talk me down
April 29, 2010 7:03 AM Subscribe
Scenes from a marriage. I snooped; his behavior was borderline. What now?
posted by anonymous to human relations (36 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
My husband and I have been married for 7 years, together for 14. We are in our mid 30’s. No kids (yet). We do own a house together.
About 3 weeks ago I snooped in his Gmail. He has had the same password forever and we have always shared our passwords with each other. I don’t know why I snooped. It wasn’t the first time I’ve done it. But I can’t say I had a conscious feeling or suspicion. I almost feel like I did it on autopilot or out of boredom. In any case, I found flirtatious gchats he had been having with a former coworker. Nothing blatantly cheating, but flirtatious enough that I felt it was a betrayal. Calling her “honey” and “babe” and remarking on how cute and hot she was. They were discussing her failing marriage—she was telling my husband that she couldn’t see herself staying faithful to her husband. I don’t feel it was appropriate for him to be this kind of exchange. I don’t suspect my husband of any current physical infidelity. The woman in question lives across the country. Though it does make me think back to when they worked together and I have a strong gut feeling that they may have kissed or something like that, though I have absolutely no proof and this could very well be simple paranoia.
In any case: he was flirting, and has obviously been nursing a crush on her for quite some time. More details: they worked together 3-4 years ago, then she moved to another city (still working for the same company). She no longer works for this company. I have met her several times and could tell there was a spark between them. It bothered me, but I never thought that I actually had anything to worry about. He has always told me that he doesn’t like/respect her, which I now realize was an overcompensating cover-up for the attraction. Apparently they have been intermittently keeping in touch over gchat. I had no idea they still kept in contact.
Here’s what bothers me. It’s not that he had/has a crush on someone else. I’ve had them too; we’re human. In fact, I just came out of a pretty intense attraction to a coworker of my own—he’s since quit my company and I haven’t made any attempt to contact him, nor do I want to. The problem with my husband’s behavior is that it was secretive (he has told me he disliked this woman), it was overtly flirtatious (I might have crushes on people, but I would never take it to that level), it was specific (not a random woman at a bar or party, but someone in particular that he sought out).
So that’s that. But I snooped! Enter my own guilt. After I saw the chat I compulsively checked his email every day. I am not proud of this. I read all the AskMe archives having to do with snooping/cheating. It was somewhat eye-opening to realize that people considered snooping such a serious offense. I personally would not care if he read my email or facebook—I leave them logged in and open on my laptop all the time. But I do understand that many people feel that it’s a terrible betrayal.
And then what happened was: after a week or so of checking his email compulsively, I went to log in one time and he had changed his password. I immediately felt dread and certainty that he was onto me. I now realize that Gmail has new security features that show the user the IP addresses of previous/current activity. My husband is not technologically-minded at all and I would be surprised if he realizes this—I only found out after googling for more info when it happened. But regardless I feel deep down that he knows. We had a strange interaction over gchat ourselves later that day where he told me he thought I was acting odd. He never mentioned the password change to me.
Man, I have just been going insane with this whole thing. Going around and around in mental circles. Does he know I was spying? If so, is he testing me? Waiting for me to confess? Or was it simply chance that he changed his password? Or was it to hide further exchanges with the woman/friend? Etc, etc.
At the moment I thought I was caught spying, it was almost a relief, though. Because I would get to confront him about his own behavior, and it would all come out in the open. I really thought he was going to confront me but he didn’t. So then I doubted whether he really knew, or if this was a telltale heart situation. I kept my mouth shut, life went on as usual, and that’s where I’m at today.
I’m struggling with whether or not I should confess/confront him. It’s terrifying to think that this could have big bad consequences. I’m just going crazy. I forgive him for his flirting—though it would be nice to tell him how I feel about it and get satisfaction that it would never or has never gone further., rather than letting my imagination run away with me. But what if he’s appalled at my own spying? Is this a case where I should just shut up and move on, or does it need to come to light in order for us to have a strong relationship? It’s weird—ever since I found the flirt-chats I’ve been more attentive/romantic with my husband. Our sex life is great. I feel us growing closer again—the ebbs and flows of a long-term relationship.
There’s so much more but I realize this is too long already. I mentioned I had just gotten over my own workplace crush. Looking back, although nothing untoward ever happened, not even flirting, I realize that my crush was a delicious distraction/fantasy that made it easy for me to ignore my marriage. I am just terrified to realize how fragile a relationship can really be, even when you’ve been with someone for years and the love is there. I finally get it that relationships take work, and I am committed to this one big time.
So what do you think? Should I get all this out in the open? Or have I dodged a bullet and should leave it be?
Re-reading this question makes me worried that it sounds disorganized and detached. Please believe this is very important to me. I want nothing more than for us to live happily ever after.