My wife and I have been married many years. Recently she received a phone call out of the blue from an old boyfriend she knew before she met me. He is a guy she almost married. I could tell my wife was thrilled to know he was still thinking of her.
A week later I asked if they had any further contact. She assured me the call was a one-time thing and she had no intention of talking with him again.
A few weeks later, in one day, I received three consecutive phone calls from a number belonging to the old boyfriend. This made me suspicious and led me to check my wife’s phone. I discovered she had repeated contact with him and she made most of the calls. All calls were placed after she left home so I could not overhear.
When I spoke to my wife, at first she denied contact. When I told her I had proof, she admitted she lied. She insisted they were only catching up with each other’s lives and didn’t want to cause me concern. When I asked why she left home to make the calls, she insisted it was all very innocent.
I feel betrayed and hollow. I find it hard to believe after years of what seemed like a happy marriage she would do this to me. I feel bad for looking at her cell phone records but felt even worse when I saw what was on them.
My wife doesn’t want to talk about this any further, but I worry I am being set up by them for a shock to my marriage.
Ken, a person should feel bad when they snoop for the sake of snooping. But when a person has good reason to snoop, it isn’t snooping. It’s investigating. It is no different than smelling smoke and searching for the source.
How many phone calls do you need to “catch up” with an old friend? Not many. “Oh yeah, I have two kids, a girl and a boy. I’m still in the insurance business and we live in Toledo.” End of story.
But what is common with renewed contact between old lovers? They pick up where they left off. Your wife knows you well enough to know that if you found out it would upset you. But the reward to her of calling outweighed the pain to you if you found out.
Often the why given by a cheater is based on you and your reaction, not based on their truth. What will calm this person down, what will make the consequences to me less? If a cheater can’t make up an excuse fast enough, they often resort to the classic “I don’t know why.” Which is also a lie.
Your wife doesn’t get to blame you by saying “I knew you would get upset if you knew.” She doesn’t get to blame you for concealing what she did.
Each time she called him was an act of betrayal. Each time she replayed the calls in her mind it was a betrayal. Because she lied, now you can’t trust any reason she offers for the lie.
She wants to bury the problem in silence, but she doesn’t get to ignore your justifiable feelings. You need to ask her again for the truth. If you can’t accept the answer, then you need to decide what you are going to do, just as she got to decide what she was going to do.
We can grieve for many things, not just death. We can grieve for a lost job, a house that burned, missing mementoes, a lost dog. We can grieve for the loss of a belief. I used to believe my wife loved me.
~ Wayne & Tamara
Column for the week of August 8, 2016
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