Q: I have been married to my husband for four years. We have the kind of relationship everyone envies, or so I thought. Two months ago I noticed our cell phone bill was a little high so I checked and found a number coming up frequently on my husband's call log. Curious, I asked him who it was. He told me it was an old friend who he dated 10 years ago and ran into at work. I got upset and he assured me nothing was going on. Later I found that he had gone over to her house to fix her bathroom but had told me it was his friend Joe. We have gotten in several arguments and he assures me that he only loves me and will stop talking to her, but I keep finding proof they are still talking. I feel betrayed and very naive. What do I do now? -- Nicole, 25
Dr. Susan: Don't blame yourself. It's a good thing to trust your spouse, and a bad thing when they lie and betray that trust. If he loves you and wants your marriage to be happy again, it's up to him to rebuild your trust. Because he lied to you about the calls, and also went to see this old girlfriend without telling you, he has a lot of explaining to do. Let's assume for now that he isn't having an actual physical affair (though he might be). He must stop communicating with her entirely. He needs to open his phone records to you willingly so you can see he's telling the truth. You may want to insist on a few visits to a marriage counselor where both of you can safely open up about your feelings. If she's "just a friend," he ought to invite her over to meet you. Secret relationships like his can destroy even very good marriages. But don't give up on this fool without a fight.
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Advice for Her
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.