Fed Up with His Sneaky Wife

Q: My wife of 26 years likes to go out with her single friends. That's fine, but somehow they always seem to end up at a bar and getting intoxicated, and my wife can be very flirtatious when drunk. I've told my wife that I do not care for that. She also always seems to be very secretive when texting or on the computer. For years I've wondered if she has been cheating. When I've asked her about it, she always says, "Oh yeah." I've mentioned this to others who tell me it's nothing. I have resorted to checking her phone once in a while and have found pictures of her which she has sent to male friends and also texts asking them to come join them for a drink. I'm tired of living like this and the gut feelings I get. What should I do?? — Steve, 48

Dr. Susan: Gut feelings that you've had for years are not to be ignored. You've been settling for a distant kind of marriage in which you worry about her fidelity, you ask questions, and she just laughs it off. Yet you've found evidence that is far from reassuring. Your marriage is actually crumbling around you, but you seem afraid to press the issue. Telling her that you "don't care for" her getting-drunk-with-friends behavior isn't enough. Tell her how unhappy you are, that you've decided something has to change.

Although she's likely to be angry that you checked her phone, your excuse is that she never responded seriously to your concerns. Having their wives send photos to other guys and inviting them for drinks certainly goes beyond what most husbands would be okay with. Sit her down for a serious talk, and perhaps suggest a few sessions with a marriage counselor. If you hate the way she makes you feel, don't settle for it any longer. She won't change if she doesn't have to. And take steps toward protecting your interests if you have to end up leaving.

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