Your husband is flirtatious and says there’s no harm texting other women. How do you explain just how much you’re hurting?
A Reader Writes…
My husband and I have been married for four years. I read How Can I Ever Trust You Again? but I’m not sure where my husbands affair type fits in. My husband has always had attractive female friends and it never bothered me. He has always been very flirtatious but it never bothered me because I knew my husband was crazy in love with me.
My husband used to panic if he thought I would ever leave him. However over a year ago my son was born with a severe birth defect that left me in the hospital with him for 4 months after his birth. My son came home on intravenous feeds and around the clock medications. I was devastated by my son’s condition because it was completely unexpected.
I fell into a hard depression, was mourning my sons health, and also mourning my old life that was definitely less stressful and a lot more carefree. I became cold, distant, and pushed my husband away. I felt completely unattractive and there was nothing romantic about our situation anymore. I was sure my husband would end up leaving me because I had no time for my looks and dealing with a sick child is not fun or exciting. I became not only a new mother but a home caretaker for my son who was extremely ill.
My son’s condition is chronic and one day he may need a transplant because of all his health issues I’m in and out of the hospital with my son a lot. Each stay in the hospital can be from 1 week to a month. Last year when my son was around 8 months old we were admitted to the hospital for a month. After we were discharged I came home to find my husband was constantly on his phone. I didn’t think much of it. We fought a lot and I told him constantly what a bad person he was that he didn’t do this or that right. After every fight he would either storm out of the house saying he wished he was single or saying “you really are about to push me away”.
I admit I was unconsciously trying to see if I could push him away. I don’t understand why I was doing it. Once when I was putting away his laundry I found prescription painkillers and I asked him if he had an addiction and he said no a girl from work gave them to him because he had a toothache. He had ten of them so I didn’t buy that story.
After finding the pills I started becoming suspicious about what he is really up to behind my back and while I’m in the hospital with our son. It dawned on me to check his phone when he slept that night but I couldn’t because he had put a password on his phone. This further added to my suspicions so I checked our cell phone records and I found out that my husband was texting a girl from work excessively all day.
I found out who the girl was because of Facebook and matching her phone number to the number on her profile. She was 8 years younger than him and thin. The next day I confronted my husband and he said don’t worry she is like 500 lbs. and ugly. I showed him the evidence on Facebook that she is not fat or ugly. He said babe “she is just a friend I would love it if you met her you would like her.” I said if there is nothing going on then why would you lie about her weight? He said because in the past 6 months I’ve acted jealous and he was afraid if I knew she was attractive in any way he would have to stop being friends. So I bought the story and let him continue texting her.
Finally I was able to sneak a view at his phone and I seen texts from her like “where’s your wife” ,” you make me so happy”, “I wish we had the same days off”, “I love being around you”, “I want to be close to you and know you better than anyone”, “why are you not answering?”, “your my favorite”, and one conversation between them hints that my husband got upset with her when she told my husband he was” just a friend that makes the day go by faster at work”, he replied to her “so I’m just a clown to you that’s all I am?” like he wanted see if she wanted a romantic relationship. I also saw in the texts that He told her all of our relationship problems and even got pills from her once.
I confronted my husband again and he swears he has always had female friends like this and is madly in love with me and just needed someone to talk to while I’m unavailable dealing with our son. He admitted that he became addicted to pills and was getting help from a doctor to get off of them. He said they started texting when she was in the office crying over an abortion her fiancée had talked her into.
He says he was just being a good person and giving her emotional support. I was devastated, I demanded he quit all contact with her and he said if he was cheating then yes, he would stop completely but he isn’t so it would look strange to just abruptly stop talking to someone you consider a good friend and didn’t want to hurt her feelings. I wanted to see what this woman had to say about my husband so I called her and spoke to her she said that I shouldn’t worry about her that I need to worry about my husband. She also said that she has a fiancée and has no intentions of ever leaving him. She said they never touched. Well I told my husband what she said but I still couldn’t get past what I read in the texts and why was he hiding the texts?
So my husband said to prove there is nothing going on he would call her in front of me and ask her if she ever felt he was hitting on her or had a crush on her. So he called her and she said yes she did think my husband liked her more than a friend because he was so nice and willing. So that didn’t lessen my feelings only made it worse. So I ended up making a fake email pretending to be her and emailed my husband saying I had feelings for him and that if he ever left his wife I wanted to be with him. he emailed back saying that “he was only with his wife because of our son, that him and his wife do not get along what so ever, that you can control the world but you can’t control feelings, and that he basically couldn’t leave his wife because he didn’t want his son raised without a mom and dad”
I called him after that email and he was laughing saying he knew it was me because he had asked her if she had emailed him and she said no. he says he wrote that email to mess with my head like I was doing to him. I feel like it wasn’t meant for me. I don’t know why he would do that to make a situation worse and cause me to nag him more when he is trying to prove daily at home he didn’t cheat. I really think he thought it was her. Then a couple of days later my husband gets a text message from her saying “I can’t believe you won’t even look at me anymore, I trusted you. You lied. You were my closest friend ever and now it’s like I’m just trash to you. I admit I did have a crush on you but it meant nothing really I just wanted a friend”.
I asked him what he lied about to her he said he told her once that no matter what he wouldn’t stop being friends with her because they are doing nothing wrong. After that he still swears he never had any feelings for her and even has the girl write me an email. In the email she says that my husband constantly told her how much he loved me and was always showing her my pictures and saying I was beautiful. She says that she knows he loves his family more than anything and would never risk it. She said she never knew she was doing anything wrong by texting and that it just made the day goes by faster at work and at home they were just texting silly jokes and talking about their problems.
For months I’ve been depressed over this and still don’t believe there was nothing going on. Why would two “friends” delete most of the messages where I couldn’t see them and the ones I did read were romantic? Why would he put a password on his phone? I nagged my husband daily about what is the real story between them and he insists nothing that he just really liked her as a person and that she was warm and nice. He says he may have had a crush too but was nothing he would ever act on. He says maybe I did pills behind your back but I would never cheat especially physically. He also said he never thought I even find out about her because I was always so busy. He says he didn’t know it would ever hurt me this much.
A month ago my husband even took a lie detector without me knowing and gave me the results showing he passed. I never asked for this but he said he did it because he can’t stand the nagging and fighting anymore. I feel worse now because he even though he passed the polygraph my gut feeling tells me he fell out of love with me and fell for another girl. I just want to know what type of affair you think this is? From your 8 affair types? And do you think this is something that would have eventually led to a full blown exit affair? I feel like if I didn’t catch them it would have developed further into an actual relationship.
Is it possible for married women and men to have opposite sex friends that are this close? How can a husband text a woman all these romantic things in our own home and sleep with me at night? In my eyes I could only do this if I had completely fallen out of love with him.
My husband sends flirty texts! Your letter reads like one long howl of pain. It sounds like you need a big hug, to be told that everything will be OK and to feel less alone. It must have been a horrible shock to find your baby had a serious birth defect, to need so much hospital treatment and for him to face further operations in the future.
Being a new mother is tough but this sounds like trying to climb a mountain. I expect your husband is frightened too, worried and doesn’t know how to support you. Especially, if as you say, you’re pushing him away.
So let’s see if I can help you untangle some of this horrible web. Let me start by answering your questions at the end of the letter.
1. Can someone have a close friend of the opposite sex? Yes but friendships are open to public scrutiny. You will invite your partner along to events with this kind of friend and there are certainly no lies or deception or flirting. By any standards, your husband is having an inappropriate friendship with this woman.
2. How can he text her from the house? Your husband is finding your son’s health, your upset and trying to pretend everything is normal (when inside he probably wants to scream) extremely difficult. But he’s holding it together by using pills as a crutch and the ‘high’ of flirting texts and this other woman’s attention. So I would describe it as an self-medicating inappropriate friendship. So how can he do these texts? From his point of view it keeps him sane (or half sane).
3. Does he still love you? Because you couldn’t do flirty texts unless you had fallen out of love. When we get married, we expect our partner to see the world in exactly the same way – but we remain different people, seeing the world differently and different actions mean different things to different people. So if I had to guess, I would say he does love you but he’s coping with the pressure of your son in a very destructive way.
I have a couple of observations, I’m struck by how little time you give in your letter to the your son’s illness and what it feels like being a new mum with a child with birth defects. Instead, it is all taken up with stuff about flirty texts and your husband’s stupid behaviour which on the scale of what really counts deserve nowhere near as much of your attention.
It almost feels that while your husband has been using ego bolstering flirting and empty fantasy to avoid the pain of his real problems, you’ve been distracting yourself with detective work on his emails or phone and plotting/worrying. Sorry but she is really not worth the energy, you’ve got FAR more important things on your plate.
So I think you need to find yourself someone to talk about your son or somewhere you and your husband can share your feelings together, so you are both on the same team coping through this terrible time rather than fighting like two rats in a bag. It would also help you unpack why you have deliberately pushed your husband away.
Please be kind to yourself, to your husband and maybe even hold each other and cry together. Until you face the real issues, this situation won’t get any better. Good luck and all the best from the bottom of my heart.