What do you do when he is hanging around with guys that cheat on their wives? He says that he would never cheat on me, and I trust him but I don't know—there is always that thing in the back of my mind saying that he isn't telling the truth. I call him when he is out and it makes him mad. Then he stays out longer then he says he's going to. What should I do? Should I leave him alone and let him do whatever he wants and I stay home with the kids or what?
Clearly, one of the cornerstone building blocks of a good relationship is that of trust. And so, when the issue of "Can I trust you?" creeps into your partnership, it certainly can eat away at it.
Years ago, it was thought that affairs only occurred when marriages suffered from problems. We’ve now learned from research that many times they happen for lots of reasons other than a partnership being troubled; and many times, they just come about with no prior intention. So, it’s very understandable that you would be concerned that your spouse is hanging out with other guys who cheat.
The fact that he’s getting angry that you are calling him and therefore, staying out longer has nothing to do with the cheating thing; that behavior is a reaction to feeling controlled. No one likes feeling like they’re being "watched," especially guys. Your husband telling you that he’ll do what he wants is his way of re-asserting his personal freedom.
Let me address your statement regarding something "in the back of your mind saying he isn’t telling the truth." I do believe you need to pay attention to your intuition. But before you go running with it, you must be honest with yourself. Is it truly a "gut" feeling you are having or is this sense of disbelief something that plagues you at a low level all the time? If it is the latter, it may very well have more to do with a personal issue you have with trust.
On the other hand, if you don’t generally feel this way, you may want to check it out further. Rather than call to check up on him, at a calm, quiet time openly discuss your feelings, taking responsibility for your concerns and the need for reassurance.
There are some indicators you can look for that point to questionable behavior. Please notice that all of these are indicative of changes:
1. Is there time that is accounted for?
2. Has something in his behavior, including his moods, changed?
3. Do you feel that there are things he used to discuss with you that he no longer does?
4. Has he lost weight recently?
5. Does he seem to be more concerned with personal grooming?
6. Is he more "protective" of his cell phone?
When there is a breach in a relationship, it is horribly painful. However, please also know that it does not have to mean the end of the marriage. So, even if such a thing should be going on, get the help of a marriage counselor who has had experience helping in this area. With solid work, couples often find that their marriage is much stronger than it ever was!
Karen Sherman, Ph.D., (www.drkarensherman.com) is a practicing psychologist in relationships and lifestyle issues for over 20 years. She offers teleseminars and is the author of "Mindfulness and the Art of Choice: Transform Your Life" and co-author of "Marriage Magic! Find It, Keep It, and Make it Last."