Dear Annie

Husband wants to wipe the slate clean

Dear Annie: I thought my husband and I had a great marriage — until I looked on his phone and found text messages to another woman. I was crushed. I asked him about it, and he said that it was nothing and that there were only a few messages. When I checked our cellphone details, I was completely devastated to find that it had been going on for almost a year and there were almost 2,000 text messages during the past six months. When I talked to him about this and all the lies he had told me, he said he had lost his way and he was sorry and didn’t want to lose me.

We started counseling, but he doesn’t want to discuss the details of the text messages and did a factory reset on his phone so I can’t see the messages. He said it was not a sexual affair, but his actions just don’t convince me it was just text messages. Now he thinks we are fine and our marriage will go on, but I can’t stop myself from thinking about what he may have done that I don’t know about.

How can I ever trust him again? I don’t know whether I can, because he told me so many lies. This was going on for almost a year. How can I believe that it wasn’t sexual?

— Lost in Love

Dear Lost in Love: I’m so sorry for the hurt you must be feeling. Your husband can’t simply reset your marriage as he did his phone. It seems he expects that as long as he apologizes and stops talking to this woman, everything should go back to the way it was before he decided to have an affair. And it was an affair — if not a physical one, then an emotional one. Tell him that if you’re ever going to move past this, you need complete candidness and vulnerability from him. No more obfuscating the truth, changing the subject or destroying the evidence. Anything short of that would be placing a Band-Aid on a deep puncture wound, and the marriage would never heal.

Dear Annie: I am a regular reader of your column but was frankly dismayed at your answer recently to someone whose adult brother was behaving heartlessly toward his mother.

Our son has shown no interest in us for a long time unless he needs money. We, like the mother in the letter, are grieving over this behavior. When he was growing up, we were generous and loving parents. Do parents make mistakes raising their children? Of course they do. But does that give their children an excuse to abandon them as this young man apparently has and as my son has also done?

I was always close to my parents, even after getting married and having a family, calling and visiting frequently even though they lived far away. Anytime my dad or mom was in the hospital, I was there, unlike the young man in this letter.

— Another Mother in Pain

Dear Another Mother: I’m so sorry you’re going through this. I’m printing your letter with the hope that it stirs some adult children to pick up the phone and call their parents.

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