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.
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."
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.