New readers, welcome to Dear Wendy, a relationship advice blog. If you don’t find the info you need in this column, please visit the Dear Wendy archives or the forums (you can even start your own thread), or submit a question for advice.
Well, last night when he was doing laundry, I looked again. Same story!! I know there’s only so long he’s going to look til something happens. He’s always home on time after work and doesn’t act differently, so I don’t think he’s done anything. What do I do? — Not So Casual
It’s amazing what people will tell themselves when the obvious is looking them smack in the face. I’m reminded of two other letters I’ve published from women in your same shoes. They both discovered that their husbands had been cruising the Casual Encounters sections of Craigslist. They both wanted to believe that “nothing” was happening, and that their husbands were just bored and reading for the entertainment value.
Well, one woman found a “secret email account where he had posted on Craiglist saying he ‘was looking to watch and touching was ok with him if it was ok with them.’” The other woman, said that she actually caught her husband “writing an email to someone on Craigslist.” And that he told her he was reaching out to other women because “he needed friends for when he gets pissed off (he’s not very sociable).”
Even with all that, she was so disappointed in my warning that something was amiss and so deep in denial that she wrote an update, saying: “Unlike some people, I view these difficult opportunities as moments for growth and betterment. Not for judgment. Guess you don’t.”
You know what? I do view these situations as opportunities for growth and betterment, but you aren’t going to grow and get better if you ignore what’s going on or pretend it isn’t what you know it is. Your husband is looking for women to have some sort of sexual connection with. If his internet history is “nothing but” Casual Encounters on Craigslist, this is more than curiosity. This is an obsession and/or an active search.
For all you know, he has a secret email account like that other LW’s husband did and has been contacting women left and right. Just because he comes home on time and doesn’t act “differently” doesn’t mean anything. Maybe he sees them on his lunch break. Maybe he’s just emailing with them. But isn’t that enough? Hell, isn’t it enough that there’s a threat of him doing that? Isn’t it enough that he’s spending so much time looking at personal ads for people searching for casual sex partners? Isn’t it enough that he hides his phone from you?
Your warning bell should be ringing loud and clear. This is a HUGE red flag. Don’t ignore this. Talk to your husband. Tell him what you found. Open the lines of communication. Find out if he’s feeling unsatisfied in your relationship. What is he lacking that he’s trying to find elsewhere? Tell him that trust has been harmed and ask if he’s interested in restoring it. Talk to a marriage counselor if you need help getting your trust back.
This is serious. This isn’t nothing. Please don’t ignore this warning.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at email@example.com.