I found an suspicous instant message and think my husband is cheating

For the past few months, my husband has become very close to a female coworker. He said that she was going through a lot of issues at home and at work and she needed someone to talk to. He has had female friends before we met, so it didn’t bother me too much in the beginning. But the time they spent on the phone after work lengthened, and although he would tell me what they spoke of, I still had some issues with how close I felt they were becoming.

Well, earlier this week, while looking in his phone with him sitting next to me, I looked into his instant messages without him knowing. I found an email to her from him saying "The house is clear. I’m ready and waiting." I guess my reaction wasn’t the greatest, and the excuse he gave me was "I was telling her to come over the house for lunch." He’s a housing inspector and frequently has lunch back at home, and they work together very closely at work and do eat lunch at times together. I just don’t think our house is appropriate. Anyhow, he countered my anger by saying he said I was "looking for evidence and found it and wasn’t listening to him because I chose to believe the worst." Long story short, he made me feel horrible and I apologized to him.... and the girl because he told her he couldn’t call her anymore because of how I felt. I didn’t want her feelings on my conscious.

Well, what a fool I was. This morning, while he was emailing me a picture, by mistake he emailed me a picture he took of this same girl, in just her bra and underwear, in our bedroom. She was standing with her back to him in her thongs. Before I showed him I asked him if he had ever cheated in our relationship, and he said no. I then sent him the picture and told him to rethink his answer. When he called me back, he sounded very distraught, and said it was a bad joke, that he just stuck the camera in the room while she was changing to go straight to the gym from our house after lunch one day. Far fetched to me, but what really did it for me was the caption that he sent to two of his male friends "This is my new piece of a@@, and it tastes like sweet butter." Now he says that’s all part of the joke and he realizes that it was wrong to do and he’s so sorry, but I am devastated. We’ve been married for 5 years and have two children, and not once in the 10 years we’ve been together has he ever given me reason not to trust him, but the evidence against him is overwhelming.

However, to his credit, he told the girl everything, and she called me very upset at him and recanted his story, saying she had originally said she would change in the bathroom, but he said the room was fine. She told him to erase the picture off his phone and believed he did, but now faced with the fact that he sent it to friends and that I have seen it, she’s ashamed and hurt. She was bawling on the phone to me.

Could they be telling the truth? Would I be a fool to try to trust him again? Does he sound like he’s lying and really did sleep with her?

Response:

Sorry to hear about your situation.

Your question so clearly highlights the problem that occurs when trying to determine if a spouse cheated. Without absolute proof, a cheating spouse will almost always lie about infidelity. And most people are too willing to entertain an outlandish lie rather than accept a devastating truth. Unfortunately, cheating spouses know this and use it to their advantage (see catch a cheating spouse).

And while confronting your husband made sense at the time, it was probably a mistake in retrospect (a mistake that most people make). Revealing your suspicions before you have concrete proof works to his advantage. Unfortunately, there is now almost no way to find out what really happened, and you are left in the dark not knowing exactly what to believe (see cheater’s paradox).

Is he lying? Most likely.

Can you know for sure? Not really.

No matter what happened, counseling is now probably your best option for dealing with this situation.

We wish we had better advice to offer.

 cheating husband | denies infidelity | emails | life shattered | lying husband | text messages | unpleasant discovery

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