Dear Margo: Hiding in Plain Sight — But Not So Hidden

Could my wife be having an affair? Margo Howard’s advice

Hiding in Plain Sight, but Not so Hidden

Dear Margo: My wife of 18 years recently reconnected with a man from her past. She denies any previous romantic or physical involvement with him, saying they were only good friends. However, this man told me the reconnection was emotionally draining and acted as though I already knew the reasons why it would be so.

Others have hinted that they were an “item.” They engage in overly long and close embraces and kisses on the lips at parties when they think no one is looking. He calls her pet names, tells her how much he misses her and holds her hand when saying goodbye at the end of a social gathering. If the subject of their mutual past comes up, it’s like a bomb went off and you can cut the awkward silence with a knife. Others in a group will look at me to gauge my reaction.

I believe they were intimate in the past, but my wife will not admit to it. I’ve been told there is “significant flirting” going on between them. I don’t really have any reason to mistrust my wife, but I don’t understand why she won’t fess up and tell me the whole story so I can stop letting my imagination run wild. If they have a past together, I can deal with that. (We all have a past to some degree.) On the other hand, I am growing ever more uncomfortable with the way these two act when together, and I am becoming a bit suspicious.

Otherwise, I believe we have a great, mutually rewarding marriage where we share 99 percent of the responsibilities. The kicker is that I like these people and would like to be friends with them. I do not want to sound accusatory, but I will not be made a patsy, either. How do you think I should handle this situation? –Chicago Conundrum

Dear Chi: Do you need a building to fall on your head? Reread your letter, and you will see, by my count, 10 things suggesting there has been a complete and total reconnection. For whatever reason, you seem to be pussyfooting around your wife. I say have it out and do it with a couples counselor. (Bring this letter.) –Margo, contradictorily

There Is an Answer

Dear Margo: I’ve been with Jacob for going on four years. We’re engaged, and I love him dearly. Lately things have been a bit tense, however. He lost his job a couple of years ago and decided to go back to school full time (he never got his bachelor’s degree). While I think this is the best thing for him, it’s making a pre-existing condition worse. He’s struggled his whole life with depression, and adding money and school stress has made him more sullen than ever. For now, we’re OK, but I foresee the potential for serious problems.

He’s visited mental health professionals in the past and has been on medication. But now, without a full-time job (and part-time employment is all he’ll be able to maintain while he’s in school), those things are out of reach. So my question to you is: What resources are there for someone in his situation? I can only listen and empathize so much. He needs professional help to work through this. –Tiffany

Dear Tiff: There are free or low-cost mental health services for both the uninsured and the unemployed. Two good resources are www.healthcaresurvivalguide.com and www.nami.org. He might also inquire at your local city hall, his school and local hospitals. Your fiance might even ask his former doc for suggestions. I wish you both well. –Margo, hopefully

* * *

Dear Margo is written by Margo Howard, Ann Landers’ daughter. All letters must be sent via e-mail to dearmargo@creators.com. Due to a high volume of e-mail, not all letters will be answered.

COPYRIGHT 2011 MARGO HOWARD
DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM

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48 comments so far.

  1. avatar Katharine Gray says:

    I don’t know why LW1 is more worried about what went on in the past than what is obviously going on in the present.  At the very least his wife is having an open flirtation with another man which includes kissing on the mouth  and embracing at parties with evidently no shame about it or consideration for his feelings.   Counseling is indeed in order as well as taking his blinders off and figuring out just how far this flirtation has gone.   
     
    LW2,  I don’t know if things have changed in the last 30 years but when I attended a state university back in the 80′s there were 2 things available:  The student health center which provided free mental health counseling (or if not free it was certainly minimal as I do not recall paying anything at all for it and I was living on 5K a year at the time); and a very low cost health insurance policy that was offered with my enrollment (I was 27 and not eligible for coverage under my parent’s policy).   In the meantime, there is nothing to be ashamed about your fiance’s  financial situation.  In this economy, the best thing he can probably do is finish his education.  He is working part-time to his credit.  Good luck to both of you.

    • avatar Rapunzel says:

      When I went to unversity in the 90s and back to college ten years ago there were health plans for students as well as free counselling services. I am sure things have not changed so drastically in ten years.

    • avatar Daniele says:

      I went to a public university last semester. The co-pay for medical care + some medication was 8 bucks. I also had access to free mental health services for a number of sessions, after which a small co-pay (8 bucks again) for each visit would be required.

    • avatar AngelaM. says:

      I work at a public university, and all full-time students can use both the student health center and the counseling center. These two centers are in the same building and they work together to find the best plan for the student. If prescribed, many medications are available through the student health center’s pharmacy for only a few dollars per month. The majority of 4-year universities that I know of all have a student health/ counseling center, so please encourage your fiance to visit them ASAP.

  2. avatar Jody says:

    While reading “Chicago’s” letter, a thought came to mind…. We teach people how to treat us. So, by your “pussy-footing around”, as Margo suggests, you are allowing yourself to be disrespected by both of them through their behavior. It’s my experience that there are 2 things a marriage rarely (if ever) survives. One is resentment and the other is humiliation. It seems to me you are on the road to both. People have pasts, that’s true. But, your wife should show respect for your relationship (and you, and herself) and not indulge in such single-minded behavior. What if the tables were turned? How would she react? Where are her closest girlfriends? I would be slappin’ her… verbally, of course.

    If you want your marriage to work…. take the wheel. Put your foot down (firmly) and let her know what your boundaries are. Clearly they have been breached, or she doesn’t have a clue where they are because you are haven’t told her. Tell her now. You have the right to be happy…. but you have to make yourself happy. You can’t rely on someone else to do that for you. If she continues to disrespect you, at least you know where you stand and can make a decision from there. Above all…. follow your heart. I’m no psychic, but I see marriage/couples counseling in your future.

    Best of luck! I hope she sees your perspective and stops the behavior.

  3. avatar Kate Olsen says:

    LWI – How much more proof do you need that something is going on – NOW – do not worry about the past that is behind you – BUT THE PRESENT IS RIGHT HERE LOOKING YOU IN THE FACE.  Lingering looks, handholding, kisses on the lips when no one thinks they are looking – for God’s sakes – WAKE the HELL UP – they might as well be fornicating (trying to be polite here) right in front of you.  Or is that what it would take for you to realize an affair when you see one happening? And if lingering looks, handholding, kisses on the lips when no one thinks they are looking is not enough to make you distrust your wife, you are the fool of all fools.  I am shaking my head in disbelief that any human being would be so gullible.

    LW2 – As others have said – every campus has free counseling and most counties in every state have mental health clinics that use a sliding scale fee which is usually free for most people.  Take advantage of it for both of your sakes.  You should be able to get conseling along with your partner to learn to deal with your partner’s problems. 

  4. avatar Mush says:

    LW 2: I’m wondering if you are able to financially support him while he’s in school. That would take the pressure off of him quite a bit. Also help more with the running of the house etc to allow him some time to play, though you may have to push him a bit for him to do so.

    • avatar A R says:

      Mush, although I’m a big fan of partners/spouses supporting each other, I think taking a lot of day-to-day responsibility off him would make him feel even less capable (almost as if she had to step in and save him). Too, if he has issues with depression or listless drifting about without life direction (which the letter sort of implies to me), then absolving him of adult responsibilities might make him worse in the long run. A sense of accomplishment is needed by most folks to feel good about themselves…in my humble opinion.

  5. avatar Jennifer juniper says:

    I don’t exactly know why, but I have a suspicion that there is no affair with LW1′s wife- at least not in the traditional sense. I am wondering if this new guy is gay and the history is that perhaps they did have some previous thing but it was before he was out or aware of his sexuality. It’s the part where he tells LW1 that it’s emotional draining. If you were having an affair with a guy’s wife- is that REALLY what you’d start saying to him?? It also can explain some of the behaviour – as fruits and their flies can be pretty touchy-feely. I’d love a follow up on this one once he clears the air.

    • avatar martina says:

      Hmmm, could be. You have to wonder what “The kicker is that I like these people and would like to be friends with them.” means.  Is he talking about the man’s significant other and if so, how does that person feel about this relationship.  Or, is he talking about the group of friends. 

    • avatar David Bolton says:

      “It also can explain some of the behaviour – as fruits and their flies can be pretty touchy-feely.”

      I tried to think up something clever and catchy in response—but really, why bother when “go f*ck yourself” serves so nicely?

    • avatar Karrin Cooper says:

      ‘”as fruits and their flies can be pretty touchy-feely’”. Wow seriously?! How narrow-minded and bigoted of you. I agree with David…….

    • avatar Jody says:

      “…fruits and their flies…” ???? Jennifer, would you mind explaining this comment, please? I’m hoping it was not your intent to be demeaning to the gay/lesbian community. I have close friends and family members that I would go to the mat for on this one. Just sayin’.

      • avatar R Scott says:

        Jody = “Fruit Fly” is a perjorative term for a straight woman who befriends or hangs out with a gay guy(s). It’s not the worst of the lot but it’s not a very nice thing either. “Fruit” is also slang for a gay man. I think you’re up to speed now  :-)

      • avatar Jon T says:

        At the risk of nitpicking, “fruit” isn’t slang for a gay man. It’s also a pejorative term. Calling it slang suggests that it’s acceptable. Take my word for it, it’s insulting.

      • avatar R Scott says:

        Jon T – Good point and you are correct.

    • avatar wendykh says:

      I was thinking the same thing. I don’t think an affair is currently going on but I think she is hoping and asking for one. I think the “emotionally draining” comment was him asking LW1 to please control his wife.

      Why wouldn’t he tell her to back off himself? Because women who fawn all over like that, especially over “old connections” tend to be a bit nutty. He’s probably worried about her starting all kinds of emo drama. I’d be deathly curious about their past too; I have a hunch it ended ugly because she’s nuts. What kind of woman behaves like that in public? Men are largely bad at hiding things, so I am not shocked to hear that from a man but a woman is usually very sneaky and conniving about her liaisons, not open mouth kissing and holding hands and flirting in public, and those who do engage in that behaviour tend to be Drama Queens.

      • avatar K Coldiron says:

        Wendy – yep. I agree with you and Jennifer. If I were having an affair with an old flame I wouldn’t be so bleeding obvious about it, and it sounds like the “other man” is as unhappy about the state of affairs (ha, affairs) as the husband is. But whether the deed is being done or not, I think the husband needs to have a serious talk with his wife, because her behavior is totally unacceptable for a married woman.

        FWIW, the entire fruit-fly pejorative business went completely over my head.

  6. avatar Cindy Marek says:

    L #1: Uh…where to start? You’ve been told there’s significant flirting going on between them. Well, apparently there IS! Long embraces and *kissing on the lips.* You “don’t really have any reason to mistrust your wife”? :-o REALLY? Are you in Egypt, living on the banks of Denial? WAKE UP. Before you lose your marriage. I’ll ask again what Margo asks: Do you need a building to fall onto your head? Strengthen your backbone, quit trying to rationalize this ongoing slap in your face, and confront your wife.

  7. avatar Cindy Marek says:

    L #2: Unfortunately it seems the issues with ongoing depression should have been addressed prior to going back to college; this is why he didn’t manage to obtain a BA. :-( You guys put the cart ahead of the horse. But what’s done is done. I hope you can find the resources/assistance needed despite your financial situation, and that he can pull through this depression.

  8. avatar mmht says:

    LW#1: Your wife is having an affair. The reason everyone is acting this way around you is because they all see it and can’t believe you can not see it. You need to tell her to end this and go into counsel or hit the road.

    LW#2: Universities and colleges have a health place that offers mental health services, generally for free. Its part of his student fees.

    • avatar stateoflove_N_Trust says:

      People suggest marital counseling for LW1 and his wife, which is appropriate in most circumstances.  However, if his wife is having an affair, which seems quite likely, I think this is one of those times where you just walk away.  If she is having an affair, it means that she is publicly parading her affair in front of all of their friends and him.  She is intentionally trying to humiliate him.  There is no excuse when it gets to that point.  Sometimes people need to realize that efforts to save a marriage that will take alot of hard work and cause significant pain, are not worth it.

      • avatar David Bolton says:

        Considering their history, and the fact that LW1 describes their relationship in otherwise positive terms, I think they should give counseling a shot. By “a shot” I mean “ONE shot.” Being in front of a counselor tends to bring out the truth, whether it comes willingly or is dragged out. What this guy needs are answers—brutal ones if necessary. If it takes a third party to get them, then I say go for it.

      • avatar Diagoras says:

        There are many, many couples in which one or both spouses had an affair and they manage to change their ways and save the marriage. Whether it’s worth it is really up to the husband in this case.

  9. avatar sadrunner says:

    My opinion is that there isn’t currently an actual affair going on. If there was, I think they would be acting a lot more nonchalant in each others presence, and being really careful to avoid each other and only acting casual in a group.

    That said, I think there’s a huge emotional connection between them and that could be just as bad, or worse, than an actual affair.

    I think LW1 does need to address the elephant in the room and deal with this issue right away. I don’t think he should worry so much about their past relationship, but their present one. He needs to know what all the flirtation and kissing is all about, and demand that it stop out of respect for him and their marriage. A counsellor is a good idea too, because his marriage is on really shaky footing right now.

    • avatar A R says:

      I agree, sadrunner. I think if they were in the sack already, they would try to act as if they were not. I think the stares from other people are just shock that the letter writer lets that foolishness go on without saying anything. If I were him, I’d probably walk up to both of them at the next event and say, “I need a word with both of you together outside.”
      He could say to them both, “Look, frankly your kissy/hand-holdy/long looks are not going to work. I’m addressing both of you so I don’t have to hear later how one of you is the culprit initiating this. If you want to be together, say it so we can be done with this charade. Otherwise, let’s be very clear that the two of us are married, you are with whomever you are, and this b.s. stops now. Sir, keep your hands off my wife. Honey, keep your hands off this man. I’ll be glad to talk to you later at home if you feel like explaining this.”

      I’d SO call them out on it.

      • avatar stateoflove_N_Trust says:

        I don’t know.  Some people get off on humiliating others.  It might add a thrill to their relationship to flaunt it so, particularly since this guy appears to be so passive.  What is he going to do?  He is obviously not going to punch him.

        I am a pretty laid back guy, who does not believe that fighting solves much, but most guys including myself probably would have confronted the other man a long time ago.

      • avatar K Coldiron says:

        Yeah, but that level of flaunt is sort of unbelievable.

      • avatar David Bolton says:

        “Look, frankly your kissy/hand-holdy/long looks are not going to work. I’m addressing both of you so I don’t have to hear later how one of you is the culprit initiating this. If you want to be together, say it so we can be done with this charade. ”

        Ooooh, I like this. The only change I would make would be to say: “…your kissy/hand-holdy/long looks are not going to work FOR ME or FOR US.”

      • avatar Jon T says:

        Well said, A R! I think any variation on that would be effective, but I really like the way you put it. And they definitely need to be addressed together, since they’re both willing participants in this spectacle.

  10. avatar David Bolton says:

    LW1: Dude… you’re trying to ride that fence as much as she is, and this is not a time for neutrality. So you believe that you have a “great and mutually rewarding” relationship. What does SHE believe? This is Question #1 you should ask her during your first counseling session. And her response to your request that the two of you seek counseling should determine her level of commitment to your marriage. This is an example where “no” really means “not interested.”

    LW2: I agree that Jacob needs to pursue his options for finding mental health care—and as soon as possible. I would also suggest that you do the same, since it’s highly likely you’re both depressed. This is a situation that has been years in the making—it’s not something that has happened “lately.” It’s also vitally important that you step back and reexamine your perception of the overall picture and whether or not the dynamic between you is healthy and should continue. The first word that popped into my mind about you was “enabler.” Oh, and someone suggested that you pay for Jacob’s school to relieve some of his stress. This is a very bad idea. Do not do it under any circumstances. Here’s why: 1) You don’t need to be saddled with Jacob’s debt if something happens and the two of you part ways and 2) If your relationship has turned into a parent-child dynamic, this is going to make Jacob MORE dependent on you rather than an independent, equal adult. It’s important to realize that you have an uphill battle with depression, especially if you’re part of the cause. You may not win this. Face and accept that, and be ready to separate if it means being healthier. That’s far more important than staying together and being unhappy.

  11. avatar Jon T says:

    Even if they weren’t technically hooking up their behavior is wildly inappropriate, not to mention disrespectful to “Chicago.” I get that he doesn’t want to be one of those people who dwells on the past, but geez! I can’t get over how the two of them are rubbing their behavior right in his face. While they’re in couples counseling, he might want to figure out why he’s been willing to put up with their outrageous behavior.

  12. avatar R Scott says:

    LW1 – Don’t listen to Margo or any of these posters. There is nothing going on. Your wife has just found a good friend. Kissing, hand holding. snuggling are nothing. They’re just friends. Stop worrying.. Say, I just thought of something. You just the kind of guy who could really enjoy some ocean front property in Nebraska. Let’s chat. . . . . .

  13. avatar Belinda Joy says:

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…turn the tables.

    If Letter #1 were a woman writing in about her husband behaving this way, we would be hard-pressed to find anyone that would not come right out and say “Lady stop being blind, something happened in the past and something is happening right now!” This poor guy is past the point of being made a patsy….too late. Now it just comes to getting his dignity and respect back for himself and how he is viewed by those around him. She has lied to him and he needs to confront her and demand the truth. Don’t gently sit her down and talk it out…..don’t have an open one on one conversation about emotions and feelings….he needs to be assertive, direct and pointed with his questions.

    People only do to you what YOU allow them to do. If you are going to be a doormat and allow her to walk all over you, don’t complain about how it feels to be stepped upon.

  14. avatar Kathy says:

    I think LW1 is a little neurotic.  First, he’s clearly obsessing on whether these two were a couple more than 18 years ago.  He brings it up in public and tries to guage reactions.  He says his wife and this guy are sneaking kisses and hugs when no one is watching.  If no one is watching, how does he know?  Obviously, their physical intimacies are happening in plain sight, which suggests they may not be as overt as he’s imagining.  Finally, the man complained to him that the reconnection with his wife was “emotionally draining”.  Wouldn’t a reasonable person ask why?  But no.  He just sulks off and stews about it what that might mean.  Frankly, he sounds very high-maintenance.  That’s not to say the wife isn’t engaging in some risky flirting.  The most appropriate response isn’t to fret and fume about it, but to say, “People are misinterpreting your closeness to Boris, so you better knock it off.  I know you don’t want people talking about it.”

  15. avatar Jody says:

    In regards to “Chicago”….
    I think it’s important to focus on how he is FEELING as opposed to whether an affair really is happening or not. I’m not trying to say he shouldn’t care if they are having an affair or not. I’m just saying that none of us really know (unless you were there), and can only inject our opinions and perspectives in this post. That’s why it’s my opinion that “Chicago” take the time to let his true feelings be known to his wife, and probably enter counseling.

    The thing is, even if these two are ONLY friends, what matters is how this makes “Chicago” feel. She’s allowed to let him know how his jealousy makes her feel, etc. They are both entitled to share their true feelings. Just because you have a feeling doesn’t mean you have to do anything about it. But, the action of sitting down and talking about those feelings and sharing them, understanding them, and having compassion for one another can change perspectives. He may come to an awareness. She may come to an awareness. It’s a win/win.

    The bottom line is that this is a learning opportunity for “Chicago”. He gets to dive in and learn about how he deals with his feelings (or doesn’t). This is an opportunity for him to learn more self-acceptance, self-love, and raise his awareness level. This could possibly be one of his life lessons. Maybe this is not the first time he’s ever felt this way. Now he gets another opportunity to change it… turn it around… become empowered. Turn a weakness into a strength (if that’s his perspective).

    What I’ve learned is that if we choose not to express ourselves, if we choose to hold back our feelings, if we choose to not be true to ourselves and how we feel, it gives power to the feeling and it can become overwhelming. It’s like a grudge. That’s why he feels stuck. He has chosen not to let her know his boundaries and how he feels over the course of time and now it has become bigger than him… in his perspective. The truth is, HE is bigger than IT, and at any time can free himself of the feelings through acceptance and surrender. Allow yourself to feel it and then express it. Molehills stay molehills and mountains remain in the distant landscape.

    What they do from there will feel better for both of them, regardless of the outcome.

  16. avatar Debbie Ciaravino says:

    LW #1, Let me tell you without hesitation that YES, they do have a past together. There, one of your questions is answered. Whether their past included a physical relationship is immaterial. Your wife has her reasons for not telling you all the details. Maybe this male friend used to be her best female friend growing up and she does not feel it is her place to tell you that he had a sex change operation. (See, my imagination can run wild too!)

    What you need to deal with is the current situation. If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it is not unicorn! The reality is your wife’s behavior with this man makes you feel suspicious, uncomfortable, and disrespected. If your relationship is as fantastic as you try to make it seem outside this one area, then your wife would care that she makes you feel this way. However, if you continue to turn a blind eye to what’s happening right in front of you, then you are only reinforcing the behavior as acceptable. Have a rational conversation with her, tell her what you have seen and what people have told you. Ask her straight out what is going on. Depending on her answer, you can determine if couple’s counseling is something you want to invest your time into. Perhaps the relationship is already over to her and she just hasn’t had the courage to tell you yet.

    Communication is the only way you will get the answers you seek. Good luck, I hope it can be saved!

  17. avatar Debbie Ciaravino says:

    LW #2, as someone who had depression so severly at one time that I barely got out of bed in 6 months, please accept my opinion. Margo and others offered some wonderful suggestions where Jacob can receive low cost or free treatment. I personally received my wake-up call from my Priest.

    I can tell you mean well and care about Jacob, but all the free treatment in the world isn’t going to help unless Jacob recognizes he needs it and wants it. Also, don’t be so quick to assume that he is sullen due to depression. The weight of school, losing his job, worrying about finances, etc. can just be too much to bear right now. Sit down with him, go over finances together, show him on paper how you’re “doing ok right now” and help relieve some of the pressures in his mind. Since you don’t mention that you’re married, maybe he is feeling that pressure too after 4 years together.

    A past diagnosis does not indicate a current problem. Offer the suggestions people have given for him to seek therapy and ask if he thinks having someone neutral to talk to would help alleviate his stress. Let him know you are concerned and want to help him if you can, but keep your psychic abilities to yourself (“I foresee the potential for serious problems”). Every relationship has the potential for serious problems, don’t jump to conclusions or it just might become a self-fullfilling prophecy.

  18. avatar Drew Smith says:

    LW1
    Lot’s of interesting projections, but one really doesn’t need to go beyond the facts. Your wife is displaying a level of intimacy that makes you and your social circle uncomfortable and fails to explain what’s behind it. The stranger she is doing this with tells you it is emotionally draining.

    Clearly there is a lack of honesty and respect between you and your wife that should be a major red flag. It is interesting how often couples settle for “good enough” and call that “great” until a challenging event occurs, then they are at a loss. Regardless the outcome, this can be an opportunity for some self-reflection as to how you got to this point and why you are not hurt and outraged by such inexplicable behavior vs. focusing on your damaged pride “I don’t want to be a patsy,” isn’t there a lot more at stake?

  19. avatar melissa says:

    LW1 – I also don’t think there is a current affair.  The “emotionally draining” comment makes me think that they do have a history, either a full blown relationship or a one night stand, which resulted in a pregnancy.  I think if they had an abortion or put the child up for adoption, it would be emotionally draining to now enter each others lives.  I can see why the friend would think that the husband is aware of the situation and would understand why it’s emotionally draining, though it’s probably not unusual for the wife to be embarressed or ashamed to share this info with her husband.  She may have been carrying around guilt regarding her past and is relieved to have someone she can talk to about it.  And if they were having long conversations regarding this subject, it would probably end with a long hug/embrace…

    Anyway, that’s the first thing that came to my mind…  either way they need to talk.

  20. avatar Violet says:

    I’m late to the party on this one [couldn't figure out how to retrieve my user name and password, haha], but the main point is that the wife having the maybe affair seems totally insensitive to how her behavior is affecting the husband, and that is a big red flag to me. If one spouse is embarrassing the other in public, it’s a type of passive/ aggressive abuse in my book. I dated a guy who used to openly flirt with other women when we went to social events, and then accuse me of being too “sensitive” or “possessive” when I brought up how hurtful it was . He was doing it to hurt me and control me, and I am now out of a relationship with someone who was too narcissistic to care about my feelings.

  21. avatar ChicagoConundrum says:

    This whole thing is really challenging for me. I think my wife is just oblivious as to how embarrassing or humiliating it is when they show public displays of affection for each other or snicker about their history without letting me in on the joke, so to speak. I wonder how many people are laughing at me behind my back because they think something is going on between them. I love my wife dearly. I know she loves me. I don’t think anything inappropriate is going on between them. I think a LOT (maybe even a pregnancy, as Melissa suggested?) went on between them in the past that they constantly revisit and don’t want me to know the details thereof. I don’t really have any concerns about the past or their history. But it hurts me to know that I am not to be trusted with that information. I think that is what bothers me more than anything. I don’t think I’ve ever done anything to warrant such mistrust. Communication is the answer but this is very hard to broach without making my wife think I don’t trust her. I am working on a strategy for a conversation. Thanks for all the input and suggestions. Most of them had already crossed my mind but it’s good to get reinforcement.

  22. avatar Kay Grames says:

    Just one comment for LW1. Everyone has their own boundaries and rules for proper behavior. So here is my take on this. My spouse has friends of the opposite sex, and that is fine. But if he kissed one of them on the lips, held her hand, called her pet names, engaged in long and close embraces, and if I heard reports of my spouse and this friend being an “item” and engaging serious flirting…well let’s just say I would feel clear that there was a very serious problem afoot and would be working on solutions to solve it (starting with marriage counselling). That would be true whether or not I believed there was “more” going on, because what is already there is quite enough…at least, it would be for me. I do hear how painful it is that your wife is not trusting you with her past, and how that feels like the main source of pain. But as others have stated, if I was seeing what you were seeing in the present, I would be seeking good assistance as quickly as I could. Also…at the risk of being cold…she is assaulting your feelings and even your public image and you are worried she doesn’t *trust* you? My opinion is that trust is not the issue. Maybe the issue is more around lack of respect, and lack of concern for your feelings, Truthfully, I am a bit angry for your situation because you seem like a kind person and she seems…not so much…at least not right now towards you.