I Find Myself Constantly Trying To Spy On My Spouse Since His Affair, But This Just Makes Him Angry

By: Katie Lersch:  It’s normal to have some doubts when you’ve caught your spouse in an affair that he is now claiming is completely over.  After all, how are you just supposed to believe him when he’s been lying all along?  And if the affair was so important to him that he risked detection, does it make sense that he would break it off – just like that?

Many of us will try to approach our husbands looking for reassurance.  Some husbands give it.  Others are resentful that we can’t let it go.  Regardless of the response, many of us still have our doubts.  Because for a while, it truly doesn’t matter what he says.  Any words out of his mouth are going to be questioned by us, simply because an affair is such a huge lie.

So, if we can’t get our information from him, what does this leave us with? Many of us figure that this leaves us with spying and trying to find out any helpful information on our own.  But very few people react positively when they find out that someone has been spying on them.  So you are sometimes caught in a situation where you feel that you need to spy in order to find out what you need to know, but this is just one more aspect of your marriage that is being damaged.

A wife might explain this situation: “I feel so stupid to admit this, but I did not suspect my husband of cheating.  I did not notice anything at all different.  The only reason I caught him is because I happened to be running errands and I walked by a restaurant and happened to look in the window.  I saw a man standing in line and I knew that it was my husband.  A woman was standing with him with her arm around his waist. So I stood there and watched and it was clear they were together.  Once they sat down, I walked up to the cash register so that my husband could see me.  Once we made eye contact, I left. He followed me but I would not turn around.  Since that time, he has begged me not to leave him.  He claims that he has told me everything that I wanted to know.  He comes right home after work.  Most of the time, he comes home for lunch or I meet him for lunch, so he clearly can not be continuing to cheat at lunch.  The problem is that there is this little voice telling me that he might still be cheating and that there is something I don’t know.  So I have taken to spying. I look on his phone, his email, and even his pager.  I’ve looked around in his car.  He has caught me in some of this, but not all of it.  And every time he does catch me, he acts either sad or angry.  He says that all I need to do is ask him and he will give me the information.  But he says that I can’t not trust him forever.”

I understand why you feel the need to check up.  I don’t know a wife who doesn’t feel this way.  I will admit that I suffered from some serious paranoia in the time period after my husband’s affair.  I assumed that every lateness meant that he was cheating. Or that every claim was a lie.  Not surprisingly, this lack of trust hurt our progress.  And I eventually stopped.  But in the beginning, I just truly could not help myself.

I eventually began to taper off on the spying when I realized that all this was doing was keeping me from moving forward.  It was taking time away from my children and it was only making me feel unhappy.  I wasn’t finding anything and I wasn’t sure if I should feel relieved or disappointed.  So I made a deal with myself. And with my husband.  If I had no reason to have suspicions, then I would not spy.  However, if he gave me a reason to wonder, then I would have at it.  He agreed with this and told me that all I had to do was ask him for access to anything.  He essentially gave my free reign on anything that I wanted to see.  That didn’t stop me from checking in on my own. though.

But do you know what I found?  Most of the time, claims of bad traffic or delays in getting home were legitimate.  I was just seeing wrongdoing in everything that was completely innocent.  Sometimes, people do get held up and are late for really innocent reasons.  Of course, it’s different if he’s ALWAYS late or you keep catching him in lies.  I don’t know your situation.  But in mine, there weren’t any huge red flags.  But I felt unsure anyway.

What I was reacting to was my inability to trust because of the pain of the affair.  I was caught off guard once and I didn’t want it to happen again.  But all of the distrust made me feel out of control and just produced more pain.  That’s why I think that, rather than spying and getting caught, it’s just better to agree to an open door policy.  Perhaps you agree not to overreact when there’s no obvious reason to do so, and he agrees to allow you access to whatever you need if there is a legitimate concern.

I think this method is preferable than going behind his back and spying.  Because doing so just perpetuates the distrust and the defensiveness.  And when you are trying to heal, what you want is open communication and a give and take instead of both of you keeping secrets or doing things behind each other’s back.  That just leads to more distrust and secrets.

I won’t tell you this is easy.  You have to make an effort to ask yourself if your concerns are truly valid. If they aren’t, you have to distract yourself or turn your attention elsewhere.  This can be hard because you’re fighting that crazy little voice in the back of your head.  In time, you learn how to quiet that voice.  But in the meantime, you just have to force yourself to stop and take it one day at a time. There’s more on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

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