Advice Sought by Husband

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-27-2014
Advice Sought by Husband
Thu, 02-27-2014 - 5:37pm

(Hope this is the right Board to use.)

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.”  

My Questions:

  • 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 therapy?

Thanks in advance for any advice.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-2013
Mon, 03-03-2014 - 10:43am

You are into a very difiicult situation because you have no proofs of an affair and confronting your wife about what you have discovered might do more harm than good. I understand a sort violation of trust has been lurking around but you cannot confirm nor validate this. So I will advise for the moment, that you give your wife the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they are just friends, insinuating that there is something going on with them might worsen the situation. Meanwhile, if you really love your wife, maybe you can do some efforts to win her love back She said that she never felt that close to you during the entire marriage, so maybe you can start pondering why she was able to say that. I am hoping things will turn out for the better soon. Go act now, if you really love her. 

Go on, you owe it to yourself to give it one last shot. Make it count.

Rekindlle the love in your relationship

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-27-2014
Tue, 03-04-2014 - 11:00am
Thank you for your thoughts. I am working hard to win her love back. I hope I can.
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-09-2007
Tue, 04-29-2014 - 4:11pm
This response may be coming at a time when this issue is resolved, but I'll take a stab at it anyways. You sound like you love your wife so much and that's great to hear. This post resonated with me as I went through a similar experience about 5 years ago where I reunited with an old flame when my marriage was just fine, but there was a spark and me and the old flame still connected via text messaging for a few months after the reunion. He too, said that I was the one who got away, etc. I think it's rather easy for good wives/husbands to fall into a situation like this. It's how we handle it that makes the difference. Marriage is hard work and can get mundane at times. This man made your wife feel "alive" again. It doesn't take much. I came out of my temporary haze after a few months just naturally as there were several states between me and this person. I believe you're onto something and your wife is going through this same thing. You know your spouse and I honestly believe you're spot on with what she's doing. You're normal to look at the texts. I have done that before although I don't condone it, but you are just protecting what you're invested in and that's a long term marriage and your family. My recommendation and what would have worked on me (and I think I represent most women) is I'd write her a nice letter expressing how much you love your wife and family and detail the reasons why you're in love with your wife. Then get into your recent concerns and then tell her how these concerns hurt your feelings or how this behavior makes you feel inside. Tell her you love her enough that if these concerns are true, you'll work through it and will love her the same.....and that you're here for her for the long haul and that you just care enough to want to understand this better. Also, start doing some extra things on the side to make her feel special again. Women (like men) are simple creatures. Go out of your way and make that dinner reservation you've been wanting to make but never do. Have flowers waiting at the table. Make her breakfast and put a rose petal on the plate. Tell her to pack, a bag and take her overnight somewhere. Tell her one thing a day that makes her feel beautiful and loved. She is getting this from this old flame......she really wants it from her husband (as did I). Marriage gets very ordinary....and we have to keep our spouses wanting to choose off the menu at home....good luck.