Just recently my husband and I had our eighth-year wedding anniversary. I took the day off work so that we could go out together, but he didn't want to go, so we never went out! That same day he received a text message from his ex-girlfriend of nine years ago. I had no idea that they even kept in contact. He said that he never hears from her, but now I have lost trust in him! Earlier this year he went away by himself to the same town where she lives and said that he didn't see her, but I know in my heart that he is lying and I have caught him out on more than one occasion lately. I know that for them to be sending sex text to one another they still have something going on. We have two lovely children and I love him with all my heart, but I feel that for the last eight years my life has been a lie! I thought that we had a strong relationship, but now I'm not so sure anymore. Do you think that he will leave me for his old flame?
Well are you going to wait around and find out, or are you going to do something about it? You have eight years of marriage with this man so it's up to you if you want to try to save your marriage and have another eight years together. Or perhaps you want to wait for a few more text messages and visits to his old flame's home town before you discuss this problem. No, that's not the best idea.
Granted, it's not a good sign that your husband seems to be lying to you. But also, without putting blinders on, it's important not to jump to conclusions either. Just because you believe that your husband has seen his ex girlfriend recently, and is exchanging texts with her, doesn't mean that your entire marriage has been a lie. Don't catastrophise without reason. There's a good chance that they only recently came back into contact with one another, and so without speaking with him, don't assume that he's been carrying on an affair with her for the eight years you've been married.
Have you had any clues or suspicions about this ex at other times? Or is this something that has just developed since your anniversary or just before? Right now there's enough going on between established lies, inappropriate text messages, visits and a lack of interest in being romantic with you, to warrant a serious heart-to-heart discussion about the state of your relationship. Don't put it off don't wait around wondering if he's going to leave you. Talk with him now.
Try not to make this discussion a confrontation they make people defensive, which can break down effective communication, or they can make people flee (many men as well as women avoid confrontation at all costs). In order to address this problem in a productive and healthy way, you'll need to be calm and reasonable. That means be willing to listen as well as speak what's on your mind. It would be beneficial if you could bring up the possibility of couple's counseling during this talk and see if your husband would agree to go with you. When you get to a point where you say you don't trust your partner, it's time to seek outside help to determine how trust can be rebuilt. The role of a counselor can be invaluable in this process, and can help you save your marriage, if that is what you wish to do. And if you do, and effectively address your issues as a couple around trust, honesty and faithfulness, then just maybe by your ninth anniversary, you'll spend it blissfully together, doing something that reflects a new happier and healthier phase in your marriage.
Answer published 25/9/07.
For more information please see Dr Gabrielle's website or visit her consultancy website Bananas and Melons.