Should I suspect her? (long and a bit ranty)

The story so far…
Mrs. Z and I have been married for just shy of 5 years. Right now we are having a rough time. You see she suffers from clinical depression and to top it off my nerousies have kind of caught up to me about, oh, September the 12th.

Right now she says that she does not feel deep love for me. (She actually said the I love you but I’m not in love with you thing. Don’t women know how that just sounds like bull-ppop?)

Where was I? Oh yeah

So we haven’t had sex since December. (her idea not mine) When she finally came around to admitting that she had cut me off she said it was becasue she didn’t want to lead me on. She has started thearpy as have I and although she says she wants the marriage to stay together she doesn’t ‘know’ that it will so no sex till she does.

(another aside)
Although the other day she did admit that if I were to ‘force the issue’ at the ‘right time’ she would have sex with me so somehow I’m supposed to figure out when to kick in the door ala John Wayne in The Quiet Man but John Wayne had a script and a director yelling action but I have neither so I’m a bit less of a man.


Mrs.Z is an actress and is having a level of success at the off-off broadway level. I have been very supportive of this endevour. Even though it means that she spends long hours in rehersals. Even though it means that she sometimes kisses other actors. Even though it means that she works as a temp which sometimes really cuts into our income. I do this because I love her and I trust her. I thnk (and my doc thinks) that one problem with our relationship is that it is almost father/daughter not husband/wife and because I am so willing to put other peoples happiness before my own it kind of sets this up.


She has also admitted that she has feelings for someone she has acted with and feels terrible guilt over it. (she feels guilty alot, more than a normal person and is working on that in thearpy) I’ve told her that just because you take a wedding vow does not mean that you will never be attracted to another person the question is what do (or don’t do) about it.

So she is in a play which started it’s run on Thrusday. I of course that night witch is called a preview by some but opening by others. Most of the cast goes out afterward and I go along.

Friday I don’t go to the show. But she and the rest of the cast go out. She calls after the show on the way to the bar and tells me. She also calls when she leaves the bar to let me know she is on the way home. (we’ve discussed that I should know if she is going out or is going to be late) When she gets home she tells me how the play went and the funny things her drunk castmates did at the bar.

Saturday the same thing. I don’t go to the play and she and cast goes out and she calls on the way to the bar and again later when on the way home.

Sunday her parents (who know that we are at a tough spot in the marriage) come down and watch the matinee. I go with them we have dinner afterwards. It goes really well (we were both nervous) and she goes back to the theatre and I go home. She goes out really just for one drink and comes home.

Something you should know is that I snore and for a long time (before we were married) sometimes one of us will sleep on the couch. Mrs. Z fell right asleep when we went to bed Sunday night and I couldn’t fall asleep so I went out to the living room and watched tv and fell asleep on the couch. Now I seem to recall that her cell phone was plugged in charging as hers if plugged into the wall behind the couch and it fell on me in the night.

So Monday she is really tired and the show goes up at 7 and not 8 so she will be done around 9:30. I figure that she will come straight home being so tired and all. I don’t eat dinner thinking that we will eat around 10, 10:30 when she gets home. About 11 I call her cell. (this is a monumental task for me to call her and ask for the information (where the hell is she?) that I need/desire) It rings then goes into voicemail. She calls much later and says that her cell phone is dead and is calling from a payphone and is on the way home. When she gets home she tells how another woman in the cast had to talk to her about boyfriend troubles. Then she talks about the sister of one of her castmates, (also an actess that Mrs. Z competes with for roles) and she repeats a conversation that she told me about Saturday night.


I remember the cell phone charging. (was middle of night may have been wrong)

Called her cell and it rang. If it is off it does not ring but goes straight into voicemail. She said the phone was dead.

She repeats the recount of a previous night. After she accounts for time with actress A she adds time spent with actress B to fill out the night.

When she is home she seems even more distant than usual. (maybe my imagination)

This morning she recounts a dream she had last night.

she was in a bar with some of her castmates and members of Duran Duran. (but they were the good looking gguys of the early 80’s, no they were older and worn out) She tells everybody has she used to love them. Also everyone accused her of being drunk which she denies but she is constanlty spilling drinks on herself.

Gee subtitute my name for Duran Duran and switch fooling around with being drunk and dream makes perfect sense.

However I know I blow things out of proportion. I mean she broke the phone call pattern of the two previous nights. Is that a big deal?

Maybe she after not calling she felt guilty and decided to tell me a white lie about her phone being dead.

And now the ultimate test of trust.

Mrs. Z is in an acting company and after being in there a while they will produce a ‘special project’ for a member. It is a big deal. Generally the actor picks a play and casts it and chooses a director and the company will get a space for you. Mrs. Zs project is coming up. (rehersals start wednesday) This has been in the works for about 8 months. She is doing The Importance of Being Earnest. But guess what? The guy she is attracted to is in the cast, (wait for it) as her love interest! She says she hasn’t done anything but now for the next 6 weeks she will be going night after night to act with him. AM I THE ONLY ONE WHO THINKS THIS IS A BAD IDEA?!?!?! (hey there’s an open container of gasoline let’s smoke!)
So…what do you think?

I don’t know what to think, but I’m sorry you’re in a bad spot right now.

Yikes what a complicated situation. I am going to suggest something really simple that is both extremely easy and extremely hard at the same time.

Tell her everything you have told us. Just point her to this post.

Then you can tell her you are feeling abandoned and neglected and you need some reassurance that you are wrong. Lack of intimacy can be absolutely devastating to the psyche and the soul.

I happen to believe that we all have a certain amout of “skin hunger” that must be satisfied. I am not talking about sex specifically but more the feel of another human being’s body against our own. When someone’s feeling are hurt they will ask for a hug–no not ask, demand. Have you ever heard anyone say “a hug would be nice?” No usually a person says they NEED a hug. Did you ever wonder why?

IMHO emotional abandonment is about the worst thing you can do to a person. Beat me, steal my stuff but don’t ignore me.

What raised a red flag to me is that she doesn’t want to have sex until she is sure that the marriage will survive.

I believe that the intimacy helps keep you together, and without it, your marriage will not thrive. (If sex is important to you, which from your post, I belive it is.)

I’m sorry you are in such a situation. Trust your gut. Best of luck to you.

The Mermaid is absolutely right about humans needing physical intimacy, not just sex. Are you and your wife still hugging, holding hands, sitting close to each other on the couch, etc? Cause if there is no intimacy on this level either, I can see where you would be feeling really lost in your marriage. It sounds like you guys actually have a pretty good marriage, if there is still so much communication, respect, and commitment happening, even during a bad patch. But talk to her about this. Don’t tell her about your suspicions, but tell her about missing her, missing the physical intimacy, and about needing to know what she’s doing so you can make your own plans. My $0.02, FWIW.

Oh, I forgot to mention that marriages are cyclical (which you probably know already). You’re in a down cycle right now, but that probably won’t last forever. Research being done has shown that a lot of people divorce during a down cycle, and regret it later. I’ll see if I can dig up some cites on this.

Egad. This is a sad, terrible story.

What concerns me is how passive you sound in all this. You need to start talking to your wife. Take The Mermaid’s excellent suggestion and tell her what you told us. Focus on the reasons you think she would cheat on you (e.g. emotional distance, not having sex) as much as the specific clues.

Most importantly, you need to start thinking about getting out. Just as a possible outcome right now – hopefully you can work it out, but if she isn’t willing to make it work, you need to do what’s best for you. Her depression is not an excuse to stay in a relationship that’s hurting you. Don’t put her needs ahead of yours – this will hurt both of you.

Good luck.

Tough time.
I am sorry that you’re going through this, and I hope that it gets better and things work out for the best.
I seem to remember you offering support when I posted a relationship thread a while back, Zebra, so even though I don’t have any answers, I’ll tell you what I think.

  1. the cell phone thing sounds iffy. You’re right. When it is dead, it goes straight to voice mail. Although, sometimes when it’s about to die, it rings of one last time, like the little cell that could, before it cuts off? Maybe the charger jostled when it fell, and came slightly disconnected? I charge mine on the couch too, and if someone sits down the right way, it gets loose and even though I think I’ve charged it, it dies fairly soon.
    On the other hand, if she did lie about it for whatever reason, you will probably never know the truth, so maybe just try to put it out of your mind, and move on.
  2. The thing with the actor being her love interest in this production would freak me out. I don’t blame you at all. However, maybe it could be a good thing. If she’s distanced herself from you, she might be wondering what something new would be like. However, a compressed amount of time with this guy when there is lots of stress, yelling, hurrying, exhaustion, sweat, etc., might be just the thing. If she’s going to get bored with that situation, or get her fill of it, this is the way to do it. Hopefully the day-to-day working aspect of the situation will make her see him in a more mundane light, and the “forbidden” aspect will diminish.
  3. the sex thing bothers me. I agree that the “no sex until I know what I want” thing sounds wierd, but what sent up a red flag for me was her admission that she would be intimate with you if you “forced” her. That sounds like emotional blackmail to me, as though she’s intimating that she would only get aroused if you
    came in like John Wayne, as you aptly put it. What is that about? If she wants you to be more aggressive, or masculine, or whatever towards her, then she should just tell you straight out, rather than tying it to a sex life in a coma.

I know it’s a lot easier said that done, but I think it might be beneficial for you to go on the offensive for a while, in terms of getting some answers and trying to get some decisions made, or working through some issues. Of course, if she needs time, or if she’s confused, that’s legitimate, but it almost sounds like she would benefit frrom and apreciate you taking a little more control of the way things are headed.

Sorry- I left out the most important part of my last sentence-
I think that you would benefit from taking control as well.

Hi, I’m back again. I did a little research, and although I couldn’t find exact cites to back up my claims (which I still think are true; I remember reading about this some time in the near past), I did find some interesting points. One point about making a marriage work is having a common vision for the future, that you’re both working towards. It sounds like you two are missing this, Zebra. Another point is doing things together, and having separate interests as well (I guess finding the balance here is the trick).

i know you referred to both of you seeking assistance/therapy individually, but have you considered seeking some form of joint counselling? I think there is can be some value in having the 2 of you force yourselves to be honest in front of a neutral 3d party.

Best of luck, man. Sounds like a lousy situation. While I cannot express an opinion on whether or not to suspect her of any specific indiscretion, it is pretty easy to say your marriage is not healthy at this time. I agree with the folk who suggest a more active effort on your part. This is your life, man. Don’t just sit around and wait to see what is going to happen to you.


We both think that seeing an thearpists seperatly is a good prelude to seeing one together.

As far as telling her my feelings I’ll do that.

As soon as these monkeys quite flying out of my butt.

Seriously that is something I am working on doing but I’ve only seen the doc four times so I’m not cured yet. I do tend to be very passive and try to please my partner and keep them happy. I’m figuring out that this stems from my relationship I had with my brother as a child where I found that keeping him happy and attnetion focused on him (generally) kept him form verbally abuseing me. It seems that this has formed a pattern for almost all my relationships. However I’m really disappointed in thearpy as after the doc pointed this out there was no anglic chorus and big light shone on me and I did not instantly change that aspect of my life. I went home and found that I was still unable to say how I felt and what I needed.

Hell I was sweeting writing the op.

She wants to go to the movies tonight. She starts rehersal for Earnest tomorrow. This will be one of the few nights we can have to ourselved for a while. I’m struggleing with idea of whether of not to hold her hand during the movie.

“Should I wait and see if she holds mine?”

“What will it mean is she does/does not hold my hand?”

Of course trying to read meaning into this is a good way of avoiding talking to her. Which btw is nuts as she is a terrific person and is really nice and more than anyone on earth lets me be me.

[extremly heavy sigh]

I guess I’ll talk to her tonight.

I am not married and come from a divorced family, so you may take my advice with a grain of salt, but what I have to say is:

Yes, hold your wife’s hand. Don’t wait for her to do it–she’s your wife, for goodness’ sake, I think you are allowed. You have admitted yourself that you are passive. Don’t feel disappointed that now that you know it, the problem hasn’t gone away. Learning to define the problem is the first step towards solving it.

If you find it hard to say what you feel, why don’t you try writing it down? Have some face-to-face time after the movie tonight, and give her a letter that says what you feel. Or make her a drawing showing how you feel or act it out with a sock puppet! Seriously, neither of you can read each other’s minds and you both need to start making it clear to each other what you have to say and what you feel towards each other. Even if you only make a little tiny step towards that tonight, try it. If you open up a little, I’ll bet she will too.

Disclaimer: I don’t have much experience in marriage or other affairs of the heart. I second The Mermaid’s suggestion of talking about everything you’ve posted, no matter how difficult or frightening it might be. The longer you keep it inside, and the longer you have to devise scenarios and ruminate over how your wife might be spending her time apart from you, the more crazy and paranoid you’ll make yourself (your interpretation of her dream sort of exemplifies that). Best of luck to you, Zebra.

Hey there, Zebra.

First off, man, what a bummer of a situation. That’s extremely stressful. I don’t have any advice but can tell you that I’d probably be pretty aggressive in finding out what was going on. Not sure that is the best approach, though - just an honest reply of what I would do.

Second…hey, know that we’re thinking about you over here. It isn’t easy to go through relationship stress. Know that you have some support.


Kinda the way I see it is, if you are open with her, and it pisses her off, at least you will KNOW she is pissed and she’ll be pissed about what you really think/feel, instead of what she thinks you are thinking/feeling.

And if things go bad anyway, at least afterwards you will be able to know you tried. I personally would prefer knowing that I tried and worrying whether I maybe did the wrong thing, over realizing I didn’t do ANYTHING and that anthing would have been no worse than my inaction.

Another thing, don’t put all your hopes/fears on her immediate reaction to what you say/do. For example, let’s say you express your innermost hopes and fears, and she gets all defensive. Even if the immediate reaction might be unpleasant, you at least took the first step upon which the journey to rebuilding your relationship can begin. Things might be different tomorrow morning, or next week.

To continue my horrendously twisted metaphor, realize that it took some time for your relationship to get this fucked up. It won’t heal overnight. But the sooner you get started towards recovery, the sooner you’ll get there.

Ya know what? I personally hate such emotional scenes. But in my experience, thinking about it ahead of time is about a bazillion times worse than actually doing it. Don’t try to figure out the perfect time and the perfect words. Once you realize that addressing it is the right thing for both of you, just make up your mind that you are going to say something and start talking. There are worse ways to approach this that simply saying, “You know, I’m really mad/worried/scared/frustrated about x.” Course, I’m the kind of guy who prefers just jumping into the cold pool to get it over with at once.

Just tossing out some thoughts of doubtless dubious merit hoping to help you steel your resolve to do a tough task.

Oh yeah, make sure you let us voyeurs know how things turn out!

Zebra, I’ve been there, and I know it sucks, and I hope for the best for you both. There’s been a lot of good advice here already, but FWIW, here’s my .02.

My first marriage lasted all of a year and a half, and the only things that tore it apart were suspicion and distrust. I was the most possessive and jealous sonofabitch you can imagine, and it didn’t take me long to imagine that my wife was cheating. Whether she was or not was irrelevant once suspicion took over my rationality. That happened when I started ‘investigating’. I found just enough half-assed circumstantial evidence to feel betrayed. When I started presenting said ‘evidence’, it became clear that the mere fact that I had found such an investigation to be necessary at all devalued our friendship and trust horribly, and (farther down the slippery slope) damaged our relationship irreconcilably. In short, be careful what you look for, or you shall surely find it.

I would add my vote to those suggesting that you talk about it with your wife alone, earnestly and openly. Seek counsel if you find it productive, but bear in mind that therapists can only listen and suggest. They can’t take action or change what you’ve convinced yourself to be true.

I’ve been married to my second wife for fifteen years now. There have been some rough times, and even a couple of incidents of minor infidelity in the first few years. Our honesty with each other and our desire to salvage our friendship at all costs brought us through those times. I was cured of my possessiveness and irrational jealousy when I came to grips with the fact that there’s no use pretending that she can’t leave. People leave all the time, and those left behind carry on. We now have a standing agreement: If either of us ever finds another who so complements us that we feel we cannot live without them, we’re free to go. Better that one of us should suffer for a finite period of time than for both of us to live together in misery and deceit. It may sound odd, but admitting to ourselves that it’s entirely possible seems to greatly diminish the probability, and it relieves us of having to wonder about it. Que sera, sera.
After fifteen years, we’re still the best of friends. (Hell, I’m even still friends with my ex. We both ended up in better situations.)

Put aside your defensiveness and salvage your friendship first. The rest will follow, not necessarily as you wish, but as it should.

HTH, and good luck to you.

Attraction and ‘feelings’: 2 different things.

I’m probably alone in this, BUT:

If everything is as you say it is, my gut says you should get the heck out of there. Run away and do not look back. The relationship is done for.

I respectfully disagree with spooje. It’s a horrible cliché, but there’s a lot of truth in the saying “When you get to the end of your rope, make a knot and hang on.” Don’t give up on your relationship while you’re in the middle of a bad patch, unless you’re sure you have no future together.

Are you by chance seeing the same therapist? Perhaps you should go together…I think the lack of intimacy is a pretty serious issue. I can’t imagine any therapist thinking that her approach is not harmful to the relationship.

Wish I had some good advice. I’m new to the marriage thing myself.