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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My wife “Anne” and I have been married for 12 years and have two grade school age boys. I thought our marriage was pretty good.

In early Fall of last year Anne went to her 30th high school reunion out of town and while there reconnected with old friends including an old boyfriend “John” -- the original love of her life.

Over the course of a number of weeks after she got back I started to feel a sense of resentment and coldness towards me. This led to a few fights during which she shocked me by saying “I’ve never really felt close to you our entire marriage except at the beginning.” This led to more heated and sorrowful discussions over a month or so. She said nothing inappropriate happened at the reunion but that the reunion did make her take account of her unhappiness in our marriage. We decided to seek counseling.

In counseling session #5 or so, Anne offered unprompted that she had been contacting her old boyfriend since the reunion. She said it was innocent. John had told her at the reunion that not marrying Anne was the biggest mistake of his life and she acknowledged that she “thought about him every day. “ She had told me previously that she had not been in contact with him since the reunion, so the admission in therapy was a way for her to “come clean” so to speak. I hadn’t ever known Anne to lie to me directly.

I decided to pull up cell usage records and discovered that she first contacted him on New Year’s Day by phone. Then every few weeks or so thereafter she would text. Often they were multimedia texts meaning an image was attached. She was always the initiator.

(Back in the Fall, I had happened upon Anne Googling her maiden name. I didn’t think much of it. Thereafter she changed our home answering machine to provide callers with her and mine separate cell phone numbers. I assume now she was hoping/expecting John to look her up and call and when he didn’t, she made contact with him.)

I decided to snoop and look at the content of the texts on her phone. She had deleted all of them except for one set from Valentine’s Day morning. She had sent an old grade school picture and wished John a Happy Valentine’s Day. He responded with Valentine’s Day wishes to her and asked where the picture was from. She told him and then referring to the picture stated “You are just so adorable.”

  • Was my snooping of her cell phone justified?
  • Does this seem really bad or should one be free to keep in touch with an old intimate friend?
  • Would one delete innocent texts? Does a married woman send Valentine greetings to a male friend absent a romantic interest?
  • How should I approach talking with her about what I’ve discovered? Should I wait and do it in counseling?

Thanks in advance for any advice.
 

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You are her husband....there is no such thing as secrecy between a husband and a wife...

Privacy is being able to use the bathroom alone....not having on the side conversations with another man.

These texts are not innocent...Valentine's sentiments from your wife should be exclusively yours...

Yes, you need to confront her...telling her, unequivocally, this interaction is inappropriate in the context of your marriage. There is nothing she should be saying to "John" that cannot be said in your presence and with your complete knowledge...now that she's crossed the line into secrecy...she can't go back...contact needs to end. This is your boundary. If she resist, and wants to maintain the friendship, she needs to know that her decision is at the expense of her marriage.

Her statements of "not feeling close to you anymore" is because she has John's attentions to compare it to.

Until John is out of the picture, she can never objectively assess where she stands within your marriage.
 

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I would encourage you to be transparent with your wife, showing her evidence of what she has done.

You are going to need to think about what your limits are with all of this.

I am sorry that this has happened. I hope that together you can work through it.
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  • Was my snooping of her cell phone justified? Absolutely justified....beings she was acting cold towards you & threw this on you ..."I’ve never really felt close to you our entire marriage except at the beginning.”...I can't imagine a spouse NOT going there...

    Do you think she is re-writing history in some Fantasy Fog reminiscing her 1st love...or would you , too, say the marriage has had obvious problems for a long time -but for whatever reason , you both failed to put them on the table, open the communication and get to the roots..?

  • Does this seem really bad or should one be free to keep in touch with an old intimate friend? Old Intimate friends... NO....a 1st love can be very strong... memories flooding back.. bad news ! When a couple marries...you should be ONE... a united front.. Is there a reason she went to this Reunion alone -not bringing you with her?
  • Would one delete innocent texts? Does a married woman send Valentine greetings to a male friend absent a romantic interest?
    She is fishing..
  • How should I approach talking with her about what I’ve discovered? Should I wait and do it in counseling?It sounds you both have been very passive to your feelings..over the years... with her not filling you in with her unhappiness .. then springing these things on you in counseling (do you feel it was because she felt safer to do this with the counselor present)...

    Secrets in a marriage carry power... you and she needs to TALK.. share, get it out, what you both have been missing..what you long for, what has caused this slow growing divide....bring it up...

Thanks in advance for any advice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the responses. Very much appreciated.

SimplyAmorous: In answer to your questions, Anne suffers from and is being treated for depression. I've read much about depression and one common aspect is looking backwards and seeing only the negative things and filtering out the positive experiences. I think that plus trying to ameliorate a little guilt about her interest in John led her to say that to me. She has walked that comment back. The counselor had us write out all the goods times in our marriage and there were a lot that of mutually agreed good, happy times. Plus our ordinary day to day is good; I feel its the depression mostly that colors Anne's perspective darker.

(Also, the only thing Anne surprised me with in counseling was the fact that she had been in contact with John. The "never been close" comment was before counseling.)
 
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