This was sent to Aunt B via email...
Dear Aunt B,
I don’t know how to explain my situation but I will try to give you an idea. I thought we had a perfect marriage, we never had a fight or even a serious argument in the past eight years of our marriage. Our problem started two years ago, my mother in law was diagnosed with breast cancer. This was combined with some problems at work which I think made my wife feel a little bit lonely and depressed. With my mother in Law's illness the whole family went into turmoil. For my wife the word cancer just makes her depressed, Cancer has claimed a number of her family members. Her father died of cancer when she was only 15 years old and her uncle and grandfather died of cancer. My wife took the full responsibility of staying with her mother during her mother's treatment away from me and our children.
During this period or may be slightly before, my wife developed a relationship with a person she has met while dropping the children to school. She started calling this person on almost a daily basis and during my business trips she will take the opportunity to have long conversations with him. I have discovered this relationship and she first denied her calls and latter she has admitted her relationship. My wife told me that the relationship started because she needed a friend to talk to and she was just speaking about her mother illness. She assured me that there weren’t any sexual relationship and it was just friendly. Our marriage was at risk for me not because of the relationship but because of her not being honest with me. I told her that honesty is key to our marriage and she has betrayed me by not admitting to this relationship.
After a few months of “separation” she has assured me that she was sorry and this person doesn’t mean anything to her. Things were not the same anymore, I always thought of her relationship with this person. And became more suspicious, whenever she speaks on the phone or she gets an sms on the phone I will always think it is from this person. But I was always trying to show that things are ok and was trying to work to suppress my feelings. She stopped contacting this person for a while but after some time this person tried contacting my wife and she called him to inform him not to call her any more and just to leave her alone. She never told me of this incident and when I have asked her if she spoke to him recently she denied it. Later she admitted what happened and again she was sorry and afraid that any contact with this person will jeopardize our marriage. And that is why she didn’t want to tell me. Although it is not a serious incident again, but I was upset because she didn’t tell me immediately of this person trying to contact her. This incident made me even more suspicious, I started looking at her phone whenever I can always thinking of what happened. I told her after awhile that I was loosing my mind and I was always trying to check her phone and I wasn’t getting over of what has happened. She always assured me that this person didn’t mean anything to her. She was lonely during her mother's treatment and she didn’t know why she started speaking to him but he was always listening to her problems. I thought a good vacation with the kids will make us forget this bad chapter in our relationship and we will try to renew our marriage. Things were going smooth, and I was slowly forgetting everything.
Recently I have discovered that she was searching for this person on a web site specialized for finding friends and school mates. This time I was furious, when I confronted her she admitted to this and she me, told she was stupid to look for him. I stopped speaking to her and I recently informed her that I am tired of her games and I don’t really care for her anymore. I don’t know what to do now? She is currently away. She told me to forgive her it was a stupid thing she did and doesn’t deserve any reaction from me. For me it is a matter of principle and it quickly brought to me the old bad feelings. I told her I will not forgive her, but it is up to her to prove to me that she deserves my trust again. I will not forgive her and I don’t know when I will forgive her for breaking my trust for a third time. I know searching the person name on the internet is not a serious thing, but for me I thought this person will be out of lives forever. And I don’t know why she insists on bringing him back. Please advise me on what to do and if I am over reacting?. For me I am a business man and I travel a lot, I can’t continue looking through her phone bills and checking her phone. Trust is a pillar to any marriage and I have never betrayed her which makes my hurting even greater and my forgiveness harder to gain. We are not speaking together at the moment and she is away and shall be back in few days and I don’t know how to deal with the situation. I don’t know who to consult and you seem that you have seen and experienced so many incidents in your lifetime. For me it is very strange to write to a stranger, but this seems to be easier than speaking to my own family. At the moment we are putting a nice show to both our families that our marriage is healthy but I can’t tolerate this situation any more? Please help?
Please treat this matter with confidentiality.
Thank you for your help.
Man with a Broken Heart
Dear Broken Heart,
I really feel for you. Oddly enough, I too experienced betrayal and know how that feels. My situation was different of course, as he out and out fooled around on me. It was in the very beginning of our relationship and no we weren't married but we were living in sin, I mean living together, lol! But when a man/woman is telling you that they love you, sleeping in your bed every night, it's a marriage.
Betrayal is betrayal and it stings no matter who it is. She betrayed you and your trust. I can see that trust is a big issue for you, as well. It is my biggest issue in a relationship, too. If you don't have it, you are in serious trouble.
I am not trying to incite you but it almost pulled me under too and I almost lost my mind. It brought out a jealous and possessive, untrusting side, well, I never want to be that person again. I was digging through his car and checking the phone and watching his every move, questioning his behaviors and I even thought he was sneaking out at night, after I'd gone to bed. I would check the windows and I was an obsessed mess. That was partly, my fault because I allowed him to make me crazy. Of course, I should have kicked him to the curb but it was a Fatal Attraction. It was never a healthy relationship. This man was abusive as well and I never trusted his emotions, even long after the physical abuse had stopped.
My point is, that once you have been betrayed, on any level, not once, not twice but three times, it is hard to trust her emotions, even if she is sincere. What she did, was wrong and you need only to spin the perspective. How would she have liked it, if she'd found out, that you were doing the same thing. Appearance doesn't make or break the situation but what if you were chatting it up with some really pretty girl? If she found out, I'll bet she'd go ballistic. She catches you and you say you'll stop talking to her, for the sake of the marriage. But for whatever reason or your supposed "need to end it", you were not honest and you did not tell her about that conversation, she'd want your balls, on a platter. But then, she finds out, you are looking for this woman, on the internet. Well, suffice it to say, she is not going to believe you or any word that comes out of your mouth.
Now, I'm gonna go gansta here. I am going to be very blunt and I set this up, for a reason. I am an extremely caring person. I am empathic and compassionate but I am going to speak the truth here;
I don't care what circumstance it was or is, she was wrong. I do not care what problems she had or has, she is wrong. I know Cancer is a terrible thing. My own Father died from Cancer but that does not give me license to chat up some guy.
I think you were more than understanding and tried very hard, not to behave like a jealous husband. But I think this problem may go much deeper, than the fact that she needed to talk to somebody, anybody because of her situation.
Now, I am not a marriage counselor and will admit it is not my specialty. You may need counseling and it's a good possibility that it could improve and save your marriage.
But you wrote to me and I will give my opinion because you asked me to.
In order for you to heal from this, you must be able to forgive her, right? But she must also be or admit to her wrong doing and I don't mean just saying the words. She must realize that she had no business even talking to this guy on such an intimate level. She must also realize, just how badly, she has hurt you. She has to know, that you feel betrayed. Before she can truly be remorseful, she must truly understand the nature of her crime against you.
It has taken me years to get to the point where I believe that we must do our damnedest to save our marriages. I am a firm believer that God frowns upon those who just jump ship, only to climb aboard another. It is not to say, that in some instances, it is just about the only answer but we must first do, whatever it takes to work it out.
In this case, I think you need to put things into perspective. She needs to understand that it is not your fault that she felt the need to run, proverbially, to another man for comfort, in a trying time. She needs to understand that , you are not a mind reader and if she needs to be comforted, you are always there for her, whether you are there physically or not. She needs to understand that you are not buying her supposed need for comfort in a trying time. That was only a lie, she told herself and you. She needs to understand just how devastating her actions were and you must project, just exactly how she would feel, if you had done the same damn thing, to her.
How would she like to find out, all along, you've been too friendly with a gal and were comforted by her because you were having a hard time at your job. I would be willing to call her a liar to her face, if she told me, she wouldn't mind, you doing the same exact thing. So, let's quit using excuses and medical illnesses for a much deeper need.
Having said this, we must ask ourselves, what was her true agenda, the true nature of her behavior? Maybe, she didn't fool around but she might as well have. Yes, it's that serious and it's the principle of the whole damn mess. She may, in her mind, think, "Well, I didn't do anything," but the shoe need only, to be put on the other foot. You were not there for all the conversations and do not know what was or was not said. My mind would be running rampant with implication.
She needs to understand that even the best intentions can be misconstrued. If you did the same thing and left her to wonder, if your heart had wandered, she'd probably understand this bitter bullshit. Yes siree, you can bet your bum, we need a good ol' dose of reality and truth here. If it is to work, you must put your ego and anger aside and talk about all of you feelings. She has got to know, how it feels to be betrayed, even on this level.
OK, I'm gonna go gansta again. You are not innocent either, now are you? You have been somewhat removed and barely there. You have been going on with life, as if things would always be the same and she'd always be there. You quit working at your marriage. Marriage is much like a business deal. You have to produce and work at it or the Company folds. You almost had a hostile takeover. You almost lost your VP to another Company. That other Company was trying to recruit your best Executive.
Now, I know you love her and she knows you love her. But we all need to have it enforced and you must be productive, in entertaining her heart. See, I think, you didn't mean to, but you took her love, for granted. You may have been within ear shot of any conversation she needed to have but she didn't feel you were really there. Do you understand what I mean, when I say, you were not there?
You can be in the same room, standing beside or even in bed, making whoopie with someone but you are not there and your heart is not in it. You became detached. You didn't mean to but you both drifted apart. You took that love for granted, didn't you?
It's like this, a man can tell his wife, he loves her, a million times but they are only words. She needs to feel it in his love making, in his whisper, in her ear. She needs to see it in his eyes.
I want you to begin to try to heal from this but be more aware as a whole. I want you to take her by the hand, walk with her and ask her, really, why she felt the need to go to another man, even emotionally? Tell her you want complete honesty, from that moment on. If she wants things to work, between you two, she must always be honest.
Tell her that you are not a mind reader and if she needs to be comforted, she need only, to come to you and you will always be there for her. I think she will tell you, that she felt you were not, emotionally there, for her. You tell her, you are sorry for that and you are willing to work harder on this. She needs to know that she abused your trust and she was wrong but you want things to work. You then ask her, what does she want from your marriage? Does she want it to be a life full of lies, betrayal and half truths? A better recipe would be complete and utter truth and a willingness to make it work. She must decide, then and there, as well as you, that the both of you will do what it takes to make it work.
From that moment on, you will not rub her nose in it but she must know, that you will never be gullible again. The innocence is lost. But if she wants to work at this, the lines of communication must always be open and you both need to work at, a loving and rewarding relationship. You must both learn from this and to never take each other for granted again. Marriage is a symbol of your love and that love, should never be, anything but a priority in your lives. After all, when all hell breaks loose and people come and go, your children move away, it must be consolation, that you've worked, all your lives, not for a house and home, cars and vacations but to wake to someone who loves you, unconditionally, wrinkles and all.