This week I take a look at another reader dilemma from someone who was affected by a recent column I wrote about affairs.
Her question stuck with me so I am dedicating this edition of the column to advising her.
Kate from Newcastle wrote:
After reading the advice you gave to the woman who was cheating with her best friend’s husband I’m wondering if you might be able to help me.
To be honest, I fear my husband is doing something similar to me. To give you some background, we’ve been married for 10 years, with three beautiful children and what I believe is a happy life together.
Our sex life has always been healthy, although it’s waned a little since we’ve had the children due to time and privacy. But up until recently we still would have bedroom time together once or twice a week.
However, in the last three months he hasn’t initiated anything like that and more worrying to me is that his mobile phone, which he’s always been casual about leaving hanging around, and never had a pin code on it, is now never away from his grip and is password protected.
He takes the phone with him every time he leaves the room, something he never used to do. And if by any chance I can’t find my phone and I want to use his to search something on Google for example, he doesn’t want to hand it over and will help me find mine rather than give it to me.
I’ve asked him why he’s suddenly started doing this and he said it’s to do with security with the job that he does at work (he’s worked in the same job as a bank teller at a local bank for the last 20 years).
My friends tell me I’m just being paranoid, but I know you’ll give me brutally honest advice. So please tell me what you think, as I feel like I’m going mad.
I’m so sorry to hear of the predicament you find yourself in and there’s nothing worse than betrayal – certainly by someone that you believe to be your life partner and is the father of your children.
I’m not going to sugar coat this because I think your friends are trying to spare your feelings which is kind of them, but a woman’s gut instinct is rarely wrong.
If he’s hiding his phone from you and is behaving in ways that you don’t recognise, that combined with the fact that he’s put a pin code on it so that you can’t see what’s in there, adds up to the fact that he’s definitely up to something that he doesn’t want you to find out about.
Sadly, in the case of married men with a description like this, it does sound like perhaps it could be an affair or perhaps the beginnings of what could become one. On the other hand, it could be something else completely different – and something quite common that men often feel they need to hide.
Perhaps he’s been looking at porn and that’s why the sex has declined. This has become very common after lockdown, with people having been cooped up together.
If it’s that, he won’t want you to see his phone in case you catch a glimpse and he becomes embarrassed.
In this instance, I think this would be a better scenario for you to discover. If it is porn, providing it’s nothing weird, it could just be something you need to get out in the open.
But marriage and children aside, if he refuses to let you see his phone and if he makes you explain why you want to see it, you are right to question whether you can trust him at all.
If he tries to fob you off or say you are imagining it, don’t allow him to, as this is called gaslighting. He’s given you good reason to be paranoid and having given him three children and a happy home, he owes you the awful truth if you are right – or some reassurance and understanding if you are wrong.
If you feel suspicious, even if you’re wrong (which I hope you are), then it’s his job to reassure you by showing you that phone.
I really hope that, whatever the outcome, that you get a resolution to this because I’ve known many women in the same situation. The not knowing can be almost as damaging as the worst-case scenario.
Wishing you lots of love and luck and strength and please, remember your worth.
Let me know how you get on, love Melanie x