Emotional Affairs Do Count
Dear Margo: My wife of 21 years is an attractive woman. Our relationship has not been the greatest, but then I discovered text messages from another man on her cell. She met him at the gym. One of the texts I saw said, “I really liked your lingerie.” She claims he was commenting on the edges of her bra, which he saw through her shirt while having coffee. I became irate, called him in front of her and threatened him. I am a respected professional in the community, but I just snapped. He called the police, who then called me and told me not to contact him again.
My wife was very upset with the way I handled the situation, but said she wanted to stay married and work on our relationship. They had no contact for four months, but then they started texting again. I obtained access to her phone records. When confronted with this, she wanted to throw me out of the house. I also found evidence on the computer that she looks at his love horoscope every week. She said this was just an infatuation. The texting stopped for a few weeks when he moved, but has now begun again in earnest.
I cannot confront her directly because I don’t want her to know that I have access to her phone records. I have good evidence that he now lives 1,000 miles away, so they can’t be seeing each other. I’ve confronted her indirectly, and she lies, saying there’s no contact. She repeatedly tells me she wants to stay married and that if she really wanted to be with him, she would have left me. We have three teenage children. This is putting an incredible strain on our relationship. I can’t even look at her, and I definitely can’t move forward with working on our marriage when I know about this “emotional affair.” They text each other 10 to 20 times daily. What do you recommend I do? –Betrayed in Boston
Dear Be: The “love horoscope” thing sounds kind of teen-agey, and the supposedly secret texting reveals your wife’s dissatisfaction with her real life … and, of course, you. If your wish is to hold this thing together, I would arrange counseling, since you two can’t seem to make any progress on your own and since you say you can’t even look at her. I’m sure she has complaints about and wishes for this marriage, so hashing them out with a therapist is your best bet. Bring everything to the table, even your possibly illegal access to her phone records. It’s worth a try, and I wish you luck. –Margo, experimentally
Calling All Cads
Dear Margo: I will make this short (though it’s not sweet). I realize I have to be treated by a doctor for an STD. I desperately don’t want my wife to know. It would make endless trouble because you don’t get these things from, well, toilet seats. I am hoping this is one of those situations where patient confidentiality kicks in. Is it? –Nervous
Dear Nerve: It is not, because it is a matter of health policy. A physician is obliged, by law, to inform all sexual partners of “anything that endangers the health of another.” And while we’re on the subject, you might want to think about what kind of man would risk infecting his wife as the price for keeping his philandering secret. Along with the Acyclovir or penicillin or whatever you may be given, I suggest you take a good long look at the way you’re living and the possible consequences thereof. You sound like a skunk to me. –Margo, distastefully
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Dear Margo is written by Margo Howard, Ann Landers’ daughter. All letters must be sent via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Due to a high volume of e-mail, not all letters will be answered.
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