Found undies that aren't mine. Now what?
August 30, 2010 9:08 AM   Subscribe

Found underwear in the laundry that wasn't mine. Now what?

My husband and I have had a lot of problems since the birth of our child. He insisted on marriage therapy since I wanted a divorce. Things are in a tolerable lull and he's trying harder than I am. We are seeing a marrige therapist in 2 weeks (divorce/post divorce is her subspecialty).

I was doing laundry yesterday and I found a pair of panties that weren't mine. I thought and thought about it to 100% make sure they were no way mine and seeing that I don't cut the tags off of mine and they just weren't mine, the doubt on that end has stopped.

But now what? I don't know how to approach it. I work a full time job at a office. He works but makes his own hours and is all over the place on the road w/ clients (local). Otherwise he stays home to work to watch our son 2 day a week.

I'm trying to think of the timing with the laundry to see if we had his friend house/dog sit and maybe his "girlfriend" lost them. But I did a full basket of laundry meaning that isn't possible.

My husband used to go to the gym a lot but hasn't in a long time so that's out too. He does go out occassionally at night without me but is home by say midnight.

I know there is a lot of doubt but accusing someone of cheating is harsh. But on the flip side, where did these come from? I don't know how to approach it. Should I wait until the 13th with the therapist and ask him in front of her? Should I do it sooner? He will obviously deny it and that's just it. If he did, he did and it's just one more reason to push for a divorce. I just don't want to be played a fool. But if it is some weird incident where somehow it's his friend's girlfriend (although again, when would this have happened) and his friend, then you get into that whole "I can't believe you accused me".

I was accused of cheating many moons ago. I never, ever did. Someone lied, he believed them, and it was 3 days of him throwing a fit/giving hell. I don't operate that way. I'm just sad, tired, emotionally spent because of this relationship as it is. I would love for it to get fixed and turned around but at the same time, if it's not meant to be, we need to separate because I'm not getting any younger.

We have a nanny come on 2 days but she hasn't been around in 2 weeks and I know I did laundry then where the timing doesn't match.

So how do I approach this one?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (49 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Leave them somewhere he'll see them. When he asks you about them, say "Oh, they're not mine." and leave it at that.
posted by Biru at 9:13 AM on August 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

Start by keeping an open mind. You've already written off a lot of possible scenarios- like the nanny or the friend's girlfriend, they haven't been around recently but maybe the underwear got lost in some corner and someone finally got around to throwing them in the basket. I would talk to him about it, saying, I found these and they're not mine and it freaks me out a little. See how the conversation goes.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:15 AM on August 30, 2010 [22 favorites]

I would stay calm, sit him down at the table with him, pull out the undies and say something relatively neutral like "I found these in my laundry. They're not mine. Do you know where they've come from?"

And then listen. Don't argue--if only because, as you said, you're emotionally exhausted. Let his response and your gut guide you toward your decision.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:15 AM on August 30, 2010 [24 favorites]

Waiting until the 13th to talk to him about this is a long time for doubts and harsh feelings and hurt to fester inside you -- but unless you think the two of you can have a conversation about this without it devolving into a terrible fight, maybe it's for the best to wait until there's a moderator. Can you reschedule an emergency appointment with the therapist for sooner than the 13th? That might be your best option here.
posted by shamash at 9:18 AM on August 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

I would ask him in a non-accusatory way. Show him what you found and ask if he knows who they might belong to. His response will speak volumes. This happened to me once with my now husband, then boyfriend. Turns out a friend (who I knew) had changed her clothes in his bathroom after an event they had been at and dropped her bra. I found it, asked him whose it was and he said he had no idea and had assumed it was mine. His response was sufficiently bewildered that I chose to believe him and returned the bra to her-she was mortified by the whole thing. It's possible they deceived me, but his response made me feel he was being truthful. It was within my comfort level to believe him-but our relationship was in a good place when this happened, so it's not the same.

You sound ready to throw in the towel. I would just ask and see what he says and how that makes you feel. Don't ambush him at the therapist, I don't think she'll have a magic method for determining his truthfulness that you don't already possess through your intuition. He may have an explanation you haven't thought of. Or he may be guilty of something here. I'm sorry and good luck.
posted by supercapitalist at 9:19 AM on August 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

I would sit him down and say the following:
I love you. But I was doing laundry the other day and I found a pair of panties that were not mine. I did not put them there and I know they do not belong to the nanny as she hasn't been here since I last did laundry. I am certain you can understand why this would be disturbing, especially as we are in a rough patch. I am willing to listen to what you have to say about this, but I would like you to address my concerns specifically, which are that these panties may have come from you.
Let him talk then.

(also he could wear panties).
posted by Ironmouth at 9:19 AM on August 30, 2010 [19 favorites]

A lot of times when a spouse is cheating, all of a sudden they will throw out a wild accusation of cheating at the other person. Now with the panty discovery, I would think back to the time when he accused you, because it's highly likely he started his affair at that time. Sorry to be so blunt with the absolute "his affair", but I really don't think there is an innocent excuse for the underwear situation.

How you approach it depends on where you want to go from here. Do you still want to work at a reconcile if he's having an affair? If so, then calmly (if you can) tell him what you found and say that in order for your marriage to be repaired then you need to get all issues on the table at counseling: including the affair.
posted by Eicats at 9:21 AM on August 30, 2010 [2 favorites]

This would drive me crazy. I think the best thing to do is to show them to him and say, as un-accusingly as you can, "I found these mystery underpants in the laundry. I can't figure out where they could have come from. Do you have any idea?" And see what his response is. It's a pretty bizarre thing, after all; even if, somehow, they are from some tryst of your husband's, how did they end up in your laundry? The actions that would lead to that result are almost impossibly convoluted. It's baffling, and you can certainly ask your husband for help in solving this mystery without the question being an accusation.
posted by chowflap at 9:21 AM on August 30, 2010 [3 favorites]

It is possible that your housesitter or his girlfriend or even your nanny did laundry and left a single pair of underpants in the washer or in the dryer, and you pulled them out with your laundry. That may or may not be what happened, but it's not an unimaginable possibility.
posted by jeather at 9:23 AM on August 30, 2010 [5 favorites]

Do you have an attorney? If you're seriously considering divorce, you should get one. Especially because in some places, infidelity can affect the outcome of your divorce case, you should consult an attorney before doing anything else, including confronting your husband or telling your shared therapist about your suspicions. Your attorney will make sure that, whether you decide to divorce or not, your legal and financial interests are protected as you work through the issues in your marriage.
posted by decathecting at 9:24 AM on August 30, 2010

Maybe they're his.
posted by nomad at 9:25 AM on August 30, 2010 [15 favorites]

Do you do laundry at home, have it done outside your home, or do it at a laundry mat? I have found very expensive very ...frilly ladies underwear in my laundry two times in 4 years.
posted by 2bucksplus at 9:26 AM on August 30, 2010 [3 favorites]

Don't wait until the therapist. If you do, you will end up fighting about six other unrelated things that aren't important, and then you'll have to process all of that.

I think the sooner you can do this, and if you do it in a calm, "I found these in the laundry and they're not mine. Do you know whose they are?" fashion, it will be better. You will at least have more data based on his reaction.

Other possibilities: If he ever did his laundry outside of the house for any reason, there could have been leftover laundry in the drier. If he ever sent his laundry out for any reason for fluff & fold, same thing (we get random socks). Nanny or girlfriend of friend could have done laundry, same thing. Or, yes, they could be his.

But I would guess that you probably know already and I would urge you to trust your instincts and not be made to feel like you're crazy. You found them. They're not yours.
posted by micawber at 9:36 AM on August 30, 2010

If I were in that situation, and I'm not, I would probably go see a therapist by myself. With everything that is going on with the possibility of divorce, a kid, and now underwear, I would want to get my head straight. I would think that a therapist would be the best way to help me figure out how to deal with a potentially volatile situation like this.

As you are using the green as your therapist, my recommendation is that this is beyond something the green can help with, so I, as your interwebathist, am going to refer you to a real therapist.
posted by TheBones at 9:39 AM on August 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

Just to play angel's advocate, I once found a pair of purple thong panties in the wash, and they're not my wife's, and I'm completely faithful, and I have no doubts about her, either. I have no idea whose they are or how they got there.

So while there may well be reasons to suspect your husband, it could also just be one of life's freaky little mysteries.

Personally, I can't imagine a scenario in which I accidentally forgot to put my underwear back on. But I can imagine lots of scenarios in which clothes get transported from one place to another. I mean, do you know where all the socks go?
posted by musofire at 9:42 AM on August 30, 2010 [3 favorites]

Nthing the non-accusatory approach of matter-of-factly saying that you found these, they're not yours--any ideas, and putting forth the possibility that there could very well be a benign explanation.

Most men have very little interest in panties of the everyday sort. It could be that one of your house sitters, nannies, any woman who would have had a reasonable reason to have panties in your house without any connection to your husband could have lost a pair. Your husband, who probably does not have as cataloged an inventory of your wares as you do might've found them and tossed them into the laundry, since most men (again) assume that dirty clothes go there and miraculously reappear clean, folded, and stored.

I say this because I have not been able to place the whereabouts of gym shorts or t-shirts for months (and I do my share of the laundry, thankyouverymuch) only to have them appear back in the rotation. Usually, our dog has taken the article for safekeeping. Some times, they have just fallen behind something and moving that something reveals a treasure trove.

As a good friend has often counseled (about health issues, not about items of personal clothing), "look for the horses first--then look for the zebras." I don't say this to make light of your situation at all, but as the brother of someone who took philandering to an art form in his younger days, I have seen the near paranoiac lengths an adulterer will go to to make sure that such incriminating evidence would never see the light of day. Inother words, this does not mean your spouse is NOT cheating, just that it's unlikely that he'd bring panties home & then somehow throw them in the wash.
posted by beelzbubba at 9:45 AM on August 30, 2010 [2 favorites]

If I was cheating, I'd make for damn sure that everyone involved left with all undies and other items accounted for.
posted by k8t at 9:45 AM on August 30, 2010 [2 favorites]

I have no way to know if your husband was cheating, but I'm with k8t in that if I were cheating, there is no way I wouldn't be careful to the point where I made sure something like this happened. It seems very inexplicable to me that someone who was cheating would a) have a pair of "trophy' panties at home to begin with and b) allow them to get into the laundry.

Your husband could be an idiot or incompetent, but he would have to be terribly so to allow something like this to happen.
posted by elder18 at 9:50 AM on August 30, 2010

While living with a girlfriend, I had once found a pair of strange men's socks in our combined laundry. I was certain they weren't mine, and asked her about them. She claimed no knowledge of them either. It started to drive me crazy, so I went through all of my socks and found a very similar pair by the same manufacturer. So, it turned out that the socks were indeed mine.
posted by slogger at 9:55 AM on August 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

The panties aren't the problem, they're a symptom. You're fed up and tired of the relationship and not too keen on it. At no point in your post do you mention that you love and/or trust your husband. Your sole concern seems to be not being made a fool of and getting one with your life.

As to the panties, I'd just flat out ask in an non-accusatory way. His response and your response to his response should tell you a lot.
posted by nomadicink at 9:56 AM on August 30, 2010 [5 favorites]

Remote possibilities: Ever been walking around with a pair of pants just out of the laundry and find that a sock or pair of underwear is stuck in the lower leg? It might be a remote possibility that the underwear traveled into your house this way through any visitor.

Do you have a dog that goes outside? A dog that we owned used to bring all sorts of items home and we'd be wondering where the item came from. No underwear, but you never know.

Good luck to you...
posted by Leah at 9:57 AM on August 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

I agree with everyone above who is telling you to just ask in a very non-accusatory way. Waiting for the 13th is a long time for things to get out of control in your head. Even if they are evidence for cheating, it's better to get that on the table before you go to the therapist so you can have a productive conversation. Otherwise, you're throwing a bomb into the room and the session will be dealing with super immediate aftermath instead of figuring out, "Well, where do we go from here?" which will be a more useful conversation long term for you. For your sanity, try your best to approach this with as open a heart and mind as you can. If it really is nothing, be prepared to accept that it is one of life's little mysteries.
posted by stoneweaver at 10:05 AM on August 30, 2010

I agree with people saying that you should address this in a non-accusatory way. However, that is an easy and conclusive characterization that may not be as helpful as pointing out things like: Asking him in front of your therapist is an ambush and accusatory. Showing him the panties and saying, "These are not mine" is implicitly accusatory. Leaving them out someplace for him to see...that's not accusatory, but it's passive-aggressive and you should probably be direct about this.

There are lots of ways we (read: strangers on the Internet) can put words into your mouth. See people's suggestions above. If you find that helpful, so be it. But it's probably wiser, since you know your husband and your relationship far better than we, for you to address it in your own way. I agree with the basic principles here—be direct, don't accuse, look for horses before zebras. (The latter is great advice, by the way, but I would politely suggest to a couple respondents above that infidelity is a horse and "Maybe he wears panties!" is a bit more of a zebra.)

If I was cheating, I'd make for damn sure...
if I were cheating, there is no way I wouldn't be careful...

Everybody thinks this. "I would be super careful and never make a mistake, ever." The reality is, you are not superhuman. Humans make mistakes.

Good luck, OP. It is interesting that in the context of this particular question you noted that you wanted a divorce and your husband is trying harder than you are. It might even be "telling," although I don't psychoanalyze strangers over the Internet. In any case, it struck me and I thought I'd mention it.
posted by red clover at 10:18 AM on August 30, 2010 [3 favorites]

Are you sure they aren't the nanny's? My line of thinking goes nanny left undies somewhere (fell out of her bag, got dropped behind something) and forgot them, husband found them, thought they were yours and tossed them in the laundry. This seems more plausible to me than someone leaving your house without her panties.
posted by geekchic at 10:26 AM on August 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

When my husband and I got together, I moved into his house. There is a sleeper sofa in the house that in the years we've been together has not been opened. We were looking for a missing remote or something at some point last year and I decided to pull out the sleeper. The missing item was not there, but my husband fished out a pair of gold lame thong panties (covered in a truly appalling amount of dust) and said, hey babe, you must have lost a pair of underwear.

I have never in my entire life worn a pair of gold lame thong panties. When I pointed this out, he just stared at me for a second, and then did some mental calculations and determined that it had been there for a couple of years. The dust only added to his alibi. I'm not saying that your mystery underwear have some kind of innocuous origin, but mine did.
posted by crankylex at 10:31 AM on August 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

I have no way to know if your husband was cheating, but I'm with k8t in that if I were cheating, there is no way I wouldn't be careful to the point where I made sure something like this happened. It seems very inexplicable to me that someone who was cheating would a) have a pair of "trophy' panties at home to begin with and b) allow them to get into the laundry.

Your husband could be an idiot or incompetent, but he would have to be terribly so to allow something like this to happen.

People often sabotage themselves, so it is not inconceivable they would do this. I had a similar thing occur and my therapist wondered aloud why my ex would have done such a thing. Looking back, only an idiot would have given me the keys to the kingdom like that, an idiot, or someone who wanted to get caught.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:33 AM on August 30, 2010

Don't lead with the panties. Talk nonconfrontationally about fidelity/infidelity instead. Things have been strained -- has he been with anyone else? After he answers, you can tell him about the panties. Fidelity is probably a good thing to talk about at this point, anyway.

Don't do any yelling. Do your best to hear him out if he wants to talk.
posted by wryly at 10:39 AM on August 30, 2010

You're getting good advice here, but spend some time with Occam's Razor. Run through all the scenarios -- there aren't that many basic variations.

* He carried the panties home with him on purpose. Possible, but unlikely.
* He carried them home with him by mistake. How? Did they mix clothes together in his bag? Did he see them and think they were yours? This mistake is like the perfect storm of mistakes. It's unlikely.
* They were together in your house; she took off her panties and left them behind on purpose. Possible, but unlikely.
* They were together in your house; she took off her panties and they were lost and forgotten -- fell out of a bag, out of sight, out of mind. Possible. Maybe likely. But when was the last time you lost your underwear while in someone else's house? Did you perhaps surprise them? Was there any other suspicious activity? Regardless, it's unlikely.

Hmm ... keep going ...

* You have a nanny and they're hers. You're mistaken about when you did the laundry and what laundry you did, exactly. Possible. But does the nanny get undressed at your house? Do you have a pool, jacuzzi?

* You did this yourself. Say, you went to the gym and you picked up someone else's clothes (could happen -- I came home with someone else's towel once). Or perhaps they're yours and you've forgotten about these ones with the missing tag.

Just think some more about this. Then make a decision and strike firmly.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:43 AM on August 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

In short: Sit him down, talk calmly about it, keep your anger in check, and ahead of time you should probably prepare yourself for the possibility that they are, in fact, his. Listen with an open mind to whatever it is he has to say. I hope it works out well for you.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 10:45 AM on August 30, 2010

I think Ironmouth might be on to something. Maybe after all of your troubles he does want a divorce, but he can't bring himself to tell you, so he does something like this to bring about the events that will result in the end of the marriage. Cool Papa Bell has some great ideas, but I'd think about this possibility as well.
posted by elder18 at 10:46 AM on August 30, 2010

I'd contact the nanny first and ask if they were hers. After, if they aren't, all the advice above.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 11:06 AM on August 30, 2010 [2 favorites]

Telling him about it in a non-accusatory way is all fine and good, but if he responds in a similarly non-accusatory way, that tells you absolutely nothing. He may be genuinely confused as to the Great Panties Mystery like you, or he may know EXACTLY where they came from and he's just a liar. I'm not saying he IS a liar, I'm just saying that if he doesn't freak out on you, that doesn't mean he's not cheating on you.

Also, just because something is mind-bogglingly stupid (like cheating in your own house, and leaving the girl's panties in the house) doesn't mean that it's not true. I call it Occham's Alibi: When caught red-handed in something completely stupid, use the stupidity itself as proof you couldn't've done it. (Ex: "Hey, I found these underwear that are clearly not mine. Do you know who they belong to?" "Weeeird. I really have no idea. I know this looks completely sketchy, but you know me well enough to know I wouldn't be crazy enough to do something this stupid. There has to be another explanation. Maybe something happened when our friends were house-sitting for us?")
posted by 23skidoo at 11:07 AM on August 30, 2010

I would probably start by contacting the nanny to ask if she recognizes them. When I do laundry, I'm always very careful to check the machines afterward. Even so, my landlord frequently finds my stray socks which have jammed themselves up under the edge of the machine or whatever. I find it totally plausible that they could have been there for a month.

It's also possible that someone stealthily tucked a pair of panties into your husband's pocket. At a bar, or hell just at the office. I have known bad friends, douchebags, and back-stabbing coworkers who would do this as a prank.
posted by ErikaB at 11:08 AM on August 30, 2010

If I was cheating, I'd make for damn sure that everyone involved left with all undies and other items accounted for.

Once, someone I know cheated on his live-in girlfriend with an ex, and the ex stuffed an article of her clothing into the live-in girlfriend's drawer so she'd find it. The guy didn't know she did it. Anyway, I don't want to add to the OP's anxiety but just thought I'd throw that out there as one other possibility.

This is going to eat you up until you sit down and speak with him, so just get it over with in a calm and non-accusatory fashion. As many in this thread have pointed out, there are innocent and not-so-innocent explanations, so you'll just have to hear him out and decide from there. Regardless, you know the larger problem is the status of the relationship, and it sounds like you are on the right path with the counseling appointment and looking for resolution one way or another. Best of luck to you, you sound so exhausted and you deserve some peace and happiness.
posted by JenMarie at 11:20 AM on August 30, 2010

You could combine the insights of two comments:

Maybe they're his.

I'd contact the nanny first and ask if they were hers. After, if they aren't, all the advice above.

That is, in addition to asking the nanny, you could also ask him directly whether he ever wears panties. Tell him it wouldn't be a big deal, and you know some guys like to do that -- you're just curious.

After getting a clear answer to those two questions from those two people, then you can ask him: if they're not the nanny's, and he doesn't wear them, and they're not yours, where did they come from?
posted by John Cohen at 11:34 AM on August 30, 2010

I have to point out two things, because there are a LOT of people thinking that if the husband was cheating he wouldn't be so careless as to leave panties laying around.

1. With the problems in the current marriage, maybe he wants to get caught. Maybe he'd be relieved if this was the final straw that broke the camel's back and he wants the panties found.

2. He might want to keep the affair a secret, but quite often, the partner in the affair does not. I do not want to add to the idiotic "conniving woman" stereotype, but it is not uncommon for the person on-the-side to do somthing to make the affair come to light because then they feel their partner will be free to leave the marriage and be with them.
posted by Eicats at 11:47 AM on August 30, 2010

Those aren't panties. They're a Random Event Generator.

Do you have a friend or sister that you confide in who is impatient with your problems and wishes you would just get a divorce? Maybe they are catalyzing a reaction with their mystery ginch.

You get to pick what happens next. Stapling them to your bedroom door or dropping them on the therapist's table are probably not good picks.

wryly gives good calm sensible advice.
posted by Sallyfur at 11:50 AM on August 30, 2010

My wife found a strange woman's underwear in our laundry recently. She just flat-out asked me where they came from because they weren't hers. Don't know if that's the best approach for you, but I'm personally glad she just asked rather than let some irrational fear eat away at her for weeks. Of course, we live in a large apartment building with shared laundry facilities. I'm going to assume the OP has already scratched this possibility off their list because they own a house or something, but it's not specifically mentioned in the question.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:08 PM on August 30, 2010

Given that we're giving you a laundry list of scenarios here, what about this: Could it be that someone is screwing with you (or him)? Take Eicats scenario 2 but instead of the partner wanting an affair to come to light, the not-yet-partner wants to create the illusion of an affair coming to light because then they feel the other not-yet-partner will be out of the marriage and fair game.

This seems less likely than an actual affair or an innocent accident on the part of a house guest / dog sitter / whatever but I’ve known people who were so absolutely certain that someone was in a dysfunctional marriage that they needed to get out of that they might have pulled something like this. (And they weren't even interested in sleeping with either party.)
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 12:22 PM on August 30, 2010

i just found an unusual pair of underwear in my laundry a few weeks ago. not my wife's--way too small. i have no idea where they came from. i'm just glad that i found them, and not my wife.
posted by lester's sock puppet at 1:23 PM on August 30, 2010

You want a divorce and he does not, so he's not putting them there to trigger a divorce -- he could just say "I want a divorce too" and that'd be that.

If he is cheating on you in your own house, I can see how they got there, but otherwise it doesn't make sense from a cheating perspective unless he grabbed her underwear while picking up his own clothes, and put 'em on with the underwear inside a sleeve or something. Seems terribly unlikely.

So we're down to "cheating on you in your home", "wears them as a fetish and doesn't want you to know", and "babysitter/nanny." So, contact your babysitter and your nanny, to see if they left underwear there. To save face if the nanny says no, say "okay, they must be [your babysitter's name], then, thanks!" and vice versa.

Once you've ruled that out (assuming it isn't theirs), you pick a moment to ask him about it, and ask "Oh, hey, do you have any idea who these belong to?" You should be able to tell if he's lying, right?

Final note: just because you did a full basket of laundry doesn't rule out them belonging to a babysitter or whatnot, as things get stuck. Rule it out by contacting those people.
posted by davejay at 2:37 PM on August 30, 2010

If I was cheating, I'd make for damn sure that everyone involved left with all undies and other items accounted for.

What if the person you were cheating with was tired of being told you were going to leave your spouse or was tired of being the dirty little secret so they threw them in there to force the issue. That was my first thought, but I would still ask anyone that might have been a female spending the night at your house. Underwear has a way of getting shoved aside and missed in my laundry basket or just showing up in odd places in general. But yes the timing given the already very rocky state of your marriage makes me think you are probably right, but that's a probably with a lot of exceptions.
posted by whoaali at 3:35 PM on August 30, 2010

Don't ask him. He won't tell you the truth even if he knows.
Leave them hunging somewhere in a place where he may see them, and see his reaction, or if they dissapear suddenly.
Keep working hard in your relationship, as he is realy trying. I have been through a divorce, you don't even realize the hell you'll be going into and your kid.
posted by zulo at 5:05 PM on August 30, 2010

I will add to those who believe that the nanny is the most likely source. I do laundry in a shared home, and about once every three loads, I end up with someone else's laundry in my stuff. It was a white lace shirt in with my sheets today. I'm sure we all check the washer after taking our clothes out, and I look in the washer before I put stuff in, so I'm not sure where the secret compartment is. But I could easily imagine something of hers ending up in circulation.

I would trust your instincts most of all. It doesn't sound like you have suspicions.
posted by salvia at 7:18 PM on August 30, 2010

Well, since we are looking at all possibilities no matter how obscure here...working off the crossdressing front have you had any male visitors recently you didn't consider may be a possibility?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:31 PM on August 30, 2010

I've had a random sock or pair of underwear get stuck high up on the side of the washing machine, only to re-emerge a week or two later when I did the next load of clothes. It may be that the timeline is wider than you think. However, it does start to head into that perfect storm of coincidence.
posted by midwestguy at 6:45 AM on August 31, 2010

I have my own washer and dryer that I've been using for the last month and a half. The last time I went to the laundromat was in a different city two months ago. I am suddenly in possession of a mystery pillowcase that I found wrapped up in sheets that I swear I've used and washed much more recently than the last time I did my laundry at the laundromat. I am single and no one who has stayed at my house recently has brought their own pillowcase. Explanation: laundry gnomes.

If the friend's girlfriend or the nanny left them at your house weeks ago and they were hidden behind something, whoever found them would have logically just tossed them in the laundry without realizing they weren't yours. So there are a lot of explanations that don't mean your husband is cheating.
posted by MsMolly at 7:59 AM on August 31, 2010

I love you. But I was doing laundry the other day and I found a pair of panties that were not mine.

The words "I love you" should never be followed by the word "but."
posted by allkindsoftime at 9:10 AM on August 31, 2010 [8 favorites]

Maybe he's having phone sex with someone and they sent him some panties. A friend who worked in phone sex used to do that a lot for clients. As to why he would leave them for you to find in the laundry, some of the suggestions about wanting to be caught might apply.

I'm sorry for your situation. I found some panties at an ex's once (when he was not an ex) and it was a really strange feeling. Still no idea if it was someone before or during our relationship.
posted by BibiRose at 4:39 AM on September 1, 2010

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