Guest columnists and contributors are generously sharing their talents and insights while I’m taking some time to care for my new baby. Today’s letter is answered by columnist and blogger, Billie Criswell.
I have been with my husband for four years and we got married in August 2011. We have a 2-year-old together. Lately, I’ve been feeling like our relationship isn’t what it used to be. I don’t feel the love I used to feel from him. For example, he’s a very flirtatious person and likes the attention from other women. I don’t think he has cheated on me but I feel like he doesn’t want this relationship anymore. He has told me that he still loves me and that if he wanted to leave he would have but his actions say something different.
On many occasions I have found evidence — texts and emails — of him flirting with other women but he denies everything when I confront him. When I do see these things it makes wonder if maybe one day he will cheat on me which really scares me. He says I’m too jealous but I don’t think so. I only get jealous when I see things like this. He is also very secretive. He hides a lot of things that he thinks I don’t know about. He constantly changes passwords and never leaves his phone, which he has locked with password, lying around.
Am I being too jealous or overreacting? Do I even have reasons to not trust him? I’m just so confused. — Suspicious Mind
Are you overreacting? Maybe. Is he cheating? I don’t know… but what I do know is that his behavior and responsiveness to your attempts at opening the conversational door are less than desirable. Communication is key in any relationship, and you are right to want to discuss it.
This suspicion is a big problem. Whether or not he has cheated is really irrelevant because you are feeling suspicious over his secretive nature, and he is doing nothing to remedy your feelings. Keep in mind, though, that there are two sides to every story.
Some people tend to act strangely after they get married… I know my husband and I were a little daunted after we got married. It felt odd, even after many years together pre-marriage. I went through a stage of post-marriage blues, even thinking I didn’t want children and my husband was left wondering why we even married at all. Maybe the two of you are in a weird post-marriage phase; especially if this behavior is new.
Because there is a child involved, you have a greater obligation to try and get to the bottom of your feelings and his behavior. The first thing you need to do is to set aside some time to talk together alone, without your child present. Ask him to ease your mind… confess that you feel he’s secretive and that your expressions to him are often met with indifference. (In therapy, they call this “stonewalling.”) And your suspicion, in all honesty, SHOULD alarm your husband and his indifference is pretty bothersome.
You need to have a serious talk about the state of your relationship and the trust issues that are now existing between you. I am a huge believer in couples therapy, and you two could really benefit from it. Relationships can be difficult, and to be able to maintain a meaningful, mutual relationship over a long period of time, therapy is a great tool.
If he doesn’t want to go with you, you should strongly consider going on your own. Because whether or not he is cheating, you are suspicious, and without trust in one another, it will be more difficult to model a healthy relationship for your child.
* Billie Criswell is a columnist and blogger from the “Delaware Seashore.” She loves zumba, bloody marys, and cooking. You can follow her shenanigans at Bossyitalianwife.com.