Does my hus­band have a se­cret side?

The Star (Kenya) - - Sasa - BY ROWAN PELLING

Hi, Rowan, I think of my­self as hav­ing a very happy and trust­ing mar­riage. I mar­ried my hus­band when I was 39 and we’ve been to­gether for 12 years. He was mar­ried for ten years be­fore he met me and he talked about his mar­riage and pre­vi­ous girl­friends. So I was shocked when I found some emails on his com­puter from a woman he has ob­vi­ously known well for decades, al­though he has never men­tioned her name or any­thing about her to me. Her mes­sages were flirty and in­ti­mate, men­tion­ing his first wife, his chil­dren, her own fam­ily and me. One talked of a re­cent lunch. I feel dis­traught; there’s a huge se­cret side to him I never sus­pected. How should I tackle this?

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I can see why you feel that some­one has lobbed a grenade into your happy life. Dis­cov­er­ing your other half has a part of their life they keep se­cret can only be a body blow.

There may be some en­tirely in­no­cent ex­pla­na­tion as to why your hus­band hasn’t men­tioned this woman be­fore, but I am strug­gling to think of one given the in­ti­mate tone of her mes­sages. It is clear that your part­ner and she share some form of per­sonal in­ti­macy and have done for some while. That does not mean, of course, that they have a cur­rent sex­ual re­la­tion­ship, and there was noth­ing in the mes­sages that con­firmed they were hav­ing a love af­fair. I use the word cur­rent be­cause one thought that leaps to mind is that your spouse and this woman might have had an af­fair in the past.

The fact that she men­tions his first wife sug­gests that — had such a re­la­tion­ship hap­pened — it could have been in the dis­tant past, rather than dur­ing the course of your own mar­riage. I must ad­mit, were that the case, it still seems deeply pe­cu­liar he never men­tioned her.

Of course, th­ese kinds of in­ti­mate friend­ships can be per­ceived as be­ing ev­ery bit as adul­ter­ous as the more phys­i­cal kind, which is why they are of­ten kept se­cret. Th­ese things do hap­pen I must say, I won­der if you re­ally did trust your hus­band.

A woman who feels the sort of con­fi­dence in her spouse you de­scribe in your let­ter is surely un­likely to roo­tle through his emails ? Clearly you are go­ing to have to tell your hus­band that you have dis­cov­ered th­ese emails. Oth­er­wise you will go mad with un­cer­tainty.

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