Dear Carolyn: I just found out my husband of 12 years has been texting a female co-worker in and out of work. I found out quite by accident. They were joking about the football pool. When I told him I don’t think that’s appropriate, he said I’m being ridiculous and he would have no problem with me texting other guys. I’m not a prude by any stretch, and I don’t think I’ve ever been called ridiculous, so should I lighten up and get some texting buddies or what? – Burlington, Vt.
Absolutely, because tit-for-tat thinking is always so great for a marriage.
The problem with your problem is that the same facts can point in two completely different directions: the cheating direction, where joshing becomes flirting becomes more (a story as old as the office), and the clingy direction, where even the mildest interaction with the opposite sex brings on a wave of spousal distress.
In favor of your husband’s take is the fact that they were joking about a football pool. Credible as collegial banter.
In favor of your take is your husband’s reaction. Even if he’s right, calling you ridiculous – i.e., shifting the blame to you – was neither kind nor productive. Deflecting is too often the strategy of someone with something to hide.
If I’ve argued in a sufficient number of circles, then we’re ready for the advice: Don’t read his texts, read your own marriage. If he’s loving and present, then that’s the whole point. Don’t lose it amid texting forensics.
If he’s not loving and present, then don’t lose that point in the texting drama, either. Instead, figure out why you’re not the person he’s texting for grins.