Getting Past Lies - Talk About Marriage
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post #1 of 57 (permalink) Old 03-20-2017, 03:50 PM Thread Starter
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Getting Past Lies

Prelims: Married 17 years, I'm 45, she's 41. Two kids, oldest is 10. No history of infidelity.

I was on my wife's phone trying to figure out why her texts were getting out to others, but sometimes not to me. There seemed to occasionally be a delay of several hours for me to get a text. As I was trying to figure out a time-frame and discover if the delayed-delivery texts could be linked to where I might have been at the time I was looking at some specific messages and the times associated with them. I saw this phrase in one of the messages to her best friend - we'll call her "Jenny": "...not fair for him to pick a fight with you." I read the surrounding texts. I wanted to know who was picking a fight with my wife.

Evidently it was me.

It was referencing a disagreement that my wife and I had had three days before about plans with our kids. There were probably four messages on each side between my wife and her friend (her best friend, a woman we used to work with and with whom we are both friends). The friend strongly took my wife's side, my wife expressed some feelings to her about the issue she hadn't said to me. None of that was bad from my perspective, though I wish she'd have brought up the strength of her feelings to me at the time. I like the fact that my wife has female friends to confide in.

The next day I asked my wife if she had talked to "Jenny" about our argument. And that's when this all turned from no big deal to a big deal. Almost without pause, my wife said "No, haven't talked to her about it." That threw me for a loop.

"Well, if you had talked to her about it, what do you think she'd say?" I asked.

"I don't know. I don't know what she'd think." Was her response.

Now to my knowledge that's the first time she's lied to me. I confronted her that night, told her I saw the texts. She said she lied because she didn't want me to hate "Jenny". She apologized, said that was the only time she's lied to me. I told her I would choose to believe her and that was that.

Only it wasn't.

Because then I found myself wondering what else she's lied about over the past 20 years. Her past? Our present? The work trip three years ago? Whether she really wanted to support our son doing a million activities, etc. I'd never questioned any of this before. But now my mind kept looking for every possible discrepancy and inconsistency. Being told that "this was the only time" she's lied to me wasn't exactly convincing.

My mind was on overdrive, and I was doing things I've never thought I'd do. I went through her texts, contacts, e-mails. I've gone over the bank records, the call records. That mania (?) lasted for a couple of weeks, but settled down because there was nothing there in any of it.

One thing that became clear as I was looking through the cell bill was that when she went out of the country on business in January someone had gotten a hold of her phone number or our account and somehow used it for several dozen texts. They only show up on our bill, not on the phone itself. I know this wasn't her because I looked the number up, and it's front and center on almost all call fraud sites (basically if you're going to Jamaica, Costa Rica, Mexico, etc. there's a reasonable chance you might be a target of this thing). I told her about the scam.

Two weeks ago I e-mailed her to ask for the login information for our cell bill (I'd forgotten it) so I could check to make sure the texts had stopped once she got back stateside since this is what the fraud sites said would happen. In my e-mail to her I just said I wanted the login information and didn't say why. She sent me the information and asked why. I told her I was looking into a couple of things, to which she e-mailed back "Like????" I didn't respond for an hour, and so on her lunch break she marched into where I was working (we work in the same building) and asked me about why I was looking at the phone bill. She said she thought I trusted her, and now it looked like I didn't. I told her I was looking into the fraudulent number and just wanted to see if there were any other discrepancies in our bill. Then she asks, "How far back are you going?"

None of that - the "Like????", the hustling into my work space at her earliest opportunity, and the "How far back are you going?" none of that has done anything to bolster my trust in what she says now. I told her as much. That night I told her that whatever big discussion we needed to have was something we needed to have while I was still willing to have a discussion. I told her that whatever lies or untruths were in our past or present we could work through as long as they were brought up and killed now. I said that there was no way a rational person responded to my request for our login information in the way she did, and I love her and want to clear everything no matter how big or small it is. She broke into tears, said I didn't trust her and there was nothing she could do. She said that the "Like????" was a natural enough response, her coming down to see me was because she was freaked out that I wasn't trusting her, and the "How far back" was because she wanted to know if I thought there was more to worry about than just the time-frame during which she was out of the country. She said there was no "big thing" we needed to discuss; it was a bad reaction on her part, she understood why it looked shady to me, but she also hoped I could understand why she reacted the way she did. I was pretty noncommittal.

So.

It made me crazy again. I'm back to wondering and acting like some kind of bad PI. I found one of her old phones, one that's years old. I fired it up, looked at all the texts on it, even ran a program on it to recover deleted texts. Nothing conclusive on the deleted texts, but while she was away on business three years ago she was texting some of the people she had met at the conference. It was all normal banter enough, mostly just coordinating where to go and when to get there. There was one text when one person was trying to find out where everyone was. My wife texted, "playing poker with John and Tiffany. Did you get the corkscrew?" Okay, not bad, not my preference that my wife is playing poker with folks she just met - especially with alcohol involved - but I've played cards with folks when I'm on these trips, so not too bad.

But I had to push it.

The next day I brought up the subject of poker. Just poker in general. I asked her when the last time she played poker was. She said, "Ten years ago with you and Mick in Florida."

Sigh.

I kept talking about poker for a couple of minutes in case she just needed a prompt to remember. Nothing. Just reaffirming that the last time she'd played poker was a decade ago. Maybe she just forgot about playing it on the trip.

This whole situation has turned me into someone I don't want to be and someone I'd never been before. I've never looked at her texts before, never glanced at our bank account statements, phone records, nothing. But now...I don't know where I'm at. I don't know how I move on and start trusting. I don't know if I should move past this. I don't know whether I have a problem now (I think I do), she has a problem, or the marriage has a serious problem.

I don't like feeling like this. I don't like feeling like I don't trust my wife. It's a new and terrible feeling. I haven't brought up the poker thing yet. Maybe she just forgot...It was 2014...but yesterday pretty randomly she was able to remember not having a corkscrew for some wine she bought while there...

Anyhow, how do I get a feeling of trust back for her? It's hurting my relationship with her. I want to respond fully to her, but now there is a wall I'm putting up because of the lie and the potential lies.

Have any of you been lied to? How does a relationship fully recover from a lie? Does it? Am I making way more out of this than I should?

Totally lost here.

Thanks in advance.

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post #2 of 57 (permalink) Old 03-20-2017, 04:10 PM
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Re: Getting Past Lies

the fact that she did not want to give you the login passcode because she thought you were fishing....troubles me....there is an old Shakespeare quote that has a lot of truth to it "The lady doth protest too much, methinks" for her to be on the attack saying you don't trust me, tells me she has something to hide.
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post #3 of 57 (permalink) Old 03-20-2017, 04:23 PM
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Re: Getting Past Lies

I have a similar issue. My wife's phone was still on one night and she was sleeping, her hand was across the screen so I guess that's why it never locked. I went to move it for her and saw a text with a guy friend talking about me, so of course I looked further. Long story short, I found a very suggestive text from him with a vague response from her. I confronted, things blew up and we're still on the rocks about it. I asked to see the phone again the next day and she refused citing how important her privacy was to her. I asked a few more time over the next few days and all it did was cause her to shut down and withdraw herself.

So another long story short, a couple weeks later I accessed the phone without her knowing. I was suspicious and I needed to know. I looked through everything, I saw texts with friends talking about me making a big deal over an unsolicited text from this guy, I saw texts of her talking about our problems with her friends, and I even saw some texts where she wasn't telling people the whole story. So the bottom line is that women talk crap with their friends, yes they have secrets, and yes they lie about their men sometimes. That's most likely the reasoning behind it, but I may try to keep an eye on things for a little
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post #4 of 57 (permalink) Old 03-20-2017, 04:34 PM
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Re: Getting Past Lies

The more you look the more you're going to find and if you say "I know you lied about poker" its not like she's going to roll over and say "You're right I'm a big fat liar and you are right to check up on me". She'll get defensive and look at you as the bad guy.

So stop looking and maybe try to find reasons that she doesn't want to be honest with you that you can fix.
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post #5 of 57 (permalink) Old 03-21-2017, 05:50 AM
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Re: Getting Past Lies

My wife occasionally reads messages on my phone, and I don't like it. I've nothing to hide, but that's not really the point. They're my messages, they're my conversations, with my friends. If there is ever anything I feel would interest my wife, or that is any of her business, I generally tell her anyway. Relationship or not, some things are just for me, some things are just for her, we're one couple, not one person.

I think if I found out that my wife had got a phone I had years ago, and used a programme to download deleted messages from it, that would almost be enough for me to end the relationship. I think that's nuts. That's way beyond a slight trust issue, and someone who was even remotely happy in a relationship wouldn't consider doing that. In my opinion.

Further, despite all your investigative work, which is fairly extensive, it seems the most you've found is that your wife once played poker with a couple of work friends while on a work trip, and they couldn't find a corkscrew, it's not exactly scandalous.

Finally - you're not the Gestapo, you're meant to be there to support your wife, not to attempt to trip her up over the minutiae. If you want to know something that badly, ask her outright, it's only fair.
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post #6 of 57 (permalink) Old 03-21-2017, 06:04 AM
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Re: Getting Past Lies

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Originally Posted by allez View Post
My wife occasionally reads messages on my phone, and I don't like it. I've nothing to hide, but that's not really the point. They're my messages, they're my conversations, with my friends. If there is ever anything I feel would interest my wife, or that is any of her business, I generally tell her anyway. Relationship or not, some things are just for me, some things are just for her, we're one couple, not one person.

I think if I found out that my wife had got a phone I had years ago, and used a programme to download deleted messages from it, that would almost be enough for me to end the relationship. I think that's nuts. That's way beyond a slight trust issue, and someone who was even remotely happy in a relationship wouldn't consider doing that. In my opinion.

Further, despite all your investigative work, which is fairly extensive, it seems the most you've found is that your wife once played poker with a couple of work friends while on a work trip, and they couldn't find a corkscrew, it's not exactly scandalous.

Finally - you're not the Gestapo, you're meant to be there to support your wife, not to attempt to trip her up over the minutiae. If you want to know something that badly, ask her outright, it's only fair.
Completely agree. My SO and I know each other's phone passwords (it's the same on both phones) and have no problem borrowing the other's phone to check the weather, make a quick call, etc. But I can tell you this: if he EVER went scrounging through my private conversations with my sister, girlfriends, etc. or downloaded spy software to read everything I've ever sent to anyone, I would kick his ass to the curb.

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post #7 of 57 (permalink) Old 03-21-2017, 06:54 AM
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Re: Getting Past Lies

I have a different take. She did lie to you. She found it easy to lie to you. It is unlikely that she's not lying about other things, you just don't know what.
Confront her with what you know and tell her faith has been broken. She lied, and you snooped.
I understand that snooping may tick some off, but in my experience a healthy relationship does not including lies and deception. So you two do not have a healthy relationship.
Either you both work to develop trust which is currently non-existent on both sides, or end the relationship.

If you don't do the hard work now, the marriage is doomed. Sounds harsh, but there it is.
And if she is unwilling to work at it through counseling of some sort, the marriage is over.

In youth it was a way I had, to do my best to please, And change, with every passing lad to suit his theories.
But now I know the things I know, and do the things I do; And if you do not like me so, To hell, my love, with you! --Dorothy Parker
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post #8 of 57 (permalink) Old 03-21-2017, 06:58 AM
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Re: Getting Past Lies

Look OP what's really troubling you is that you know that she's done something wrong. You most likely noticed something is not right with your relationship then the gut feeling or a lot more things aren't adding up it's probably both.? Do not confront her anymore you need to get more information. Try not letting on to her that you are doing this so it doesn't put a bigger strain on your relationship that they're already is... If she is currently up to no good, and she takes notice that your in detective mode. She will be taking it further underground making it nearly impossible for you to find our detect any of her indiscretions or wayward behavior, making your life and you finding evidence a lot harder. I would personally just on the information you given us would say your wife is definitely a cheater or has cheated in the past.!!! look how many women and men cheat these days like it's for free... people are really messed up, unfortunately your wife's one of them that's my opinion... could she be innocent I don't think so. I would say she's guilty but confronting her now with no evidence is absolutely the wrong thing to do. It already has put a strain on the relationship and you'll get no answers, most likely end up divorcing and she will have gotten away with her infidelities that you weren't even sure she did. It will drive you nuts the rest of your life.! so do the right thing either find your evidence or put it all to rest and live your life like nothing happened. I doubt you'll do the second one... Best thing you can do is keep posting here there are a lot of good people here that will help you through this...

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post #9 of 57 (permalink) Old 03-21-2017, 08:09 AM
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Re: Getting Past Lies

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Originally Posted by Sparta View Post
Look OP what's really troubling you is that you know that she's done something wrong. You most likely noticed something is not right with your relationship then the gut feeling or a lot more things aren't adding up it's probably both.? Do not confront her anymore you need to get more information. Try not letting on to her that you are doing this so it doesn't put a bigger strain on your relationship that they're already is... If she is currently up to no good, and she takes notice that your in detective mode. She will be taking it further underground making it nearly impossible for you to find our detect any of her indiscretions or wayward behavior, making your life and you finding evidence a lot harder. I would personally just on the information you given us would say your wife is definitely a cheater or has cheated in the past.!!! look how many women and men cheat these days like it's for free... people are really messed up, unfortunately your wife's one of them that's my opinion... could she be innocent I don't think so. I would say she's guilty but confronting her now with no evidence is absolutely the wrong thing to do. It already has put a strain on the relationship and you'll get no answers, most likely end up divorcing and she will have gotten away with her infidelities that you weren't even sure she did. It will drive you nuts the rest of your life.! so do the right thing either find your evidence or put it all to rest and live your life like nothing happened. I doubt you'll do the second one... Best thing you can do is keep posting here there are a lot of good people here that will help you through this...
I think this is a very unhelpful post for the OP. There is nothing in the OP that suggests the wife is cheating, nothing at all. He doesn't know anything.

What you're advising is that he doesn't speak to his wife, and instead plays the amateur detective some more - he's already done that, he didn't find anything.
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post #10 of 57 (permalink) Old 03-21-2017, 09:44 AM
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Re: Getting Past Lies

So my sister tells me about her xh, who had a pretty high caliber job that sometimes required late meetings. He'd call her and tell her he would not be home for dinner. She never had suspicions he was cheating. And she still believes he did not cheat. Because there was nothing odd which set off her spidey-senses. Having the occasional late meeting is not odd by itself. But had she detected lies or had there been odd behaviors, each of those calls would have sent her over the edge with suspicion.

I think what you're experiencing is a bit of the latter, where you've found something dishonest and now you're seeing everything as a potential betrayal. The messages about poker are not suspicious at all. She may not even remember playing poker with those people, and maybe they weren't playing poker but instead were playing blackjack so she didn't recall it when you had your recent discussion.

You need to stfu about questioning her. You're setting her up to fail in order to prove to yourself she is untrustworthy. And, the way you're doing it is counter productive. If she's not done anything disloyal, she's going to be pissed at you for the way you're questioning her. If she did cheat in some way, she's going to know you're suspicious and so she'll hide any evidence deeper.

You're making a classic mistake with the way you're approaching this.

I do think there is some reason to be suspicious about things. But you said she had some conversations with friends about the unsolicited message from the other guy (I can't call him an other man because people will freak out thinking I am saying they are in an affair). Those conversations would suggest she is not cheating with him, though it is not conclusive, because she thought the conversation was private and thus might have confessed to her friend that you caught her. The denial about poker may or may not indicate anything. Her reaction to you asking about the phone bill password is a red flag to me.

Right now I think you are overly sensitive or worried, and you are not on a productive path to resolution.

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post #11 of 57 (permalink) Old 03-21-2017, 10:00 AM
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Re: Getting Past Lies

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I think this is a very unhelpful post for the OP. There is nothing in the OP that suggests the wife is cheating, nothing at all. He doesn't know anything.

What you're advising is that he doesn't speak to his wife, and instead plays the amateur detective some more - he's already done that, he didn't find anything.
When you don't know anything but you have suspicions is the time to investigate. If you know there's no longer a need to investigate.

And if you don't see the red flags here it's because you're not looking.

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post #12 of 57 (permalink) Old 03-21-2017, 10:01 AM
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Re: Getting Past Lies

So here is my recommendation. Approach her about establishing good boundaries around the marriage and a policy of open honesty. In the background be aware but not paranoid about possible red flags. I would describe it as the defensive driver mindset, where you expect things are ok but you keep your eyes open for the young kid on a bicycle who could weave in front of your car.

Boundaries should involve the two of you protecting your marriage from outside threats. Yes, this other guy sent a suggestive message and that is a threat even if your wife has no inclination to cheat. Good boundaries are cutting off avenues or opportunities for outside threats. You don't go out to the bars with your buddies and dance with other women even in innocent fun. Just the appearance of that will be a threat to your marriage because it will upset your wife. Similarly, her receiving suggestive texts is a threat because it upsets you regardless of whatever is or isn't going on. Why allow the threat in? Just kill it, because your marriage is far more valuable than those other things.

Thus, your social media, texting, and real life social activities should be culled of threats. No exes in your social circles. If someone sends a suggestive message like this other guy did, it should be met with a rebuke from your wife or from you so as to shut that person down.

Walls around the marriage to protect it.

Windows inside the marriage to guard against damaging misunderstandings. This means shared passwords and open access to all of your accounts. Not that you both are constantly snooping, but rather you both know you have access any time you want. Your wife guarding her cell phone only makes you worried, and that is bad for the marriage. Much better is the knowledge she could read your emails any time, and you can look through her phone at any time. And, you're both happy if the other person does it because it is a tool to strengthen trust.

Open honesty goes along with that. If she receives a suggestive text, she should tell you about it because it is something which could otherwise be distressing to you. As a team you can deal with it (or she can deal with it immediately by sending a reply that his suggestive text was not appreciated). No secrets, no lies.

As to the defensive driver alertness, I think there is reason for everyone to just be observant but not paranoid. In your case, I would go ahead and look at the phone records going back as far as you can. Her reaction may show fear, or it may be anger. Aside from the phone records I would not snoop any further.

People have different ideas as to what is the right amount of honesty, openness, privacy, etc. Some think it fine to have exes on their Facebook or in their social circles, some (like me) think it unwise. You may find you and your wife have fairly different ideas, and that may be part of the conflict you are in.

MC might be a good idea for you two.
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post #13 of 57 (permalink) Old 03-21-2017, 10:38 AM
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Re: Getting Past Lies

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When you don't know anything but you have suspicions is the time to investigate. If you know there's no longer a need to investigate.

And if you don't see the red flags here it's because you're not looking.
He's investigated. He found nothing but an old game of poker and a missing corkscrew. He's checked her messages, old and new. He's went through her call records. He's not seen anything that points to her cheating.

I don't see red flags because, going by the information we've been given, there are none.
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post #14 of 57 (permalink) Old 03-21-2017, 10:47 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Getting Past Lies

I'll respond later in detail - thanks to everyone. I think we're getting two messages mixed up, though. My wife didn't receive any texts from guys that I'm worried about. I think one of the other replies mentioned that, though.

I think I am overly sensitive, yes. And when you said that after finding one untruth now I'm afraid I've been gullible for the past two decades rings absolutely true. I think I said in my original post that poker is not suspicious, but not wanting to mention it to me is. And you're right, she could have forgotten. I know that. Is it possible that this is the one and only time she's lied? Yes. It's possible. I think I'm so distraught because it was a lie about nothing. So easily done for no good reason. I asked her again why she felt she needed to lie. She reiterated that she didn't want me to hate "Jenny" and she didn't want me to think she was talking about me. I told her that not wanting me to hate "Jenny" wasn't a good enough reason to lie to me and that I am fine with her discussing things about our relationship with her girlfriends as long as she's also discussed the issue with me.

And we do have one another's passwords and frequently use one another's phones. All of it. I've just never felt any need or inclination to look until all of this. She pays and receives all of the bills and records, and I've never batted an eyelash about it. Til now. How do I get the feeling of trust for her back? I want it.

I wish there was some magic wand that could just make me fully trust again.
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post #15 of 57 (permalink) Old 03-21-2017, 10:55 AM
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Re: Getting Past Lies

Trust is the soil that love grows in. A marriage without trust won't last. You have valid reason to at least be concerned with your wife withholding information from you. Omission of facts is as much lying as directly misleading a person. You at least need to have a good talk with her on the issue and go from there based on her answers and how she responds.

When you have to start questioning everything a spouse does or says it will eat you up. If what has happened to this point truly has been nothing that's great, however, if she can't have a frank discussion with you about it and has hid truths on minor things what happens when something major comes along?
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