Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“Should I Be Worried He’s Unfaithful?”

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’m 42 and six months ago I met a man who’s 47. We’ve both been married once and are looking to settle down with someone. He’s been single for 15 years and has had a number of girlfriends while I’ve only had a few since I divorced two years ago. Everything has been completely wonderful in this first phase of our relationship. We both know what we want in a relationship and are open and honest about our expectations. He is extremely good to me and I, in return, am good to him. The problem is he hangs with a much younger crowd and I hear him say things to female friends on the phone that I find offensive and disrespectful to me, as his girlfriend and partner. I am certain he would be upset if the shoe were on the other foot.

Most recently, some things happened in our lives that made me wonder if he was cheating on me. After talking to my girlfriend at work, she said I “MUST” look at his text messages. She said if he’s cheating, it will be in his phone. Well, I went home and looked on his phone and there was no text messages that looked suspicious. He leaves his phone lying around in the open which I always felt a cheating person would NOT do. Fast forward a week later: I had resigned myself to the fact that he wasn’t cheating and that it was all in my head. Then, one night on a whim while he was in the shower, I decided to peek at his text messages again. I DID find one that was very sketchy to me and it upset me a lot. This woman was calling him “baby” and concluded her text with “I need some loving. Xoxoxo.”

Now, I note in his “friends” circle, he calls everyone “baby,” which does bother me, but it’s something I am willing to overlook. In his defense, I also can see a friend of his saying “I need some loving” meaning a big hug or whatever, even though I find this inappropriate for her to be saying to him. His friends are very affectionate with one another. However, this woman is nearly 50, I do NOT know her at all, and she is NOT in our circle of friends. She lives in an area where he is currently working doing a home remodeling project.

A few nights ago, I approached him about some of his suspicious activity. However, I could not bring myself to tell him I had looked at his text messages. So, I did not bring up this woman. I flat-out asked if he were seeing someone else. He told me he wasn’t, that he wouldn’t do that to me, that he is faithful to me, that he loves me, etc… He didn’t try to smother me with affection as in a guilty way of trying to make me believe his innocence. In fact, he pulled away from me and seemed to be hurt that I had such little trust in him. I felt terrible after confronting him, yet the following day he said he would’ve done the same thing if the tables were turned.

So, my question is this: do I choose to trust him, quit looking on his phone, and take an attitude that ignorance is bliss, OR do I keep looking at his phone and if I find anything concrete, approach him about it? This is the first serious relationship I’ve had since my divorce and I really want it to work. I do love him and he says he loves me and wants to spend his life with me. But I feel I HAVE to be able to trust him completely before moving forward. — Crazy in Love

I like that you point out that your decision to trust him is a choice. You do have a choice here, and it sounds like you are saying you want one thing, but doing another — you need to allow those two concepts to match up and fast. Some prophecies are self-fulfilling, and you are on a path of self-destruction if you keep going at this rate.

First of all, shame on your girlfriend for telling you to look through his text messages! That was horrible advice, but you took it anyway, and then when you didn’t find what you were looking for, you went back again! It sounds like you found something not because there was something to find, but because you wanted to find it.

Maybe she was trying to get “some lovin’” from someone else… maybe they have some type of inside joke. This totally isn’t a situation of “ignorance is bliss” — it doesn’t sound there is anything to be jealous or angry about. Your suspicions seem a little misplaced and it makes me wonder if you have trust issues in general, or if you have been hurt so terribly in past relationships that you are gun-shy of something good coming your way. Keep in mind, you have to be able to feel worthy of love to accept it.

His reaction to your question of whether or not he was seeing other people also reads as genuine; his feelings were hurt, but then he tried to put himself in your shoes and said that he would feel the same way. Every relationship comes with challenges; if you are with his friends, and he displays this behavior in front of you, it doesn’t seem like he has anything to hide… he isn’t keeping his cell phone a secret, and he seems like an open and honest guy.

In the end, you have to learn to accept people for who and what they are. He’s a guy who is affectionate with his younger group of friends, and that includes kisses and hugs and apparently some strange texts. Either you accept that and have confidence that he is going home with you at the end of the day, or you don’t. It is your choice.

If it were me, I would choose to trust him and have a little faith. Don’t make drama where it doesn’t exist. Having been through a divorce, are you more likely to be a little jaded when it comes to the dating world? Sure. But don’t let a checkered past color what sounds like an otherwise great relationship.

* 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.



15 comments… add one
  • cporoski November 8, 2011, 7:10 am

    Reading this advice, I feel like such a fuddy duddy. I don’t think it is ok for him to be texting other girls. Before I got married, I had a group of guy friends that I hung out with. We would go to bars, movies, stuff like that. When my husband came into the mix, I slowly stopped hanging out alone. We still hang out as a group but going out one on one is now inappropriate. If they text me, it is purely logistical about times the group is hanging out.

    I also wouldn’t trust a girl that texts a guy in a relationship like that. I bet she is one of those girls who says “I don’t know why guys in relationships hit on me.”

    Also, My husband and I get each other’s phones all the time. He will grab it and say who is calling or texting. If you aren’t hiding anything, why would you care. I don’t sneak around but if I am playing a game on his phone and a text comes in, I will check it.

    Is this way off?

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    • spark November 8, 2011, 1:11 pm

      I don’t sneak around, and having nothing to hide, but I do value my privacy and my boyfriend’s. If I’m playing on his phone and a text comes in, I most certainly would not read it. I would pass it to him. It’s just inappropriate to read each other’s texts, mail, email, etc.

      Also, I don’t have any problems with him spending time with his friends (male or female) when I’m not there. Just as I would expect him not to take issue with me seeing my best guy friend from college for lunch, going to a happy hour with my male and female coworkers after work, etc.

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    • cdubs November 8, 2011, 7:02 pm

      I respectfully disagree as well. I don’t think it’s inappropriate to hang one-on-one with another person, even if they are of the opposite sex (and especially if you knew them before your relationship). I mean it obviously depends on what you’re doing. A candle-lit dinner…no. But grabbing a coffee, going to someone’s house, I have no problem with that.

      I also don’t think it’s ok to look through your SO’s phone. I don’t think you should secretive, but you don’t need to go looking through it either.

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  • MiMi November 8, 2011, 7:49 am

    Didn’t we just have this one last week?

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    • Jay November 8, 2011, 7:56 am

      Ya o.O

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    • CottonTheCuteDog November 8, 2011, 8:15 am

      yea….I blame Jackson

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    • Ktfran November 8, 2011, 8:40 am

      We did.

      Which made me think, it would be fun for Wendy to post the same letter once in a while and see if we get the same type of responses. Only, it should be a little more spread out.

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        Wendy November 8, 2011, 9:02 am

        Ugh, did we? Good God, this sleep deprivation is reeeaalllly catching up with me. Send coffee!!!

      • Sleepy November 8, 2011, 9:20 am

        Poor Wendy! You are doing a good job. Hang in there!

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      Heather November 8, 2011, 11:56 am

      I was reading this and thinking super deja vu…

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      • splash November 8, 2011, 2:02 pm

        Me too! I was wondering if I was imagining that this looked super familiar!

  • Allison November 8, 2011, 11:33 am

    I don’t know, if the LW was receiving text messages from men that said “I need some lovin” I bet BF would be suspicious.

    The LW is going to need to give this relationship more time. Six months doesn’t really tell you who this person is, give it another 6-9 months before feel the need to move forward. I’m guessing you’re not in a hurry to get married and have children so take your time getting to know this guy.

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    • LSS86 November 8, 2011, 1:59 pm

      I disagree with your timeframe. I think 6 months is plenty of time to get to know a person. Obviously you keep learning new things even after many years of marriage, but she should have a pretty good idea of his character after 6 months. And if by this point, she’s not sure she can trust him, I think waiting around another 6-9 months is wasting a whole lot of time.

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  • LSS86 November 8, 2011, 1:58 pm

    I was wondering why this letter seemed so familiar… I had convinced myself that I must have just already checked Dear Wendy since this letter was posted, and somehow forgotten that there was a whole week of letters between then and now. So there’s the solution Wendy, as long as your readers are also sleep-deprived, they’ll convince themselves that they’re just not remembering things correctly!

    Anyway, something that I didn’t comment on last time (now I can’t even remember if I commented at all), is how the LW says “I had resigned myself to the fact that he wasn’t cheating.” Maybe that’s just poor wording on her part, but usually, you “resign” yourself to something disappointing. “I had resigned myself to the fact that I would never be a supermodel/win the lottery/marry Brad Pitt.” Resigning herself to the fact that he wasn’t cheating makes it sound like she was hoping she’d discover that he was cheating.

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    bittergaymark November 8, 2011, 2:08 pm

    My own sleep deprivation had me getting almost halfway through this letter thinking: God, lately these women all seem to have the same problem on here… What they heck! This is so similar to that one just last week…

    Then, suddenly, a key phrase jumped out at me and I was like… Oh, wait. No. No, this IS the same exact problem and same exact letter as last week. 😉

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