Condom Evidence

10 Dec

Letterbalm CondomsDear LetterBalm: My husband and I have been happily married – or so I thought – for almost 25 years. Both of us are professionals, and our two children are grown and into their own lives and careers. Recently, I had to search for something in my husband’s desk. I found condoms hidden there. Years ago, my husband had a vasectomy, so we haven’t used condoms since the birth of our second child. I searched again specifically and found he had bought condoms again. I think I have every reason to believe my husband is cheating on me while I’m at work. But I’m scared and at a loss for words. How do I approach this?

–Condom-Averse

Ms. L.B. sympathizes with what you’re going through. You’re understandably in shock and anger. You need to get this emotionally-tinged reality resolved in a responsible, rational way. First, if you haven’t already discussed it with family and friends, don’t. Second, privately see a counselor to get it clear in your mind what you want to do, including acknowledging the uncomfortable notion that you may have contributed to the situation. (Have you withheld sex? Are you cold to your husband? If sex is uncomfortable, are you exploring medical/psychological reasons why? Have you let the closeness in your marriage wane?) Third, when you’re calm and centered, have a quiet conversation – rehearsed in advance, if necessary – with your husband. Remember that he’s been your best guy for the better part of a quarter of a century and both of you are owed honesty and a chance to explain:

Gilbert, can we have a calm, quiet talk about something major? It seriously threatens our marriage. A couple of months ago, I found condoms hidden in your desk when I was looking for our tax receipts. I know you’ve replenished them, so please don’t deny or make excuses – you’re too honest a man for that. I didn’t confront you because I needed time to sort things out. I’ve been seeing a counselor to help me. As I see it now, there are three issues: Why you’re sleeping with other women, our respective roles in the state of our marriage, and what we want to do about it going forward. I know this sounds all calm and rational – and, I’m trying to keep a lid on my emotions – but I’m in terrible pain and very sad and angry. This is the worst I’ve felt during all the years we’ve been together. Why did you do this? Are you in love with someone else? Please, I’m asking you to talk to me because I love you and I thought you loved me, but we have to be honest with each other, as painful as it is.

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