My wife and I have been together for almost 20 years. We have had our ups and downs and at one point discussed getting a divorce.
There are some serious trust issues on her side, mainly because of my infidelities in the past. But for the past three years, aside from a porn site, we have been going strong, free and clear. I know that doesn’t sound like much, but for most of that time we were apart due to work circumstances.
We both work and I take night classes. In the evenings she comes home and does the couch potato thing, saying she needs to unwind. Meanwhile I am in classes two nights a week, at the gym the other nights of the week, church with the family on Sunday, and I’m up for whatever she wants on Friday. Yet she’s still suspicious of me and judgmental. She won’t come to the gym with me because of an injury, yet she won’t get the required surgery.
I love her to death and I want to be with her forever…but I am starting to feel resentment. How can I talk to her about this without it being my fault for stepping out and creating her doubts?
I’ve said before that I don’t think cheating requires an end to the relationship. And I don’t think that just because someone was unfaithful once, that they’ll be unfaithful again. But in your case, you cite “infidelities,” plural, as the reason for a lack of trust on your wife’s end. You also mention that while you’ve been together for nearly two decades, you’ve been steadily faithful for only the last three years?
Mike cheated…no, not this kind of cheating…
Here’s the deal: based on what you’ve said, I don’t find you to be a trustworthy person. I understand why your wife can’t let it go. That said…I don’t think it’s productive or healthy for partners in a relationship to constantly remind each other of their sins. Being treated with suspicion every day is not going to make you less likely to cheat in the future, and it won’t make you feel great about your marriage in the present. Further, being suspicious of your partner on a daily basis is incredibly draining, and it’s a total joy-suck. Ideally, relationships bring out the best in the two people involved. What you’re describing is anything but.
A good marriage should be one where you consistently find comfort and love and support. Yes, you’ll have tough days, weeks, maybe even months or years, but the good should outweigh the bad. It doesn’t sound like that’s what you’ve been experiencing in your relationship. Even just hearing your description of the life you lead–classes or the gym every night alone while your wife channel surfs and worries about whether or not you’re cheating again–do the two of you spend any quality time together where you enjoy each other’s company?
Your wife needs to figure out if she can trust you. Really trust you. If she can’t, well, that’s the ball game. Otherwise you’re in for a lifetime of questions and accusations. It’s not fair that you should pay for what you did forever. And it’s not fair that she should stay in a relationship where she doesn’t feel secure in the fidelity of her partner.
This kind of cheating. Kinda (nsfw-ish)
To get to the crux of your question–how can you talk to your wife about this without her saying, well it’s your fault that I’m like this, dude–I don’t think you can. You need a neutral third party to navigate what has become a toxic and sensitive situation. I highly recommend that you seek counseling together. Even if you’ve gone in the past (and I sincerely hope you have), you clearly need an intervention at this point. Besides addressing the obvious trust issues here, I’d also advise trying to reclaim the joy you once brought each other, as it seems like it’s been lost along the way.
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