wife is keeping a secret

by confused
(Seattle)

Hi, I’m struggling and need some advice. I’m 49 and have been married for 17 years. We’ve had our ups and downs but generally have a very good marriage and I love my wife very much.


I became suspicious recently that my wife had gone out for dinner and drinks after work with a former male co-worker and kept it hidden from me. When she came home I asked her if she was alone and she stated unequivocally “yes”. I wasn’t 100 percent sure and I’m still not, but I’m 90 percent sure this was untrue.

I did some snooping of phone records (I do not make a habit of spying on her) and I’m thinking this isn’t the first time. There are at least a couple of other times when she said she was going out “with the girls” after work on the same day there was texting back and forth between this guy and her. She is also deleting any texts from him off her phone.

My gut tells me this is not romantic, but the fact that she is keeping it a secret from me is completely devastating. I’ve lost a bunch of sleep over this and have been obsessing over it since I became aware. I’m kind of heartbroken to tell the truth, I’m not sure what to do. If I’m just straightforward and bring it up I’m sure she’ll deny it. Nobody wants to be caught in a lie. I will be accused of being insecure, jealous, paranoid, accusatory, snooping, spying etc. I could do real damage to my marriage if I’m not careful.

I think I’m pretty normal and not an overly jealous person. If I’m honest I don’t really like the idea of her meeting up with a platonic opposite sex friend after work for drinks. We are both super busy with work, commuting and other obligations like aging parents, home maintenance etc. She also has quite a few girlfriends that she does things with as well as past and present coworkers and I don’t like the idea of having to compete with another guy to get an ever smaller slice of her time, attention and affection. I DO know that if I was meeting with another woman for dinner and drinks and keeping it hidden from HER it would not be OK. And I can’t imagine ever being comfortable doing that to her.

Every relationship has little white lies, and every individual keeps little secrets to themselves. To me, this is way outside of that definition. What to do?

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Dec 23, 2017
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by: Your Couples Guide

First, I would suggest you read a book about emotional affairs called "Not Just Friends" by Shirley Glass. She defines these types of relationships as "affairs" because they are not physical but have the same devastating effect. The way you know this is happening is that a secret is being kept.

Then I think you should talk to your wife and see a couples counselor to find out why this is happening.

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