Having an affair is always a risky business for anyone who wants to conduct a secret relationship at the best of times.
But when the whole world is in lockdown, and a global pandemic is raging, illicit hook-ups become not just harder to manage but downright dangerous.
Julia Hartley Moore, one of the world’s best-known private investigators of secret relationships says “People who have affairs tend to be risk takers to a certain extent -but right now the risks they have to take to conduct an affair are off the scale”.
“And let’s not forget, an affair at the moment will mean close physical contact with someone outside your bubble, potentially exposing your loved ones and others to COVID-19. I don’t even want to think about how selfish that is”, she says.
But are people seriously going to risk their own and their family’s health for an affair?
“There’s all sorts of unseen consequences resulting from a normal affair- the risk of STI’s and pregnancy, not to mention the emotional damage affairs can cause to whole families. But people take that risk every day. Adding a potentially life- threatening disease to the mix no doubt makes some stop to think, but not all.”
But with all this- and travel restrictions and social distancing – ARE people really continuing to have affairs right now?
“Of course they are- are people really capable of putting intense physical relationships on hold for months? Where there is a will, people will always try to find a way”, says Hartley Moore.
A client of Julia’s, we’ll call him Mike, backs that up. He reports an elderly local couple caught his wife and her lover having sex in a wooded area meters from a walking path just last week.
“She’s got a very responsible job for goodness sake, the betrayal’s bad enough but I can’t believe the stupidity of it”.
Mike says his wife would insist she did the grocery shopping or go out for a walk by herself claiming she needed “me time”.
But exercise or grocery shopping doesn’t provide much cover for most. The wealthier among us have more options at the moment when it comes to infidelity, says Julia.
“Even with travel restrictions, cheaters who are also owners of investment properties, holiday homes, boats or businesses have ready made locations and potential excuses to use them as cover for affairs”.
Julia says she has seen a big jump in online enquiries to her firm: “I put that down to the fact it’s harder to make a phone call to us when your partner is in the same room”.
The cheaters are online in bigger numbers than ever too. “Viber, WhatsApp and now even Zoom must be overloaded with pictures being passed around,” Julia says with a smile.
Barrister and Senior Matrimonial specialist Ross Knight is seeing the same trend: “I always notice an increase in business during holiday periods when families are pushed together for extended periods and this is the same pattern. Traffic to our website is noticeably above average”.
“Human nature is such that already existing tensions within households tend to be exacerbated at these times and the coronavirus lockdown is likely to noticeably increase that”, says Ross.
“It is still early days – but in my experience, the flood will invariable come. I liken this forced home detention to Christmas holiday time which is often a catalysis for relationship breakdown when many business’ are closed and families are forced to spend more time together than usual.”
Julia agrees, and points out that increasing tension and frustrations due to the lockdown can lead to issues around domestic violence, concerns that have been backed up by Police worldwide.
And she says that being forced to live in close proximity for long periods means people may notice things about their partners they would ordinarily overlook.
“Changes in behavior are often a key indicator of an affair. Things like never letting you near their mobile phone or being secretive about its use for instance. The coronavirus lockdown means people who are having affairs will be desperate to concoct reasons to get away from their partners, a classic is to start an argument and then claim they need to go out to cool down”.
Julia says the coronavirus crisis has also impacted on the way PI’s can operate. “For instance one of our most useful tools is physical surveillance but with the lockdown that’s no longer an option for us, so we are focusing on GPS tracker cases for instance, and tracing, background checks, anything we can work on remotely- the enquiries for that stuff are through the roof”.
Trust is like virginity. You only lose it once. When I wrote Infidelity – exploding the myths it was for women and men worldwide. I wanted it to be a calm voice of reason for those caught in the grip of despair when Infidelity strikes.
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An internationally renowned Private Investigator, author, radio host, media commentator and inspirational and motivational speaker.
Julia Hartley Moore is recognised internationally as an expert in relationships and infidelity. Her opinion has been sought by media as diverse as Britain’s BBC, Good Morning America and the Huffington Post.