Updated: February 1, 2013 6:02AM
Dear Cheryl: My wife is extremely outgoing with both men and women. She’s always making new friends, and she works at keeping relationships with high school and college friends alive. But three things have been bothering me.
† Issue one. Several years ago, I found a man’s number in my wife’s cell phone. They had dated once many years ago. I asked her if she’d been calling him, and she said no. Later that night, I looked up old phone records and found they had talked on the phone many times, including one call the morning after she lied to me.
I confronted her and she apologized for lying. She said she was worried about my health and did it to spare me anxiety over nothing.
† Issue two. Recently while checking our phone bill, I found she had been texting an out-of-state number up to 200 times a day. I installed spyware on our home computer and captured two conversations that made me uncomfortable.
One was a discussion in which the man said he was lonely. My wife responded, “I could make you less lonely.” In another conversation, he talked about his sex life.
When I confronted my wife, she said they were just joking around, and many of the texts were just one or two words. He was her sister’s old boyfriend, and she had been texting him to see if he wanted to get set up with a friend of ours who’s in a dysfunctional marriage.
Based on her previous lie, and not knowing this man, I was skeptical, jealous and insecure. I asked permission to back up her cell phone to retrieve the deleted text messages.
It was a Sunday so I had to wait till Monday. Sometime on Sunday, her phone was lost, and it has yet to be found. She blamed it on our daughter who, it’s true, is very absentminded.
† Issue three. While I was out of town, my wife took our kids to visit my sister out-of-state. She told me she would be having ice cream with a male friend and his kids. When we got home, she didn’t mention that she also had dinner with him, went back to his house and didn’t get home till 3 a.m. My sister told me.
When I confronted her, she said I was overreacting and that there were three others present. I asked their names. She gave them to me but without any contact information. I searched everywhere, but couldn’t find any record of them.
At times I’m able to dismiss these incidents as perfectly normal for a woman as outgoing as my wife. Then my logical brain kicks in and tells me she’s cheating on me, and I should no longer trust her.
I recently flew into a rage when she showered a male friend with attention at a party. (In her defense, she shows everyone, male and female, a great deal of attention.) The following day, I told her I hated her and no longer loved her. We’d been growing apart for months, mostly because I’m unable to reconcile my feelings about these past events.
I know something has to be done to save my sanity and our marriage.
Here’s my question. Do I have valid reasons for my insecurities?
Dear Skeptical: Yes. Next week I’ll have a fuller answer.
Readers, what do you think? Is Skeptical right to be skeptical? Do you believe his wife’s excuses? Got a problem? Or a question? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.