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ASK ELLIE: After long-ago affair, wife now being mis-labelled by her husband | Regional-Lifestyles | Lifestyles

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Q:

I was single and dating in my 20s. When I got into a relationship with a married man, he told me that he was not happy and was going to leave his wife. But I knew that it was never going to happen.

I saw different single men as well back then, but only that one married man. It was about eight years after I was in that relationship with the married man, when I started dating the man who’d become my husband.

After finding my husband, I’ve never been interested in anyone else. I married him when I was in my early 30s and we had our daughter after we married.

My husband and I had spoken to each other about our pasts, and my former relationship with the married man had never seemed to be an issue – until now.

After 20 years of marriage my husband is calling me a cheater. He only had two girlfriends in his past – one while in high school and one after, while he was in college.

I really don’t understand how I would be considered a cheater when I never cheated on him and was never thinking of finding someone new.

I keep on being told by him that, “once a cheater, always a cheater”.

He tells me that guys keep checking me out when he and I are together. For the last five-plus years, he has been tracking my comings and goings at work.

I work full-time and my husband has a paper route and works at home. He has never had a full-time job since even before we got married. As my father had said to me, I am the supporter (male role of the family) while my husband stays home.

Please help me understand his comments.

– Not A Cheater!

A:

Fact: A single person who has an affair with a married person, is not defined as a cheater. Reality: Having been involved in a man’s adultery is not a great reflection on your past integrity. Saving grace: In your own marriage, you’ve been faithful throughout and still are.

Yet, your husband has become very negative and uncomfortable about your past relationship. His current behaviour shows significant insecurity within himself plus distrust of you.

After 15 years of a solid marriage and having a daughter together, he nevertheless became uncomfortable about men observing you and doesn’t trust you when youre away from the home.

Despite having gone to college, he has never had a full-time job and relies on you as the financial head-of-household. These are two more factors that likely add to his mistrust and worries.

It’s an uncomfortable atmosphere for you both. The best solution would be if you two could get marital counselling that would relieve you both from his suspicions and fears.

Unfortunately, seeking counselling might trigger him to believe you’re thinking of leaving him. I suggest turning the situation around if at all possible, by showing concern for him.

Try to build up his self-confidence. Ask him to meet you after your work. If possible, have dinner at an outdoor restaurant or get take-out to have at home, to make it a special outing.

If the “cheater” word is repeated, tell your husband that you regret having been involved with that man’s cheating, but that the label is wrong.

You’ve never cheated on your husband and never will. He needs reassurance to counter his vulnerable feelings about his (self-chosen) role in the marriage.


Feedback regarding the married man who felt the pandemic made a divorce from his wife inevitable (March 20):

Reader: With children ages 11 and eight, why don’t they just stay together until the children finish high school? Isn’t that the best way?

Can’t we put kids first anymore and have our self-interest delayed until a bit later?

With current reports of so many suicides among teenagers, so many angry kids out there, it’s so sad that we as adults and parents are forgetting to sacrifice.

Ellie: Divorce affects children of all ages. Much of their reaction depends on how the situation is handled and how they’ve been parented. As described in a healthline.com article in November 2020, “while parental separation can cause trauma, so can turmoil in the home”.

Perhaps, surprisingly, it also states that ages six to 12 are the toughest ages for children to deal with a separation or divorce.


Ellie’s tip of the day:

  • When long-ago behaviour causes a partner’s distrust, look to current reasons for the partner’s insecurity.

Read Ellie Monday to Saturday. Send relationship questions to [email protected]. Follow @ellieadvice.

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