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Last night, I was doing my laundry and since I didn’t have a full load I asked him if I could throw some of his things in there. (We usually keep our laundry separate.) He said sure, so I started pulling from his hamper when I found a black pair of women’s thongs wrapped up in one of his undershirts. They most definitely were not mine. I asked him immediately whose they were and how they got there. And of course he said he had no idea, denied that he knew how they got there or who they belonged to. It was not a productive conversation to say the least.
I didn’t yell or cry — in fact, I was pretty numb. I just cannot think of any “innocent” explanation for how a woman’s thong got mixed in with his dirty laundry. We don’t have houseguests; we have our own washer and dryer, so we aren’t sharing a laundry facility. He goes to the gym on occasion, but I don’t think he would have picked them up there by accident either.
I feel so sick about this and am reeling over what I should do. I want to believe him, but I honestly don’t. He keeps saying he didn’t cheat and that he is so frustrated because I don’t believe him, but I think there are other just as damning scenarios that don’t involve intercourse, but are still well within my definition of cheating. Though he denies ever being in a situation since we met that involved anything that could be considered untoward with another woman, his attitude is so resigned to the situation, like he has already given up. He said numerous times, “You don’t believe me so there is nothing I can say.”
This is just stinking cliché and embarrassing. I don’t want to talk to any of my friends about it in case this all blows over, because I don’t want to air my dirty laundry, so to speak, and have them turn against my husband. I am definitely open to renewing therapy; however, his work schedule makes it near impossible and the person who did our premarital counseling moved out of state.
I really don’t know what to do. He has lied to me in the past about some things, like hiding his smoking and communications with ex-girlfriends, but after premarital counseling, we had moved on from those. I know that your standard advice is MOA, but I just can’t imagine doing that after only six weeks of marriage to a man I truly love and care about. In the alternative, I also am terrified of being “that person” who had her head in the sand when every other person could see that her spouse was being unfaithful. Do I hedge my bets and try to work it out and trust that he is telling the truth, or should I seriously evaluate how to keep from being “the last to know”? — Found a Thong That Isn’t Mine
First of all, no, you should not “hedge your bets and trust he is telling the truth” because if you were able to simply ignore the evidence and whatever past experience has led you to believe your husband is capable of cheating, you wouldn’t have written to me. If you were able to bury your head in the sand, that would probably be preferable to thinking about the different ways a pair of thong panties that aren’t yours got mixed in with your husband’s laundry. But you can’t bury your head in the sand. You can’t ignore the evidence, and you can’t ignore the overwhelming likelihood that your husband is lying to you — or at best, not telling you the whole story.
Something that stands out in your letter to me is how you’re worried that everyone knows what’s going on but you. I don’t know if that’s a totally irrational fear you have or if you have reason to believe that that could be the case. Has there been a history of your friends being privy to information about your husband before you know the full story? Have your friends ever expressed concern about your husband or your relationship based on what they’ve seen from the outside (versus what you’ve told them)? If so, this might be the right time to ask for their advice or insight, as much as you hate to bring a spotlight onto problems in your marriage or issues you have with your new husband. While no one else can ever know what goes on in a relationship, people on the outside can often see things the couple can’t or won’t see for themselves.
Of course, in the end, this is really between you and your husband and your number one priority should be communicating with him. He says he doesn’t know what to say because you won’t believe him, but you need to let him know he has to say SOMETHING. Saying nothing or continually denying he knows why there’s a thong mixed in his laundry is not acceptable. He needs to provide some explanation. I mean, if he’s going to lie, he at least needs to exert the energy to create a story, however flimsy, and not just deny the truth. At least if he gave you a story, you’d have something to dissect, even if you didn’t believe a word of it.
Thongs do not just magically appear in someone’s laundry, and neither do problems in a relationship. It sounds to me like the issues in your past either weren’t as resolved as you believed or they’ve re-entered the picture. Is it possible you were so involved in wedding-planning that you didn’t notice that your now-husband was distracted or not as invested in your relationship as he should be? Has there been a change in demeanor or attitude that you chalked up to the change in your marital status but could actually be attributed to your husband cheating on you?
I don’t know how you can move forward if your husband refuses to acknowledge that you have reason to be suspicious. I don’t know how you can accept his table-turning, accusatory finger-pointing that YOU are making things difficult because you won’t believe his bull shit reply that he has no idea how a pair of thong panties appeared in his laundry. It’s classic manipulative behavior for someone in the wrong to make the victim of the wrong-doing feel as if SHE is the one screwing up. And people are only manipulative when they’ve got something to hide or something they want.
If you want this marriage to succeed, you need to make it a priority to find out what your husband is hiding and/or what it is he wants. If he isn’t giving you a story you believe, you have no choice but to find outside help to get you both to a place of mutual trust. Not having time for therapy isn’t an option — not when your marriage depends on it. It’s times like this when your vows are being tested. If you both can’t make it a priority to work through your problems — and this is a big problem — then perhaps it IS better that you MOA now before you invest more time and energy into a relationship that has no future.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.