Dear Chump Lady,
A year and a half ago, I saw texts to and from some strange woman on my husband’s cell phone. I confronted him and he said it was just some old friend from high school. It was nothing according to him.
Well, I searched her phone number and discovered it was his former girlfriend. They had lived together for about a year long before he and I were even dating.
I had a history with this OW. Twenty years ago when I was first married she would call our apartment and flirt with him. I changed our number three times and finally all was quiet. (If I’d read your writings then, I would have never even changed the number! I would have just told hubby to leave. )
As it turns out, technology advanced and they had ways to keep their secrets. She had gotten married but it seems they never stopped talking.
My husband even left me and our three small boys to go live with her and her husband. When he returned, I was sure it had ended. Wrong!
This time he finally had to admit to his actions. Verizon is a wonderful source for truth! Facebook too! She had been posting about him! He agreed to No Contact with her and gave me all of his passwords. But, I was still wondering. After all, I have been wrong before.
So I created an email account and posed as my husband. And I discovered that he had been true to his word. He had not contacted her. But there had clearly been a long term emotional affair… No surprise there. I (as my husband) told the OW that I loved my wife.
She went ballistic! She said she would follow through on her threat. Well, a minute later, I got a text from her on MY phone! She ratted him out! I quickly got another email account to use with her and acted quite surprised. She sent me all of the emails including some he had sent her when they were hiding their relationship. He had even given her my cell number a couple of years ago when I was first suspicious. He told her to never answer my number. Lol! She used it against him!
This long time “dearest friend,” as he called her, had no problem outing him to me. Meanwhile, he knows nothing about any of this. He is still having NC and she doesn’t have any of his current contact information. But she thinks she has just taught him a lesson! She believes she has just ended his marriage. In fact, I already knew everything, even the old emails were known to me.
Do you think I should tell my husband, or let him go on thinking fond thoughts about her? He has not been in contact with her for over a year now. I am inclined to just leave it alone.
Boy, this is like a French farce, with plot twists and double crosses and more plot twists. Nothing Is As It Seems! Are they really no contact? Does the OW really believe she’s ratted him out to you, or did she see through your transparent ruse of posing as your husband? Is she blowing things up with “him” to let you think it’s over, and do they have some other way of communicating?
You’ve been fooled before. This much you know — he’s been having an affair (only emotional?) for 20 years. Through your marriage, and through her marriage. So what if you “ended” it? You don’t think they’ve both ended and started up with each other before? I’m sure things wax and wane at times, but one thing that’s consistent is they keep doing it.
Here’s another thing that’s consistent — you keep trying to thwart them. Whether that’s changing your phone number three times, or creating a fake email account to entrap the OW. Those actions point to the fact that you don’t trust your husband and you have a hard time believing he will maintain NC like he says. That’s why you want “proof.” But let’s face it, can you really trust your proof? Don’t you think, based on past experience, that if he wants the OW, or the OW wants him, they’ll figure out a way to get their fix?
The issue here is that you do not feel safe in this marriage. So you try to control that scary feeling by making demands (he doesn’t meet), or putting up road blocks to his OW access (changing the phone number), or entrapping them both with a fake email account.
This is one of the great bugaboos of reconciliation, IMO — transparency. No chump should feel safe that their cheater is “transparent.” In this day and age with technology and social media, they can do an end run around “transparency” any day. Oh, so you have the passwords to his obsolete, Potemkin email accounts? Great.
This dilemma puts the chump in a very difficult position — trust but verify and be the Marriage Police. And try to be one step ahead on this technology arms race — I’ll see your keylogger and raise you a voice activated recorder! OR just back off, trust them, and give up on verification. Which means you’ll get twitchy and hypervigilant when things feel off. After all, this person has demonstrated to you that they’re not beyond duping you.
How can you feel safe after a 20 year affair? You can’t. And that’s your problem. Not whether or not you should tell your husband you know about his last “no contact” go-around.
But I will answer that question –it’s a no win. If you tell him, he’ll just feel compelled to tell the OW it was you posing as him. And your NC anxiety will again go through the roof. You’re deliberately NOT telling because you have derived a temporary feeling of relief thinking you gamed them both. Ha, aren’t you clever!
But this shit has been going on for TWENTY YEARS. He’s already LEFT you once! And WTF about moving in with her AND HER HUSBAND? Have you spoken to that guy? Is he on board with your husband mooning over (and probably fucking) his wife?
Linda, you do not feel safe in this marriage. THAT is your problem. You don’t trust him and rightly so. So let’s deal with that. Put the focus on yourself — is this relationship acceptable to you? Could he do anything to make you feel safe in this relationship? Have you communicated that? Has he done those things? Could you ever trust him even if he had?
YOU had to tell the OW your husband loves you. Is that true? Do you feel he loves you? Why did he never publicly, for your benefit, tell the OW that he loves you and is committed to his marriage? Sure seemed like news to her. Why? Because he’s leaving the door open for cake. Pay attention to his omissions. He’s probably waiting for this to blow over so they can reunite again. How do I know? Because that’s been the pattern for 20 years.
Linda, get off the crazy train. You can’t control this. I think this relationship is making you feel frightened and off balance. If I were you, I’d end the marriage and let the OW have him. Then they’ll have to go find a new hypotenuse for their triangle. Good luck.