My husband of 20 years has a friendship with a married woman he met while playing on a co-ed sports team for several summers.
When I first met her, he spent his whole evening sitting with and talking to her. He introduced me but she said nothing more than hello. Her husband’s annually usually away for several months for work.
My husband often talked about how kind and great this woman was. Their co-ed team was very private, often having parties without the spouses invited (though I asked
several times about attending).
I wasn’t comfortable, but I put up with it for a few years.
Last December I finally experienced a bit of these sport parties when I accompanied my husband to one of the team-member's wedding (and went to the home of the woman I’ve mentioned, for drinks).
I was startled by some overly familiar actions between them - nothing sexual, but how she called him by a name that I usually use for him, etc.
She and another married woman on the team were quite drunk, slow-dancing with and sitting on the laps of other married and single male teammates.
I suspected that if I hadn't been there, they would’ve been doing the same with my husband.
I finally had a heart-to-heart with my husband so he stopped going to the private team parties… or at least I thought he had. Actually, he just stopped telling me about them.
This past summer he’d periodically be quite late coming home from playing baseball, saying they just had a few beers after the game.
One day, he said he was going golfing with one of his guy friends and may eat out afterwards.
When I got home from work, my teenager said he’d dropped his dad off at the woman's house and it seemed the whole team was there.
He didn't come home until 1:30am. I confronted him about the lie, he apologized, I demanded he leave the team, he said he would (and he has).
However, I later learned that he told the team why he can't play anymore.
Now we often see this woman at a local gym. She no longer speaks to me, but my husband and she will talk when I’m not beside him.
He gets overly nervous and seems guilty when she's around. It makes me feel very uncomfortable. He makes me feel badly if I try to talk to him about it because he says I don't trust him. I don't.
Other than this situation, he’s a pretty good husband and father. I don't know what to do to fix this.
It feels like he was playing for two different teams – the one with that woman as a best mate, the other with your family, which included you.
The baseball team was all about fun as well as the sport, and the private parties added to that atmosphere.
At home, with wife and kids, he was “pretty good” in his roles.
But what he lost sight of was that a marriage doesn’t thrive over the long-term if it becomes left only to roles and responsibilities. Partners in life need fun, too.
He crossed a line, causing your hurt and mistrust.
Still, he gave up the team. Give him a new chance.
If maintaining fitness together is an enjoyable approach, find another gym. Bumping into this woman regularly keeps scratching a sore wound.
You and he need to become close friends again.
FEEDBACK Regarding the effects of abuse, sexual assault at 11, and family abandonment, on a young woman (Jan 12):
Reader – “My life was also full of trauma and family betrayal.
“It seems that heavily-flawed people want to have kids without thinking if they’d be good for it.
“The only way to make our own lives better is to be a good person and seek good-hearted people. Let the family members go. They only chain you to your past.”
Ellie – The letter-writer, now an adult with professional help for past depression, said she was “broken-hearted” because even her aunt, who’d witnessed her childhood abuse by her mother, had stopped calling her.
Usually, I try to find some way that at least one family link can be salvaged. But this feedback letter also makes sense, that there’s a time come when you must save yourself from those whose neglect only drags you back to a painful past.
Tip of the day:
Couples need to create their own trusted team as loving friends, beyond their other connections.