Dear Counsellor, I have been married for 12 years to a wonderful man, and we have two kids. One night the devil got a hold of me and while he was sleeping I used his thumbprint and opened his phone, and was scrolling until I got into his messages. I found a chat with a young woman that was concerning, and I searched for her on his Instagram and saw more messages between them, including where he sent reference numbers for money he had transferred to her. He’s telling her in the messages how good she makes him feel, so I messaged her from my account and asked her to leave my husband alone. But this rude girl told me to mind my business and said I’d be the only one leaving if I wanted, and I should learn to share! I still haven’t said anything to my husband, but I don’t know what to do. I’m more concerned that he’s sending her money that’s meant for my kids. What can I do to get this girl to leave?
Thank you for joining in on The Couch. Your big question shouldn’t be “what can I do to get this girl to leave”, as much as it should be “what can I do to find out what’s really going on with my marriage”. And as to who is doing the leaving, that’s dependent on what you find out, and what you choose to do. Your first move really shouldn’t have been you messaging this woman, it should really have been you questioning him — he needs to explain. I am concerned that you’ve indicated that you are “more concerned” about his “sending her money” when obtaining clarity about possible infidelity is very important.
Cellular phones certainly have contributed to contentions in marriages. I’d say it is best when there’s an open-access policy between spouses. You shouldn’t have to feel that “the devil got a hold” of you, to browse your husband’s phone. And he should be able to browse yours too. I know the evils of the Internet and social media are real, impacting many marriages. Yet, there is some handiness too. It may be that one such is the preservation of evidence of a slipping spouse. Saved messages can be helpful toward knowing the truth, and salvaging a relationship. It doesn’t have to be about accusations, it can be, “here’s evidence that we need assistance”.
Speak to your husband. Be strategic in your approach, to give him the opportunity to be honest. Approach him with concern, not with hostility — you need the truth. Let him explain the things you’ve found out, and what his intentions are. He needs to acknowledge, show remorse and deal with the consequences. Yes, you will have to confess to using his phone too, but he’s probably already aware that you did. Chances are the other woman has already alerted him to the fact that you know about the relationship.
Get help. You’ll probably need an objective third party to help facilitate the full truth coming out, and the changes that may need to take place. Proposing to see a counsellor can also show you where your husband’s mind is regarding your marriage.
Be prepared for anything. It may be that too much has happened between them, and you choose to get out. It may be that your husband chooses this woman. Whatever happens, the effort is to get the truth, to make a proper decision for yourself and for your children. Disregard the suggestions by this woman. And know that things have already significantly changed in your family and in your life.
Trials can lead to great triumphs, and amazing marriages usually have amazing stories of humps and bumps. Whatever happens, know that honesty is worth pursuing and defending. I pray that you both find a healthy and happy resolution.
Get on The Counsellor’s Couch with Rev Christopher Brodber, who is a counsellor and minister of religion. E-mail questions to email@example.com.