When you hear ‘PI’ or ‘Private Investigator’ or ‘Private Eye’, what image comes into view first? Sherlock Holmes with his invincible deductive reasoning, obsessive-compulsive Adrian Monk, helicopter- dangling Thomas Magnum, or charming Veronica Mars? Do you imagine car chases and back alley fights with the local gangs, or quiet breakthrough of a peculiar mastermind?

When you hire a PI, which of these fictional characters are you looking for?
You do realize that the real-life spying help is nothing like its Hollywood version.

An old-fashioned PI still retains some heroic features of his screen prototypes. He is willing to live under the bridge and able to withstand temperatures over 120 degrees while staring at a garage door for 10 hours a day, sitting in the back of a car, peeing in a bottle and eating whoopie pies from a gas station.

As for the modern private investigators, they are more of high-tech sleuths. They don’t creep under a bush in camouflage suits – they survey the suspect from their air-conditioned home offices wearing pajamas and slippers. They don’t shoot guns – their main weapon is computers and smart-phones. But once in a while they have to put on their walking shoes and sneak some action photos. The ultimate danger – they can be mistaken for paparazzi.

Why would you hire a PI? There are lots of reasons.

- You dislike your daughter’s boyfriend and want to present her with some nasty evidence of his demeanor.
- You suspect your son is doing drugs and want someone to prove you right (or you will pay more for someone to prove you wrong).
- You were defrauded of your life savings and need to know where the con artist hid his (yours actually) assets.
- You are looking for missing people, checking your babysitters and business associates, finding lost friends…

But the great majority of PI cases are proof of infidelity.

Why is that? Why do we constantly need to know that our partner belongs exclusively to us? Why are we willing to pay somebody to prove the unfaithfulness? We probably should pay more to prove it wrong. Instead, getting a negative (that is in fact the positive) result, we often become suspicious of the PI and searching the second opinion from someone who can dig deeper. If we are so sure in our suspicion, why bother? We can be our own PIs. Sometimes the crime evidence is so convincing; we don’t even need any proof, like a panty in the pocket, a hicky on the neck or a baby with not matching DNA. And with not-so-definite clues we can use the deductive method.

Let’s pay attention to the signs and our instinct but let’s not confuse signs with proof. Let’s try to stay positive.

• Subject spends time away from home. - This can be work related, or a new hobby, or a need for fresh air… May be some criminal activity (would you prefer it to infidelity?)

• Decreased sexual interest. – Stress, bad diet, polluted air, midlife depression.

• Subject is often distracted and day dreaming. - Yeah, this can be a sign of cheating. Or everything else. Seriously.

• Subject leaves house or goes to other rooms to talk on the telephone. - Maybe planning a surprise for you.

• Subject uses computer alone and secretly. - We are often embarrassed of playing stupid games more than of drooling over a porn-site. Maybe the subject is a tic-tac-toe addict.
• Mileage on car is high when only short distance errands are run. - Odometer malfunction?

Got the idea? Now try to use positive attitude and explain unknown numbers on cell phone bills, unspecified credit card charges, receipts for things you don't have, missing clothing or clothing that does not belong to your family and so on. If you don’t have enough optimism and creativity, ask the subject to explain. If the subject can’t give a passable explanation and shows the signs of hormone - induced amnesia, then hire a PI. Let him prove what you already know. Or maybe he’ll find something you don’t know?

Some ‘cheating victims’, watching secret footage of their significant others with the ‘others’, could not believe how much fun that unfaithful swine can be. Maybe it is worth a try to forgive and win the damn liar back?

With positive deductive reasoning the cheater can be deduced as a victim. Adulterers often say:"I was swept off my feet." Think about the imagery of that expression. A person was just standing there, doing nothing, and then something came along and –bang! - made the unsuspected subject fall head over heels. Have some mercy.

Even if you will not be able to save your relationship, maybe you’ll enjoy the crime investigation and make it your hobby or career. Some PI agencies announce that they only hire “Private Investigators who have also experienced and found out about infidelity in their own relationships.”

So, do you want to be a detective? Just follow one simple rule:

“Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.”

- Sherlock Holmes