Are Cell Phones To Blame for Marital Misconduct?
Remember that day so long ago when you said, "I do". There was no doubt in your mind at that very moment that you were in for the long haul and never thought about anything else. You acknowledged your vows with the truest of intentions and with your whole heart. I'm sure you I soon discovered married life is tough and that can contribute to problems in the best of marriages. Two people can love each other so much and still lose their way.
My marriage wasn't perfect but there was nothing going on to make me think it was falling apart, at least I didn't think so at the time. My husband and I had been through a lot like every other couple and I felt comfortable in our relationship. We argued, made-up and went on with life. One night we were in Walmart and as usual we parted ways to do our shopping. He had his cell phone and I had mine so that we could call each other when we were done. As I was strolling along I saw my husband standing at the end of an aisle on his cell phone. He was laughing and appeared to be somewhat blushing. I instantly called his cell phone and asked if he was about done. He replied he was and that he would meet me at the registers in a bit. I hung up and watched as he dialed a number and resumed his conversation. I had a very uneasy feeling but I didn't know what to think. I felt like a stalker that night hiding behind clothes racks and shelves spying on him.
Later that night while we were having dinner I asked him if 'we' were okay and he assured me we were. I still didn't feel quite right so I just asked that dreaded question, "Are you cheating on me?" It's not what he said that pierced my heart it was his nervous fidgeting while denying the accusation. An eighteen-wheeler couldn't have smacked me as hard as reality did at that very moment. I was angry, shocked and very hurt. My life went from comfortable and somewhat organized to a complete void. I felt like I had hit bottom in the darkest of tunnels without even taking the ride. But wait! I've been married over a decade. I had taken a ride, but I guess I missed all of the road signs that told me I was heading for the end.
I could have taken my husband's word that we were fine, but my gut instinct told me different. The very thought of living a lie and those little voices in my head began eating away at me. I had to know the truth.
I began with his cell phone bill. We didn't receive itemized bills in the mail and I never really thought about it. I just assumed we were saving a buck or two every month, but I soon discovered that I could view his cell phone bill online since we had a joint account. It wasn't difficult to set up and I was able to view previous bills. I printed out every bill I could and highlighted frequently called numbers. I then visited a few web sites that offered free reverse phone number searches and started putting names to the numbers. I couldn't do that with cell phone numbers so I stooped to the level of "Mrs. Anonymous". I called several of his friends and co-workers blocking my home phone number while trying to disguise my voice with a low, "I'm sorry. I've got the wrong number". At first I felt rotten but with each new discovery it added fuel to my own little investigation. Soon I was playing the part like a pro. I was making anonymous phone calls, jotting down notes, and crying my eyes out at the same time. I eventually found the other woman's home phone number and her cell phone number.
His cell phone bill also showed an extremely heavy volume of text messages, which I could not check. All I knew was the number sent and received. I called our cell phone service provider and was told that text messages could not be itemized. Great! I would have thought modern technology would be on my side, but it wasn't. Text messages proved to be the biggest secret weapon in his marital misconduct.
I learned quite a bit during my lonely and bitter period of self-pity. I won't bore anyone or fuel the gossip line with juicy details, but I will share a few tips I discovered during my heartbreaking experience.
Analyzed cell phone bills to create a timeline. The frequency and volume of calls during a specific time of day can show when your spouse has more time on their hands than you know. Good tip is to call during this time frame. Also look for a period during the day where there is a large time span between phone calls. The first call after this dead time maybe the call after the 'meeting'.
If you get a chance pilfer through your spouse's cell phone. You can learn so much by doing so. Check incoming and outgoing calls. Don't forget the missed calls. Also check text messages sent, received and saved. If you find that calls or text messages have been deleted don't fret. There are other things you can check. Check Canned Messages or similar pre-made messages that can be created on a cell phone and save so that words do not have to be keyed in when sending a text message. Lazy, but it's easy. Don't forget to check the phone book.
One of the coolest functions I found during my plight is Voice Memos. Several cell phones have this function and I found numerous saved voice memos on my husband's phone and my own phone. I'm assuming these were saved on my own phone while I was trying to adjust the volume during different conversations and hit the memo button by accident. The cell phones we have only record the other party's conversation but that was enough for my marital misconduct argument with my husband.
Another thing that I did was figure out my husband's password to his voice mail. Evil I know, but I couldn't help myself. I figured that after living with this man for over a decade I could crack his code. I was successful but it definitely took time. I waited until he was home and his cell phone was turned off. During each call to his voice mail I would only attempt access two times. I was afraid a third attempt would block his access to his voice mail and he would have to call customer service, which would unveil my sneaky side. If you do go this route and crack the code remember that when you listen to a message it will no longer be an unheard message. So you have a major dilemma, delete the message or let your spouse hear a recording that says something to the effect of you have one old message. That is a very difficult decision. You are either going to have to delete important messages or risk the chance of being discovered. Whether your spouse suspects you or not, I guarantee the password will change very quickly. Also, don't forget to dial a different number afterwards if your phone has redial that shows the number you called. You don't want your spouse to see their cell phone number and password on the screen. Which brings me to another tip. It definitely pays off to hit redial on your home phone from time to time.
Caller ID's are a wonderful tool. Of course they can be deleted, but how many Caller ID's do you have in the house? Check all of them. I found that my satellite television had Caller ID because it was plugged into a phone jack. Fantastic tool.
You have to appreciate modern technology. Not only does it make our lives easier but it also makes marital misconduct easier. Pre-paid cell phones. How clever. Who would have thought? No bills, no nothing. The perfect tool for concealing those 'special calls.' Watch for mailings from different cell phone companies other than your current provider that offer incentives to Preferred Customers. NOTE: Some companies do send out mass mailings in hopes of gaining new customers and these companies will use different ploys to attract new customers. So if you do receive something from a different cell phone provider call the company first and inquire on their mailing before jumping to conclusions.
Hang-up calls or anonymous calls to your home number maybe something you need to pay attention to. Don't jump to conclusions again, but pay attention. You can block anonymous calls to your home. Most local phone services providers offer this option and you can call them and inquire about this feature. Most of the time it's done by entering a code on your home phone and can be undone by entering a different sequence using your keypad on your phone.
Everything I have mentioned takes time. I did not accomplish everything in a day or two; it actually took months for me to catch on and make my discoveries. I would not have put myself in harms way if I feared my spouse and I do not recommend anyone doing anything that would put you in danger or risk of being physically hurt. Seek help.
Modern technology is awesome. It makes our lives easier and more interesting. It's a shame that it tempts us to be unfaithful, but it's so easy and convenient. It also appears to be fun and intriguing. What can we do? Destroy the cell phone? Cell phones have become an important part of our lives and many of us feel so lost if we don't have a cell phone attached to our hip or in our purses. Don't blame the cell phone. Take a look at your relationship and be honest with yourself. Where did it go wrong? It didn't happen overnight. A quick fix isn't going to help a relationship that took months or years to fall apart.
No matter what you do just remember there is no easy way to get through the devastation of marital misconduct, but with time things will get easier. The trust you had has been destroyed and whether you are headed for divorce or trying to work things out, it all takes time. It's so easy to let a marriage fall into a rut and become routine. When that happens it's easy to take advantage of each other and lose the respect that once was there. To make a marriage work both spouses have to make sacrifices and spend quality time together instead of just existing together. Communication is so important. Not just the casual conversations about how the day went, but really talk and listen to each other.
And, if you decide to try to save your marriage after discovering marital misconduct I sincerely hope that you and your spouse find that special feeling again, and that's love.
About the author:
Elaine Lemons is an author on a site for Creative Writing ( http://www.Writing.Com/). Visit her portfolio at http://www.writing.com/authors/october2002