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He won't admit he's cheating

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  September 8, 2010 07:08 AM

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Chat today at 1.

I had to edit some bad words out of this letter. She was angry, understandably.

Q: Hello Meredith,

My husband and I have been married for over 15 years and we've been together since we were teenagers. Over the past year, my husband's ex-girlfriend has made her presence known. She "found" him on one of the internet networking sites and has since been a pain in my rear end.

Ever since she arrived, things have gone from bad to worse. Our marriage was a bit rocky at the time. We were constantly fighting. He was always in a bad mood. He started working out. He became very secretive and paranoid about my being anywhere near him whenever he was doing certain things. He no longer wanted to be intimate. I was always saying or doing something wrong. And at the time I couldn't understand why. I tried to rationalize it to stress from work or something. Then I found out about her and that explained a lot of things.

When I first found out about her, I questioned him. I pointed out all of the reasons for my suspicions, even told how I came to that point. Questioned him about specific things. About how I knew that they were communicating by phone, e-mails, and text. Of course he denied it – looked me right in the eye and lied. Even when I confronted him and quoted things she had said, just to get a reaction from him, he still denied everything.

I begged and pleaded for the truth, and to this day I haven't gotten any real answers from him. He has only been telling me what he thinks I want to hear. He tells me that since I have no proof I can't accuse him of anything. But I did and still do have proof. I even showed him and he still denied everything. I even went as far as to confront her and she also denied everything. She claimed they were just "friends" -- but seriously, do "friends" who haven't seen or spoken to each other since high school talk about becoming physically intimate? It apparently came up in conversation and was seriously considered by both of them.

I felt not only hurt but insulted when he confessed to that. I had no qualms about telling him what I thought of her. What I don't understand is why he encourages her. By "encourage" I mean by calling and texting her and answering her phone calls and texts. She's not even supposed to be able to contact him because he changed his number twice already. She even has his work number and has called him there, which of course he denies.

Everything cooled down for a while, but recently I found out that she's back.I once again confronted him and he once again denied it. All I have ever wanted was the truth. He claimed he didn't want to tell me the first time because I would leave him. And I should. I told him if he hadn't done it in the first place, or if he had just told me the truth when confronted with proof, we wouldn't be at this point. How can I get him to tell the truth without giving away my aces?

Please advise me on what to do.

– Confused In A Hopeless Marriage

A: Really? All you want is the truth? If I were you, I'd also want a happy marriage, CIAHM. I know it's frustrating that he hasn't come clean, but honesty is just one thing that's missing in this relationship. It's a huge thing, but you've got other problems. Even if he confesses, he's still answering texts from an old girlfriend.

I'm glad you've explained to him that you're more likely to stay if you start hearing the truth, no matter how unpleasant. Your next job is to stop trying to catch him in the act and start thinking about what kind of relationship you want. You want someone who doesn't have to keep changing his phone number. You want someone who doesn't keep giving his new number to the same woman who inspired him to change it. You want someone who isn't trying to get away with things. You're tired.

You said in your last paragraph that you think you should leave him. Is that because there's no way to return to the first 14 years of your relationship? Is it too late? Do some soul-searching (maybe in therapy). I'd also ask your husband -- forgetting this new woman for a moment -- why he was afraid to lose you. Why does he want you around? Where does he see you both in five years? What is he trying to save? Forcing him to say it out loud -- assuming there's something to say -- might clarify whether you're on the same page about your future.

You might not be on the same page. I don't know. But neither do you. You're letting the investigation obscure the real issues.

Readers? Has she lost perspective about what's important here? Does it matter that she keeps catching him in lies? If he told her the truth would that help at this point? Do you think he really wants to stay married? How can she save her marriage -- and should she? Discuss.


– Meredith


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ABOUT LOVE LETTERS: Welcome to Love Letters, the place for love advice (giving and getting). Globe relationship columnist Meredith Goldstein and Boston.com readers are ready to take your letters and tell you what's what. Have a question? Click here to submit or email us at loveletters@boston.com.
Blogger Meredith Goldstein

Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.

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