Thanks again. Jellybeans, I'm going to try and elicit some sort of confession if at all possible. I admire the people here who've worked through an EA that they discovered, but I just have a hard time imagining that now. It's different for me because I've asked and been lied to (presumably) and so trying to get her to tell me is the remaining hope I have for this. She has been a lot better in the past few days, incidentally (but that doesn't change anything because this unexplained behavior-->lack of trust will always be with me unless she comes clean about it.)
I don't mean to be so absolutist or moralistic about it. I am hopelessly in love with my wife, but I can't be in a relationship knowing I've got to watch my own back. I've been wronged in a relationship before and I stayed in it (and it worked well) because the girl confessed of her own volition and made a proper apology (similar to the wikianswers instructions). She took the consequences and showed herself to be a genuinely moral person who couldn't live with a lie between us and I respected her for that. I think I'm quite a ways from doing any snooping for this reason: if I find nothing I'll still wonder but also feel guilty for snooping. If I find something then she can no longer confess and that means I've removed her ability to truly do the right thing. This probably sounds nuts I know, but I'll update as things progress. Thanks again for the support her and I'll try to give some back on the boards.
I know it's painful to face the truth. We're a group of total strangers, we have no reason to mislead you about our gut feelings here.
You have zero plausible explanations for her behavior. What a sad situation you are in and I see no end in sight. If it were me, the sight of my husband tilting the phone away for the 1,000 time would make me cry.
I know you think you love your wife like crazy, but what part of her are you loving? Only her outermost shell. She is not sharing her most intimate self with you. You are being actively prevented by her from loving who she truly is deep inside.
My husband and I both have all our passwords to our email, eBay, amazon, Facebook, ect... on a packet in the file cabinet next to the computer. Neither one of us hide anything from each other.
It sounds like your wife is up to no good with her sneaky behavior. I can understand wanting privacy, but not sneaking off with computer in hand. Privacy to me is a bubble bath with the door locked or going into another room and watching television/reading a book without interruption.
You think? I think it's very plausible. I'd be annoyed if my husband read my email and checked my computer history because I want privacy with a support group I belong to. So my suggestion there is perfectly plausible.
But he never checked her email, and he never did anything to her computer--she accused him of these things out of paranoia.
Just to be clear, are you saying that you would jump to the conclusion that your husband had done these things to you, if you had email or computer issues?
The thought would never cross my mind.
If it crossed my spouse's mind, I'd interpret it for what it was: a guilty conscience.
I guess I should first say that I am a VERY direct person and I don't tolerate bad behavior.
The very best scenario (which is still pretty bad) is that your wife is discussing her problems with a female friend instead of you. As you suspect, though, it's probably more than that.
The more realistic scenario is an emotional affair, which is a distraction that keeps her from being fully present in your relationship. That was already mentioned, and so was the way EAs create a false idea of what "reality" should be. Unless the EA ends, your relationship will continue to erode.
There are a few ways you could confront it:
1. Have your plan for how you'll respond if she refuses to have a relationship based on openness, trust, and honesty. Does that mean a temporary separation? Divorce? A night in a hotel? Will you choose to accept secrecy as part of the relationship? You have to decide. Then next time she behaves furtively, tell her that her behavior is damaging her trust, and that you want to see the names of the people she is messaging. If she has nothing to hide, there's no reason for her not to show you. If she says you're being controlling, agree. "Yes, I am trying to get back some control since you've decided not to give me the openness that makes me feel like everything is under control." Be prepared to stick to the plan you created beforehand, because if you don't, you'll be demonstrating that it's ok to let you throw a tantrum because you don't REALLY plan to uphold your boundaries. (This is the route I'd take first.)
2. Get online access to your cell phone bill and review the numbers called and messages sent. You can print them up and ask her to go through them with you or you can match up the numbers yourself by looking at her contacts list when you have access to her phone. Google can also be your friend here. Again, have your plan of action ready and be prepared to uphold your boundaries if you see more suspicious behavior. (I also wouldn't hesitate to do this.)
3. You can use a keystroke logger, but this is a slippery slope that I don't fully recommend. For one thing, it can be illegal and if she discovers you've used one, she can file charges against you. For another, if we discover that our partner has said something unflattering, even if it's not related to our suspicions, we may become obsessed with finding out more. This is very unhealthy, in my opinion. If you choose to use one, I recommend setting a definite timeline and frequency like "I will review it once a week for six weeks. If I see nothing during that time, I will remove it and acknowledge to myself that I was wrong." Again, you need to be able to uphold your word on it, so if you are likely to dig in and obsess if you find information, this may not be a good choice.
Good luck. You sound like a good man who deserves plenty of admiration from his wife.
Kathy I really appreciate your advice, and I'll look for the opportunity to try step one. I agree with you about the keylogger issue; it just feels too much like spying on someone's brain or something.
An update: Things have gotten vastly better in all areas since I posted last. Significant emotional connection, physical, less secrecy (she actually seems to be kind of offering now, showing me the phone screen when she's on it, leaving her computer around, etc.) It's a sudden change and it's interesting because it didn't come from me, but at the same time it's very much appreciated and it feels good to be back in a real relationship. I'm going to schedule marriage counseling and bring up the history within that context and ask her to explain I think. Does that sound reasonable?
I'm not taking the "catch her in the act and demand to know what's up" stuff off the table, but I haven't seen any opportunities lately so I'm not sure I'll be able to do it soon. But I can be patient because I don't think things are getting any worse and we've still got a few more months here (physically away from whoever it is.)
I'm going to schedule marriage counseling and bring up the history within that context and ask her to explain I think. Does that sound reasonable?
sorry if I missed something--has marriage counseling been broached before? What was her reaction if so?
If you haven't brought up counseling before, and you plan to talk about it soon, I'd be curious to see how she responds.
I would not go to all the trouble to have counseling and then fail to bring up the long-term weirdness about hiding the phone and the computer. I think it is the main issue that has given you so much anxiety all this time, and you deserve some explanation for it. A counselor is also going to find her behavior odd and should be able to help you detect whether her answers are truthful, or whether there is more to it than she is willing to say.
Your gut is there for a reason. Listen to it. Unless she's planning a surprise party for you, she is displaying the classic signs of a cheater. You've already notified her she's acting strange which means she's going to be more careful now. DO NOT ask her anymore or bring it up while you dig.. The change in her behavior is a red flag. Is she on Facebook? If so, find out if there's someone who cooments to her a lot or likes all her posts and vice versa. Follow her Words with Friends trail. Anyone on there she plays a lot Get acopy of her call logs and texts. Is there a number that shows up a lot?? Posted via Mobile Device
Expect her to lie if you ask her anything. Or she might tell the truth if she is innocent. So in any case you are going to get nothing but denials from her, which will either be the truth or lie.
Any confrontation will drive things underground making it much more difficult to get to the truth. And you do have the right to the truth! Yes, you do have the right to the truth. You might see it as a breach of trust to find out what is going using some kind of spy tech (VAR, keylogger, phone text logger, etc), but she is blatantly in breach of trust right now! Her sneaky actions are dishonest actions.
Her recent change in behavior back towards being better could just mean that she has found an alternative communications method. Perhaps a prepaid phone or a secret email, etc.
Or all of this could be innocent. She is just venting innocently to a friend back home, or she's planning the anniversary surprise of the century for you. That's the problem with not having the facts, you are in a limbo with multiple possible interpretations.
Either stay quiet for now and observe her, or apply some spy tech. Don't accuse without iron clad proof! Marriage counseling might be helpful.