He thinks I’m a cheater!

A letter writer’s husband can’t get over his fear of being cheated on — and she’s fed up of being falsely accused.

This is not a good situation, says our elder.

My husband and I were both previously married. In his marriage he was cheated on, which ended the marriage. I understand that he now has a fear of being cheated on. I do as well. It’s happened to me also. We have been married three years. I’m very much starting to resent his fear. On a multiple times a week basis when I leave the house he asks me not to flirt with people today and to please not check other guys out. I do not do these things. He says I do all the time and that he watches me. If I try to tell him I don’t and that he is incorrect in what he thinks he sees he says that I’m just defending myself and to stop and that I’m not listening to his fears.

But that’s the thing. He interprets any man who comes across my line of sight and I look up as me checking them out. On top of this, any interaction I have with a male is colored as me flirting and flirting about. E.g. We go to Sam’s Club. I’m in the customer service line. He decides to go to another department and when he was done instead of joining me, he hangs back and watches me without my knowledge. As I am looking around for him I see a little girl about two in a buggy. She is an adorable Hispanic child with huge brown eyes and curly hair. I smile at the little girl. When I join my husband he has seen this interaction and colors it as me smiling at the little girl’s father. I couldn’t even tell you what the little girl’s dad looked like.

In addition I am often asked about things that would allude to me cheating. So the issue is I am and have been trying to be understanding for three years now. But at this point it’s really insulting me that I’m treated this way out of his fear and not based on my merits but that of someone else’s from a prior marriage. It’s insulting and hurtful. If I try to say anything about it it’s me just defending myself and not listening to his fears or its me in denial and he knows what he sees. I really feel we are at an impasse. I have never ever ever cheated on him or anyone else. I don’t seek out other men and I don’t check them out and flirt with them. I don’t know how to make him understand this. The constant questioning of my integrity is overwhelming. What do I do? And no, I do not feel nor think he’s cheating. This is purely an emotional baggage issue. Thank you for your time and response.

Jane replies

It seems to me that your husband has a problem that you will never be able to solve. He is in need of a therapist and if you haven’t discussed this with him, I would suggest you do so ASAP.
A problem like your husband’s tends to get worse as time goes on and unless professional help becomes part of the picture, I believe there could be irreparable harm done to your marriage. If your husband refuses to go to a therapist, you should go on your own. Make sure you find a good couple’s therapist who has dealt with stories like this one before. The therapist will be able to tell you how you should react when you are being accused and will help you to handle the problem in a manner that will be easier on you.

Perhaps your husband will follow you into therapy and, in that case, the problem could be cleared up. However, if nothing helps over time, I think you should consider leaving him for your own welfare and safety.
I wish you well, and please feel free to write to us anytime.

Letter #: 432455
Category: Marriage

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