I want to address this from another angle.
One of the dangers – as well as possibly the BEST feature of this site – is that we often base our advice on our own situations and experiences. I think this might be a very clear case where I do so.
I went through d-day and all that trauma in a previous relationship. It’s in my profile, but I found out a few weeks before our marriage, so although I might have technically had an easy time separating I went through the emotional trauma we all do. About 2 years later I met my present wife and have been with her for… well… a very long time.
About 15 years into that relationship I was 99% certain she was cheating. All sorts of indicators. Gym membership, personal trainer, distant, change of clothes/style, new hairdo, lack of affection, we bickered… If I searched online for things like "signs your partner is cheating" she would tick over half the boxes.
That’s when I found sites like this, and when I shared my story I got lot’s of answers telling me that she was clearly cheating.
It became a bit of a farce actually… If I shared she didn’t want to go to the gym with me then yes, that was a clear sign of infidelity. If I shared that she had changed her mind and now asked me to go to the gym then THAT was a clear sign she was hiding an affair. New hairstyle -> affair, old hairstyle -> affair. New clothes -> affair, old clothes -> affair…
Basically everything indicated affair, and if she somehow avoided the "well known" red flags then that too was a clear indicator of infidelity – only better hidden.
Having said that then it would be foolish to ignore warnings…
I’m a former cop and I know how to investigate… I used all the tricks; VAR, gps, financial tracking, scanning the contents of her purse, checking the laundry, the gym-bag… name it, I did it.
Eventually I stepped back a bit and stopped searching for infidelity and focused on finding out what was happening.
In my instance I eventually realized a couple of major things. For one, my marriage was in a dire place, but that was due to lack of focus from both of us and partially due to my undealt with trauma from the previous relationship’s infidelity. I knew at the time I had some PTSD and I associated that a lot to events I witnessed and experienced as a cop. I went to therapy, and the IC was relatively quick to see that although I did have PTSD from work-related events the main trigger and cause was the trauma of the infidelity. This was the key-factor wrecking my present, non-infidelity marriage.
I just couldn’t trust. I couldn’t believe things were going well. And that lack of trust and belief is what made me determined there was something wrong, and that was most likely my wife cheating.
The IC taught me coping methods for the PTSD. The police-related issues (an aversion of cauliflower for the brain-matter comparison, the overpowering fear if a child walked beside me on a pavement closer to the road than I was, the beyond-sensible and reasonable reactions if someone was walking with a knife or scissors…) – those were easy to deal with. The trust was changed by redefining how I trusted (trust but verify has replaced the unconditional trust) and I realized that my present partner is NOT my past partner.
Once I had all this I could work on the issues threatening our marriage.
OK – having said all that…
If this was a carpentry-site all the problems would be nails, and the solution to all the problems would be a hammer. Maybe your wife is cheating, maybe not. Maybe you need a hammer, maybe a chisel.
Lets start by finding out.
A key factor is to possibly change attitude…
Don’t search for infidelity – search for truth.
This is a basic issue taught when investigating. If you are simply looking for signs of her cheating you might either overlook important clues to the contrary or even to the real problem. Instead look for signs to tell you what’s happening… What’s going on.
By doing this you will discover if she’s cheating, but you won’t be fixated on trying to prove that.
Let’s take an example: I like to think I’m a law-abiding, moral and decent man. If a cop was investigating me to prove me guilty of something he would possibly/eventually find a couple of things that (at least) border on being illegal and/or of dubious moral values. Like I sometimes speed, I have a couple of bottles of illegal home-made hootch (my dad’s last batch), I pay my barber a lower fee because we both know he doesn’t enter it into his POS… Small stuff, "innocent" stuff, but still illegal per se. It’s the same if you focus solely on your wife maybe having an affair. Do that and you will convince yourself eventually that she is – totally irrespective of if she is or not.
How to go about finding the truth? Well… I’m a big var-in-car-fan. If she’s having an affair there are communications, and they take place in a safe place. People feel very safe in the car. Only – when I did that and didn’t catch anything I was clearly told that this too was an indicator for infidelity…