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Ask yourself if you can trust her

Dear Carolyn: I dated my wife for four years before we got married. Three years were long-distance. In those three years she slept with two other men, one of whom got her pregnant. She told me about the later one. The other a friend told me about.

I forgave her because I knew she was lonely and that’s that. But since we have been married, she has kept in constant contact with the first one. This past week she has been talking to the man whom she got pregnant with. She has scheduled dinners with him and tells me nothing or makes up excuses. These dinners are when I am in school so she knows I won’t be around for a couple of hours. Should I do what I promised, or should I see how it pans out? – Hurting

Did she ask your forgiveness? Did she say she strayed out of loneliness? Did she admit to the first one after your friend tipped you off? Does she defend her lies of omission? Or do you just snoop (she “tells me nothing,” right?) and stay mum?

Your whole letter is a call without a response: the rationalizations you make for her behavior, the concerns you voice that go unheeded, the promise you make to yourself, the decision you’re now making with my input versus hers.

Sometimes cheating serves to undo a relationship all by itself: Goodhearted rube marries charming liar. But people in these dissolving relationships do themselves a disservice if they decline to look past the cheating to their own credulity, or character, or wherever else some faulty wiring may have led them to volunteer to be the home bed for a bed-hopper.

The future of your marriage doesn’t depend on whether you catch her at something; the whole issue of whether exes can be friends is a red herring. Your marriage depends on your figuring out who your wife really is. The picture you paint is of someone you can’t trust with your house keys, much less your soul.