Dear Readers - Two different questions about suspected cheating, one from a woman, the other from a man:
Q - My husband and I, newlyweds, are expecting our first child and purchased a new home.
We met and were together daily for a month, until I left the country for three months.
He assured me that he'd wait for me and didn't want me to be with anyone else either.
Recently, I discovered that he was texting a girl to arrange a hook-up while I was gone.
I always thought that he'd never lie or cheat. I felt scammed, married to someone I didn't know.
He told me nothing happened, that he felt horrible and couldn't go through with it.
Currently, our relationship's never been better but I'm still wondering if, "Once a cheater, always a cheater?"
Did he actually cheat on me?
When we first met, he said that he'd slept with a lot of women, but that was all in the past.
He says he's very blessed to start a new family life. But can I ever trust him?
I said that if I ever catch him talking with someone else, I'll leave him without waiting for an explanation.
How do I let this feeling go?
A - You've drawn your line in the sand, he knows the consequences if he crosses it.
If he's telling the truth, he overcame a moment of weakness. He's since shown total commitment to your life together.
I've heard about other people (women and men alike) who've contemplated cheating but didn't follow through.
I've also heard about people who've cheated once and never again.
Do NOT let your worrying detract from the shared excitement of expecting a baby.
If you find that you can't get past it, insist that you get couples' counselling together.
Q - Being suspicious isn't healthy for a relationship.
However, my wife's always with a man whom she claims is a business partner.
He drops her off, then picks her up in the evenings, returning her in the night.
When confronted about this, she becomes defensive.
It happens almost daily, which has put our marriage on the rocks.
I have little trust left.
Business or Something Else?
A - Your wife's "business partner" occupies more of her time than seems reasonable, and she offers no reassurance to you that this isn't an affair.
Your suspicions are completely understandable.
Get legal advice regarding your rights and obligations if the marriage ends, especially regarding any children, shared assets and financial support.
Then, as above, I recommend marriage counselling to learn if there's any hope for you two reconciling. If not, a marriage "on the rocks" is painful for everyone concerned.
Reader's Commentary Regarding having an affair with someone who's married:
"I'd known him as a friend, and his wife, too. They knew my ex-partner. We were among couples who'd gotten together regularly for some years.
"Suddenly, when I was helping him with his business (I'm in promotions), we were both caught up with passion for each other.
"We met and were intimate for a couple of months, and both spoke of love. But as time passed, I realized it was the affair that he wanted for excitement, and the marriage for security.
"I heard more clearly how emotionally distanced he was from his wife, seeing her as a burden instead of the devoted mother and loyal wife that she is.
"An affair with someone married can eventually reveal what passion hid, and what he/she didn't want you to know. I ended it."
Feedback - Regarding the husband and wife who don't know how to "fight fair," not even in front of their children (November 25):
Reader — "I'd like to share, regarding not fighting in front of the kids, that my parents never disagreed with one another or even engaged in compromising discussions in my presence.
"I feel that my wife and I need to allow ourselves to engage in discussions where there may be heated exchanges in our children's presence.
"It's allowed and healthy, provided that these exchanges are not the norm, are not threatening, have appropriate and or explained context, and include resolution and healing.
"I appreciate that there's a difference between a fight and a heated exchange. A fight may occur and then the example of apologizing, taking time to settle, promote healing and reconnect are essential.
"We all make mistakes and relationships are instructive in how to live."
Ellie's tip of the day
Distrusting your spouse ultimately destroys the relationship.
Send relationship questions to email@example.com.
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