Taking Yes for an Answer

By Cheryl Lavin

February 28, 2020 4 min read

We recently heard from "Skeptical," who wondered if he had reason to suspect his wife was cheating or if he was just being paranoid.

His evidence included numerous calls to an old boyfriend, whom she claimed she wasn't in contact with, hundreds of texts to a different man and a "platonic" date with a third man that lasted till 3 a.m.

Other red flags included a conveniently lost cellphone and imaginary friends who were supposed to back up her story but didn't actually exist.

In his wife's defense, Skeptical admits she's very friendly.

"At times I'm able to dismiss these incidents as perfectly normal for a woman as outgoing as my wife. Then my logical brain kicks in and tells me she's cheating on me and I should no longer trust her.

"I know something has to be done to save my sanity and our marriage. Here's my question: Do I have valid reasons for my insecurities?"

The obvious answer is yes!

There's friendly and then there's lying. There's friendly and then there's carrying on long-distance flirtations and having sleepovers. There's friendly and then there's cheating and making your partner think he's imagining things.

Your wife sees you're in agony, and she lets you suffer. She tries to make you think you're overreacting when, in fact, you're underreacting. She's gaslighting you.

I understand your two goals are saving your marriage and saving your sanity. But you can't have a real marriage without honesty on her part and trust on yours. You have nothing until she's ready to acknowledge her lies and apologize for them. If she does, then it's up to you to accept her apology or not.

If you do accept her apology, can you trust that she'll never deceive you again? Is she willing to fundamentally change her behavior? These are the issues you have to confront.

If you have to choose between your sanity and your marriage, I don't think it's much of a choice.

Here's what readers had to say:

— Your wife is lying and cheating, and you should kick her out of your house and file for divorce ASAP. She's playing you for a fool, and you're letting her get away with it! — Nancy

— Skeptical is an unduly naive gentleman who has been given every reason to feel distrustful. — Sean

— Life is too short to stay in a marriage of lies. — Jan

— Skeptical needs a new name: Gullible. He needs to see a lawyer, get his financial ducks in a row and then leave. His wife is not overly friendly; she's cheating and laughing at him for his trusting ways and for buying her excuses. Liars don't stop lying, and she's done so repeatedly with skimpy, unbelievable explanations. She gives women a bad image. — Lynne

— He should stop making excuses for her, confront her about his belief that she's being unfaithful and then decide what to do based on how she responds. If she continues to devalue him and the relationship, he should leave her and get on with his life. — Linda

— Skeptical states, "I know something has to be done to save my sanity and our marriage." I see the two as mutually exclusive. He needs to save his sanity by showing her the door, and soon. — William

Got a problem? Send it, along with your questions and rants, to [email protected] And check out my new e-book, "Dear Cheryl: Advice from Tales from the Front."

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