Worried about him cheating

All Woman

Dear Counsellor,

I got married five months ago after a five-year relationship with my partner. In our five-year relationship I was very happy with him. But now I feel that he likes someone else, even though his behaviour is the same as it always was. He loves and does take care of me but sends text messages to a girl, chats with her on Facebook, and comments on and likes her pictures. Maybe they are just very good friends or maybe there is something going on; I don't know which to believe. Maybe it is some meaningless thoughts which are just coming into my mind and troubling me — or could it be that he is cheating on me? Please help me.

It is either you don't trust your partner as he has given you enough reason to, or you are overreacting and creating stories in your head that are far from reality.

So you are saying that in the five-year stretch he was focused and appeared to be committed to the relationship and soon after marriage he got distracted. Was this young lady around during the dating period? Or did he meet her after he got married? The truth is, some women seem to be attracted to men who are already in committed relationships and would present themselves to these unavailable men. Some of these men would get caught up in the web to the extent of neglecting their partners.

The sending of SMS messages and constantly communicating with the individual via social media is indicating that his attention is being diverted from you to someone else. It is you that he should be communicating with daily and not the other lady. He obviously gets pleasure from reaching out to this lady and may not derive the same from you. What is the communication like between the two of you? Is it argumentative and confrontational? Most men would rather talk with someone who will listen to them and engage them in a conversation rather than an argument.

It could also be that the interaction in his mind is platonic and because they share similar interests they communicate with each other to exchange thoughts/ideas. They may, for example, have an interest in a sport and use the social media platform to communicate with each other. As you are aware, time does elapse when you are having an interesting conversation with someone. You are observing the discourse between them and are assuming that it is sexual in nature when it may very well not be so.

So before you jump to any conclusions, it is best that you share your concerns with your partner, not in a accusative and threatening way, but more out of curiosity. It seems to be a fad now for both partners in a relationship to play detective and check each other's phones for incriminating evidence. If he has nothing to hide, he would not have a problem giving you access to his phone to satisfy your curiosity.

If your husband is indeed diverting his interest and attention elsewhere, then that conversation needs to be had to ascertain his intent and motivation. If, however, he tells you and you are satisfied that the content of the conversation between them is above board, your next request would be to have him establish boundaries and not communicate with this lady at times when you require his full attention.

Whichever scenario best fits your narrative, the key to alleviating your anxiety is trust and communication, and so I urge you to have the conversation and choose the right time and place to do so. All the best.

Wayne Powell is a relationship counsellor. Write to agapemft@gmail.com or powellw@seekingshalom.org. Check out his work on www.seekingshalom.org and his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/MFTCounselor/ .

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