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Why does he hide an ex?

Karen wrote:

This is a long story, but I really need help. I've been married to my husband for 1 year and together with him for 4 years. At the beginning of relationships you discuss past loves, etc. I don't remember exactly, but somewhere along the line I must have asked if he still kept in contact with one particular ex. This is an ex he dated for 8 months in high school and she cheated on him when he went to basic training with his friend. He casually said no, and that he hasn't talked to her for a few years. Okay, fine.

Well, a year into our relationship, I found this ex's phone number in our apartment. I confronted him and it all blew up. Every time I asked him why he lied or what they talked about, he always said, "I don't know." It almost broke us up, but after about 1 year of distrust, I was finally able to say I completely trusted him. Now we've been married for a year and my husband is serving in Afghanistan. The problem is that when he sent home a box of stuff he didn't need anymore I found a hurtful thing on his cell phone. Both of his ex's home and cell phone numbers. Ouch!

This is a man who promised me three years ago that it was all over, and the second he leaves for training for military deployment, he puts her numbers back in his cell phone. Being suspicious, I logged onto his MSN messenger account and found her as one of his contacts...and in his email. The only thing I can't get into is his Army email, which he's used since the day he started his deployment. Well, I found a very troubling email in his old account he sent to her just a few weeks before his deployment.

I'm so devestated that he suggested seeing her...I just can't believe my eyes. I'm sure you hear this a lot, but this is a man who would give his life for me. When he found out about his deployment he wanted to move up our wedding so we could be married when he left. This news devestated my parents, and his parents who believed so deeply that he has and always will love me. My husband constantly talks about building a house and starting a family together. He even suggested renewing our vows when he got home because, "I want to renew our vows in front of all our friends and family."

I'm just so hurt and feel like the past 4 years have been a lie. The hardest part is that I haven't been able to talk to him about this since I found out, one week ago. I can't sleep, I can't eat and I go from angry, to sad, to acceptance. I want so despritely to believe that he hasn't been in contact with her all these years and that it is just something he did upon the news of his deployment. I'm so confused and then when I read your article, I came to the realization that this is a serious problem.

I love him so much and I know how much he loves me, I believe that with all my heart. I just don't want to find her number for a third time when I'm pregnant with our first child. All trust has been lost and right now I find it impossible to imagine a future of any sort with him. He will be home in 1 month for a 2-week leave. I've waited so long to see him, and it's all ruined. I'm not excited, I'm scared and terrified that everything I've known and loved is a thing of the past.

Again, just by the things he says to me, I know he loves me...but I don't understand why he can't give this meanless relationship up? Even more worrisom, how could he lie to me? He is such a caring man and I can't imagine that he wouldn't feel any guilt about his actions. He just told me a week ago how lucky we were because so many people he is serving with are going through marital problems...I just don't understand what's going on. Please help!

Dear Karen

If he's doing this now, what will he be doing once the baby is born? Or in five years? Ten years?

You need to have this conversation with him. Because once it's got so bad you are spying on him, it ain't going to get a whole lot better without serious effort from both of you.

You need to decide if you are prepared to share him or not - and you need to be thinking about what you will do when he makes yet more promises ... that you just don't believe.

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