My Husband Is Seeking Out An Old Flame—Should I Talk To Him About It?

My Husband Is Seeking Out An Old Flame—Should I Talk To Him About It?

My husband and I just recently got married. We pushed our marriage date up 5 months because not only did we find out we were expecting but he was going to be accepting a new job out of state, and we had to move before our wedding date. Lots of changes in just a few short months.

Things have been great up until I saw accidentally that he was searching for a former flame on Google on his cell phone her name was the last thing in the Google search, and when he handed me his phone to look something up it popped up, yet I was too scared to say anything just had a gut wrenching feeling. The reason this bothered me so much was because just a year and a half prior to this incident I caught him sending suggestive/flirty text messages – also him suggesting they should meet up, and of course she responded with great joy!

Now after some coaxing he admitted to it, felt guilty, and I put my foot down he could no longer talk to her. They never dated, and she’s about 8 years his junior. She was casually hooking up with him right around the time I met him – she seems to be the girl he just can’t shake!

After all that we got back on track and our relationship was as solid as ever. He even told me although he admitted to being very nervous to when she texted him 6 months after the original incident. He showed me the texts, and he explained to her that he couldn’t talk to her which she replied in a bitchy manner “say hi to your girlfriend.” You could tell she was hurt and that he felt bad, but I praised him for his honesty and loyalty.

My question is WHY her? Why now? Does he truly wish to be with her, what’s so special about this girl that he has to look her up and think about her, he isn’t concerned AT ALL with his former girlfriend whom he actually dated, what makes this girl so special and should I bring it up to him?

I’m SO glad you wrote to me before you fucked up your marriage.

Since I have been with my wife – somewhere going on 6 1/2 years now – I have looked up EVERY SINGLE GIRLFRIEND I’ve ever had on Google.

You’re making a mountain out of a molehill and I see no indication that you have any doubts about your conclusions. In your mind, your husband looked up a woman on Google and therefore your relationship is in danger.

In my mind, he looked up a woman because he was curious about her. End of story.

Confession: Since I have been with my wife – somewhere going on 6 1/2 years now – I have looked up EVERY SINGLE GIRLFRIEND I’ve ever had on Google.

What does this “mean”, Laura?

Does it mean that I long to be in ALL of those bad relationships (even the toxic ones that I write about continually in this space)?

Does it mean that I’m dissatisfied in my current relationship (even though I have an idyllic marriage that I regularly cite in my coaching)?

Does it mean that all of those exes are special to me in a way that my wife is not? (even though I haven’t talked to any those exes in many years)?

No. No. And No.

It means I sit in front of a computer for 10 hours a day, random thoughts pop into my head, and Google is a pretty useful tool for indulging such flights of fancy.

It’s interesting that you go to the worst-case scenario first. This says far more about your self-esteem, your insecurity, and your lack of trust in your husband than it does about your husband’s actual actions. As I’ve said a million times before, you shouldn’t marry someone that you don’t trust, but if you DO marry him, you’d BETTER trust him.

Your husband may be in possession of Pandora’s Box, but unless he is currently making extracurricular plans with women in his past, he hasn’t actually opened it.

I know this “incident” is playing tricks on your mind. Chances are, you’ve already looked through his cell phone and browser history. Hell, you’ve probably already broken down and told him the damning evidence you’ve found.

If you did the same thing to me – if you presented me with evidence I looked up my ex on Google, I would just shrug and say, “So?”

So, I was curious where she was living.
So, I was curious what she looked like.
So, I was curious whether she was married with children.

So fucking what?

Your husband may be in possession of Pandora’s Box, but unless he is currently making extracurricular plans with women in his past, he hasn’t actually opened it.

If I were you, I’d just leave this one alone – forever.

And maybe check your own browser or Facebook history to see if you’ve ever looked up any men from your past. I’d be shocked if you didn’t. But even if you didn’t, please accept that thinking about something and doing something are far different acts.

Once you start playing thought police with your husband, your relationship is on an irreversibly downward spiral. He is allowed to look up old girlfriends, he is allowed to wish you were thinner, he is allowed to think in his head that he has no patience to hear your long, meandering story about your girlfriend’s dog.

The only crime would be acting on these impulses.

Your email to me, Heather, was based on nothing more than seeing a woman’s name in a search engine. Not only is there no smoke, but there’s no fire. If you really want to take your relationship to a higher place, go tell your husband that you no longer “forbid” him to talk to this woman.

I predict that will make him feel 1000 times better about your relationship than your unfounded paranoia about his search history.

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  1. 1

    And maybe check your own browser or Facebook history to see if you’ve ever looked up any men from your past.  I’d be shocked if you didn’t.”
    I have.  I am curious about the men from my past.  Doesn’t mean I want them back, it doesn’t mean anything.  I am just curious and I love that I have access to Google so that I can check it out.
    I have contact with two of the guys I use to date.  I am friends on Facebook with one and chat on the phone from time to time with the other.  I am not in a relationship at this time but I would be offended if I was and I was ORDERED to cease all contact.  I am pretty easy going and believe in being open honest and KIND with my partner (when I have one), but I am NOT compliant when ordered.

  2. 2

    I am another person who googles or facebooks exes. It really is morbid curiosity most of the time. Don’t start the cycle of distrust, it will ruin your marriage.

  3. 3

    I’m in FB/e-mail contact with exes (and people I dated that never really made it to GF status), and even see them socially from time to time.  One ex is now married with children, the other is still single.  I help them out from time to time when they have a problem/question that’s in my bailiwick.  I really don’t even consider them to be ex-girlfriends most of the time–they’re just friends.
    What people like the LW always seem to forget is that people are exes for a reason.  Just because you’re in contact with one, doesn’t mean you want to get back together.

  4. 4

    Evan- I think relating your situation to the OPs is comparing apples to oranges. In your case, you were curious as to former girlfriends and looked them up on Google and left it at that. That’s pretty uneventful. No harm with that.
    But in this guys case, his behavior surpasses just Googling someone. He actually made contact, flirted and suggested a meet up. That is far from uneventful. I don’t blame the OP for being concerned. You didn’t contact and flirt with and offer to meet an old flame. Her man did.  Major difference.

    1. 4.1

      I completely agree with you. If he’s trying to meet with her that could possibly be trouble

    2. 4.2

      Yes! Totally agree. There is history here of mistrustful actions with this same old flame. This is not a mountain–and I didn’t get the sense from the writer that she was making it Ionesco–but her concern is warranted. 

      1. 4.2.1

        “Into one,” not “Ionesco.”

  5. 5

    FYI….second to last paragraph you change the OPs name from Laura to Heather

  6. 6

    Checking up on him is not going to stop him from cheating.   If he is going to cheat he will.  
    I tend to believe in the old saying “Where there is smoke there’s fire” Just be aware

  7. 7

    I look up my old flame from time to time too!  It’s shear curiosity.  I don’t want him back.  I don’t want to rekindle.  I just do it.  I am sure he probably looks me up too.  We were both very interesting characters with a bright future ahead of us.

  8. 8

    @Teresa #7: I agree you can’t stop someone from cheating if that’s what s/he wants to do; however, you can sure save yourself a lot of time and embarrassment if you’re proactive and find out s/he IS cheating rather than waiting around while they date behind your back until they find someone else they’d rather be with. I know you all HATE the snooping thing, but when there are red flags flying all over the place, I’m NOT going to sit back and waste months of my life while he fools around on me (or God forbid YEARS of my life as some people do–and those are the people who are 100% confident their partner would never cheat which makes them easy to cheat on). I’ve had too many friends who’ve stuck their fingers in their ears while their husbands/boyfriends bonked half the city and I had to listen to “Oh, (Blank) would NEVER cheat on me! We’re 100%!” Fast-forward ten years and all she’s got to show for her non-snooping loyalty is gray hair and wrinkles. There’s no need to go looking for something when there’s no reason to, but as a general rule men and women don’t TELL you they’re cheating–you have to find that out for yourself if you want to save face and get the hell out before it’s too late.

  9. 9

    Maybe…just maybe… It’s not the husband Laura doesn’t trust  It’s the GIRL. And she may have every reason to feel that way.

  10. 10

    I am 99% on your side.  I have facebook-stalked exes and have friends/family members that are still “friends” on social media with some of these people.  I get the curiosity thing, and in fairness do not think that my (and many people’s) curiosity is any different than it would be if you were looking up an old friend from high school, etc.
    It’s a person that WAS important at one point in your life, and you want to know what is going on with them.  I also give points to her husband for letting the OP know when the woman texted him again and giving full disclosure.
    Where I hesitate is that her husband had feelings for this other woman at the time of their meeting and he never really found closure on these feelings, and that in some way he is blaming the OP (his wife) for him having to dismiss her and not having the ability to find resolution.
    Honestly, I find men much more involve in fantasies.  I have had an engaged man that I had worked with YEARS prior contact me to say he was engaged (I said “Congrats!”) and he said “That’s why I’m contacting you… We never really got to date or give us a chance because you were in a relationship when we knew eachother” (I said “There was no ‘us’, Bye!”).  I’ve had an ex (and I have MANY female friends who have some ex) that refuses to let us go.  He contacted me YEARS after breaking up (and being in contact), and said “I don’t understand if we aren’t getting back together…” and I even recently dated someone who had a  weird obsession with his ex.  He lied to me about their breakup by saying he broke up with her for a job in another city. (Truth: She broke up with him 6 times, and refused to see him in person alone for about 2 years, as they had mutual friends).  He told me this while breaking up with me, and added “I’ll be jealous if you get a new boyfriend, the way I was when (aforementioned ex) got a new boyfriend” and I go “Was this while WE were dating?”… “Yes” it’s while we were dating.
    Men are notoriously weird.  I get that you say “Men look for sex and find love”, but there are many men that cling to some fantasy or idea of this perfect girl and perfect love that is not based on reality.  Possibly because women have these emotions so young and are burned a few times by their early 20s, they learn quicker to stem their “love” feelings in reality, men are late-comers and have some romantic comedy notion that they cling to into adulthood?  
    Do I think her husband is going to cheat or leave her for this woman?  No.
    Do I think there is abetter tactic for both of them than just “Drop it”?  Yes.
    I think the OP could tell her husband, “Look, I know you were into her.  I don’t mind that you were, but I just am curious what your interest in her is.  It bothers me a little, although I totally trust you.”

  11. 11

    It is hard to say what is going on Laura, but I suspect all the recent changes may have something to do with it. You are feeling very insecure and emotional right now because of your pregnancy, and you need solid assurance that your man that he will stay by your side, much more so than if you were not pregnant. If you weren’t pregnant, you may have been more empowered and confident about things, but you can’t now and are feeling very very very helpless and hopeless. And emotional.
    Maybe your man is feeling very insecure too. He now has a child and wife-to-be to take care of, and a new job to worry about. He now has responsibilities that he never had before, and he may feel a bit overwhelmed. His “curiousity” about his ex may be him harking back to a time when he was carefree and every bit enjoying his single responsibility-free life. Remember he never dated this woman and he never had any responsibility for her or her happiness. I really think he may need professional help to get over whatever he is going through right now. Normally an expressed curiousity about an ex is no big deal – but this can take on significance during a period of his life where he is going through major changes or upheavals.
    If he is a good man and he know he is a good man, he will do the right thing – but he needs the help to get him through this phase. If he is not honourable, then you will need whatever professional help you can get emotionally and psychologically, seeing that you are currently pregnant and your options are very limited.

  12. 12
    Heather K

    I wouldn’t worry about the google searches.  Maybe your husband is google searching because he’s wondering why this girl contacts him and he’s a little baffled.  Who knows.  I would only worry if he has active plans to meet up in a weird context – or if he’s making active plans.  Or if he expresses some desire to be with this girl.  Otherwise I really wouldn’t worry.

  13. 13

    Evan, I cracked up at your first paragraph… Your whole blog is spot on — yet I fear you may write from a mans mentality that comes from absolute integrity and a perspective of this nature since you have behaved that way, he doing similar things is also person who can be simply curious. Perhaps he does and she doesn’t have much to worry about. Case closed. But. What if that is not the case and she has some genuine concerns? Her feelings are not inadequate simply based on how other respectful men choose to behave. Or so, in my opinion.
    In a case like this, only the two people in it can decide. No one can really advise. My suggestion is to really sit down with yourself calmly and quietly ask yourself if this is something to really be concerned about. Deep down, you will know. 
    I have seen many successful married men in action who are happily married or content at home who, nothing to do with their wives, still hit on other women. Then there are those who simply do not like our fine coach here. That’s why as Evans states know that you know that you KNOW and trust who you marry. It’s probably the most important decision one will EVER make and perhaps why little patience for maybe a little searching shouldn’t cause such disturbance if you trust your mate.
    Only you know which is which and which makes you feel good inside or feeling like your stomach is going to come out your ass because you get a bad feeling. its up to you. Xo.

  14. 14

    I guess I’m the odd man out once again.  If they’re my ex, their out of my life, period.  I don’t want to know anything about them or their life.  I don’t care to look back only to move forward.

    1. 14.1

      I’m female and feel the same as you.

  15. 15

    I had this same conversation with my boyfriend tonite. Granted, we are not married, but have known each other for a very long time. We dated 10 years ago and there was some lying on his part back then about women. This time around I think he is more mature and honest than he used to be, and understands what it did to our relationship.
    Fast forward.. We went on a week trip to Canada last week to his cabin on a beautiful lake and watched a movie about alternative treatments for cancer. He is in the medical profession. While we were there we also booked  9 symphony concerts online to see together in the city we live  this coming year. So it’s not like we don’t plan on being together!
    His ex girlfriend who was a problem for me a few years ago when she found out he was interested in me again has contacted him recently that she has cancer. He texted her at the cabin and told her about the dvd we watched on alternative therapies and she should get it. She started texting him back, “Are you going swimming. etc. etc.?” He answered her back and THEN she texted him, “Remember you sister doesn’t like screwing in the cabin!” I don’t know if it was some kind of joke or not, but it didn’t feel like it to me. To his credit, he didn’t answer it, but I don’t like this sort of communication at all and I told him so. I also told him because she had been a problem between him and I(she changed the password to my email account somehow 2 years ago), that I don’t want him communicating with unless it is medical. I think I have that right, I told him directly how I feel and I believe it has been a strengthening point for us because now he is very clear on my feelings. He says he understands totally and will abide by my wishes.
    Sometimes I think it is good to clear things up with you guy so he understands how you feel and what you are willing to put up with. I was gentle with this, I was not hard, but it sure makes a woman feel better if she knows that her guy understands her feelings on this matter. So I don’t think  it is necessarily bad to bring these things up if you do it in a gentle way that the man can hear.

  16. 16

    Evan, and many of the posters here, seem to be missing the fact that he was sending this girl flirty messages a year and a half prior to the Googling–while he was in a relationship with his now wife. This wasn’t just use of a search engine out of curiosity. I am friends with nearly all of my exes and remained so even when I was in a long-term relationship. I’ve also encouraged the same in my boyfriends because I think it shows character to still be able to see the good in those you chose to spend time with even though you parted ways romantically. But in this case, it seems that a little caution is indeed warranted.

  17. 17

    There is a good reason this woman is not a real threat: she is interested in him, yet he chose you.  He married you.  Focus on that. He never even dated her.  This for me says it was a bit of lust, no more, and will fade completely the less attention you give to it. That’s how I would approach it.

  18. 18

    I don’t know why everyone’s being so casual about this. You act like no one ever cheats. News flash: THIS IS HOW IT STARTS. If you tell your guy you trust him 100%, all that does is open the door for him to pursue the opportunities that will come his way over time because he knows you’re not going to be looking for the signs. He can do it right under your nose while you live your life in La-La Land. (And this goes both ways–women do it too).
    This guy was once caught ACTIVELY seeking to meet up with this F*** Buddy (read: No Strings Attached), and now the OP has caught him AGAIN trying to look her up. He just happened to get caught BEFORE anything happened (that we know of). The FB sounds all too happy to indulge whatever his fantasy is and you’re all coming down on the OP like a ton of bricks? This guy isn’t just curious–he clearly would hang himself if the OP gives him enough rope to do so. If a third party has caused marital strife, ALL therapists/counselors will tell you that there are two things that must occur: a SINCERE apology, and all contact must be severed with the third party. So the OP is only doing what trained professionals would tell her to do if these two were to go to marriage counseling. But I guess y’all know better than trained professionals.
    If she wants to empower herself AND save her marriage she’d do well to let him know she’s no dog he can kick around. She WILL be alert and aware, and when his wiener ends up where it doesn’t belong he’ll be out in a heartbeat. There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with letting your partner know what you will stand for and where you draw the line, and it sounds like this is what the OP is doing. I respect her for that. I do NOT respect people who convince themselves their partners would never cheat and then act all surprised when they do. You can’t STOP it from happening, but you don’t have to just LET it happen, either. This is HER life; he just happens to be in it and she needs to be proactive and empowered. If she heard rumors her job might be eliminated, would you advise her to just kiss her boss’s @$$, or start sending resumes and exploring other options?  That’s what I thought.

    1. 18.1

      Thank you, Wendy! Thank you for living in the real world. Why do people are always blindfolded by the fact that’s how it starts?

      1. 18.1.1

        You are absolutely  right Wendy. I wish people realize , so others are not wasting time and letting go , instead  paying attention. I wonder how her husband feels if she did  same action, as he is . Just wondering …

    2. 18.2
      Karmic Equation

      Hi Wendy,
      There are certain things in an exclusive relationship where you keep silent about something UNTIL IT HAPPENS. Because some things are ASSUMED as part of an exclusive relationship. Fidelity and trust are two of those things.
      No man or woman should HAVE to say to their bf/gf “I expect you to be faithful to me” of “I expect you to not lie to me”. If you find yourself wanting to or having to say that, then you’re in a relationship with the wrong guy or YOU are the wrong kind of person to have a relationship with, because you’re demonstrating you’re a fearful, distrustful, insecure person.
      Just because you give full trust to a man, and are willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, doesn’t mean that you turn a blind eye to shady behaviors. For example, at the start of your relationship your man doesn’t groom and doesn’t wear cologne…then a year into your relationship he decides to manscape weekly and wear cologne and dress better, then you can ask “You smell great. Why the new cologne and manscaping? I liked the way you were.” And then pay attention to how he answers your questions. You’ll know if he’s up to no good by HOW he answers (mannerisms).
      Just because you trust him DOESN’T mean that you STOP PAYING ATTENTION to his behaviors. 
      Moreover, if your instincts are making you uneasy, pay attention. Now the problem is that insecure people an uneasy almost all the time. So insecure people CAN’T trust their instincts because their instincts are warped by their insecurity. That is ANOTHER reason why women need to overcome their insecurities. Insecure women will distrust trustworthy women and self-sabotage a good relationship.
      If you find you CAN’T or DON’T WANT to overcome your insecurities, then trust blindly BUT PAY ATTENTION.
      Have the courage to walk away with no proof (e.g., no snooping!)
      If your instincts tell you that the guy is “cheating” then dump him immediately.
      Why? Because either he IS cheating OR YOUR insecurity is rearing its ugly head and you’ll be doing him a favor by ending the relationship before he has to.
      Staying in a distrustful relationship is not good for either party. Simple.


      1. 18.2.1
        Karmic Equation

        Oops typo…
        I meant “distrust trustworthy MEN” not “distrust trustworth WOmen”

    3. 18.3

      Exactly. I felt the response to the OP’s problem was very narrow minded so thank you for your comment.

    4. 18.4

      Very well said!!! Thank you!!!!

    5. 18.5

      Brilliant reply! Somehow it’s always banked as “no big deal” “everyone does it” “it’s harmless”! Or my favorite  “it’s the woman fault for looking” ! News flash…. it is a big deal when it hurts the one your with and sets up distrust ! Thank you for speaking the truth instead of following the blasè attitude !

  19. 19

    I’ve also looked up exes on the internet out of curiosity with no intention of ever contacting them. I’ve done the same with long ago friends, former co-workers – something sparks a memory, I  wonder “where are they now?”, but am never interested enough to actually try to get in touch.
    Laura writes:  “ The reason this bothered me so much was because just a year and a half prior to this incident I caught him sending suggestive/flirty text messages – also him suggesting they should meet up, and of course she responded with great joy! 

    He admitted it, felt guilty, you put your foot down about him not contacting her. Now he’s looking her up on google. Given this bit of not-so-distant past history I’d be bothered too.
    The bigger question I see is why are you writing for advice on the internet instead of talking to your husband about it? It’s HIS answers (and body language) that should tell you what you need to know. And it’s HIS reassurance you need.

  20. 20
    Karl S

    I’m curious about the fact that you both moved for his job out of state. Does that mean that you are quite far from where this woman would be located? That would help sway me back to the “idle curiosity” argument, unless he’s really determined.

  21. 21

    I agree with Evan. To all you woman who are saying don’t be a pushover and act like your man wont cheat on you, be proactive in catching him, etc., I say why are you with that man?
    When you are with someone you have to completely trust said person or you are going to ruin your relationship. How would you feel if your man was always snooping or suspicious of you? Would it make you less likely to cheat knowing that he was looking for signs? 
    However, if your man completely trust you and you know that wouldn’t you be less likely to cheat and ruin that relationship?  Truth is if you are in a trusting, committed relationship where each of you communicate openly and respectfully then neither you or him would feel compelled to cheat. You would be happy. 
    The issue with this OP is she doesn’t trust her husband. When she caught him 1 1/2 years ago she should have ended the relationship then if she didn’t think she could forgive then forget. As a woman you should never have to tell your significant other he is banned from doing something… That tells him and you that you no longer trust him. If you don’t trust him, don’t be with him. It’s really that simple. If you can’t trust a man because of how another man has treated you in the past, work on yourself first. Not all men cheat or are abusive. It’s not fair to paint every man with the same brush.
    Plus it’s not fun being suspicious and untrusting in a relationship. Deciding to completely trust someone is freeing and it opens you to an amazing relationship.
    To all you negative, glass empty people… Yes there are instances where you decide to trust someone and they take advantage and you get hurt, that’s life! You get through it and move on. Do not make the next man pay for the previous man’s mistakes. It’s not fair and in the end you’re just miserable. There are great and trustworthy men out there, you just have to have the self esteem and confidence to know when you’ve found him.

  22. 22

    To everyone commenting on the flirty messages before: If she doesn’t trust him, she shouldn’t have married him. I’m not so sure why that’s hard to get. If they discussed it and she forgave him she needs to move forward. Sometimes people mess up, its not an indication of the character of someone, everything they will do in the future. She decided to forgive him, she decided to marry him, she needs to trust him.

  23. 23

    @ #22
    I see it as he messed up a year and half ago. They worked through it. She married him because she DID trust him at that point.  And did up until recently.
    Since it appears he was heading in the direction of cheating with a particular woman he knew, the fact he’s looking her up now is troubling to the OP. I’m not sure why THAT is so hard to get.

  24. 24

    A year and a half ago, he did something which questioned her trust.  Now, before we all go and say she should dump him or trust him completely, isn’t there work on his end to RESTORE her trust?  It’s not just so simple to forgive completely if the man who messed up can get away with very little repercussions.  (Nothing major but for him to show that she can trust him again).  OP, in turn, would work towards trusting him again.  Both parties taking an active part in restoring this relationship.
    I am assuming that the restoration of trust was missing and that’s why when she found this recent ex-hookup googling, her mind immediately jumped to ‘I can’t trust him’ conclusion.
    So my humble advice to OP would be no accusations but rather, an owning up to the fact that she still has lingering trust issues; that he is free to google and contact whomever he likes; that since now they are married, she committed to a strong marriage and would work together with him to create a loving future together; that her boundaries are clear, if he betrays her trust and her boundaries (ie do anything that he doesn’t wish OP herself to do) then he is kicked out of the marriage for good.
    This way, she shows her commitment, she owns up to her suspicious nature, she shows her strength and boundaries but he is free to be a good husband and she is free to be a good wife.
    How is that, Evan?  Would a good husband be amenable to that?

  25. 25

    The flirty texts and suggestions to meet up with that woman a year and a half ago are huge red flags. Evan, your Google searches are innocuous, but you never actvely tried to meet up with an old flame during your relationship, presumably. The google search in itself isn’t damning, but in combination with that history, it’s just a continuation of a pattern. From my own past experience I’d say she should’ve dumped him a year and a half ago, and chances are good that eventually she’ll discover an affair with that woman or someone else and wind up divorcing him. It pains me to say that, but the signs are there.
    Good men with integrity may look up an old flame on google out of curiosity, but if they love their current partner, they don’t send the old flame flirty texts asking to meet up! Evan, how do you view that? Usually I agree with your advice, but right now it sounds like you’re giving a likely cheater a pass.

  26. 26

    Trust is a two-way street. The OP’s boyfriend gave her reason not to trust him a year and a half ago. Six months after that, her boyfriend was transparent with her, showing her the most recent text exchanges, and that he laid down some clear boundaries with the ex. They were able to work through the issue, it seemed resolved, and they did get married.
    Given all that, it strikes me as natural that the OP is going to find it troubling that he’s still looking up the other woman online, that he’s still thinking about her a year later, after they are married, and expecting a baby. Given all the big changes in her life recently, she probably feels especially vulnerable. In all likelihood, it’s nothing more than idle curiosity, but if it bothers her, there is nothing wrong with bringing it up to the husband, and getting reassurance from him.

  27. 27
    Karl R

    Erica said: (#13)
    “Your whole blog is spot on — yet I fear you may write from a mans mentality that comes from absolute integrity and a perspective of this nature since you have behaved that way, he doing similar things is also person who can be simply curious.”
    “What if that is not the case and she has some genuine concerns? Her feelings are not inadequate simply based on how other respectful men choose to behave.”
    I’ve been cheated on before. I’m well aware that any partner can cheat.
    Trusting my wife is a choice. It’s a choice that I make.
    If I don’t trust my wife (or she doesn’t trust me), then our relationship is doomed. There’s nothing she can do which will make me trust her. Unless I monitor every second of her life (which I can’t do), then I can’t prove that she’s not cheating. I can only determine that I haven’t caught her doing anything incriminating yet.
    Furthermore, the act of snooping makes you more suspicious, not less. Even if your partner is innocent, snooping on him/her will start eroding your trust.
    Wendy said: (#8)
    “I know you all HATE the snooping thing, but when there are red flags flying all over the place, I’m NOT going to sit back and waste months of my life while he fools around on me”
    I recommend against snooping because it’s ineffective. I was involved in a corporate investigation where we had access to every email sent in that company during the past six years. We had high-powered software which allowed us to filter through millions of emails looking for a few thousand related to the illegal behavior. We had teams of people who were paid to follow up every potential lead, and we were paid to do this for a few months. Since the board of directors had hired us to investigate the corporate officers, we had inside help in the investigation.
    We found hundreds of emails discussing their illegal behavior, but we only found one incriminating email. It wasn’t completely incriminating. It was sufficiently incriminating to be extremely difficult for them to explain away.
    If you read enough emails, you’ll discover that people don’t explain their incriminating behavior in exact detail. People allude to things that they understand, but they don’t explain them completely.
    An example of how people talk in emails:
    “You were amazing last night! You were just incredible! Thanks for making it a truly memorable night! I look forward to a repeat performance next week.”
    That sounds pretty incriminating, doesn’t it?
    But the subtext of the conversation depends on the two people knowing exactly what happened that night. If confronted, the person can say that this is completely innocent. They were partners in a pool game. The “amazing” and “incredible” action was when one person ran the pool table in two consecutive games. The “repeat performance” is referring the the rematch they scheduled for the following week.
    Most people don’t include a lot of details in their emails/texts. (There are exceptions like Wiener who talk dirty and send incriminating pictures.) Unless they’re into blatant sexting, that means that bad behavior can be explained away as innocent behavior, and innocent behavior can easily end up sounding like bad behavior.
    I think you could go through every text and email that my wife and I have sent to each other without finding any incriminating evidence that we’ve had sex. We’re not even trying to hide anything.
    How to deal with red flags:
    Don’t snoop. Address the red flag directly.
    When my ex-girlfriend cheated, she felt guilty about her behavior. Therefore, in order to feel better about herself, she went on a fault-finding tour through my life. For a couple weeks, it seemed like nothing I did was correct, nothing was adequate, nothing made her happy.
    I had every right to address that behavior with her. There was clearly a problem that could be discussed.
    Can you name a red flag that can’t be openly discussed as its own problem?
    Wendy said: (#18)
    “If she wants to empower herself AND save her marriage she’d do well to let him know she’s no dog he can kick around. She WILL be alert and aware, and when his wiener ends up where it doesn’t belong he’ll be out in a heartbeat.”
    Who wants to be in a relationship like that? You’re already convinced that he will end up cheating, but you think she should stick it out until it actually happens.
    I’ve been in a relationship where I was no longer certain that I could trust my girlfriend. It wasn’t much fun. Spending time snooping would have been less fun. Hanging around waiting for a betrayal that I felt was inevitable? At that point I’d just dump her to get it over with.
    And it’s completely laughable that you believe that it would possibly save her marriage. My wife has an ex-boyfriend who was jealous and suspicious. My brother-in-law has an ex-wife who was jealous and suspicious. Why did they dump the jealous boyfriend/wife? They were tired of being treated with mistrust.
    Trust is a choice. I’d rather trust my wife and get caught completely unaware by a betrayal (as I did with my ex-girlfriend), instead of undermining my marriage and every relationship of mine with my own suspicions and mistrust.

  28. 28

    @KarlR #27: “I’ve been in a relationship where I was no longer certain that I could trust my girlfriend. It wasn’t much fun. Spending time snooping would have been less fun. Hanging around waiting for a betrayal that I felt was inevitable? At that point I’d just dump her to get it over with.”  You think it’s better to dump somebody who hasn’t even done anything wrong than to give someone the benefit of the doubt UNTIL they do something wrong? Someone who may NEVER do anything wrong? That seems a bit screwed up to me. A little snooping on your part, IF she was giving you a reason to snoop, would have answered the question of whether she was trustworthy or not. If you don’t find anything, she is. If you do, you’re outta there. Simple.
    “Trust is a choice. I’d rather trust my wife and get caught completely unaware by a betrayal (as I did with my ex-girlfriend), instead of undermining my marriage and every relationship of mine with my own suspicions and mistrust.” Sorry, but I would rather NOT waste years of my life living a lie. If you don’t care that your wife is doing your best friend and the whole town knows about it, that’s your choice.
    How to deal with red flags: Don’t snoop. Address the red flag directly.”  
    Scenario: Boyfriend gets home late again from his hourly job reeking of perfume and no overtime pay to show for it.
    Girlfriend: Boyfriend, why are you working late every night? Is there something going on? 
    BF: No.
    GF: Okay!
    Cheaters lie. How does addressing red flags work if all you’re going to get are lies?
    No one is advocating being 100% MISTRUSTING and constantly snooping around, or going psycho because you see an email that could be taken a hundred different ways (as in your pool game example). What we’re saying is that when you have a partner who suddenly starts exhibiting the tell-tale signs (which you wouldn’t be even remotely aware of if you were so blinded by your complete trust in that person), then I’d say you have every right to start looking for evidence so you can get the hell out and move on with your life. People will lie lie lie to your face but the email you find where he and she are discussing what to name the baby (as happened in the case with my ex-husband), I’d say that’s pretty darned effective evidence. The judge thought so too. But if you keep believing every lame excuse they dole out because you’re so trusting, you’ll just end up old and alone when he finally dumps you for someone else.
    The OP, to the best of our knowledge, was NOT snooping around all the time until she found something. She didn’t START snooping until she accidentally came across something. 

  29. 29

    Omg, my typing is terrible. My last comment is quite a jumble. WHat I MEANT was:
    Evan- You know I tout your praises all the time, and defend you when I think it’s needed, but you seemed to disregard a part of the story here when she says:
    The reason this bothered me so much was because just a year and a half prior to this incident I caught him sending suggestive/flirty text messages – also him suggesting they should meet up, and of course she responded with great joy!”
    That to me is concerning, and I don’t see how the OP/couple addressed this or worked it through. And you don’t seem to address it either Evan.
    Of course, I don’t know the full story. Without that, I’m not sure of it’s implications (missing nuance). What I can say is that he seems to be unclear in his head of what’s considered appropriate contact within their relationship. Some couples would have no concern with that kind of behavior, others may have considerable concern. I’m part of the latter, and (I think) you may be part of the former.  (No insult to you intended – you just seem ok with simple contact that would be concerning for some of us).
    Can you revisit this aspect? Thanks!

  30. 30

    I was married to a man who cheated on me.  In subsequent relationships I have never treated the man I was with as if he were a potential cheater.  I did not check up on them, I have never snooped.  I have learned, however, to listen to my intuition. (That would be INTUITION, not paranoia.)  I knew when I met my ex that he was a liar.  I knew it but ignored it.  At that time, I hadn’t yet learned to trust my intuition.  I do now.
    People reveal themselves.  When they do PAY ATTENTION.  I can always trace my relationship pain back to a time when I ignored something that was key.  Hard to be a victim when you take responsibility for your part.  I will not snoop on a partner.  If I can’t trust him it is not the relationship I want.  
    Karl R wrote:  “Furthermore, the act of snooping makes you more suspicious not less.
    Yes it does!  And if you are snooping there is always betrayal of trust… you are the one who is betraying your partner and the relationship.  Instead of skulking about take Karl’s advice and address the red flag directly!
    People who cheat do reveal themselves.  They become critical,  they pull back from the relationship.  When that happens don’t snoop address their behavior. 
    It is possible for me to get into a relationship with a man who could at some point cheat on me.  Obviously I wouldn’t like that but I will not live my life suspicious and guarded.  I agree with Karl, trust is a choice and the person I must truly trust first and foremost is myself.  I need to trust that I will pay attention to red flags and not blindly move forward into a relationship that is not good.  I need to trust that if I am treated unkindly or with disrespect that I will move on.  Because I can trust myself, I can trust someone else.  
    Karl wrote:  I’d rather trust my wife and get caught completely unaware by a betrayal (as I did with my ex-girlfriend), instead of undermining my marriage and every relationship of mine with my own suspicions and mistrust.
    I agree

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