Laying across the dining table is the phone bill. The white and black papers list charges that span seven pages. Someone has been calling your house and his cell phone several times a day. The number looks familiar, but you’re uncertain. You ask your spouse if he knows anything about the numbers, and he simply states, it was your friend calling and you weren’t available. In your mind you question; you wonder why she was calling him, but you push the feeling aside and move on.
Life goes on for weeks, months maybe years until you feel thoroughly depressed, crazy and don’t know where to turn. Every time you question your husband he accuses you of being paranoid, and your best friend soothes your fears with kindness pills and sweet little texts; unfortunately, you turn inwards and blame yourself. You just don’t know what’s going on. You are living in a psychedelic dream world of secrets, and you feel like there’s no escape. You are not alone.
It might surprise you that this scene is becoming common place. With the wide availability of texting, social book marking sites, e-mails and cell phones, some people are falling into a dangerous game of cat and mouse. Technology may provide the method for cheating in today’s changing world. Cheaters have found ways to live secret fantasy lives with married men and women. The cold hard truth is that there are many men and women playing a game with sweating dynamite; the fuse lit by the very people they call friend, sister, brother or spouse.
Recently, I became painfully aware of this situation between a group of friends. These friends were barely coping due to the aftermath of an affair. One husband and one wife, a best friend, were having an affair. This relationship caused an un-repairable division between friends. The guilty were angry that they had been found out, the victims were at a loss of how to move forward, and all of the children involved were confused as to why their parents were no longer on speaking terms.
A few days after learning about this group of friends, I was sitting at my favorite coffee spot. The barista, a casual acquaintance of mine, looked shaken. She was moving a little slower than usual and her brilliant smile had faded to a flat faced smirk. I was concerned about her change in countenance and questioned her. She had just found out that her best friend, Sally, was having an affair with her husband. She had been married for 17 years.
According to CBS News, 10.7 percent of the people over 15 and living in the United States are divorced, and divorces remain on the rise, according to the United States Census Bureau. It is likely that everyone in the United States knows at least one person who is divorced, and it is just as likely that at least one of those people is a family member. Marriage remains threatened and that should scare everyone.
Your Spouse May be Cheating
There are almost always warning signs; although, we may over look them. In retrospect warning signs are easy to see, but in the moment, they may just appear as uneasy feelings or tension.
Does your spouse receive secret e-mails, texts, regularly participate in secret IM chat or live life inside a role playing game (RPG)? Chatting, e-mailing, texting and RPGs are not necessarily bad things or warning signs. They have their purpose, and are great for business, as well as for growing friendships; however, a spouse who is unwilling to share e-mails and texts may be keeping secrets. Sometimes, e-mails and texts may be flirtatious. Don’t fool yourself, there is no such thing as harmless flirting, and sexting friends should be completely off limits!
You may notice that your spouse has become cold or withdrawn. Couple time may have become limited or have come to a complete stand still. When communication stops there is always a problem. It is important that married couples share their days, dreams and future plans. When little talks, casual touches and “I love yous” are forgotten; trouble is close behind.
Has your spouse recently lost his job, been demoted at work or had his hours cut back? According to CBS News, a down economy is a contributing factor to the increase in infidelity and divorce. A person who has gone through some kind of trauma at work may feel vulnerable. Vulnerability can lead to comfort seeking. Your spouse may seek the attention of close friends instead of turning to you. This is a dangerous situation that can get out of hand easily.
Other Warning Signs
Unexpected classes or seminars
Strange addresses in you GPS
A drop in your bank account
Consistently paying for someone else’s food
Going through the motions
What to Do
It is important that you realize you are not alone. Unfortunately, a cheating situation can come from anywhere; it may be your best friend, your wife, brother or sister. The first thing you should do is talk to someone. Don’t feel embarrassed, stupid or afraid.
Locate a counselor, family member or a friend and talk. Vocalize your fears. You may be over reacting and a friend can help you see that, or a friend may have noticed the same things you have. Communication is extremely important. Remember you are not alone!
Speak to your spouse. This may not be the first place you want to turn. A cheating spouse is not likely to confess to you. If you feel that he is involved with someone, speak up and question. It is okay. A non-cheating spouse may be hurt that you were concerned, but he should understand. If he isn’t cheating, discuss the things that made you feel concerned, and together, work out a plan to repair your marriage.
If he is cheating, the ball is in your court. You will have a lot of decisions to make and a lot of questions to work through. If you want to save your marriage, be honest and open with each other. Ask hard questions and except painful answers.
Cheating spouses have demolished the trust in a relationship. It is going to take a lot of effort to restore it, and it may never be what it was before. Set guidelines. If he was texting, or e-mailing his lover make sure that you are allowed to see all future e-mails or texts. This may sound controlling, but trust is earned, and honestly he did it to himself.
The most important thing you need to do is breathe, try to find your smile and if possible move ahead. Tell yourself, daily, that this did not happen because you weren’t good enough, or because you weren’t pretty enough. This happened because of your spouse’s selfishness and this is NOT your fault.
CBS News: Divorce Rates Rise Slightly In the US