real Life: hon­ey­trap

Would you hire a pri­vate in­ves­ti­ga­tor if you sus­pected your part­ner was cheat­ing on you? Ap­par­ently, it’s be­com­ing the norm.

Look (UK) - - CONTENTS -

There’s just some­thing about Christ­mas, isn’t there? Cosy fires, mulled wine and a ‘frisky’ feel­ing in the air. Then there’s the of­fice Christ­mas party. It’s talked about for weeks and there’s of­ten some­one you’ve thought of un­der­neath the mistle­toe, even if you’re al­ready in a cou­ple.

A 2014 sur­vey re­vealed that a stag­ger­ing 33 per cent of men in a re­la­tion­ship con­fessed to start­ing an af­fair with a co-worker at a Christ­mas party, while 25 per cent of women ad­mit­ted a male col­league had made a pass at them that night. Not com­fort­able read­ing if you have sus­pi­cions about a part­ner’s fi­delity, but there is one way to be sure. More mil­len­ni­als than ever are now turn­ing to pri­vate in­ves­ti­ga­tors or ‘honey-trap­pers’, who tar­get sus­pected cheats and re­port back to their part­ners.

‘There’s al­ways ac­tion around ma­jor hol­i­days,’ says Cat, a li­censed pri­vate in­ves­ti­ga­tor and founder of The Townsend De­tec­tive Agency in New York.

Honey-trap­ping can be an ex­pen­sive busi­ness, with fees widely vary­ing be­tween agen­cies.

‘We of­fer a full ser­vice, which starts at £140,’ says Rachel My­ers, 48, who started her busi­ness Love Clar­ity (love-clar­ af­ter her own ex­pe­ri­ence with a cheat­ing part­ner. ‘That in­cludes full pro­fil­ing and en­gag­ing with them to dis­cover whether they’ll cheat. In our ex­pe­ri­ence, those who cheat at a Christ­mas do are hus­bands or wives who don’t have much free­dom in ev­ery­day life. The big build-up to the party adds to it, too.’

It’s some­thing Amy, 27, a PR con­sul­tant from Leeds knows all about af­ter hir­ing a honey­trap­per last De­cem­ber, when she sus­pected her part­ner Alex was hav­ing an af­fair with a col­league. ‘He was be­ing un­usu­ally dis­tant with me and work­ing late a lot,’ she says. ‘When I tried to talk to him about it he’d tell me I was be­ing stupid. A friend sug­gested I hire a pri­vate de­tec­tive, so I did some re­search. It took me a few days to de­cide to ac­tu­ally do it, but I re­ally needed to know. His Christ­mas do was com­ing up, so I asked the agency to go along. The night fol­low­ing the party they con­firmed that they’d tried to en­gage him in chat with­out much luck, but spot­ted him kiss­ing a brunette woman. I was dev­as­tated, but also re­lieved to know. I con­fronted him about it and we split a week later. I’m in a much health­ier, hap­pier place now.’

So how does a honey­trap­per go about catch­ing some­one in the act at a Christ­mas do? ‘I’ll put on a pair of rein­deer antlers and min­gle,’ says Cat. ‘I keep an eye on the per­son at a safe dis­tance and fol­low if they nip off any­where.’ But Love Clar­ity’s Rachel says it’s not for every­one. The most im­por­tant part of her job, she says, is coun­selling her clients first, so they’re pre­pared in case of bad news. ‘One of the things we talk about is what they’ll do with the in­for­ma­tion,’ she ex­plains. ‘I think it’s a sen­si­ble op­tion for women who have sus­pi­cions – you don’t want to waste your time with some­one who isn’t worth it. But you have to be ready to change your life once you know. We coun­sel clients be­fore­hand, then re­port back to them ev­ery 48 hours dur­ing our work. We han­dle it very re­spon­si­bly. You have to be sure you can deal with it.’ But Sarah Har­ri­son, di­vorce coach and au­thor of Un­cou­pling, isn’t a fan. ‘Hir­ing a pri­vate in­ves­ti­ga­tor to find out if your part­ner is cheat­ing is a big step to take and al­ready proves the trust is gone. If you don’t be­lieve them when they deny be­ing with some­one else, you have to ask your­self whether you re­ally want to spend your life with some­one you don’t trust.’

I was dev­as­tated, but also re­lieved to know

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