Q: I have been with my husband nearly 20 years. We have never been unfaithful to each other and he has always been a very warm loving man. He is a delivery man and installs appliances as part of his work. We started arguing towards the end of last summer mainly because I was very unhappy in my job and had become distant.
On one occasion, when he had been paying a lot of attention to a girl at a party, we had a blazing row when we got home. He was quite drunk and said he was in no fit state to chat and we could talk when we both had sleep. I stayed up, saw his phone on the table, and I thought I'd check it as he was behaving very strangely. I didn't think I would find anything but I was shocked when I found text messages to a woman I didn't know. I started to read through them and at the beginning they seemed very innocent.
She said it was lovely to meet him when he had delivered an appliance to her house last summer. I have given you the full transcript of the texts so you can see how things unfolded. At one stage he said he would be around to see her in 10 minutes. In a subsequent text he said he felt guilty and he hoped she didn't think he was using her. They ended when she asked him how he was that day and he told her he was very busy.
I totally lost it. I was awake all night and I confronted him the next day. He said he was afraid to tell me but intended to when we got back from our holiday two weeks later.
He said when he first made a delivery to her house she was very flirty. She signed for the machine and asked if she could text him. He said sure and thought nothing of it. The texts started the same day and he just gave short replies. Then she called his work and said the new machine was broken and it needed to be replaced, so my husband had to return to her house to replace the new machine. That was the text to say he'd be around in 10 minutes.
He was in her house for 25 minutes replacing and installing the machine. He said she was dressed provocatively and he felt uncomfortable. He told her he was married and to stop texting him, she replied 'it's just texting'. He said it was not right and to please stop and he left. I have proof of this from his manager as he also told her what had happened.
He said that she persisted in texting him and after telling her to stop she didn't; he thought she was ridiculous and stupid. I asked him about the texts when he said that she was hot, and about meeting up, and he said he never met her. (His first language is not English.)
So the questioning went on continuously every single day for months. I was convinced that something more was going on, and one day I snapped and rang her. I said I wanted to know what happened between her an my husband, [and] she said they had sex that one time. I was devastated but she didn't seem to care and was so bitchy. I called her every name under the sun, including whore, and she started shouting at me to have sex with my husband and hung up. I went into a dark spiral after that, even leaving home and returning, and then throwing him out, which lasted one day. The arguments were constant. Many times he would sleep in his car. I became obsessed with her on Facebook and then one day I saw her driving past me. I followed her and confronted her in the street. I called her a liar and we had words.
I eventually walked away but I didn't feel better, just upset and felt I had let myself down.
We are still arguing seven months later and I can't let it go. She actually went into the shop where he works, but he left and went to the store room until she was gone. He rang me and told me straight away, and she has been told by the manager she is not welcome in the shop anymore. He admits he was wrong in texting her and keeps apologising.
I am so distraught that I can't let it go. It's ruining my life and my marriage and I now have high blood pressure. I keep hearing her words 'we had sex just that one time' in my head.
Why am I taking the word of someone like her over my husband? Please help me. I love my husband and at this point I just don't know what to do. I can't afford therapy.
Mary replies: The only people who actually know what happened between this woman and your husband are the two of them, and they both have told you different stories. I note that the texts between them were always initiated by her and never him. He was usually quite abrupt with her although he did tell her that she was hot and asked to meet for a chat.
But no matter what happened this woman has succeeded in turning your life upside down, and things must be pretty unbearable for your husband also.
Seven months of constant arguing and rehashing the same story will be doing huge damage to your marriage. Do you really want to lose him, and by doing so let her have the last word? Because if you did break up you can be sure that somehow she would find out.
It really is time that you draw a line in the sand about all of this and start looking forward, not continually back. This woman admired, flirted and pursued your husband and that was very wrong. It is easy to accept compliments and we all like to be admired and sought after. He did his best to get her to back off, and even reported her to his manager which cannot have been easy.
You love him and want to be with him. Your actions are not showing this. You wrote me a very long and detailed email and I'm sure you felt better afterwards. In future when you want to rehash the story once again do yourself a favour and set aside a quiet time, on your own, when you can write down all your thoughts. Stop after 15 minutes and then put it out of your head and get on with living your life, which is much more important. Do this three times a week and after some time you will find that you only need to do it twice a week.
Eventually you will be able to let go of it all. When that time comes read through what you have written, tear it all up and put it in the garbage. Then tell yourself that you have won.
Sunday Indo Living