Leftover Questions from online chat, “How to Change A Cheater” (May 20):
I’ve discovered that my wife has been in continuing email contact with one of her high-school classmates of 15 years ago.
His name came up randomly when we met some new people on a trip. Her former classmate is now their neighbor in Vancouver.
She sent the first email message of Hello, supposedly to discuss this unusual coincidence of hearing about him.
He then responded with details of his life, his marriage, and his late wife’s losing fight with cancer, not long ago.
Now my wife’s all caught up with his sad story and they’re in touch frequently. It makes me very uncomfortable. How do I put a stop to it without sounding controlling or insecure?
“Putting a stop to it” IS controlling and insecure.
Your wife’s compassion for an old schoolmate’s loss doesn’t mean she’s ready to cheat.
You’re uncomfortable because you’ve already decided he’s competition for her interest.
That begs the question whether you and your wife have been less than close lately.
If so, this is a bigger signal for you to pay more attention to her.
Start with compliments and appreciation for things she does for you, even as small as picking up groceries, or offer to go along and help.
These are the small things that makes a partner feel loved, not just having sex… though that, too, is important.
Just avoid doing all this to “stop” her from communicating with this man.
Once you’ve shown her more attention, then ask how he’s doing and treat their contact as the casual correspondence that it likely is.
Unless you make the mistake of treating it like something more, and pushing her away from you.
My husband and I had been arguing for most of our 10 years together, and having no sex for the last three years.
I believed we had to divorce, though he disagreed, “for the kids’ sakes.”
We separated seven months ago, and within weeks I was hearing that he was out with different women, and partying a lot.
I thought it was very disrespectful to the kids, and to me, too, as if he couldn’t wait to be free.
I know it’s technically not cheating, but it hurt me deeply. I now wonder if he was faithful during our marriage and fought with me about everything because he was guilty.
Questioning His Past
Ten years of arguing could cause him to have all kinds of escape tactics… but if you didn’t stop fighting long enough to find out if he was cheating then, it no longer matters now.
Sorry to say, since you were participating in those arguments, you too have a part in the marriage going off the rails.
The fact that he’s now chasing freedom and partying is no surprise.
However, if his behaviour is publicly wild and a discredit to his children, that’s not decent, and perhaps a close friend of his, or relative, could point this out.
But is his dating and partying cheating? No.
Not if you’re both willingly separated. Does it mean he was cheating previously? No.
Again sorry to say, but it sounds like you’re still looking for something to fight about.
Time to focus on how you two are going to make decent mutual joint custody decisions in the best interests of your kids, without constant arguments and accusations, now that you’re apart.
I’m 28, dating a guy I adored, but wasn’t ready for commitment. We had very different backgrounds. I saw an old boyfriend when my guy was away.
I had too much to drink and slept with him.
I confessed. My guy was devastated. But he said he understood the effects of alcohol and my uncertainty about our relationship.
I realized that our “differences” didn’t matter. We’ve been living together happily for three years now and planning to marry.
It took a very decent, sincere, loving, and forgiving person to change a whole lot for you.
This wasn’t about “differences”… it was about lack of self-control on drinking and sex, that could’ve lost you this man’s respect.
You could’ve brushed it off, dated others, and continued to find excuses for behaviour you’d later regret.
His integrity and loyalty shone through. Now you also know that the differences matter far less because he’s committed to making your relationship work.
Tip of the day:
Background issues in a marriage, such as jealousy, controlling behaviour, and frequent fighting, often influence infidelity.