Does my husband have a secret side?
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?
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.