Direct Answers – The Tell-Tale Heart

Relationship Advice

My husband and I dated four years before we got married. We had such an amazing relationship.  When I met him I was in a relationship already, but it was in the breakup point. I was 19 at the time and my husband 10 years older.

     At one point I felt disconnected and ended up catching up with my ex. Old feelings came up and we ended up sleeping together. I thought if I was feeling like this and did this horrible thing, my boyfriend was doing the same thing.

     I ended up going all crazy and checking his cell phone. I saw he had been talking to a girl from work, a girl he had a fling with before we met or got together.

     He was open with me when I asked him. He said they were just friends and I had no reason not to trust him. I did trust him, but not her, because of what I did in the past. It made me not trust him, when I had no reason not to.

     Things got better, he stopped speaking to her because it bothered me, and that was that. We got married. Upon going back to work, he ran into her again. He told her he was married and that is when she started to call again.

     He told me it was nothing and I was being paranoid. He said he has to work with her every day and didn’t want to be mean and blow her off and make the workplace tense.

     I checked his phone bill and drove past his work. He got more and more upset with me not trusting him and acting like he didn’t know where to draw the line, if she ever tried to cross it.

     I checked his phone when he left the room. The more I did, the more he talked to her and started talking about his problems with me. He said he did not need to be in a marriage where he felt he could not be trusted. I agreed, but my insecurities got to me.

      I gained weight. I didn’t feel attractive anymore, and I was always checking his phone. I was on a mission to prove he was cheating. It’s like I would not stop until I found something. He is such a good man, and I guess at the same time I thought it was too good to be true that he was so amazing.

     I slacked on paying bills, and he would get upset with me for spending so much energy snooping when I had no energy to keep the house clean or pay bills on time.

     He stopped hanging out with his old friends because I got upset. I couldn’t hide it, but in my mind I thought, “You only want to go out so you can call her.” To make me happy he stays home. I always want to be with him to keep an eye on him.

      Our sex life came to a slow halt. He said he was not seeing himself attracted to me because the things I did made me an ugly person. I get that!

     When things were going good, I thought he was too good to be true. When I checked his phone, he caught me a few times, and I would lie and that got him even more upset. He says I am not the same woman he fell in love with.

     This jealousy has consumed me, but I feel like I am nothing without him. Do you think that our marriage is salvageable?

     ~ Martina

     Martina, in Edgar Allan Poe’s story The Tell-Tale Heart, a man smothers his elderly roommate in bed. The victim shrieks once, then dies. The murderer then dismembers the body and hides it under the floorboards, so cleverly it cannot be detected.

     Alerted by the scream, neighbors call the police. After searching the house, they are satisfied nothing is amiss. The murderer even brings chairs into the bedroom while he talks to the police, placing his own chair directly on the floorboards over the corpse.

     As the police calmly chat, the murderer cannot relax. Kaboom, Kaboom, Kaboom. In his ears he imagines he hears the dead man’s heart beating.

     Louder and louder the heartbeat grows until the murderer finally cries out, “I admit the deed! – tear up the planks!”

     That story is your story. Under the floorboards of your mind, your telltale heart says, you are a cheater, you are a cheater, you are a cheater.

     You want to erase your guilt by dragging your husband down to your level. See, “He’s as bad as me.” But he’s not. You are the one who did the deed. Your plan is to drive him to cheat so you can be vindicated, but there is no vindication in that.

     You are a tortured soul, and you have been torturing him over your crime, as if that will clear your conscience. What your letter says is, I don’t know if I can stomach being married to a man who is better than me.

     In The Tell-Tale Heart, the murderer admits the other man never wronged him. Neither has your husband. End this farce. Admit the truth. Confess, so he can be free.

     Wayne & Tamara

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