Katie from Miami, Fl
Q: I’ve been married 1 1/2 years to a man with a 13 y.o. son who lives with us. Together we have no children, but are trying without success …He was hurt from his previous marriage in that she ruined his credit, and left him for someone who made more money. Living with a stepchild is difficult enough, but the other day I found he was lying to me. He was keeping a checking acct (that he said he closed when we got married), found steroids (He said he wouldn’t use until I got pregnant. He knew I was against it altogether). He apologized for the above, but I’m having a hard time forgiving. I came into this marriage with complete honesty and openness, taking on the expense of his son and my husband’s expensive hunting trips. I came into this marriage with xx,000 dollars, he with a debt, and he’s stashing money! He spends more on a daily basis. I need a professional opinion. Thanks.
A: Katie. Believe your own eyes. If your husband has been lying to you for his own convenience, he will probably continue to do so on other matters in the future. That pattern does not change easily, even with counseling. If both of you had separate checking accounts for private use, each being fed an equal amount each month, that would be a viable arrangement. However, the issues here are more general: 1) honesty and 2) equity. You are complaining that you do not have either. I would strongly suggest that you consult with an attorney and find a way to safeguard your pre-marital assets. Your marriage should not dip into those assets, especially since your husband shows a disregard for honesty and profound disrespect for you.. – Bryce Kaye
Janie from Utah
Q: My sister and her husband live in another state, and we rarely see each other but maybe once every two years. After finding out that we both have internet access, we began exchanging e-mails rather than running up our phone bills. The problem is, my brother-in-law has also been e-mailing me behind her back, telling me that since he has known me, he has been infatuated with me. My sister has been married to this man for almost ten years, they have three wonderful children, and seem like the perfect family. But he tells me otherwise- that they aren’t “in love” anymore, that they have both had affairs, etc. After talking online with him for a few weeks, it seems like the only thing he wants to talk about is how much he adores me, how much he is looking forward to seeing me again, etc. He has even phoned me on a few occasions, saying that he just wanted to hear my voice. I know that if I’m feeling uncomfortable with the situation, I should just tell him, and he’d probably stop. The worse problem is that I have also been attracted to him from the day we met, and I feel myself feeling more for him every day. My sister and her family are coming in to visit me this summer, and I am afraid not only that I will not be able to act “normally” around him, but that something may happen between us, even though I KNOW that it is wrong. Oh, did I also mention that I am also married and have two children? This is a serious problem, I know, but I am very confused as to what I want. I know that having an affair with my brother-in-law would not only destroy my marriage and my sister’s, but it would destroy my entire family. So, why can’t I just let this go? I know it’s wrong, but I’m not sure how to tell my heart that. Can you help?
A: Janie. You can start by telling your heart that your love is more of an infatuation about your being desired and pursued than it is about appreciating any integrity and virtue in your sister’s husband. Here he is, deceiving your sister after admitting that he has had other affairs. What does this say about the inherent quality of his character? How much are you willing to sacrifice in order to be adored? What do you really think is the basis of your loving and what do you want it to be? – Bryce Kaye
Buddy from Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Q: I love my wife but she is driving me crazy. She went to California to be with my mom who is very sick. When she returned-i found a bunch of phone charges to a man i don’t know .When i asked her about this she said it was none of my business-eventually she told me it was a FRIEND through the internet. My first instinct was to assume she had an affair. She lied to me about other calls she made. She eventually told me she was trying to patch up a relationship between him and another one of her net friends. She plays cards and chats with these people till late at night. I go to bed alone almost every night. I know i am overprotective but she feels its not my business. Most are men she plays with and that bothers me. I don’t get any sex at home -she says she doesn’t like it. I am starting to think she does not love me anymore and rarely says nice things to me. I think at one time she was going to leave me for one of her friends. I want her to love me and tell me and not hide stuff from me-be honest. Any suggestions-Thanks.
A: Buddy, it takes two people working on a relationship with consistent honesty. You make your wife sound both dishonest with you as well as avoidant. My suggestion is that you will likely need marital counseling from what you have told me. It doesn’t sound like you will be able to get enough engaged effort from her unless there’s an objective professional third party who can more effectively confront and reflect the truth for both you and she. Sorry – Bryce Kaye.
Tori from Phoenix Az
Q: Dear Dr. Kaye, My husband and I have been married 5 1/2 yrs. We seem to have a serious trust/mistrust issue. Over the years I’ve caught him in several lies over stupid things. One of the problems I’ve had is that he’ll withhold information saying that he didn’t want to create problems where there weren’t any. My response to that has always been that it makes him look bad when does that regardless. I have been honest in the fact that I may still get upset, but he shouldn’t keep things from me. He’s currently out of town on business. Prior to his leaving, I asked him to promise me that he wouldn’t go anywhere with his brother other than his mothers house. (They all live in the city where he’s attending a seminar). He looked me square in the eye and vehemently promised not to. The problem with his brother is that he’s a drug addict that has spent 2 yrs in prison and lives a wild, deviant, and dangerous lifestyle. I was on the internet late last night when I received an e-mail from someone stating they were Mark’s friend, that Larry was there and wanted to talk to me. I tried responding to no avail, and because of the late hour didn’t want to call my husband in case this was some sort of hoax. (he’s sharing a hotel room with his supervisor) When I talked to him this evening, he sounded strange when I was asking him about the get- together at his parents. He became defensive when I came right out and asked him if there was something he didn’t want to tell me. He finally admitted to going over to his brother’s after the family dinner. He said he and his brother, along with the brothers girlfriend, just sat around talking for 45 minutes. The conversation turned into an argument with me hanging up after he told me he didn’t have to run his (expletive) itinerary by me. Am I wrong for being upset? I feel, as I told him, that he went back on his promise to me. He, of course, told me I’m supposed to trust him. How am I supposed to trust him when he changes the rules of a promise to suit him. I’m so angry and hurt right now. I don’t know how to proceed from here. Please help.
A: Tori. It sounds as if your husband is having some sort of difficulty maintaining consistent boundaries with you. He probably needs to be able to stand up to you earlier and refuse some of the things he’s agreeing to. I find it unusual that he would commit to not seeing his own brother although I also understand your anxiety about his doing so. Your trust difficulty comes about from the history of his lying and his inconsistency in probably breaking commitments. I don’t know of a way that your trust will be fully restored until he can be more aggressive in defending his boundaries so that he won’t have to lie. Of course you wouldn’t like that too much except for the fact that you can eventually have more trust. – But that involves changing another person which we cannot do. – Bryce Kaye
Chuck from Hollywood, Ca
Q: My wife and I have been married only about 6 months… She’s Japanese, I’m American. When we first got married I met a friend from school at work one evening who I had not seen for some time. She took a digital photo of me, her and her friend inside my store. I didn’t tell my wife about it because it wasn’t a big deal. Later, they (my friends ) wrote back mail with pictures. My wife was furiously angry and insists now she can’t trust me. I also have developed a staring problem when I see other Asian girls. I would never cheat on my wife but I don’t know how I can convince her of that. What can I do to get her trust and stop the staring problem?
A: Chuck. I would suggest that you ask your wife if she has noticed any little lies that you have told and that you may have dismissed. Perhaps you have distorted or hid certain things, “only to avoid getting her upset.” In other words, take a hard look at whether you’re totally consistent or have instead given her little reasons to doubt you. It sounds as if the trust level is very low and you may not be aware of your own rationalizations and distortions on the little stuff. Not knowing you, I can’t say for sure that this is the case. However, most of the time this type of mistrust arises is when there’s been some avoiding of truth and it’s been minimized. About the staring problem: How about staring more intently at your wife the moment you notice an Asian female in your presence? – Bryce Kaye
Colleen from Marin County, Ca
Q: I am married 1 1/2 yrs. after a 5 yr. courtship. I am 35 yrs old. I have a 10 yr. old son from previous relationship and just had a baby. Our relationship has been rocky off and on, based mainly on past lies, and his obsession with work and money. Mainly these lies have been for small petty reasons, such as saying he did something I asked when he hadn’t actually done it yet, and so forth. But because of these problems I have distanced myself. After trying to talk to him about my unhappiness, he responded by promising to change- then goes back to his old behavior. This pattern has been going on for years! I am very frustrated. We don’t have any intimacy anymore. I feel as if I still love him but am not the least bit interested in a sexual relationship with him. We are very comfortable financially and that seems to make him happy but its not enough for me. I am to the point that I am very angry all the time and I am constantly degrading my husband and we never have a day go by that I don’t lash out at him constantly, usually for stupid petty things. I am making myself even more miserable, but I cant seem to stop myself now that I’ve been acting this way for so long. I’ve tried marriage counseling books, but my husband says he’ll make the commitment to work through it with me but he loses interest in it after the first chapter! Any help you can give me would be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance…
A: Colleen, you’re emotions are entirely consistent with the situation you describe. Unfortunately, many men can’t seem to understand the big deal. When “little lies” are told, there’s a profound sense of disrespect generated in the other party. Trust won’t be repaired by mere short-term pledges of change or other methods of placation. This is a problem at the very foundation of your relationship. Any spouse who engages in lying is actually suffering some disconnection within themselves. Therapy may be what’s eventually needed. Reading self-help books on marriage will usually not help the kind of problem where someone runs away from their own truth. If your husband lies to you, he’s afraid. If he can’t face that fear, he’s ashamed of his own experience of vulnerability. Making lots of money and being successful in the world is an effective defense (technically called “counteraction”) to dispel self-doubt. Self-help publications won’t touch it. It sounds like the two of you would best be served by starting with joint therapy sessions. – Bryce Kaye
Trina from Coeur d’Alene
Q: I just found out the my husband has been lying to me for the past 2 years, and I don’t know how to get over it. We have been trying to get pregnant ( or so I thought) and every single month would be so hard for me because I would find out that I wasn’t again. It has been 2 years and my husband just told me that he has been preventing it because he was afraid. He says that he is now ready to have a family, but that doesn’t help me get over the fact that he lied to me about it and for so long. He would watch me cry and in pain for not getting pregnant, and all this time he was the cause of it. I have been avoiding pregnant friends of mine, baby showers, and many other things because of the pain it would cause me, and he was always right there with me telling me that it was going to happen and that our time would come. But he was the one preventing it. I went to the doctors and went on medication and took a few very expensive tests and they never found anything wrong, and all of this could have been prevented along with all the money we spent. I am trying to understand why he had to lie to me and how he could watch me in pain and pretend he was hurting too, but I get so mad at him. What can I do to forgive him for what he did? How do I get over this hurt and anger of finding this out? Ever since he told me, he hasn’t been able to get an erection long enough for us to make love and we don’t know if it is because of the guilt that he feels or if it is a medical problem, but now it is putting even more stress on our relationship. What can we do to keep this marriage together and work through this? Does he need to see a doctor, or is it just something he needs to get over? We fight all the time now. Please let me know what we can do to make this marriage last.
A: You both probably need to go see a sex therapist right away. You describe a situation where your husband has complex fears that he may not even understand. You will likely not be able to repair the trust until you have a better understanding of your husband’s fear and how he can handle that fear differently. The problem will require a good professional to sort it out. It will also require your husband’s courage to get beyond his shame to get professional help. Good luck. – Bryce Kaye