On your wedding day, you promised to love your spouse for better or worse, for richer or poorer, forsaking all others, until death parts you. But what happens if the vows you made that day are broken? And what if you didn’t even realize that deception was going on? Sadly, there are probably more spouses living double lives than you realize.
Spouses Living Double Lives in the Headlines
Taking a look at recent headlines gives you a glimpse into the lives of so many spouses hiding parts of their identities.
A housewife with a secret double life’s deception was laid bare on “Dr. Phil” in January 2017. Mercedes and Andrew appeared to have the picture-perfect life, a seven-bedroom house, two beautiful children, and a six-year marriage.
“I have been living a lie my entire life,” she told the talk show audience. “If you saw me on Facebook you would see the American dream. The truth is I have been an escort since about 14.”
She revealed she’s slept with more than 1,000 men, including one who fathered her second child. Andrew said he had no clue about his wife’s secret life and no desire to reconcile with her. He currently has legal custody of both children.
“After everything came to light I am still willing to give her a chance to be a mother but our relationship is over,” he told the television program.
Russia’s Mikhail Popkov appeared to be an upstanding citizen. He was a family man who’d enjoyed a respected career as a policeman. “My wife and daughter considered me a good husband and father, which corresponded to reality,” he told investigators working on his case. Yet Popkov had another reality, one where he raped and murdered 82 women between 1992 and 2010 in a misguided attempt to clean up the streets of Angarsk, Siberia, of “immoral women.”
“In my other life I committed murders, which I carefully concealed from everyone, realizing that this was a criminal offence,” he told the investigators. “My wife and daughter never knew about the crimes I committed and did not even suspect this.”
While already serving a life sentence for the first 22 murders, he was convicted of the additional 60 crimes in March 2017.
A secret job and a life of crime are just two potential double lives. Spouses can hide all sorts of things, including infidelity, sexuality, secret children, financial irresponsibility, and addictions to everything from gambling to narcotics. Over time, people can become skilled at hiding the parts of themselves they don’t want others to see from everyone else, including their partners.
Watch Out for the Warning Signs
Watching your partner’s behavior can alert you to a potential double life. If the double life has begun after you got married, you may notice some changes in your spouse’s behavior. Perhaps he or she is wearing different clothes than normal or pursuing different activities. You might smell strange scents lingering on your spouse’s clothes.
Whether the double life is a recent development or something that predates you, you may notice a number of other unusual things. Perhaps you see unfamiliar expenses on your accounts that your spouse can’t explain. Your spouse might spend a lot of time on the computer or the phone or have a lot of nights out without you. You might notice that even when you’re with your spouse, his or her thoughts seem to be somewhere else.
Don’t dismiss your gut instinct. We tend to have a sixth sense about these things. If something doesn’t feel right in your relationship, your spouse may be living a double life.
Research Your Partner Carefully
If you suspect your partner is living a double life, there are simple ways you can investigate. With the rise of websites like CheckThem.com, the information you seek could be just a click away. This website lets you search state and federal records, including criminal records, marriage certificates, property history, and more. This information can help you piece together a complete picture of your spouse, alerting you to anything he or she may have done after you tied the knot, as well as significant events in your partner’s past.
Hire a Private Investigator
Private investigators are professionals experienced in trailing people and uncovering their secrets, including their double lives. If you suspect your spouse is leading a double life, speak to one of these people about your concerns. It’s smart to tell a trusted friend or family member about your concerns, so you have someone to lean on during this stressful time. The private investigator may unearth some troubling information, so it’s vital that you have a good support system in place.
If you discover that your spouse is living a double life, counseling is a crucial first step, no matter whether you choose to stay with your partner or go your separate ways.
You may decide to schedule couples counseling if your spouse’s deception is something you can forgive. This therapy will help you learn to forgive your partner and recommit to your marriage. Working with a therapist will help you have productive conversations as you work through difficult, painful emotions and find your way back to one another.
The old saying tells us that true love conquers all, but in truth, there are some secrets too large for couples to overcome, including felonies and differences in sexuality. If your spouse’s other life is too difficult for you to get over, you’ll likely find counseling on your own beneficial. Your counselor can help you learn how to move on from your marriage and rebuild your life. After a significant deception, human beings have a natural tendency to put our guard up, as we don’t want to be hurt again. However, becoming less trusting can undermine any relationships you develop in the future.
It’s troubling to note that for some people, the vows on their wedding day seem to mean little. However, if you keep your wits about you, there are ways to detect whether your partner is living a double life.