Your Turn: “My Husband Asked Another Woman Out”

In a feature I call “Your Turn,” in which you, the readers, get to answer the question, I’m presenting the following letter without commentary from me:

I have been married for two years and have been with my husband, “Carl,” for five years. We are both in our late 20s. In February I told Carl that I could not put up with his drinking anymore (he was drinking 2-4 beers on a daily basis — more on weekends — and has gotten two DUIs). He seemed to turn things around: he started going to school to get his GED; he started working out; he lost 30 lbs; and things seemed to be going wonderfully between us.

Two weeks ago we were driving when he got a text and said he didn’t know who it was from. I got a gut feeling that something was wrong, and it turns out that he had been talking and texting a woman for months and then deleting texts. He then admitted that it was a customer at the restaurant where he works. I was unhappy because he had a “friendship” with a woman behind my back. I have plenty of guy friends I talk to, but I don’t hide my friendships, delete texts, and deny knowing who texts are from. I knew in my heart there was something more.

I called the other woman from his phone, and I asked her what kind of relationship they had. (I know some people are going to think this is not right, but I’d rather know the truth now and he clearly wasn’t going to tell me the truth). At first she pretended to not know him, but then she admitted that she knew him and that he had asked her out several times but that they were just friends now and that he has the right to have friends. To make a long story short, after days of looking me in the eye and lying, Carl admitted that he asked her out once. He says, however, that he realized it was a mistake and never asked her out again and that he let himself get carried away because she was obvious about being interested in him and it was an ego boost.

Why would a married man ask a woman out, then continue to talk to her via text and see her at his work when “it was a big mistake”? I consider this a huge betrayal. He lied to me for months — asking her out, talking to her behind my back, seeing her at work, etc. He insists that he didn’t sleep with her and promised that he would do everything he could to get my trust back. But, I don’t know if I can trust him again. Yesterday he made a comment saying, “I didn’t cheat; I lied but I never cheated.” At this point, I think that’s just semantics.

I am a neuroscience PhD student and yet right now I feel like the dumbest person alive. Am I making too big of a deal out of this? I am so angry at myself for not leaving him, and yet, when I saw him there so sad and crying, I couldn’t walk away. Am I being a fool thinking that he will be faithful to me? — Lied To


  1. artsygirl says:

    I imagine his suddenly cleaner lifestyle has a lot to do with this new woman. After all, he was with you for years and was overweight, under ambitious, and a drunk and then magically he looses 30 lbs, stops drinking, and is pursuing a GED. Trust me, he was doing it for her. He wanted to impress her. If you really love this man (sounds like he has no redeeming qualities but maybe he does), get to therapy, but IMO he has checked out of the marriage and is looking to the next potential partner. No matter what, I would suggest you talk to a divorce lawyer to at least know your options.

    1. I actually think he met and started flirting with the woman after he did all those other things (GED, lost weight, cut back on drinking). I can imagine he was feeling pretty good about himself and when someone started showing interest, he enjoyed the attention. It was a huge ego boost for him.

      Regardless, LW, it doesn’t sound like you really even like this dude anymore. I would consider MOAing, but if you really do love him and want it to work, you both need counseling.

      1. camorzilla says:

        I really doubt it. He’s been talking to this woman for MONTHS- it sounds like he did all this cleaning up during that time. I think LW needs to dump him. What is he bringing to the table? He can’t have that great of job with not even a GED, if he’s had a couple DUI’s can he even drive right now? LW is a PhD student so if nothing else, it’s doubtful he has the same level of intelligence and until recently obviously has no ambition.

      2. You shouldn’t just dump a husband though.

      3. karenwalker says:

        Sometimes, yes, you absolutely should.

      4. Well, okay, sure, sometimes you should. I just meant in this case, since she’s married to the guy, it seems a little simplified to just “dump” him, when marriage is supposed to be forever and divorce is not a simple thing. Without more info from the LW we don’t know where her head is at…but most people would probably like to at least TRY to save a young marriage if they can.

      5. You should absolutely dump a husband who lies, cheats, adds drama to your life (DUI$? CHA-CHING goes YOUR $$$!) it sounds more like you are raising a delinquent child! RUN.

      6. I think you are right ktfran, it has been 6 months since he started getting his act together, and I’m sure a couple months into it he was feeling better about himself, and when this women starting flirting with him he liked it, and asked her out.

      7. Thanks. I guess I’m choosing not to take the complete a hole route. My faith in humanity depends on it. Not really, but it helps.

  2. a_different_Wendy says:

    I don’t think you’re a fool for staying. You’re married, you love your husband. It was a huge betrayal, but if he’s serious about regaining your trust, then why not give him a shot to do just that? And in return, he is obligated (in my opinion) to understand that for awhile you’re not going to trust him, that you will be suspicious. The lying has to stop. Yes he has the right to have friends, but if he feels like it’s something he has to hide, then that seems like more than a friendship. He needs to start working at being communicative and above-board about everything if he wants to rebuild your trust.

    1. dinoceros says:

      How does one regain trust in a situation like this? I’m genuinely asking. I feel like it’s either blindly trusting them, despite the fact that they’ve shown that they are willing to lie to preserve the peace/friendship with another woman, or it’s being suspicious all the time which is unhealthy for a marriage and for an individual.

    2. Thank you for saying what you just said. My husband and I are going through a similar situation even though he’s not drinking or anything like that. My husband is a great guy he is very much a workaholic. However he asked another woman out and is denying it saying it was just a friendship thing. He still friends with her he sees her at work they text back-and-forth but I can’t seem to leave him.

      1. I am going through the same right now, my partner of 14 years has much history of flirting and yes, he has cheated in the past. This weekend I discovered he has asked a woman out on a date but she said no. I am devestated but am in a different mindset to before and now want to end the relationship.

  3. I think you trust your gut. And I also believe that lying might be the issue now, but it is the gateway drug to cheating. These behaviors, in my opinion build on one another. If he got caught lying now, the next time he might try harder not to get caught and actually go through with cheating.
    What I would suggest is going to couples’ counseling and seeing if you can iron out your issues. Both of you also may want to consider individual counseling to deal with your own issues- his drinking, your issues.
    If he can’t agree to work on this, I say MOA- life’s too short to consider going back and forth with someone who abuses your trust and lies to you.
    Good luck and I wish you the best in getting your PhD.

    1. I agree with Alecia. His lying will definitely improve, but maybe not his behavior. How will you know? How can you trust? How can you relax with him totally as one should be able to with one’s life partner?

      Get out, get (STD) tested, get therapy.

  4. kerrycontrary says:

    I think sometimes when people go through major life changes, including ones that improve themselves and their socioeconomic standing, that they can suddenly be mismatched with their partner. I’m assuming that for 5 years Carl was drinking, getting DUIs, and working jobs that didn’t even require a GED while you are going for your PhD(!!). Now he’s moving on up and life and feels better about himself, so maybe he feels like he can attract more women? Carl probably felt inferior to you for years as you seem to have your life together and he…did not. And this is why it’s usually better to marry someone with a similar education level as yourself, but that’s besides the point.

    Here’s the thing, you are married to him. And he totally screwed up, I mean big time. But the ball is in your court so you can go to counseling with him or you can jump into a divorce, which will cause a huge financial and emotional upheaval. Honestly, I would try to work things out through couples therapy before jumping into divorce-land.

    1. spark_plug says:

      I agree. When she mentions the PhD part I went ‘whoa!’, Here’s a neuroscience PhD candidate (and I dated a PhD in engineering before so I know how much they work) married to a guy who drinks, doesn’t even have a GED and is overweight. One does not decide to do a PhD overnight its something you prepare and plan for for years – I’m guessing when she met her current husband she was either in school studying a science or in a lab doing research – in any case, something really brainy and smart, whereas he was working in a restaurant?

      Even with all the love in the world, it would take a very strong partner – man or woman – to not feel inferior in that situation.

  5. Eve Harrison says:

    Well Damn. See a marriage counsellor who can help you determine your next steps, assuming you want to continue marrying him. When you mentioned your phD status, I couldn’t help but wonder if your standards were low when you met this guy. I know love surpasses economic and educational status, which is a definitely possibility for your relationship. However, is it possible you started seeing him because of a shallow perception of how you saw yourself?

    The big problem is that he continued lying even when he was caught. He somehow believed if he kept lying all of this confrontation would some how go away. The fact is, if he lied then he’s probably lying about other rendezvous that may have occurred in the course of your marriage and relationship. What was he trying to protect himself from?

    I am a little concerned he may be feeling inadequate because his status [educationally, etc] does not match yours. He might be chasing tail simply to bolster the illusion of an inflated ego. Either way his behavior cannot be excused. Give him a deadline to clean up his act. If he wants to earn your trust and salvage the marriage, he needs to see AA meetings. This way the alcohol can no longer cloud his judgement and he is forced to come to terms with the aspects of his life that makes him happy. If he is ready to take your marriage seriously, he will do this and he will see a marriage counselor with you.

    He needs to want therapy, and he needs to want to change. Unfortunately you can’t force someone to go to marriage counselling or AA meetings. However If your husband is unwilling to be the better husband then it’s time to reevaluate whether or not you want to stay in this marriage. Either way it sounds like you have a long road ahead, so good luck.

    1. Eve Harrison says:

      aspects of his life that makes him UNhappy*

      Whoops 🙂

    2. kerrycontrary says:

      Yeh..their levels of education differ SO much. Love is only half the battle. Plus I don’t think the LW is admitting to herself that her husband is seriously an alcoholic. Drinking daily plus DUIs=alcoholic. He may have stopped drinking for a couple of months, but most likely he will start again soon. Or he could be hiding his drinking from her as a closet alcoholic, which explains the lying somewhat.

      1. Yeah he’s an alcoholic, and as a big advocate for AA, I think he needs to get himself to some meetings and work the program.

        He very well might not be drinking. He could have quit cold turkey, but he’s still an alcoholic. He’s likely acting like a “dry drunk” – which in all honesty, is just as bad. These meetings or a counselor/therapy will help him recognize how he’s treating other people, teach honesty and give him some clarity.

      2. 6napkinburger says:

        Question about being an advocate for AA:

        I was unaware until recently of the strong christian undertones of AA. Are there similar programs for other religions or atheists that do not believe in the G-d that AA espouses?

        I totally understand why someone should get into a program if they are an alcoholic but I am a little leary of “AA or else” when it isn’t just about overcoming your addiction, but overcoming your addiction through your belief in a christian god.

      3. Temperance says:

        There are plenty of people who will tell you that you don’t REALLY need to believe in God, and that the higher power could be anything, but I don’t buy it.

        There is a group called Save Our Selves and Life Ring (www.lifering.org) that may be a bit better.

      4. I know someone from an older generation who got sober through AA despite pretty strongly held atheistic/agnostic beliefs. In the 80s I don’t think there was a whole lot of alternatives for sobriety programs except for AA, but he went through it because he knew he needed to. He really hated the, as he called it, groveling and self-blame that characterized many of the people he knew in his AA groups, so he stopped going. He maintained his sobriety alone for many years, occasionally dipping into AA, but he just really couldn’t get into their prevailing attitude/culture. He’s gone to a few SOS meetings and really preferred the secular, scientific approach towards addiction (alcoholism not as a strictly moral failure which requires you to give up to god, but as a disease that you can choose to manage by abstention (this may be more his take)). Someone I know who has been to Al-Anon and AA meetings was armed with misinformation that SOS claims that an occasional drink is okay which worries her in the slippery slope kind of way, but from what I understand, that’s incorrect and SOS is similar to AA in its mission for helping people live clean, sober, healthy lives.

        Sorry for all the circumlocutions. I know it’s the internet and nobody knows me, but there’s still that overriding urge to share potentially helpful information while maintaining someone else’s secret identity…

      5. SweetsAndBeats says:

        My sponsor is AA but I’m NA… I go to both types of meetings. AA’s format does seem to be more Christian based, but once you get talking to people you realize that there is a lot of tolerance, and many different spiritual viewpoints, in AA.

        In NA, even more so. We have people who are atheists, we have Buddhists, etc etc. I love that in NA, we are so diverse and we all make the same program work for ourselves. We also tend to have more “formats”, meaning that our groups can be run differently depending on what that group’s “home members” want.

      6. 6napkinburger says:

        I guess. But aren’t the steps themselves all about admitting that you have no controla nd submitting to G-d for help? I mean, if you can’t do the steps themselves, it hardly seems like you (read: a person, not you) aren’t really doing the program. I understand how helpful the meetings are, but isn’t there more to the “program” than just the meetings? Isn’t it about the steps?

      7. SweetsAndBeats says:

        It’s more about realizing that this addiction is a cunning enemy of Life. There’s something in NA literature about how most addicts first try everything – medicine, religion, psychiatry – before coming to NA and being desperate for help.

        The 3rd Step prayer is what explains the whole notion of “submittance”: “Take our wills and our lives – guide us in our recovery – show us how to live, CLEAN” In NA, we say ‘Higher Power’ so that it’s all-inclusive. It’s really just about admitting that you, alone, cannot overcome the disease. You need people, fellowship, and some sort of trust that things will work out if you keep trying. For some people, that “trust” involves a God. For some, it doesn’t. And I know atheists with fuckloads of clean time.

      8. Avatar photo theattack says:

        It’s not necessarily about God. You just have to acknowledge that there is a power higher than yourself. That power can be nature, karma, any other deities, or even just a friend that you believe in a lot.

      9. SweetsAndBeats says:

        I just have to pipe in… no one can label a person as an alcoholic except themselves. His behavior does sound reckless, but he could just be reckless. Or is laissez-faire about consequences to his actions. But unless he says, “I am an alcoholic”, we don’t have the right to say that.

      10. 6napkinburger says:

        I’m sorry, but I think this goes a little bit too far down the “PC” route for me to agree with.

        Sure, if we decide that “alcoholic” is something that only the person can admit – by definition- then fine, others can’t label them as such. But you bet a person can label their abusive father who they have never seen sober and has never held a job more than 3 days a “Drunk” if he is one, and their brother who turns tricks for meth a “druggie” if he is one. If we sequester all the clinical terms/PC labels for people to be self-applied, all you’re left with is the informal, less PC ones. If you’d rather her write in about her drunk of a husband, then I guess, ok?

        People certainly have the “right” to describe their experiences and their interactions with people. They’ll just do it meaner.

      11. SweetsAndBeats says:

        I’m just saying that that’s the policy in both AA and NA – you do NOT go around calling people alcoholics or addicts unless they call themselves that.

      12. Yeah, you shouldn’t label someone as an alcoholic so my apologies regarding that, but when I joined AA… I didn’t feel comfortable calling myself one for a while, but when they heard some of my stories, lots of people (and I mean LOTS) said, “Yep, you’re one of us.” So you can say they were basically labeling me before I labeled myself.

        I have several uncles and aunts who are without a doubt alcoholics or at least have severe issues with alcohol, but they will, never ever ever admit it or maybe even recognize it. Totaling cars, DUIs, excessive drinking every single day, dishonesty, inability to maintain a job, ankle bracelets… the list goes on and on for some of my relatives, but they have yet to ever say they have a problem. Yes, you’re right, it’s not total fact they’re an alcoholic if they don’t admit they are powerless over alcohol… but drinking daily and have a couple DUIs are some pretty big signs that this individual may be powerless over alcohol.

        And to answer someone’s question about the religion deal… yeah, AA has Christian undertones, and I have met many agnostics and atheists, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to turn everything over to God. Just to a higher power to recognize that there is something else out there that may be greater than yourself. So I’ve met people who find that the universe is their higher power, Mother Nature, God, Buddha, etc. etc. It all depends on the person. I have also seen atheists and agnostics become Christians because of the program. I don’t know about other groups out there, but I think a person who is not a believer, can make the program work… and if not, I’m sure there are other options.

      13. Al-Anon would disagree with that assertion…

    3. Yes, the education thing is so wierd! LW, when you guys were first together, did you have similar goals? did that change or did you brush it under the rug? When you look into the future with him, do you see him as someone you will support for the rest of your life? you can do that but if you do, what kind of respect to you deserve in response?

  6. I agree with you that the lying versus cheating is semantics. He was at least attempting to cheat. You don’t say whether he stopped asking her out because he realized it was a mistake at the time or because she turned him down, either. It’s a lot easier not to cheat if you get rejected. Not to mention, what’s with the discrepancy between his “I asked her out once” and her “he asked me out multiple times”?

    I’d also suggest counseling. But don’t force yourself to put up with a man you don’t trust and who doesn’t respect you. If this is happening after two years, imagine what’s going to be happening after five or ten.

  7. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

    Wow I don’t really know what to say about this one. On one hand you are married – this should be something you put all your effort into getting through together. You both made vows, so I think if he is willing to do whatever it takes you should try to stick it out.

    But on the other hand if this is a line that you consider crossed that no amount of therapy can fix – than what’s the point in staying? A relationship without trust is a recipe for disaster. Checking someone’s phone every time they’re not looking is a full time job – and you seem like a busy lady.

    **Warning – the following is not advice but a comment so no one get their panties in a wad – I’m kind of surprised that two different commenters (so far) have brought up the fact that him losing weight, quitting drinking, and getting his shit together over all makes it more likely for him to reach out. Is it because y’all think that he now has all this self esteem and feels like he can get hotter chicks? Or because he’s really into himself? Or because maybe his wife – the LW – maybe didn’t praise him like he thought she should so he sought validation elsewhere?

    Is this a thing? I didn’t know positive life changes could lead to martial discord. I guess I’ve never seen it play out in real life so if anyone has any personal stories they should share them with me! Even if it’s a story of a friend’s cousin’s baby daddy who got all buff and left her. Is this kinda like when Amber on Teen Mom lost a bunch of weight and now uses every opportunity to call Gary a fat ass when she’s mad at him?

    1. I’ll take a stab at anwering your questions. I honestly think a woman, or some females, starting paying attention to him. Maybe checking him out. Maybe flirting. And he liked it. It might not have happened before and he enjoyed the attention. I can honestly see this happening.

      I didn’t get a lot of male attention in high school. I was a semi late bloomer. And I honestly think I’m one of those people who looks better with age. Anyway, I started getting more attention from men in the middle of college. It was a huge ego boost and it helped my self esteem.

    2. well, just in general, usually when you lose weight people start “noticing” you more.. so like, the fat(er) guy who works at the restaurant isnt going to get many second looks from the patrons, but if all of a sudden this “new” hot(er) guy is there, its going to get attention, you know? kind of like in school how over the summer kids would change and suddenly become “hot”- think the tomboyish girl who grew boobs and hips over the summer- all of a sudden she is the sex kitten that all the boys want, when last year they were all playing football together..

      thats how i see it, at least.

    3. I haven’t seen it happen specifically, but I see how it can. If you suddenly start getting attention from the opposite sex that you never got before, it’s probably a thrill. I knew a guy who was nerdy and unattractive in high school, and when he suddenly got more attractive as an adult, he stopped wanting to be in relationships. Turned out, he was basking in all the attention he was getting from women and was enjoying his new opportunities for casual dating and sex.

    4. kerrycontrary says:

      I don’t even know if it’s the physical improvement, but I know that sometimes when people go through graduate education (Masters, Law School, PhDs) they sometimes emerge as a bit of a different person. Which is totally normal. But they could’ve married someone before law school, and now their spouse is married to someone who went through this life-changing experience without them and became someone different. So maybe Carl finally getting his GED along with other improvements, and his wife getting her PhD has changed them.

    5. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

      After all your comments I guess maybe the problem with them then is that they don’t have a “team” attitude that is necessary for a long term marriage. Anything good that happens to me (law school, job, etc) happens to Ethan. If he gets hotter that’s good for him and me and us. If he gets a raise it is our success.

      It kind of leads me to believe they should have been working on their relationship (not just his issues) way before she caught him lying.

      1. That’s just it. You and your husband (Or boyfriend, or fiance, I can’t remember) are doing fine and respect one another.

        I truly believe if there isn’t anything inherently wrong, the LW’s situation wouldn’t have happened. So, if they want to stay together, they need counseling and to get to the root of the real problem.

      2. i think that team mentality is a HUGE part of it… because, even think of a situation where you would get hit on (not in a gross way) or complimented by a man or whatever- that positive self esteem change is also good for ethan, even though that seems backwards to think. you getting a self esteem boost makes you feel more beautiful, act more beautiful or whatever to ethan, so he wins too.

        that could have very well happened to this LW’s husband, but it didnt, because there are other much more deep issues at play here.. for sure.

      3. 6napkinburger says:

        I’m not so sure it’s only that.

        Like, if you hit the gym and suddenly had Jessica alba’s prebaby body, you’d walk a little taller and notice more people checking you out. You’d flirt with the cute barista a little more, especially if he was massively hitting on you. You might take the free latte and smile back. If your ring was getting resized and you are out with your friends, the gorgeous guy you’ve ever seen starts flirting with you, looking right at you, I think you’d flirt back. Especially if that kind of guy never ever flirted with you before. Even being the most committed person in the world, if you are at all an extrovert, I think you’d feel great. And if you had a couple drinks in you, when he asks for your number, you might slip him a fake number because you don’t want to have to say “actually, i’m very happily involved but this was fun!” or take his business card or give him your business card because having to put on the emergency brake will bring you back to reality when this particular fiction really isn’t hurting anyone. Even if you have ZERO intent of following up.

        So I get the new flirting thing. In this instance, talking/flirting to Mr. Gorgeous and taking his business card while not telling him you’re involved REALLY doesn’t hurt your SO or your relationship. And it doesn’t hurt Mr. Gorgeous (he can deal with one night, the girl he macked on wasn’t a slam dunk). It just makes you feel sexy and wanted. Chances are, that night you’ll go home and wake Mr. Iwannatalktosampson up and make sweet sweet love. Because you were reminded that you are actively choosing him and that you love him; you aren’t just stuck with him.

        So As I said, I get the flirting and i even get the number thing. I know people who’ve blanked on fake numbers or on how to now say “sorry Im taken” and just given their real number, to avoid the “conflict.” Still, fully committed to their SO and hoping he never calls/screening if he does, because later they realized how dumb it was to give a real number/card.

        I don’t think this scenario is at ALLLLLLLL what happened to LW. But I could see it happening (and have seen it happen) to lots of couples and it doesn’t mean they are less of a team; in fact, it tends to bolster the relationship, because the person who improved is more confident and the sex gets better.

      4. I don’t think they have a basic understanding of what a team / partnership is supposed to be… trying really hard not to go too hard on the LW but WTF????????? Why would you marry a man with a drinking problem and no future (not just b/c of the lack of a diploma, he could have no diploma and be running his own business or doing other productive, ambitious things that demonstrate he’s capable and interested in improving himself and his household)??

        “I have been married for two years and have been with my husband, “Carl,” for five years. We are both in our late 20s. In February I told Carl that I could not put up with his drinking anymore (he was drinking 2-4 beers on a daily basis — more on weekends — and has gotten two DUIs). He seemed to turn things around: he started going to school to get his GED; he started working out; he lost 30 lbs; and things seemed to be going wonderfully between us. ”

        So many things are wrong… First of all you haven’t mentioned one loving, caring, supportive thing that your husband does for you. LW things weren’t going wonderfully between you, and if you think the relationship as you’ve described it is wonderful you need to seriously do some self-reflection and wonder where you lost your dignity and self-esteem. It may be that this was your first real relationship (based on the ages, started when you were out of college)… and you don’t know enough or have the strength to understand that you deserve so much better. I can’t even imagine what you talk about or what interests you have in common with a drunk who has put his life, the lives of others and your entire financial future at risk but getting repeated DUIs.

        Why did you wait until 3 years into your relationship to deal with your partners drinking problem? Why didn’t you NOT marry him after the 1st DUI until he dealt with it? Do you not realize that if he kills somebody you are the one who will legally have to deal with the aftermath — not the flirty customer!?!

        You are married so I hesitate to just MOA, but your whole relationship sounds f*cked and I think some time alone, and introspection into why you would ever value yourself so little is in order.

      5. That’s true if Ethan gets hotter than that is great for both of you, but that isn’t going to stop other women from hitting on him the difference is that this guy acted on it. Are you maybe thinking we are giving this guy an excuse for saying this? I think we were just saying that we thought that is what happened, and why he did it, but we didn’t say that it made it ok for him to do it.

      6. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        No I guess I am judging him for acting on it if he got hit on and was just so flattered he couldn’t help but ask for her number. Like act like it’s happened before you know? Whenever people brag about being hit on I just think it’s really embarrassing.

      7. Agreed! Especially when you’ve seen them ‘in action’ and they totally solicit such compliments, and then act like these comments are from no where. those people to me are the worst!

    6. I think it’s a combination of higher self esteem (either thru his own accomplishments or friends/family validation) plus positive attention from someone else. Guys almost always view things in a “grass is greener” mindset. When we’re in a relationship, we think being single is awesome and we could be getting laid so much more. When we’re single, we think a relationship would be great because maybe we’d jerk off less.

      I don’t think positive life changes necessarily lead to marital discord, I think having someone else make you feel better about yourself will. And I’m guessing this customer girl was making him feel good about himself, and maybe he wasn’t getting that at home. From the sound of it this guy has had the last five years of his life filled with critique and guidance on how he needs to change his ways – drink less, lose weight, get a higher education, etc. He did it, probably feels better about himself, has a little more stride in his step. But maybe he wasn’t getting the praise at home he was looking for. Everyone likes feeling attractive or getting positive attention. Even if it was all in a very benign way, that stuff still feels good, why wouldn’t you want to hang around that more? It sounds like it just spiraled into an inappropriate friendship. Getting “caught” probably was a wake up call that what he was doing was wrong, and he probably does really see it as a big mistake. I don’t believe – and I’m just giving the dude the benefit of the doubt, since he probably won’t get that here – that he did not go into this looking to cheat. We don’t know the context of “asking her out” (i.e. Hey you want to catch a movie? Let’s grab a drink. etc). I’m not saying if the opportunity presented itself he would have done nothing, though it is possible, but I think he just liked being around someone who made him feel good, sexy, whatever. But it is a marriage. This dude fucked up, but you’re not girlfriend/boyfriend, you should do your best to work thru your shit.

      1. You said this much better than I did.

      2. demoiselle says:

        Unfortunately, sometimes critique and criticism is required, and soft-shoeing a situation is dangerous for the person who needs the hard truth. Wives/spouses often end up being the “hard truth” person, and then people who aren’t ready to hear it turn to strangers–who don’t see the full picture–for validation.

      3. Oh I agree. But I think he was ready to hear it, since he is actively making the changes necessary to abide by her criticism. There’s a difference between critiquing some things about him, and then when he changes take on a “about time” attitude, verse praising him for his hard work and accomplishments and treating him like a sexy new crush. I’m not saying this was the scenario, but I was just speculating that this could have been a reason he was hanging out with another girl – maybe this girl was giving him those things and he wasn’t getting it from home. I had a buddy who kept receiving “ultimatums” from his wife on things he needed to change. It was just one after the other, no acknowledgment when he dropped 30 pounds, or drank a little less, or tried to give her the world. It was exhausting to watch. Some guys will push thru the criticism and do not need any validation after. Others need it, and if they’re not getting it from home they’ll find some place they can get it.

      4. I was listening to the radio…and I guess you could take this with a grain of salt…but they were quoting things about people that were divorced that were common themes among “how to avoid divorce.” One of those things was making sure to compliment your spouse / be outward with affection.

        Apparently it is more common for men to feel neglected in otherwise healthy relationships because men tend to only get those types of ego-boosting / confidence building compliments from their wives, where women are more apt to have a better emotional support structure through their friends – this also assumes their husband is a typical guy towards his wife (touchy – makes her feel desired, etc).

        Now that is not saying a man gets a pass on being that for their wife, haha, but it does add an interesting perspective to your point about searching for confidence outside of his marriage.

    7. I once read a study that said how couples handle positive life changes was a better indicator for how healthy their relationship was than how they handled negative things. The reasoning was it’s easy to feel sympathy for someone else and give them a shoulder to cry on, but it’s much harder to be truly happy for someone, without resentment, as if their accomplishment is your own. I wish I could find it (I think it was in Time), but it sort of makes more sense when you look at situations like this.

      Also, props to the Teen Mom reference.

  8. in my world, asking out another woman is cheating. that is something only single people do.

    is there anyone here who would “ask out” another person, and not like a friend-date kind of ask out, like he just wanted to hang out with her, but actually, really, ask someone out on a date with romantic/sexual intentions while they were in a committed relationship? i dont think so.

    i dont think your wrong in making a big deal about this. it IS a big deal. i do think, however, that carl’s lack of education, alcoholism, DUIs, ect is an even bigger deal. he seems to have his whole life screwed up- no education, is an alcoholic, (used to be) overweight, cheating on his wife… i mean, thats all kinds of screwed up. i think that he specifically needs help, and then the two of you can go (if you and he still wants to try to salvage the marriage) and get marriage help after he is better.

    1. This. Asking someone else out while married IS cheating to many people. But he needs to get himself together before really, truly addressing that. Most people don’t just will themselves out of such lows without help. And if they don’t get help and support, usually it all falls apart even if they manage to do it.

      Basically, WKS.

      1. BAM!


  9. I’m really concerned by the fact that he’s down-playing his actions. She says he asked her out several times while he only admitted to asking her out once. He insists that he “didn’t cheat”. By focusing so much on what he didn’t do (pursue her over a period of time, have sex with her) he’s avoiding what he DID do. He had an emotional relationship with another woman that he hid from you. Even if it turned into friendship, it began with a premeditated attempt to start a romantic or sexual one. You have no actual proof that there was no sexual relationship, just the word of your husband and his “friend” who both lied to you for months. And even if nothing happened, you have to take it on faith that he won’t pursue another woman in the future and he hasn’t given you much reason to trust him. He has dug a hole for himself the size of the Grand Canyon and instead of owning up to what he did he’s basically saying, “well, it could have been worse”.

    If I were you, I’d move out for a little while to get some distance. I would try for couples therapy, and maybe therapy on your own to work through this betrayal. You have to ask yourself if this marriage is worth saving after this betrayal and whether or not he’s working hard enough to regain your trust. Several commentors have mentioned the difference in education between you two, and I wonder how long his drinking was a problem. If he was drinking for your whole relationship and using alcohol to cope with all his issues he may well be a different person now that he’s sober. You might not be compatible with this new person, or maybe this new person just wants to be single for a while (even if he’s too scared and sad about loosing the relationship to admit it).

  10. I’m not sure what I would do in your situation. If my husband actually asked another woman out on a date, I think I’d pretty much take that to be cheating and have a really hard time moving past it.

    I think you two really need to figure out if you want to save the marriage, and if you do, you need to get to counseling ASAP so you can learn how to do that. It’s going to take you a long time to trust him again, and he’s going to need to be ok with that.

    The situation sucks all around, and I wish you the best.

    Oh, and just one word of caution- Don’t have a baby with this man until you figure all this stuff out!! We’ve seen WAY too many letters from people in shitty situations, only made shittier by bringing a poor baby into the mix.

    1. Avatar photo MackenzieLee says:

      yes, yes, yes on the baby part. I kept thinking as I read the letter THANK GOD she doesn’t have kids with him!!!

      1. Yet. Haha. Wait for the Update.

  11. You’re a Neuroscience PhD student and your husband didn’t graduate high school, I think that explains it all…just the fact that he’s probably been trying to cope with extreme feelings of inadequacy for your entire relationship.

    1. Temperance says:

      I saw it more as SHE had low self-esteem to be with someone who clearly isn’t as good as she is, at anything.

      1. Yes! I have a friend like that – college educated, involved in church, tends to stay away from drugs and alcohol, and married to a high school drop out that smokes, drinks and swears all the time. She’s even said several times that she thought the hubby was out of her league, and SHE felt inadequate, which is so ridiculous! He really lucked out getting her, and at least he seems to realize it. This LW’s husband, however, doesn’t seem to appreciate her enough. How can you even think about asking someone out, when you’re married?! That’s definitely cheating in my book.

  12. Avatar photo MackenzieLee says:

    What stood out to me most about the letter is the lack of positive things the LW said about her husband. Maybe she just inadvertently left things out, but I don’t think that is the case. You don’t give any information about the good parts of your realtionship, which leads me to believe there aren’t many. The other huge red flag for me was his response. He didn’t take responsibility for his actions and apologize, but instead he tried to deflect the situation by arguing semantics with you.

    I understand that the vows you took a few years ago are serious, but I also think that this is not a good situation for you. In all, I think that you should seek out therapy. I also think you should strongly consider MOAing.

    1. SweetPeaG says:

      I agree about his reaction to being caught. I would like to think that when cheating (which, this is what this is… CHEATING) occurs in a marriage, there is still a chance for it to be healed. Because marriage is big & important- it should be given a chance. But, the guilty party needs to fully admit to wrongdoing. They can’t give excuses or find ways to blame it on their partner. That is just a red flag that that person is probaly NOT going to change. I had an ex blame his shady ways on “poor self-esteem and needing the attention”. That’s some bs. Just admit that you were a stupid jerk. No excuses are valid.

    2. yeah i wondered if there was anything she liked about him either. i realize you can’t include every detail about your relationship but most people say something like other than these issues we’ve had recently we’ve had a great relationship, i think it’s worth saving, etc.

  13. Both your husband and the woman initially denied even knowing each other, then admitted to a little more, but denied sleeping with each other. These 2 liars are still lying, rule number one when caught cheating is deny deny deny. “Why would a married man ask a woman out, then continue to talk to her via text and see her at his work when “it was a big mistake”? ” because he is sleeping with her. Take a step back if you can and think, what is the likeliest scenario here? Whether or not you want to work things out is up to you, but please don’t believe they didn’t sleep together or you will feel like even more of a fool when the whole truth comes out (not that I think you’re a fool, far from it)

    1. rangerchic says:

      I agree. My sister was married to a douchebag and he did a lot of bad things…and we all knew he was cheating but she truly believed him when he said he had not slept with anyone else. Then the truth did come out. And she even felt more the fool. I think down deep she knew but just denied the gut feeling.

      I understand wanting to believe him but she needs to look at all the evidence and listen to her gut. Maybe he truly didn’t sleep with her…I think a lot depends on their relationship and their foundation which sounds shaky to me. I would at least move out and do a trial separation to figure out what she wants and see his reactions…does he feel remorse or does he try to continue inappropriate relationships? That will tell all.

    2. Just a vote for a trip to the doctor and an STD check regardless of the outcome of this situation… please protect your health LW – it’s pretty clear your husband wouldn’t be looking out for your best interests at all!

  14. I think you should MOA, LW.

    You and your husband have starkly different values – if this doesn’t set a marriage on the path to failure, I’m not sure what does. Maybe you shouldn’t have been married at all, maybe you should have at least tried to address these issues… just because you made the first mistake of marrying this person who doesn’t respect your or have the same life goals, doesn’t mean you should feel any shame in cutting your losses now.

  15. “2-4 drinks every night” – uh oh….if you hadn’t mentioned the DUI’s I wouldn’t have thought this as being a huge deal as long as it was mostly closer to 2 and not 4….

    Anyways – I still think you need to address what caused him to ask her out in the first place. If your marriage isn’t as awesome as it should/could be then you guys need to figure out where that came from. A guy happy in his marriage doesn’t ask a girl out and then proceed to continue communication with her behind his wife’s back.

    1. And if there was nothing to hide neither of them would have lied about it up front.

    2. hah, was thinking the same thing about the drinks. Two glasses of wine, for example, is good for you. I had a whole bottle last night, which I think is less good for you. But a few drinks a night is nothing. Except if you drive and get arrested for it, then you’re just being stupid.

      1. it always, always depends on context. there are people who can drink every night of the week and be fine, and people who drink a drink a day and who are alcoholics. it depends on why you drink, if you are able not to drink, if it interferes with life, ect..

      2. Yes, I agree. I drink a fair amount (2-3 drinks/night, 4-5 times a week), but I’m far from an alcoholic.

      3. and obviously tolerance levels are different too. i can be pretty tipsy after 2 drinks and pretty much drunk after 4. if i got drunk every day i couldn’t function as an adult. obviously my tolerance would increase over time, but some people just hold liquor better. maybe he’s getting drunk almost every day, which i would think would be a problem if you’re trying to hold down a job. or maybe i’m just getting old.

      4. Yeah, I know it’s context. Life is all about context. “A few drinks a night is nothing” was not meant to be a universal statement, just a personal one. And if you’re driving apart relationships in your life after one drink, or in any other was negatively effecting your life, it’s not the alcohol. You’re just a shitty person. Those people’s lives are not going to turn around if they kick that one drink.

      5. Yeah exactly, and those are also only the drinks she saw him drink, everyone who has had an alcoholic in their lives knows they hide some if it. He could have been drinking at work after his shift was over, and then going home and having 2-4 drinks. I wonder if she ever took his keys away when he was drinking at home so he wouldn’t drink and drive, especially the 2nd time.

    3. Temperance says:

      Seriously. I’m trying to temper (hah – temper, temperance) my response to LW, but I think drunk drivers are the lowest of the low. This guy is a scum-sucking loser. Driving drunk is one of the stupidest, most selfish things that a person can do.

      (My aunt and her friend were killed by a drunk driver a few weeks ago, and it’s still pretty raw for me, so I now treat all drunk drivers like shit and call the cops like a fiend when I see drunks get into cars.)

      1. rangerchic says:

        Sorry for your loss. And I agree with you though I’m lucky no one I know has died at the hands of a DWI/DUI.

      2. Temperance says:

        Thank you – I appreciate it. Today should have been her 50th birthday, so it’s been on my mind more.

      3. Aw. I’m sorry for your loss. There really is no excuse for DUI – the repercussions are so damaging and the reward so slight in comparison.

      4. My condolences Temperance. I had the same thoughts above… she’s hitched her wagon to a selfish drunken loser and she could end up losing it all heaven forbid if something happens.

      5. Temperance says:

        First of all, thank you. Today should have been her 50th birthday, so it’s on my mind.

        Seriously. I’m a law student, so that is exactly where my mind went. WRONGFUL DEATH SUIT.

      6. Lawschool will do that to you, everything is a tort waiting to happen 😉

        Best of luck getting through your day!

      7. Avatar photo call-me-hobo says:

        I’m sorry for your loss, Temperance. I agree with you about the drunk driver thing, though. Both my mom’s parents were killed by a drunk driver. Some guy was too selfish to get a ride and BAM- four children under the age of 8, instantly orphaned.

      8. Temperance says:

        I am so sorry …. wow. That’s horrifying.

      9. Avatar photo call-me-hobo says:

        I’m 22, and I just use that example when people my age say drunk driving doesn’t ever hurt anybody. Like- my mother will never know her parents because someone thought that they were cool to drive. I just wish people understood that one wrong choice can change someone’s life.

        I’m so sorry about your aunt.

      10. “people my age say drunk driving doesn’t ever hurt anybody”
        WHAT!?! Do they live under a rock?! It seems like almost once a week there’s a horribly depressing story on the news about a drunk driving incident. Seriously, how are are people that stupid?

  16. I like the crust of that sleazette, telling a man’s WIFE on the phone that her husband is entitled to have friends… sounds like the two of them are a match made in heaven.
    Before you are awarded your PhD and go on to what I hope is a highly lucrative and successful career, do get yourself a lawyer and divorce this loser now so you don’t end up having to pay alimony later. ‘Cause, face it, he doesn’t deserve you and you certainly don’t deserve what he’s dishing up..

    1. yea- LW, i learned on here from Guy Friday a few weeks ago that if you make more money then the other spouse does, DEFINTELY get a lawyer when you plan to divorce… its sad, but just keep that in mind if/when the time comes.

    2. spark_plug says:

      I am totally for taking marriage vows seriously, but just based on the information given, the LW can do SO much better! I would love to know the circumstances under which they got together.. in any case, LW, no matter what you decide to do, you have an awesome life ahead of you and I hope you don’t screw it up for yourself and your future children because you feel that love can overcome all odds. I think it can but I also don’t think that this is a very loving relationship.

      1. My thoughts exactly. Divorce is such a dirty word to me, but why did these two ever get married?

    3. “the crust of that sleazette”

      I love this… is it similar to a baguette but with less healthy fiber and no morals?

  17. Let’s see, he drinks, drives while drunk, lies, asks other womenout , doesn’t own up to it. Why stay with him? He broke his marriage vows. MOA in good conscience. No one needs this kind of husband.

  18. 6napkinburger says:

    I don’t think it’s just semantics.

    So I’m in the middle of reading Utopia, and In the beginning, there is a great conversation about why capital punishment for stealing is both unjust and ineffective. One of the points is that if you have the same punishment for stealing a chicken as you do for killing the chicken seller, there is no practical reason not to kill the chicken seller when you steal.

    I feel like this might apply a little. Assuming what he’s saying is true, he DIDN’T cheat. You need to figure out if he didn’t cheat because she said no or if he didn’t cheat because he didn’t cheat. Having all the new confidence, I’m not surprised he flirted. I could even understand asking someone out to see if they would say yes with zero interest or intent to actually go out with them, as an ego boost. Crappy? Sure. Terribly breaching trust? Not really. But as you make clear, this went beyond that, into months and convos and lying. which is not nothing. But it doesn’t even sound like he had an emotional affair, just an attraction that was never consemmated.

    I wouldn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater on this one. I would keep it in the context of the betrayal it was, not the one it could have been or any thing you think might feel as bad. He didn’t fuck her, and honestly, you have no idea how you would feel if you had to face a situation where he did, because he didn’t. So don’t lump them together needlessly; don’t punish him the same for the crime that he did not commit. Focus on what he did do and how and what you and/or he need to do to get past it — his actual crime.

    1. Will.i.am says:

      Don’t people do this dating all the time? Say yes to the date, and then cancel a couple hours before the date. Still sleazy, but lets face it, people like to have an ego boost from time to time. It’s expected that your husband or wife will adore you, but it doesn’t come with the same feeling when a complete stranger compliments you. You should love your husband or wife if they gain 100 lbs or lose 100 lbs. It’s the vows that you promised to each other; however, from the outside looking in, a stranger has the ability to say you are attractive or fat as hell. Usually, either one will make you feel good or bad, respectively.

    2. I disagree. What if the ‘friend’ had accepted to go out? The fact that he, in theory, didn’t cheat isn’t something he chose to do, just something that he wasn’t able to do.

      But I think he totally did cheat.

      1. 6napkinburger says:

        I totally agree. ( see “You need to figure out if he didn’t cheat because she said no or if he didn’t cheat because he didn’t cheat.”)

        If he just didn’t cheat because she said no, that’s a huge issue. But I still don’t think he should be punished for cheating if he didn’t cheat.

        Though I really have no idea whether or not he did.

  19. LW, I am so sorry that you are going through this. When that trust is broken, there is no right or wrong way to develop it again. The most important thing for you at this point though is to take care of yourself first, THEN you can decide if you can bring your husband in again. I know that “Carl” has said he’s never cheated, but if you have trouble trusting his word on this, then start acting pragmatically to protect yourself. Pragmatic actions for self-preservation include, but are not limited to, obtaining some form of therapy regarding your marriage, developing space and expectations in your relationship, creating protections to insure your assets and education in the event the marriage does break, and getting tested to determine if any STDs were obtained (fully coital relations are not needed to transmit some diseases). If you enact some pragmatic actions, maybe you’ll have better emotional clarity regarding if you want to continue this marriage. Right now, the pain of the betrayal is undertandably fresh, so take actions so that you don’t get hurt further.

  20. It sounds like he had a significant relationship with this woman. I know I would be beyond horrified if a friend’s wife called me to ask me what was up with me and her husband – a husband who has been asking me out – and my answer would not be to first lie to the wife and then to proclaim “he has a right to have friends”. I guess not unless there was something going on between us – and I was a moron.
    What you know for sure is that both of these people have lied to cover up their relationship from you. The woman might not owe you anything but your husband certainly owes you fidelity – and that extends beyond not having intercourse with another woman – if indeed that part of the story was true.
    I wonder if it is a coincidence that a juxtaposition of letters is all that separates marital and martial…because what you need now is some martial law up in there. He may have a right to friends – but he doesn’t have a right to THIS friend. He needs to remove himself from this woman in an extreme way. He doesn’t need to wait on every customer. No contact – ever. And all kinds of counselling to fix your broken marriage.
    My dear, I feel for you, but think seriously about your choices here because for all his sad face, he maintains all he did was lie. Whereas the truth is you have no idea what he did – all you know for sure is that he lied and continued to lie to you – and is still lying to you if he claims he just asked her out once. That is not the level of remorse you should show when you severely damage a marriage by your behaviour and are willing to do whatever it takes to make it right with your spouse. I’m not one to advise moving on from a marriage easily but this situations just doesn’t look good unless he has a serious attitude adjustment. Good luck to you.

    1. Seriously, WFSS. This is stellar advice for the LW.

    2. ITA, her reaction is not that of someone who’s just a friend!

  21. Temperance says:

    LW, I think his lying goes beyond asking that girl on “one date”. I’d get my back up about her, and others, honestly. “He’s allowed to have friends”? What the hell is that? As far as I am concerned, you aren’t allowed to have friends if they are enemies to your marriage.

    LW, I also think you have a self-esteem problem. Why would a neuroscience phD marry someone who didn’t even finish high school, and with several DUI busts?

    1. SweetPeaG says:

      “As far as I am concerned, you aren’t allowed to have friends if they are enemies to your marriage.”

      WTS! I can’t even applaud this statement enough.

  22. I’ll say the politically incorrect thing: What in the world is an ambitious, highly intelligent woman in a very demanding scientific field doing marrying and contemplating staying with a high school dropout who lacked the ambition to get his GED, drank too much (although 2 or 3 beers a night really isn’t super bad), has multiple DUIs, cheats on her, lies to her, and then gets her back by crying. Find out why you have such a complex to be a fixer-upper.

    From the chronology it sounds like LWs husband dropped the weight to attract the new woman, not to please LW or because he was suddenly ambitious for anything other than bedding his new love interest. He is still lying. He says he asked the other woman out and then realized it was a mistake and now they’re just friends. Other woman lies about knowing husband then admits he asked her out several times. Odds way high that it’s more than that.

    Time to MOA. Not a guy to build a life and have kids with. They already seemed to have friction over his drinking prior to this and their levels of education and ambition seem too far apart to make a long-term go of the marriage.

    1. Temperance says:

      I agree with everything that you have said here. It sounds like hubby wanted an easy life with his smart, successful wife, but wanted tail on the side to satisfy his bruised ego about not being the man in the relationship. My guess, anyway.

    2. You have a point. I wanted to say that in my reply but I think you put it best. Some women do like to rescue their man instead of being an equal partner.

  23. While this is a big issue between your husband and you, it’s not a divorce moment in my opinion. First you need to slow down and deal with the issue at hand: he lied to you. What was he looking for in this woman that he wasn’t finding in you. Start there and open the door to conversation. If someone is looking outside of the marriage, then it is a symptom something else is wrong…

    You say that he was doing well and had lost all this weight and stopped drinking, etc. It seems the external issues were cleared up and the internal ones were not. Perhaps he has self esteem issues and with you being a student, and likely being very busy, is it likely you weren’t paying attention to his emotional needs?

    I don’t mean to come off like I am blaming you for his behavior–he is responsible for that–but in the long run, you are both in their marriage and you stayed, so you need to get to the bottom of what is going on his headspace.

    Yes, he lied… but it was caught and nipped in the bud. So you have some martial work to do and I would say that the fact that you told him to stop drinking and he followed through on your requests is a good indication that he is willing to do the work he needs to do. Marriages–especially strong ones–take a lot of work and when you hit a bump in the road you don’t just peace out.

    You did the right thing by staying, now do the best thing for the both of you and see the process through. Maybe a little therapy wouldn’t hurt in the rebuilding of the trust between you.

    1. AND he is not allowed to have friends you know nothing about. That b**** has no idea what she is talking about and obviously isn’t married.

  24. bittergaymark says:

    Eh, this smacks more of the whole “emotional cheating” thing which I personally think is just total b.s. People are allowed to have friendships with members of the opposite sex. When you get married the other person doesn’t become your robot that only does your bidding. Honestly, I don’t see what the fuss is about with this letter. I have so many friends at any given time in my life due to my work and my comedy gigs — I can’t even begin to see how my significant other would possibly know about ALL my friends at any given moment.

    Clearly it’s just more proof that when people don’t have REAL problems they do all they can to quickly create some for the sake of drama.

    1. This response makes me wonder if you read the whole letter. Did you miss the part about him asking another woman out, and the chronic lying/concealment of their so-called friendship? A good indicator that one is doing something wrong is feeling the need to lie about it. If their friendship were on the up and up, he wouldn’t have been deleting texts, etc etc.

      1. bittergaymark says:

        Asking her out is such a vague term. I am constantly asked out to lunch, to dinner, to see a movie by new acquaintance who just find me fun to be around and have ZERO intention of getting with me romantically… Maybe he hid the friendship from her because she is a controlling harpie? Who knows. What is telling is that her entire letter DRIPPED with disdain about her fuck up failure of a husband — I’m sure this wonderful attitude of hers bleeds over into their real life as well. Frankly, it’s no wonder that he’d rather spend time with somebody else. She clearly doesn’t value or appreciate him.

      2. 6napkinburger says:

        The distain probably comes from her current feelings for him now that she considers him to have cheated on her. It’s hard to play up the good when you’re that upset with someone; all you can see is their flaws.

        It’s always possible that she had a similar attitude before, but just as possible that she did not. The tone of this letter does not provide us any insight into how she treated him prior to her discovery of what she considers a betrayal.

      3. There clearly isn’t much to value or appreciate… hard to respect someone and value them when they don’t respect others and put peoples lives at risk by repeatedly drinking and driving (and how many other times was he drunk driving when he wasn’t caught!?!)

      4. bittergaymark says:

        Yet it was SHE who married him when he was a drunk…

      5. @ bittergaymark – touche! I did make that point somewhere else upthread, that I can’t understand why she ever married him. Bad enough to date him…

      6. Temperance says:

        This makes it seem like you will find any way to blame the woman for her husband’s many failures.

      7. bittergaymark says:

        No, but I have known plenty of people (of both sexes) who have routinely treated their husbands and wives like total shit… only to then get all SHOCKED when their partner looks outside their relationship for mere friendship and support. Suddenly, it’s emotional cheating and the asshole or cunt gets to play the victim and the whole wide world just eats it all up.

        Emotional Cheating is such a PC bullshit thing. IT just irks me. More than that, the very concept cheapens and totally negates the pain of those that actually, you know, experience full blown infidelity…

        Whatever, I am clearly in the minority on this… People always want to play the victim — so go ahead, everyone, carry on…

      8. Avatar photo theattack says:

        As someone who’s done plenty of emotional cheating in my time, believe me, it’s real. I never had sex with the guys, but I had full blown relationships with them, and it was definitely cheating. Having romantic feelings for someone and then acting on them by trying to establish a friendship is breaking the trust in a marriage. When you have to hide something from your SO, and it’s not their birthday present, you’re probably doing something wrong, and if you start to develop feelings for someone else, the responsible thing to do is to try to distance yourself from them, not ask them out to dinner. This guy didn’t just have so many friends that his wife didn’t happen to know about them all. That’s no big deal. He specifically tried to hide it, and then he lied about it when it came up. The LW will probably never know exactly what happened between them, but she does know that her husband was doing something he clearly didn’t want her to know about, and that’s enough information to call it wrong.

    2. I totally agree that you are allowed to have friends of the opposite sex- I do. I hang out with them without my husband. But the thing is, my husband knows them. I don’t hide my friends from him. I don’t erase their texts or lie about where I am/who I’m with, when I hang out with them.

      Also, the LW says that her husband actually asked that woman out, but they’re “just friends now”, which implies that when he asked her out, it wasn’t just as friends, which is not cool in my book.

    3. And if the significant other of one of your “friends” called you, would your first reaction be to deny knowing them at all?

  25. Addicts are liars. It’s fundamental to who they are. If your husband had joined AA or were working some other recovery program, there would be some reasonable hope that he could overcome his lying ways. But if he has simply substituted female attention for booze – which is not as uncommon as it might sound – then he is likely to simply improve his lying. Practice does make perfect, after all. If you want to stay with him, then counseling for both of you and AA for him might help. I put up with a lot of bullshit from my husband when he was still drinking, but asking another woman out would have been a deal breaker for me.

    1. SweetsAndBeats says:

      Wow… I just… I don’t know how to respond to this. Your assumptions and judgments are just… I find them slightly offensive. Maybe it’s just the way you’re putting them.

      For one, we do not have the right to label this man an addict or an alcoholic.

      For another, lying is definitely a symptom of addiction. Addiction is a disease, that manifests psychologically. Saying that addicts are liars, and it’s fundamental to who they are, is like saying that the addiction has permanently changed their psyche. You aren’t giving ANY respect to who they are as a person. You’re basically turning them into a walking disease instead of a person who is battling problems and can reveal themselves for the good people they are once they gain control of their disease. It is attitudes like yours that make me feel unsafe to be honest with friends and coworkers about my disease.

      1. I think we have every right to label him an alcoholic. Pounds down 2-4 beers every day and more on weekends after 2 DUI — check. His drinking interefered with his marriage — check.

        We also know that he has lied repeatedly since being ‘clean’. Sorry, I don’t see a sympathetic person who is battling problems. That person gets into a program after first DUI. This guy stopped, or cut down on drinking, and lost weight in order to attract another woman. He has yet to tell his wife the whole truth.

        The “I’m just a good person with a disease’ only goes so far, and tends to be pretty much BS. If you’re not in a program now and haven’t gone for treatment, it is total BS.

      2. bittergaymark says:

        Eh, the DUIs are upsetting and the most damaging… But two to four beers = alcoholic. Damn! Then everybody on here is one according to all those endless wine drinking threads…

      3. Agreed. By this standard, I’m pretty sure a lot of my friends are alcoholics too.

        I don’t really think they are. And I don’t think the LW’s husband is by the information given. Some people drink more than others. Those who don’t agree with it easily label people, which, IMO is judgemental.

      4. SweetsAndBeats says:

        I am surprised that you are willing to be so offensive. Maybe you don’t understand that you are being offensive. Do you have experience with alcoholism or addiction, firsthand? Have you been there for someone as they managed a successful program? Have you seen how hard it is on a daily basis for someone?

        All this guy has done was stop drinking. If he does have issues beyond simple self control, he hasn’t been getting any help for that. Exploring therapy might be a good idea for him. But to slap a label on him – just as you would slap a Cancer label on someone when you haven’t had x-rays done – is not right. It’s rude, it oversteps, and it implies that you think you know him better than he knows himself.

        As for your lack of understanding regarding what you deem BS, well, I guess you don’t understand how that all works. I don’t even know where to begin about addressing it with you. If you’d like to know more about it, maybe visit an open group of Al-Anon.

      5. I agree with SweetsAndBeats, we’re not in a position to label him an alcoholic. Nowhere does she say he “pounds” 2-4 drinks a day. I have two to four drinks a day, would you say I’m an alcoholic? And they only way it “interfered” with his marriage was when she actually confronted him with being uncomfortable with his drinking. Shortly after, she goes into detail on him trying to get his life straightened out (which I’m guessing by the mere omission of any other reference to drinking in her letter, he was doing that too).

        People are WAY to liberal with the term alcoholic. And as BGM said above in regards to “emotional cheating,” I think this too pulls away from the seriousness of real alcoholics facing a problem in their life. And getting a DUI does not mean you have to check yourself in to AA. It means you need to smarten the fuck up and not get behind the wheel after you have a drink. Going to AA after getting a DUI is a pawn move to show people you’re sorry for what you did. That doesn’t automatically mean you “have a problem,” it means you make dumb fuck decisions.

      6. so true about the DUI/AA connection- just like cheating celebrity men who go into “sex rehab”..

      7. ugh, I HATE that.

      8. Or the wasted celebrity addict who has “exhaustion” when they go to the hospital after ODing…

      9. SweetsAndBeats says:

        It’s also worth mentioning that this guy just up and stopped. LW didn’t mention anything about covert drinking, significant personality change, etc. An alcoholic usually cannot just up and stop without any outside help.

      10. @ Sweets: I haven’t used the alcoholic label in my postings, because as mentioned above it does have a serious connotation that is lost when it is tossed around to every person who drinks a little too much now and then… but honestly the fact that he was just able to up and stop, as you point out, almost makes it worse for me.

        If it wasn’t an addiction or a disease or a significant emotional problem or history of abuse that alcohol was being used to cope instead of dealing, etc. etc. then the only excuse for DUI #2 is selfishness, immaturity, disregard for others, an inability to any responsibility for his actions… and just generally being a shitty human being. Not someone I want to look forward to my future with when I am not even 30 with my whole life ahead of me.

      11. *inability to take any responsbility

      12. Yeah I honestly think people are being way to hard on this guy in general for what he did! The guy is clearly trying to turn his life around, by going back to school, getting in better shape, and stopping his drinking, but everybody seems to think because of his past actions that he is a very dumb, stupid man who shouldn’t have been with the LW in the first place, because he is just to stupid and fat. People are turning his cheating issue into his past behaviors which he is working on. But that just shows how much better people think they are for already having a degree, because we have no idea what this guy plans on doing after he gets his GED.

      13. Yea- the why are you, LW, celebrity status phd of an awesome example of humanity with this lowly, icky, uneducated sorry excuse of a man attitude in this whole thread is upsetting. I won’t deny it sounds like he has some issues in life to work out, but I can’t make the jump that somehow they should have never gotten married or that they are on different “levels” or whatever… I mean, ok, there is a case for the duis, but I just still don’t like the association of the un-educated “loser” with the amazing phd student.

        We dont know anything about the LW. She could be a terrible, terrible person.

      14. Yes! I went to graduate school; I know tons of people with PhDs. I know lots of people without college degrees. The biggest difference in the quality of their character? The PhDs are much more insufferable.

      15. bittergaymark says:

        Oh dear. Suddenly Wendy sounds exactly like me… I was going to make this same exact point.

  26. LW, I think your husband is kind of trying to switch the blame to you. When you tell him how you feel about this, he is getting mad at you instead of saying he is sorry, and that he understands that you have a right to be mad at him now, and that he will do whatever it takes to make it up to you. When this happens it is usually an indication to MOA, but since you are married, I wouldn’t jump straight to that. He needs to see why what he did was wrong for you to have any success in getting things back to normal though, and if he can’t do that then I say MOA.

  27. Not to be negative here, but, honestly, this relationship doesn’t sound like it’s going to work out.

    I saw it all the time in law school. Couple gets married right before she starts grad school. She’s ambitious, smart and going places, but has self-esteem issues and got married to the undereducated, underemployed and unambitious dude she spent years with in college because everyone else was getting married and she didn’t want to move to a new phase of her life alone.

    Now, she’s in grad school, surrounded by single men who are ambitious, smart and going places, while her husband is still undereducated, underemployed and unambitious. Where his nightly beer habit was acceptable when she was in college, now it’s a reminder that he’s undereducated, underemployed and unambitious. And the beer gut stopped being attractive right around the same time the smart, ambitious and going places grad school guys started looking good. And the husband knows that he doesn’t measure up, but instead of bettering himself and getting a GED or a better job or a life plan, he just decides to look for validation in other women, tearing down his grad school wife in the process. Seriously, he asked out another woman. The only reason he didn’t go out with her – or sleep with her – is because she said no. Sooner or later, one won’t say no.

    Every time I saw it happen, it ended in divorce. Every. Single. Time. Sure, the LW and her husband can go to counseling, but if her husband is resentful of her success and she’s resentful of his lack thereof, I think they’re wasting their money and delaying the inevitable. And, since it sounds like she will be the primary breadwinner, a divorce in a few years is going to cost her a lot more than heartache and tears. My (possibly harsh) advice: cut the cord, admit you got married too young, and move on. Do not have children. Do not drag this out for several more years. Just let it go.

    1. Sue Jones says:

      Agreed! Yes! And probably the reason he didn’t cheat is because she said no and got caught, but he WILL cheat. You nailed it exactly! Similar to my post down the thread…

    2. kerrycontrary says:

      Thank you! This was the law school reference I was trying to explain earlier. It happens a lot.

    3. I just actually read this reply and wish I could like it a lot more than once.

      LW – if you read anything, read and listen to this.

      I tend to agree with MISS MJ but didn’t have the right words to say it.

    4. WatersEdge says:

      This is EXACTLY where my head’s at. I wouldn’t necessarily advocate for divorce just in the event of cheating, because I really do believe that marriage means you work through stuff.

      It’s more than just the cheating (and I do think they were sleeping together, or why would she lie to you about knowing him and then tell you he has a right to keep her in his life?) You two are poorly matched in terms of goals and values. That’s the underlying issue which is causing the cheating. Your natural awesomeness makes him feel inadequate, so he looks for validation elsewhere.

      I have a doctorate, and let me tell you, the guys who have been dicks to me have ALWAYS been the underachievers. The guys who have been good to me have always been at my level. I always told myself that guys who weren’t as good as me on paper would feel grateful to be with me, so they’d treat me like gold. But no. Those are the guys who skipped out on dates, cheated on me, took my money and used it on drugs, etc. The guys who appreciated me were always the ones who generally had their shit together, because I didn’t threaten them.

      Disclaimer: The paragraph above may sound jerky but it’s how lots of women think. We’re told to go for the nerd or the guy who’s a bit unattractive, because they don’t get as many interested women and they will appreciate you more. And it seems to generalize into “go for people who aren’t your equal.”

      1. Sue Jones says:

        Hear Hear! Yes!!! That was exactly my experience also!

  28. *sigh* You don’t really explain the timeline. Did he ask her out prior to the sobriety, weight loss and prep for his GED or after?
    Why did you fall for him in the first place?
    Considering that the female in question also lied at first, do you really want to trust either of them to tell you the truth?

    I’ve been where you are. Betrayed, lied to, and had him downplay things.

    The two of you have separate life goals. You are on a higher education road and he is in his late 20s and still prepping for his GED. Inadequacy can encourage a person to do stupid things (date a second woman, sleep around, lie, etc) so they can feel better about themselves (small ego boost for picking up a chick in his situation).

    The question is: Can you tolerate the lies and betrayals? What if he’s substituting sex and dating other women for his alcohol addiction?

    See a therapist on your own and figure out whether you want to save this marriage or not. If you do – go see a couples counselor. If not, get divorced.

  29. stilgar666 says:

    You’re a neuroscience PhD student, married to an alcoholic server without a GED?!?!

    Whatever his hold is over you, let it go. I guarantee he still lies to you.

  30. Laura Hope says:

    If he’s seeking the company of other women and lying to you, I think you can assume he’s not happy in the relationship. The first thing I would do is to find out what’s going on with him. What’s not working? How are you contributing to it? I think you may need a trained third party to help you both see things clearly. Don’t give up on your marriage just yet.

    1. They’re just a poor match. My money is that he’ll leave her before she leaves him.

      1. Sue Jones says:

        He’ll be doing her a big favor if he does.

  31. Sue Jones says:

    Oh honey, you are SOOOOO out of this man’s league!!!! You: PhD student, He: “Working” on his GED, Lying, Alcoholic Piece of SHIT. I made that mistake in my 20’s by dating someone way beneath my education and opportunity level because he seemed so sweet and like he really loved me, etc. Well what ended up happening was that he would lie and cheat (whenever I achieved a major milestone like passed my medical boards, got a great position, etc.) on me and try to “cut me down to size” regularly because he was jealous and felt emasculated by my successes. MOA!!! MOA before you get pregnant and have babies with this guy! MOA before you have assets and own a house together and other money that is community property! MOA before you have to pay HIM much in the way of alimony! Yes, alimony! MOA!!!!! Been there, done that and wasted time doing that. You deserve better and so do your future children. Marry someone who has at least been and graduated from college. I am not saying that differing levels of education in a relationship cannot work out but NOT with this guy. He has LOSER dust all over him. LOSER LOSER LOSER! MOA!!! He will lie again and probably cheat and drink again,AND more significantly he could take you to the cleaners in a divorce once you finish your PhD and start way outearning him. Get out now while you are a poor student. Trust me on this one.

    1. Temperance says:

      This is excellent advice. I seriously dated a loser in college (he couldn’t even get his shit together to get a part time job to pay rent, so he was attending a Penn State branch campus while living with Grandma), and he tried to punish me and make me regret it. MOA!

    1. oops I meant transference.

      Helloooooo Transference.

      1. Sue Jones says:

        Nope, I think you meant projection. Seriously, though, I luckily never married the dude, but I have a friend from high school who is in this exact situation, 25 years later. They have been in the process of divorcing for 3 years now ( he is lame about getting documentation and his lawyer is stalling so he gets more money). His employment is spotty at best – can’t hold a job, is bad with money and she has a steady responsible professional job. Even though she has sole custody of the kids, she has to pay HIM alimony every month. So it gets harder to truly move on from a loser once you have kids and mortgages with them. So I am just strongly recommending she do it now.

  32. CattyGoLightly says:

    Okay, your husband is being a jerk. Period.

    Maybe it’s as others have said, and only the negative things are focused on in your marriage, and he feels a need for validation outside of the relationship. On the other hand though, there is no mention whatsoever of him bringing this up and discussing it. So.. all I can say is that maybe she doesn’t realize a problem/issue is there because she’s not a mind reader, and their communication isn’t what it should be,

    Another thing, there seems to be a very wide gap in terms of education. I’m not saying this means it could never work, but he should be bringing other things to the table to make up for it. Either in personality or what have you. It doesn’t sound like this is happening.

    Thirdly, he doesn’t really seem to think that he did anything all that terrible. But, he did! He seems to be pretty clearly having, at the very least, an emotional affair with this woman. He says that he is “allowed to have friends,” but you know, this was more than that, and the fact that he lied about it for months is going to make it almost impossible for the LW to ever trust him around her again. If he wants to save the marriage, he needs to stop seeing this woman. Plain and simple. I do not think that this is going to really happen though, as he can’t even admit that his actions were despicable. If he can’t see what he did wrong, he will never learn from his mistakes, and he will never, ever change.

    LW, here’s some advice: MOA. You are smart, and I bet you aren’t bad-looking either. You have your stuff together, and you shouldn’t settle. There are other neurons in the brain, and find the one that makes you fire!

  33. CattyGoLightly says:

    Also! Some people have said “but she’s MARRIED!! She can’t just GIVE UP!!!!”

    Well, you don’t see her husband giving much of a shit about that, do you? Also, it seems like they shouldn’t have gotten married since he was an alcoholic, but you know, why should she spend the rest of her life wondering why she’s so miserable when she doesn’t have to? If this were a one-time event and they had an otherwise happy marriage, I’d say save it, but this seems like chronic dissatisfaction to me.

    1. bittergaymark says:

      It becomes increasingly clearer to me with each passing letter that very few straight people take marriage even remotely seriously…

      1. Skyblossom says:

        Lots of straight people do and have happy, solid marriages but they aren’t writing for advice. You keep seeing letters from people who can’t figure out how to solve their own problems. After a while all these letters seem to sound about the same to me. There are lots of straight couples who can’t figure out marriage and destroy the one they have but there are lots of straight couples who hold it together and actually enjoy being married.

    2. 1) He’s not an alcoholic that we know of.
      2) What’s wrong w/ alcoholics being married? Sure, it adds another issue to the marriage, but everyone has issues of some sort. As long as the alcoholic realizes their problem, and their spouse is supportive, there’s no reason they can’t have a successful marriage.
      3) Marriage is a big deal, and shouldn’t be just thrown away. They need to some serious reflecting, and definitely see a counselor, and I can’t imagine being in this woman’s shoes and dealing with this breach of trust, but they should at least do everything the can to save their marriage.

      1. Sue Jones says:

        Strongly disagree. The marriage was a mistake. A “starter” marriage. They should have just lived together longer until they were mature enough or she was able to truly see his true colors.

    3. Look, I’m all for saving a marriage if there’s something to save, but if he can’t even admit to screwing his female drinking buddy then there’s no hope, and all the neuroscience in the world won’t save it.

  34. Ok. So I haven’t read all of the responses that are posted but I’ve skimmed them and want to play devil’s advocate a little bit.
    Maybe, the LW’s husband started chatting up this woman, in an innocent manner and happened to enjoy the conversation or whatever. Then later, he could have realized that this woman thought there was more to this “relationship” than there actually was and he then decided to not engage her further, but also not encourage her. At this point he worries that his wife will be upset because she’ll think “he lead this woman on” but he doesn’t believe he did, and therefore he just lets it be and hopes this new girl fades on her own. When she doesn’t, the husband gets “caught” and LW gets upset and writes in here with her version of what happened.
    I truly don’t believe that this man was being malicious in his action, and I think the LW was telling us about the DUIs etc., so that we’d take her side in this problem. I really don’t think enough info is given here to give the husband in this situation as much grief as it appears he has been given.

  35. He’s sleeping with her.

    For God’s sake, wake up. Think about these questions. Why the hell are these two ‘friends’ texting each other behind your back? What motivated him to lose weight? Why is she covering for him? Why is he deleting texts? Why does the story keep changing? Why is this random woman, that you don’t even know for God’s sake, lecturing you about your husband’s right to have female friends?

    “I lied but I never cheated.”

    Riiiiight. Course not. And I’ll bet he said that with big, sad Bambi-eyes too.

  36. MellaJade says:

    Hey, Brain Surgeon,

    MOA – you’re a smart lady, you had to have doubts that this would work out before you married him. As was said earlier, Get out, get (STD) tested, get therapy.

  37. fast eddie says:

    I’m not buying that his relationship with the other woman is only friendship. She’s texting him and he’s erasing them. SAY WHAT! I have women friends and I tell my wife everything. He and the other woman are covering up more then friendship.

  38. What is a neuroscience PhD candidate doing with a guy who didn’t even have his GED? Talk about using her as a meal ticket. LW, MOA and find a nice guy in your program.

  39. been there says:

    I feel for the LW. I have been down her road and would not want to do it again. I say the problem is the difference in status in the relationship—and this conclusion came after $1000s of therapy, reading books, time and introspection. We live in a culture where it is still NOT okay for the woman to be so far above the man, as witnessed by your education. He probably feels vastly inferior and is trying to prop himself up with booze, and now the affair, two classic tools of people with low self esteem to navigate the pressures of a status conscious society.

  40. AA is his decision, or not.
    I suggest Al-Anon for you, a. 12 Step program based on the 12 Steps of AA, for friends and families of alcoholics. No one tells you what to believe (the Steps are based on a “God” of each person’s understanding–it isn’t necessary to call that God). No one judges or gives advice, but through working the Steps and learning about the illness and practicing different solutions, and hearing others’ “experience, strength and hope” you can gain understanding and hope for your own life (as well as compassion for the alcoholic).

  41. I am experiencing a similar situation.
    My partner has in occasion said he would like to spend time with a female friend, former coworker. know that he hasn’t seen her in several years but they keep in touch via email or text.
    I just found out that he has invited her out to sporting event and is paying for her ticket!
    He purchased the tickets from a colleague and when I asked him who he was going with he said he was going to try and sell the other ticket at work.
    He hasn’t told me he’s going with this woman..
    We have been having marital issues for the last couple of years but decided to try and make it work.
    I’m not sure if I can put up with this though because who knows what the next steps would be.
    The woman is also in a relationship, I don’t know if her partner is aware of their plans either.

    Should I confront him?

    1. How do you know he is going with her?

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