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DrRussMD
DrRussMD, Board Certified MD
Category: Medical
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Experience:  Board certified Internal medicine and Integrative medicine. Many years of experience all areas.
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I have lost trust in my husband after 28 years of marriage

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I have lost trust in my husband after 28 years of marriage over an issue with a female ex colleague of his which came to a head earlier this year. They have stayed in touch for professional networking for 9 years now since my husband left that company, meeting for lunch and coffee and occasionally at ex colleague get togethers. She is also married with a family, but other than that I know nothing about her and have never met her. There have been a few issues over the years that have annoyed me about their ongoing friendship, but I have always shaken them off on the basis that I trusted my husband and felt we had a secure relationship and knew he would never have an affair. I still feel that he would not have a full blown affair with anyone, the issue is really more that I feel disrespected by the way they have sometimes interacted.
Earlier this year they arranged to meet up. I later discovered that they had been in touch for two months trying to arrange this, but it was not until two days before the arranged meeting that he said anything to me about it and was suitably vague about the details other than that he was meeting her for drinks after work. They had never met for drinks after work before to my knowledge. I was very unhappy about this. He always tells me well in advance of arrangements after work and asks if I mind out of courtesy which I usually don't unless there is a family issue. I suffered breast cancer almost four years ago with post treatment issues which sometimes get me down. This was the case that week and I was feeling very low. He had chosen to ignore this instead of being comforting as he usually is. I felt that he had no time for me, but time to meet this woman for drinks after work which really upset me. I said nothing at the time as I felt he would think I was overreacting. The meeting was cancelled at the last minute by her.
I couldn't help but feel angry as I felt he would have gone ahead and met her regardless of how I felt and in a fit of pique, searched his emails. They were not inappropriate as such, but there was more than I expected, although not excessive amounts, and they have a rather familiar manner to them eg greeting each other with 'wotcha', talking of meeting for 'drinkies', her saying how she'd love to see him, meeting would be lovely, joke emails and a bit of banter and one or two signed off with a 'x'. I found evidence of a last minute meet up for coffee which he went out of his way for at a time when I was suffering badly post treatment and which I know I was not told of. She seems to know of some of our family issues eg daughter graduating, a minor op my husband had and more hurtfully a scan I had for possible secondary cancer near her offices and she had sent an email to my husband saying he could go and have a coffee and a chat with her while he was waiting for me.
I raised the subject with him and told him how I felt and he was quite demeaning of my feelings and seemed to think I was accusing him of an affair, even though I explained I wasn't. He was quite defensive and accused me of being jealous and paranoid. He said she was just a useful contact for networking and there was nothing else to it. However, I later found more emails on his work laptop which made me feel fobbed off. Again, they were not inappropriate, but friendly more than professional and I worked out they had obviously met up and been in contact more than the once every year or two my husband had claimed. I raised the subject again and this time I was the one who was angry and he was quite taken aback. This time he was more reassuring and said he now realised how it was coming across to me and would be more open about contact with her in future.
Shortly afterwards, there was an ex colleagues do for the company they'd both worked for and she emailed to ask if he was going. He replied that he wasn't but perhaps they could meet another time. He showed me these emails voluntarily, 'just so you can see they are quite innocuous'. However, it seemed obvious she would have replied to his reply due to the wording and I felt he had hidden something. On checking for myself, she had indeed replied again saying meeting would be lovely and she now had more time for her social life again. Nothing particularly inappropriate, but why hide it after telling me he would be open and honest? It was in his deleted folder. I told him I knew about this and he got very angry, accusing me of accusing him of having an affair.
He has completely misunderstood why I am upset about this friendship and I don't know what to believe anymore. I have lost trust in him and my feelings for him have changed as I feel totally disrespected by him.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Dr. Phil, MD replied 1 year ago.
Thanks for this question
I totally agree with you here.
It is not appropriate and his firstl loyalty is to you.
I think he needs to terminate this relationship. I'm sorry that is just how it is.
Friends of the opposite sex are often inappropriate in marriage. Most people I know don't have them.
Expert:  DrRussMD replied 1 year ago.
HIWe can not tell you that your husband should terminate a friendship.This is something that must be worked out between the two of you.There are a number of reasons I say this, but one big one is that both of you need to be working this out. You talking to a stranger on the internet is not going to work it out. Both of you talking with a professional face to face can provide a healing environment and has a better chance to enhance the relationship.A clinical psychologist should be consulted for family therapy, to improve communications and understanding over this issue.That is a professional way to proceed.This also would serve to heal and strengthen your marriage, rather than having misunderstanding.Whether a professional agrees with you or him is not the point, but rather that this is an opportunity to increase the closeness in your marriage, and to increase his understanding, and yours, about what you both agree is inappropriate or not. Many stable marriages do have friendships, but not romantic friendships.Click a positive if you appreciate my expertise and recommendations.Let me know if you have more questions.
DrRussMD, Board Certified MD
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 64412
Experience: Board certified Internal medicine and Integrative medicine. Many years of experience all areas.
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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
HiThanks for your response. I agree that talking to a stranger on the Internet won't solve this. My reason for writing and giving some of the more specific details about things that have happened was to ascertain whether I have just cause for my concerns or whether I am being unreasonable in feeling the way I do about this friendship. Certainly my husband has made me feel I am being totally unreasonable and acting like a crazy pyscho woman! If I need to convince him to go to counselling with me - which will not be easy - I need to get it straight in my own mind that there is good reason for it.You say that " many marriages have friendships but not romantic friendships". Does that imply that you think this could possibly be a kind of romantic friendship? My initial gut feeling from what I have seen is that I am picking up on something a little bit more than a purely professional relationship. Again, not an affair, but however much my husband protests that there is nothing to it, how do I know what might possibly be going on in her mind?