is known. Careless cheaters have been known to use the same one for both/all relationships. This was confirmed to me a long time ago when I called a florist about 10 years ago to ordered 3 dozen roses to send to my then-fiancé. The first thing the clerk asked was did I want them all sent to the same girl. Florists are used to this and have heard all the stories, plus they have not requirement of keeping their stories confidential.
Workplace romances are common, discovering them can be simple. Co-workers are sometimes resentful of relationships and will gossip about all manner of things if asked the right way. A pretext approach in a social setting such as a bar can coworkers talking easily.
For the professional investigator working a relationship type case in early spring, looking at activities of the subject during the middle of February can yield productive results if analyzed cleverly.