Tom in Washington writes:
About a year and a half ago my wife went on a business trip to Florida. Recently I have come across evidence that suggests she had at least a one-night stand while she was there. I have dropped hints here and there referencing her trip, and suggesting that she was there for more than business. The hints were very subtle, but unmistakable.
I have always told my wife that I would be honest with her, and all I ask of her is the same.
Do you think she has picked up on my comments and will confess her indiscretion? I do not want to just come out and accuse her. Conflict of this nature is not my way. Discussion is. Should I just leave things as they are, or should I continue dropping small innocuous hints every once in a while?
I completely understand and sympathize with your dilemma. Sometimes what you don’t know can drive you crazy. Suspicion has a nature all its own, and if you feed it – it will grow.
Your wife has picked up on your comments. The passive-aggressive way in which you are handling this is not proving to be effective, however. She will not just come out and discuss or confess what happened during that time. She will, however, become angry and argumentative if you continue dropping hints.
If discussion is truly your way, and you really want to have this conversation, then the best approach you can take is a direct one. Don’t come right out and accuse her of any wrongdoing, but be very honest. Explain to her that you have come across some information that is leading you to certain conclusions, and you want to know what really happened.
Part of you has already convicted her. Most of you is unsure what to do with that judgment. To top it all off, I have noticed that you didn’t pose the big question – the one at the heart of this matter – to me, either.
Before you ask her the hard questions, there are a few you need to ask yourself: What will you do with her answers? If she claims innocence, will you believe her? If she confesses guilt, do you want your marriage badly enough to work through the pain of betrayal?
Right now, even with your concerns, your marriage has a stable and loving future. That means you have answered “yes” to one or both of the questions posed above. But how you create that happy future is entirely up to you.