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I recently decided to become my own private investigator when I suspected that my boyfriend was cheating on me. I was pretty sure he was sleeping with his ex-girlfriend and I wanted to catch him in the act. I considered paying for a professional investigator but when I looked into the prices it was well above anything I could afford. So, I decided to take things into my own hands.

One afternoon, after discovering a questionable email on my boyfriend’s blackberry, I decided I needed to do something about my suspicions. If he was in fact cheating on me I would break up with him immediately, but I wanted to be sure before taking such drastic measures. My sister had caught her husband cheating on her, with the aid of a private investigator, and swore that it was the best thing she ever did. She explained that if she hadn’t hired the investigator she would probably never have admitted to herself that he was in fact cheating on her. Even if she had decided to confront him about it, without any proof he probably would have convinced her she was mistaken. Hiring an investigator allowed my sister to know the reality of the situation and deal with it accordingly.

I decided to look into a local private investigation company. They were certified and qualified but the prices were just too steep for me. I thought about how much money would be wasted if he weren’t even cheating. How could I justify spending an entire paycheck to rule out a suspicion? I read through the description of what the investigators do, and figured that I could just do it myself. I called in sick to work, borrowed a car from a friend and set out to follow my boyfriend.

I followed him to work that morning and spent four hours drinking coffee and playing games on my iPhone in the parking lot. I then saw him leave for lunch with his co-workers and took the opportunity to sneak into his office and do some snooping. I stealthily crept past two secretaries and a janitor and then crawled across the floor of his office. My boyfriend was a lawyer so he had a large office with lots of furniture to hide behind. I rummaged through folders and files, read his work emails, checked the call history on his office phone, and even looked through his trashcan. I was filled with excitement as well as fear of what I might uncover.

Just as I was getting ready to leave his office, my boyfriend’s boss came in. I hid under the desk but he came to sit down and I was left with no possible escape route. He took one look at me and started yelling. The guy had met me once at an office party but he clearly did not remember me. He called the cops and although my boyfriend returned before the cops got there, he was so angry at me for invading his privacy he decided to press charges for invasion of privacy. Apparently many of the files and emails I read were confidential and although a certified private investigator might be allowed to read such files, I was not. I spent two days in court and got off with a warning.

My advice to anyone considering taking investigation into his or her own hands is to invest in a professional. The legal fees and humiliation that can come from doing it yourself are just not worth it.

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