Two days ago I woke up and my new husband’s e-mail was open. What caught my attention was the address. It was a variation of his name, but not an e-mail account I have never seen.
I am not and have never been a snooper because it never crossed my mind. We have our e-mails open next to each other always. (But now I know why he felt safe — because he just deletes the bad stuff.)
Anyway, I was curious and opened it, and there was an e-mail with three Facebook links to different women. Under each link was a description of basically why any guy would click on them (not-so-nice/degrading comments about their physical descriptions).
I confronted him and caught him in various lies. “They were to a friend, we always joke like that.” Apparently, they find pics of nasty girls to make fun of — yet, his “friend” wasn’t even in his e-mail contacts. He has been sticking with that story but won’t address why it doesn’t fit.
Today I tried to get into the “secret” account — with his permission — and low and behold, it was deleted — YESTERDAY. Apparently he didn’t think that a notification would come up telling me that.
Now let me tell you about this man. Been together for eight years. I know everything about him. We are best friends. He’s a sweetheart, never had an enemy in his life, and is perfect to me. I am not kidding when I tell you that he has never done ANYTHING to disrespect me or even hurt me in any way. His friends would do anything to protect him because he is their most trustworthy friend. And morals up to the eyeballs.
Yes, he jokes around with his guy friends and he does guy stuff, but this is out of character. This is sneaky. I wouldn’t mind if it was jokes between friends, but it’s not. I understand guys love big breasts and blondes. No surprises here. But this was personal and deliberate. Like he was going to follow up — to remind himself to look at these women again.
I am disgusted, embarrassed, offended, and uncomfortable. I was on cloud nine and a plane has crashed through my cloud. I know he’s never cheated. I know where he is always — never a mysterious outing on his record. He doesn’t cheat because that is not him. But now I think he doesn’t cheat for a very different reason. Now I think that he would cheat, but just doesn’t have the courage. And that is a horrible change in perspective.
The scary part is that I will never know what else he was doing with these pictures because the darn account is deleted and I have no closure. So I am asking you — How do I move on? I’m uncomfortable when he looks at me. I am a brunette and comically flat-chested. Thin. But I feel as though that is not enough.
It makes me angry that he belittles women like that. I don’t care if they are being “slutty” — we’re supposed to feel sorry for them, not degrade them. His actions were degrading to all women.
I also feel like many people will think I am overreacting. I know I am, but here is why: I always thought I was too good for the average guy who degrades women. He is sorry, but sorry is for accidents. There needs to be another word for regret.
TOO EARLY FOR THIS DRAMA, Mass.
A.I’m not so bothered by the secret e-mail address and the fact that he’s looking at well-endowed women. Married people are allowed some secrets. They are certainly allowed to look at images that “inspire” them — and those images do not have to resemble a spouse. (In short, his interest in busty women has nothing to do with you.)
I am bothered by his comments about these women, assuming that they were truly misogynist in tone. (Were they?) I’m also bothered by his weird explanations. You need to have the kind of marriage that allows him to say, “Yeah, I was using Facebook as pornography. Embarrassing, but it happens.” His “morals up to the eyeballs” reputation shouldn’t turn him into a liar. The weird fibs have you assuming the worst. Perhaps it’s worth telling him that you’d rather hear an ugly truth than a tidy lie that will make you think that he wants to cheat.
You’re angry about too many things right now — the e-mail account, the pictures, his comments, the blondeness of these women . . . My advice is to think about what really bothers you and what’s worth your energy. Is it that he went to Facebook as opposed to a more anonymous website? Is it that he made fun of these women? Is it the secret e-mail address? Figure out what’s actually making you mad and then attempt to have an honest talk about just that. Let the rest go.
You’ve found yourself in a position a lot of people do . . . the man you thought you loved, the man you’ve known for near a decade . . . isn’t exactly the person you thought him to be. Only you can decide how game changing this would be. I’m sorry.
Does he know these women? Are they acquaintances? Friends of friends?
“Now I think that he would cheat, but just doesn’t have the courage.” That seems like a pretty big jump to conclusion. This seems like just another side to him that you never knew existed. It doesn’t make him a cheater or likely to cheat.
I think these women could have been anyone. They are also no one. I think the reason you went into a red-zone panic is because by his looking at them, you feel threatened (because of your body image issues).
Column and comments are edited and reprinted from boston.com/loveletters. Meredith Goldstein can be reached at mgoldstein @globe.com.