Dear Person...Cheating & Hiding, a Letter About Phones

Maya Kieffer is a Writing Class Radio podcast student, bookseller, writing teacher in prison and the creator of Dear Person, an advice blog. Below, an excerpt from her blog.

Dear Person Week Four

Dear Person wants YOUR letter!!!

Dear Person,

I am a 35 year old woman and have been married to my husband for six years. We have two young boys, and our relationship has been strained for about a year. Lately I’ve become suspicious of my husband’s friendship with a coworker. 

He started mentioning her name more and more this year, and one night I couldn’t help myself.

texts dear person.jpg
 

I looked through his text messages and saw two messages from the co-worker saying “Here’s my number for when you’re  lonely :)” and “You know what they say about things people do when they’re drinking…”

There was no reply from my husband and these were the only texts from this woman. I don’t know if he’s cheating on me, but I have so many questions. Do I tell him I read his text messages? Should I ask if he’s cheating? I’m embarrassed that I read them at all but I want to confront him about this woman.

Sincerely,

Ashamed of Snooping

 

Dear Ashamed,

I feel pretty strongly about this. You must tell him. Yes, invading the privacy of someone you’ve committed to partnering with is a destructive move, but your mistake doesn’t negate your husband’s behavior. You cannot un-pick up the phone and un-read those text messages, so there’s no reason to dwell on the wrongness of the act itself. You’ve done it already. Shame will not serve you half as well as honesty.

I am not speaking from a place of judgement, Ashamed. Far from it. I can clearly remember a former me, hunched over an ex-lover’s phone, thumbs shaking and breath shallow as I clicked through his private conversations.

One morning (because I usually did this in the morning, while he was taking a shower) I found something I’d been looking for. It was a confirmation of a needling suspicion: my boyfriend had indeed been hiding something from me.

The striking thing about that morning is not what I found or that I found it, but how I felt once I did: relieved.

Relieved because the distance between us had a recognizable shape, something tangible to blame. Relieved that I was right, he’d stopped touching me for a reason, he was not just “stressed about work” —  and relieved because I didn’t have to continue pretending to be satisfied in my relationship. It was, for me, the excuse I thought I needed to blow shit up.

Click to read full Dear Person's full response.

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allison langer

Allison Langer, MBA, travelled the States taking pictures, later worked for a ski photographer, then took pictures of her friends and their babies. This was the start of a 20-year photography business. She also taught high school photography and entrepreneurship. As her students wrote their business plans, she wrote hers to create a podcast about her writing class, which is now Writing Class Radio.