My husband and I have been married for six years. This past September I found he had responded to casual encounter ads on Craiglist. The emails said he wanted to “watch” and he “hadn’t gotten up the nerve to cheat on his wife.” I confronted him with this and he said nothing happened and he was “just bored” and “he’s a grown ass man and can look at what he wants.”
In January of this year I found he had 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.” I confronted him again and got the same answer as before. Last week I found history on his phone that he was looking at local Craiglist ads when he was out of town. Again, same answer: “Nothing happened and I’m a grown ass man and can look at what I want.” He also said no one ever actually goes through after emailing back and forth with those ads.
I don’t know what to believe. I want to trust him but I am very hurt. Should I believe nothing is happening? — A Fool to Believe
Um, no, you shouldn’t believe that “nothing happened” unless you consider your husband pursuing and responding to ads for casual sex, and emailing women telling them he’s “ok with touching,” nothing. Personally, I consider that very much something, especially when the intent is to do a whole lot more than simply email. And for all you know, there has been more. I know that’s the part you don’t want to believe, but what I’m saying is the part you already have confirmation happened — that your husband has been looking for casual sex — is bad enough. Why in the world would you be even remotely OK with that if you don’t have a pre-agreed upon open relationship? I repeat: your husband has been searching for casual sex at least since last September — quite possibly longer — and doesn’t seem the least bit remorseful or apologetic.
He’s so serious in his search that he created a private email address and pursues women when he’s out of town. Do you need it spelled out on a blimp flown over your back yard? The man is, at the very least, trying very intently to cheat on you, and has quite possibly already cheated on you. If he hasn’t already, it probably isn’t because he doesn’t want to or, as he says, hasn’t “gotten up the nerve”; it’s because, much to his chagrin, “no one ever goes through after emailing back and forth with those ads.” Even if all he’s after is the excitement of doing something he knows he shouldn’t — emailing random women about having casual sex together — without anything actually “happening,” he’s still way out of line and totally disrespecting you and your union. That you don’t seem entirely outraged that your husband has so much as looked at an ad with an interest in pursuing it suggests a history of your husband doing crappy things and you looking the other way.
And WTF is this business about your husband being a “grown ass man and can look at what he wants”? Being a grown-up doesn’t mean that rules, laws, and vows suddenly don’t apply. Being a grown-up doesn’t mean there aren’t consequences to your actions. Being a grown-up doesn’t mean you can cheat on your spouse or try to cheat on your spouse and not have to deal with the repercussions. If he wants to play that ridiculous game, I suggest you play it and beat him at it. Find a good divorce attorney and discuss what you would be entitled to if your marriage ended and what kind of information you’d need to prove that your husband has been breaking the vows of your marriage. After all, you’re a grown ass woman and maybe what you want — I hope what you want — is to not be with a man who has such little regard and respect for you.