Despite a rocky road, my partner of six years and I love each other.
He started a company four years ago. I’ve been supportive but unincluded in most events, as I stay home with our three-year-old son.
I’ve been catching him lying a lot.
Recently, I suspected he was cheating because of his late nights, taking phone calls outside, etc.
He uses his company as an “out” to not be involved in activities with family functions or us.
When confronted, he states that he’d NEVER cheat, loves his family, but sometimes has to lie because I’ll otherwise get mad.
Recently, he left his emails open. I found deleted and archived messages being exchanged between him and a female employee.
They messaged each other late at night. He calls her “Angel.” She sends him harmless flirts.
One email asked him to pay for her seven nights’ stay at a hotel in another city where his second-base company is.
He was planning a trip there at the same time, until I confronted him.
He states it was for work but would rather wait for Grandma to babysit and take me.
He says she’s a good employee and he needs her.
When I met her, I instantly felt something isn’t right.
She wouldn’t leave us alone when my son and I visited him at work.
She’s attempting to serve as his personal assistant when that’s not her job.
He repeatedly denies that anything’s going on.
I feel he should be standing his ground with her but he’s not.
I said that I think we should separate but he says No, he wants his family to stay together, that he’s in the process of firing her but he says that takes time.
I feel like I’m being played.
Signs of Cheating?
You’ve reached a breaking point on trust and need to say firmly – that you won’t accept any more lies no matter his self-serving excuses.
He may not be actually cheating. But he has allowed (or encouraged) this woman to get too close and hold too much sway beyond work.
If he wants his family intact, he must recognize his own suspicious signals: Nighttime emails, calls taken outside, the “Angel” nickname…
He needs to get her to back off. Firing is not necessarily fair (or legal), but distancing from her is essential.
If that happens and you stay together, stop missing his company’s events. Get a babysitter, or take your son along and be a presence with him socially, as well as in family activities.
Last year, I cut off an emotionally abusive sibling as our dealings caused a return of suicidal thoughts.
Just seeing the name on my social media elicited panic attacks.
Recently, I received an email informing me that I’ll soon have another niece or nephew.
I fear that responding will provide an “in.”
Not responding, however, will probably cause problems for the rest of the family, and I'll be in trouble with everyone.
Unsure What to Do
Your experience with mental health issues in the past has taught you this: Protect yourself.
You made a decision about this sibling, with cause. You’re not ready to test a renewed relationship.
Talk to a counsellor – if possible, someone who helped you previously.
Your fear of contact is your inner signal to find safety rather than take a risk.
When the baby arrives, send a card for someone else in the family to pass along for you… unless therapy helps you feel ready to try responding.
Reader’s Commentary “I’m a retired male school principal to whom the safety and security of children is paramount.
“I’m appalled at some current reports of abuse and increasingly confused about what accusers are describing.
“An intelligent woman told me in all sincerity that "if a man so much as touches my shoulder without my permission, that’s RAPE."
“I find this an outrageous insult to rape victims everywhere, to equate inappropriate touching, unthinking comments, or misplaced affection with rape.
“It trivializes sexual assault. Some people are becoming insensitive by thinking that if rape consists of careless comments and unwanted friendly touches, why are we making such a fuss.
“Not all cases of sexual assault are the same. And sexual harassment isn’t the same as sexual assault.”
Ellie – Yes, there’s a backlash of insensitivity. This legal definition is clear: If there’s a power imbalance, or consent wasn’t possible, unwanted touching can be legally interpreted as sexual assault.
Tip of the day:
When a partner sends jealousy-arousing signals, trust dies unless changes are made.