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'My wife was in touch with her former boyfriend... My world ended there.'

  • Posted by Moderator: Biju Mathew
  • Published 9:25 May 13, 2013

'I was shattered and I am in depression for the past one month. Can't eat, can't sleep and always immersed in thoughts'

A reader asks: I am a regular follower of your section in Gulfnews.com and I must say you guys do a great job. I always feel that the guy walks back with a solution in hand most of the times. Though I never hoped or thought I would be writing to you, but this is what life is all about.
This is the problem I am going through and I really hope you could help me with a solution or a way forward as I am going through the worst phase of my life so far.
I come from Pakistan, from a very respectable family. Settled in Dubai for a little more than eight years and well settled in a very good company. I work in a respectable position in my company and that's the reason why my life is a little hectic as I have to spend some extra time at office.

I recently got married. It was an arranged marriage. I spoke to her a couple of times before I got married just to make sure she was happy with this proposal and she said she was very happy. I got her to Dubai in two months, immediately after I got her visa done. Everything was going perfectly smooth and I was also under the impression we both were extremely happy. We were getting noticed within our friend circle where my friends used to say we are the best couple and we always looked happy. She got pregnant a few months back and I was taking very good care of her. I did everything I could to be the best husband in this world and I am very sure any girl would have felt it that way.

Life had to take a real ugly turn a month ago when by chance I checked her phone and happened to read some messages from an unknown number. I started chatting from this side from her mobile and unfortunately it turned out to be her ex-boy friend. I started probing into it and later on found his number in the dialed list before she came to Dubai. I did a lot of digging into it and found out the entire history. She was still in touch with her former boyfriend. My world ended there. I was shattered and I am in depression for the past one month. Can't eat, can't sleep and always immersed in thoughts.

Since then, I am in deep distress. Everyone thinks I am very happy but deep inside I am dying. I have started feeling I will not survive long as I will never come out of this betrayal. My wife pleads and cries and promises that she would never repeat this mistake ever, but I can't trust her anymore. She repents all the time and cries all the time that she unknowingly committed this crime and she would never ever do it again. I sometimes think of moving out of this marriage, but can't do that because of the unborn baby and our parents. Her parents are so happy with this wedding. They consider themselves so lucky that they have found a son in the form of son-in-law. As a person she is amazing, she has never given me a chance to complain, but this was the biggest mistake she made and I don't know what to do. She is under my radar for the past one month where I check all her calls, messages and she hasn't repeated it so far but I still don't trust her.

I kindly request you to please suggest: Should I move out of this wedding? Should I give her a chance and try to trust her? How should I move on from here? I don't want to break this marriage as I love her a lot as well but as a person, I can never forget this betrayal. I can never forgive her. Please advice.

Dr. Melanie C. Schlatter, PhD, Consultant Health Psychologist, Well Woman Clinic, Dubai, replies: Thank you for your email and for sharing your difficult experience. It is very helpful to know that you have settled so well in Dubai, and that you had such a positive and loving start to your marriage of 6 months — a marriage that is obviously well supported by your family and friends. The fact that you have been so dedicated towards being the best husband for your wife shows me your sincerity, pride, and honour—you truly gave of yourself—so I can understand why it would be so soul-destroying to find out that she was still in contact with her ex-boyfriend. Although I do not know the details of her relationship with him (those of which you found out on the cellphone) they clearly caused you a lot of distress. Furthermore, I assume that this information would have been particularly difficult to digest if you did not realize she had an ex-boyfriend in the first place!

I like to play Devil’s Advocate though, so bear with me here. When you first ‘checked’ her phone, albeit by chance, was there a reason that you needed to go further and read some of the messages? You alluded to ‘probing’ and ‘digging into’ the issue, as well as even starting to chat to him from her phone, as if it were her (if I have interpreted you correctly). Given the extent of your actions, did you actually have any prior misgivings about her or her intentions, which could now be raised openly? Or is this something within your own nature? Because if it is something within your own nature, then your potential worry, suspicion, and /or insecurities could wreak havoc on your relationship in the future, leading to mass generalizations and over-reaction. In saying that, your current thoughts, and the inability to sleep and eat, are a common reaction to the paralyzing shock and indecision of whether or not to end the marriage. When you decide what you want to do, and with some attention to basic self-care, the symptoms should disappear.

  • Let us look at your feelings now. Apart from the obvious betrayal that you mention, what actually riled your emotions about her correspondence? Did her messages make you feel uncomfortable, inferior, jealous, panicky, resentful, or even unworthy? It could be worthwhile for you to tap into those emotions, and explore what you are reacting against so strongly. Indeed, how have you coped in other situations where friends or loved ones may have hurt, disrespected or betrayed you? Did you do anything to rectify matters or did you ‘protect’ yourself by cutting them out of your life immediately? Or perhaps you have rarely been treated in a negative fashion which may make you feel extra sensitive about particular situations?

Indeed, although this may feel like the worst phase of your life thus far, I think it would help you to reframe things, away from the worst case scenario. I do see the discrepancy between your wife stating that this is all innocent, and you reading into the matter as the complete opposite (which might warrant investigation from a third party), but you will not die, and you will come out of this. You just need to quickly regain control, instead of feeling so helpless and at the same time being so adamant that your wife’s actions cannot be forgiven or forgotten. I assure you that you will not feel any better unless you bend a little. Do you really envision yourself walking out the door and leaving everything? You see, we are dealing with a marriage here, which you have invested a lot of your time and effort into. And, apart from some perhaps thoughtless communication between your wife and this man — which is the only thing she has done ‘wrong’ to date — things were actually going very well between you. Indeed, if she had been so emotionally or romantically invested in her ex-boyfriend, do you really believe you would have had such a wonderful six months together? It also appears that your wife truly believes her actions were without malicious or harmful intent, which is backed up by no further communications of this nature. And she has not come back to blame you or defend herself — she is actually still deeply upset and trying to repent. Is that not evidence that this marriage is worth another shot? The fact that you never spoke badly about your wife in your email further highlights this potential.

However, you must stop checking her devices and having her imprisoned under your ‘radar’ as this can only lead to bitterness and backlash. Why is it so difficult for you to believe her? If she was so amazing and you love her so much, then show that love. Is true forgiveness not love in action, whereby you are also releasing yourself from the chains of suspicion and doubt? You need to give your wife a chance. It will be tough for you and it will take time. And certainly, if this happens again, it would be a different story — but from what I can interpret about your wife, she is truly sorry for her actions. Do not think this will be easy on her either. Indeed, she might have got quite a shock as a result of this altercation, so she will probably want to do anything to prove to you that she can always be trusted. Let her do this. You may not be able to forget this or even accept it in your mind, but you can choose to forgive her and move on with your lives. The honour of your families is still intact, and you have the power to rectify things between the two of you right now. So please lessen the stress on yourselves, as well as on the unborn baby, and discuss this like adults. No more stress and crying …. because there can be so much more for you to look forward to.

Write with your concerns to inmind@gulfnews.com and selected questions will be answered by a panel of qualified psychiatrists and psychologists. Your contributions will be modified for length and appropriateness, and will be open to other Gulf News readers to comment and suggest solutions. Let us know if you would like GulfNews.com to withhold your name from your letter should it be published.

Disclaimer: This blog is a conversation and is not an alternative for treatment. The recommendations and suggestions offered by our panel of psychiatrists are their own and Gulf News will not take any responsibility for the advice they provide.

Comments (110)

  1. Added 16:12 May 20, 2013

    I think you really need to step in front of a mirror and give a good look to yourself before you start passing judgements on your wife. By reading what you wrote, it seems you "think strongly" that you have everything a woman would need and her parents feel so lucky to have you and bla bla... I am not saying your wife did something worthwile, it is certainly not sane to betray your life partner but maybe she did this because of you, because of your insecurity, pride and lack of confidence in her. Dude, I think its not her but you who needs help.

    Ahsan Khan, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 13:54 May 19, 2013

    To the Letter Sender, The advice given to you is great. I hope you read them carefully. And to be honest, being in touch with a past love isn't a crime at all, especially when there is no bitter moments between them. If they learned to be friends with one another and mindful of the present situation, you have nothing to be afraid of, or angry for. You can even be friend with her ex. This situation shows that you fear losing your wife and your soon to be child, and that fear creates anger within you. So I suggest, forgive yourself from being angry, face your fears and do the necessary, give your wife a chance to set things straight. If you are not comfortable allowing her to talk to her past relationship, then tell her straightforward, and as you said, she never did it again, then why worry? Show her that you are worthy enough to work the relationship out and don't give her the reason to think that you are a weak person who can't fight for what you want and need. If you really love her, release that fear and anger will be gone, and them your love for her will blossom once again and surely you'll have a better and more wonderful life together. And I agree with one of the comments here, As a woman, especially during conception, hormones tends to change moods and since you are always out of the home, she might have gotten bored alone and searched for some attention, but I believe that's only it and she doesn't intend to cheat you or go further than that. So dear letter sender, Let go of that fear and accept the reality that you love your wife and you don't want to lose her. God bless and stay in love!

    Ms.Wayne, DUBAI, United Arab Emirates

  3. Added 13:43 May 19, 2013

    Its better to forgive and start a new life as she has realised her mistake.

    Rumana, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  4. Added 07:53 May 19, 2013

    I can understand your concerns. but this is life and every one make mistakes if your wife regrets what she has done and assure you that she will not repeat this behavior in future. and will remain loyal to your relationship. I think you must give her second chance. To build and maintain relation you have to trust each other.Praying you will recollect your relationship and will make a fresh start.

    Sajid, Islamabad, Pakistan

  5. Added 07:02 May 17, 2013

    Just remember that it was an arranged marriage, meaning she had a life before you. She is in a strange city, probably no friends of her own here as she is hanging with your friends. Am not saying what she did was ok but given the situation it seems she needed someone to talk to as good of a husband you claim to be, loneliness can make you do stupid things just to get by. Hopefully you can look past it and as no one is an angel am sure you have your own skeletons in your closet that she doesnt know about. Forgive and you shall prevail. Congratulations on your soon to arrive addition into your family

    SS, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

  6. Added 06:39 May 17, 2013

    To Err is human ...To forgive is divine....Bro i can tell you for sure you definitely need to give it a chance ...Marriage is such a blessed relationship and it has a very divine association ...Mistakes happen for a reason..Your wife seems to be a going through a tough time as well...and my friend you alone are to take care of her...TALK to her hold her hand and make a promise and lay a set of rules with utmost sincerity...the do's and donts....TRUST her...if ALLAH can forgive us for our wrongdoings who are we to withhold any one for a mistake ....trust issues happen with a majority of couples...thats when the rules are to be set...i can tell you your marriage is blessed as you are soon going to be a father....you are a great guy and so is your wife....learn to forgive ...stay blessed...

    Owais, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  7. Added 21:55 May 16, 2013

    come on man wake up....just imagine if you would have met your ex-girl friend and talked with her few times how would your wife reacted ???? makes sense !!! don't destroy your life when you are expecting a baby and this is the time she will totally change as her responsibilities will be widen and there will be no time for her ex-bf....

    tahir, dubai, United Arab Emirates

  8. Added 12:21 May 16, 2013

    bro just give her a chance ..

    dreamer, dubai, United Arab Emirates

  9. Added 11:55 May 16, 2013

    hi there. i read your post and even though i ignored it ,it kept coming back to me.and so i have come back to reply..i read you are from pakistan .well so am i .and i am really sorry about what you went through.but i am going to offer a different prespective here to you .i am not saying that i am right.heck no noe is .we all pretend to be .its just a woman's point of view.i am a wife too and i id the same thing that your wife did.i was in contact with my ex boyfriend for a while before my husband found out and things took a worse turn .why you ask??...here are a few reasons ...firstly it felt nice to be noticed by someone even though you are married.wrong?? yes ..did it felt good ..yes .second ..have you ever as a child did something that your parents told you not to go and gotten an adrenaline rush... for the same reason..it provided a tingling and a spice that is somehow not there in t he routine life...third ..husband was turned on by by fantasizing another man with us...for me they started becoming more and more powerfu luntill i got hem into reality.. in short ..it was a mistake ..just like smoking or drinking or chatting no mobiles while driving is and there are countless more examples...but the best thnig is to realise your mistake and move on..thank God when i told my husband that ,he was able to step into my shoes and see my side and now we have a healthy relation once more...if you want to get in touch ,you can get my email from the gulf news staff..my sincere advice to you..let it go..if you cant ..get over it .....dont make yourself and her suffer ....that too for someone who does not matter a dime ni your life................cheers!!:)

    lookingup, abu dhabi, United Arab Emirates

  10. Added 13:40 May 15, 2013

    there are many Blessings in life my friend...just right at this time reading my mail forget all the negative thoughts and start living a happy life. so simple solution...we all are humans and we all make mistakes remember... Forgiveness is also a blessing from Allah. she is your wife and both of you are now going to have a Child...that's great.she is a part of you and will be... Please just stop these negative feelings and start living a LIFE. forgive her love her and be loved. Praying for you Three :)

    khurram, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

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