Free Advice with Richard: Husband Discovers Love Letters To His Wife

Write in to get clarity on relationship difficulties, work/career questions, family troubles, or social life issues. Email me at rzradvise@gmail.com.

Issue of the Week: Husband Discovers Love Letters To His Wife

Dear Richard,

I'm married over 21 years to a woman I love. We married young and other than the usual tiffs and arguments have had a very good relationship from the beginning and still do. 

I few months ago I discovered letters to my wife written by a gentleman which appear to have been written approximately 16 year ago, when she was away on a fellowship.

I was shocked to see that the tone of the letters suggest that this relationship, though short lived, was rather intense. There was no clear language describing how intimate they may have been, but I sure get the feeling that there was more intimacy then she’s willing to admit. 

I confronted my wife about these letters, and she did admit to having seen this man and had an intimate connection with him for a couple of months, but they didn’t have a sexual relationship.  According to her, they became very close, talking and sharing their lives and enjoying some activities together. She assures me this is all there was and though she apologizes for her actions and tells me not to worry myself.

I find it difficult to get it out of my mind, and to be as attentive and loving to her as I was prior to this. Am I wrong to mistrust my wife over this? I find myself losing sleep about it and often drift at other odd times wondering if there was more then she’s willing to admit. How can I get this off my mind and go back to the care free state I had before my unfortunate discovery? 



Dear Sleepless, 

It’s understandable, that making such a discovery can easily put one into a state of shock and confusion, not to mention stir up hurt feelings and doubt. 

However, as you so clearly state in the beginning of your letter, that your relationship has always been a very good and loving one. Good relationships are always based on trust, and since you’ve always had that with your wife, why toss and turn in the night and be distracted by daydreams of what did or did not happen. 

If everything else in your relationship continues to run smoothly and amicably, try to focus on that. 

Your wife tells you that her involvement with this man was platonic. Let’s go along with this for a moment. What seems to me to be a better question is, what was going on with both of you that she felt the need to engage in such a relationship. Why would she keep a friend like this, a secret? 

There’s a fairly big hint in this that either communication, and or, some other issues were lurking in the background that were never acknowledged by either of you.

What was her need?  What was your reaction when you got the news of her trip, and the feelings you experienced during the time she was away? How did you handle it? Other than her not telling you after she returned, what other reasons might you harbor that makes her suspect? 

You are letting your suspicions of a very old incident tarnish a relationship that has proven itself to be loving and enduring, push you into an emotional place that can only lead to further distrust and other marital difficulties. 

Try making an effort to renew your caring and affectionate ways. She is still the loving wife, and showing her that you’re still the loving husband she always had will serve to encourage her to address this in a healthy and productive way. 

There’s a good chance this will lead to an uninterrupted night of sleep. 

Good luck, 
Tip of the Week. "Your family and your love must be cultivated like a garden. Time, effort and imagination must be summoned constantly to keep it flourishing and growing." 


Write in to get clarity on Relationship Difficulties, Work/Career Questions, Family Troubles, or Social Life issues. Email me at rzradvise@gmail.com. Or leave your question or issue in the comment box below. Also see the "Tip or Quote of the Week" below. Always confidential. Names do not appear in the column. 

For information on Richard's approach to psychotherapy and counseling, click on: Richard Z. Ross, MA, CGP, LMHC, LP


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