Find answers to some of the more frequently asked questions on the Forums.

Forums guidelines

Our guidelines keep the Forums a safe place for people to share and learn information.

Married 35 years first time in trouble

Community Member

Hello eveybody
My wife of 35 years yes 35 ,had been distance and just different for sometime.
I noticed quite a few changes over the past year yes all the usual, weight loss ,new hair style, new wardrobe, etc etc chuck in menopause and it’s been a trying time.
No matter how many signs of an affair you want to tick she was ticking quite a few.
After a few failed attempts at getting her to open up over the past year ,recently I asked her straight out are you having an affair this was met with a no.
I let her know how I have been feeling I asked if there is something wrong anything we can talk through.
I asked if she been asked out that has given her cause for thought this was met with avoidance not a no.
I threw in a name that that I have heard.
in passing conversation with me in the past One such conversation she mentioned was his wife had left him four months ago.

This guy is a regular customer they see each other often.
Thinking it was just coffee etc I was shocked to hear he wanted her to come away with him on a European trip.
Yes he knows she is married
She told me she declined.
I asked if this no was a no that would let him know he is out of line.
She said I just said no as he is a really nice guy
This was some 4 weeks ago I asked if she has had any further contact with him ,yes nice guy....etc
Then she let me know about a week ago he put this app on her phone so he could send pics while he was away.
He doesn’t leave for another 6 weeks
its a privacy chat app Viber
he set it up.

I looked through the contacts and I couldn’t see his name.
After tears ,storm out etc Told me the assumed name she put him under.
Did he do that? ..no
she picked the name that on a quick glance it would look like an old female boss of hers.
I am totally gutted she says she has no feelings for him.
He is a nice guy 🤬 we’re just friends.

She says she doesn’t see it that he wants it to be more
I have asked all contact to cease which is possible she refuses to do this
She says that’s controlling I let her know how that it hurts me.
I can’t get her to see what this guy really wants from this holiday
How does a guy get the confidence to ask such a question?
I feel it was asking her to leave her husband and have a good time with me
Even hiding his name shows she knew it was wrong but refuses to acknowledge that.

What can I do or say that may help her see this friendship in a different light.
She doesn’t want me to approach this guy.
Any advice greatly appreciated.


18 Replies 18

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi Selfcontrol,

Welcome to the community here on the forum.

Sorry to read you have quite an issue on your hands.

Is it possible for you to show your wife love, care and concern at this time. It seems to me she is flattered by the attentions of this man, if you were to show her extra attention she may well re-focus on what she actually does has.

I'm not suggesting that you are not loving your wife already, sometimes an extra effort goes a long way.

When a person thinks the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, they can be blinded by the lushness to what is right under their feet.

As you have asked your wife to not take this matter any further, I can understand you would be confused and hurt by her actions and words.

I hope the two of you are able to talk this out and work it out. You may benefit from calling Relationships Australia and talking to someone there to help understand how to proceed from here.

I know when my husband makes me feel like he loves me and cares for me, I go out of my way to be a better wife to him. Relationships can be difficult to at times. Hope you manage to work this out.

Cheers from Dools

Hi everyone
Thanks Dools for those understanding words.
Due to the word count of this forum there was a lot of context I had leave out in my first post.
Every time I wrote it became G.R.R. Martin novel.

question before the long post.
Do I have the right or need to speak to the new guy my wife insists I don’t, I respect my wife’s wishes and have not.
he will know now that the app has been deleted. My wife won’t say what she will tell him about the why other than “I don’t know how to use “ .. here let me show you ....let it go I will deal with it etc etc

It in someway makes me feel weak by not talking to him.He is a huge guy so much bigger than me so I wouldn’t be in anyway shape or form intimidating to him. Looking at him and on the occasion we met I get the impression that he would probably knock the block off someone if they made a move on “his women”
The next time I see him just a little bit of me wants to call him by the assumed name my wife gave him.

Infatuation was not something I thought of I was saying love which she easily and rightly denied but your word would have been a much better term. Thanks for that.
My wife’s change wasn’t quite as sudden as the my opening post would have it seem.
My wife had never given me cause for concern in our marriage I trusted in her whole heartedly we told each other everything.
Had been that way for 33 years
As she was becoming distance from me ,by nature I’m a fixer if I see a problem I feel the need to fix it.
My wife on the other hand is an avoider.
With my wife’s change I started reading the many sites about like all the signs of an affair.

I learnt from that you can’t change someone else you can only change yourself.

So I did take a critical look at my own behaviour and try to see how my wife would view me.

I recognised my faults which all revolved around “me knowing best”
My wife would have felt like she had no voice in our relationship.
So I set about change around 18 months ago.
I opened up to my wife and sincerely apologised if she felt that way and said I wanted to change.
In short I am still not perfect but I do have a much better idea when I am not.
I hated the term try to “win her back” this is used a lot on the articles I read.
I don’t see my wife as some prize but I understand the idea.
Much like you say Dools I feel I tried to make my grass greener but after such a long drought I fear it will never been green enough.

Hopefully I can continue in a following post

I have and my wife acknowledges I am better she appreciates the little gifts I give,
The extra work around the home and she says she absolutely feels I love her.
This new guy if it gets into a “contest”
He has far more disposable income than (us) me.
He won’t show his emotional baggage that I carry and I feel my wife only picks up on the faults.
Obviously he is being the best person he can be but this is bringing the worst out in my wife.
This guy turns out he has had two wives leave him
The last wife left not months ago as I was first told but only 3 weeks before asking my wife out on the European trip.
Even the way her asked her out
“When are you going to let me treat you like a Princess and let me take you to Europe”
My wife told me this and said it made her feel so special.
I take so offence to that like somehow he thinks or has been told I treat her like the old step mums from Cinderella.
One behaviour I can now change
Everything she did ,her looks ,what she would wear, beauty routines,trips to work when not working ,
The lack of intimacy, closed off withdrawn
I would judge ,scrutinise and at times question.
She felt my judgement, scrutiny and saw it as controlling.
Which now has got us to were we are.
Her behaviours affect my behaviours etc.
This cycle has to stop
She won’t break contact
So now I feel I must let go accept that there is an infatuation to a man that on face value can offer so much more.
If it turns into something greater I feel sure that this relationship built on lies and deceit will fall the same way.
My wife deserves so much better.

I just thought my wife was having some kind of an affair ,emotional or physical.
I now have no need to question the answer is clear.
Trust has gone yet to be rebuilt that I can’t do alone
I now or could ever control the outcome.

No more judgemental snide remarks, no more whys
My behaviours were fuelled by negative thoughts surrounding the possibility of an affair.
I will carry a positive attitude hoping that everything will be okay.
Focus on what I can do right rather than what my wife is doing wrong.
I will put time into myself open my world, find my worth and while I will do whatever it takes to “win” back the love and respect of my wife.
If it comes it will be brought about by the change in me.
First step is to join a gym boy I have a lot of work to do.

On a positive we have both agreed to seek counselling we have started this process Initially it’s one on one sessions.


Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Selfcontrol, welcome to the forum and thanks for posting your comment which has indeed upset you, I'm sorry that after 35 years this has happened.

I know you want to talk with this chap, that's understandable, but I'm not sure that's a good idea, the power and emotional strength has to come from your wife, if she says no to this other chap, then nothing will happen and no other 'friendship' will develop.

You could be talking to one, two, then three or four people different men exhausting yourself not only with worry but concern, but if your wife says 'no' then they will back off.

The way I overcame depression was to turn a full circle and do everything that I hadn't done before because if I continued on doing exactly the same then all the same problems would likely return.

I can say this hoping you know what I mean, change how you approach your wife, alter what you are doing, you need to draw back her attention in another way.

Let me know.


Thanks Geoff
I just feel like the butt of their joke just felt by calling him by the assumed name next we meet it would somehow turn the tables
I won’t do this I will respect my wife’s wishes and yes I agree Geoff she needs to the one to put this guy straight if that’s what she wants to but I have to be the reason why she says it
I would like her to reply no thank you I’m very happily married
I would like her to tell him that the app was deleted because it was so wrong
The assumed name was so wrong
I felt horrible that I betrayed my husband and I am doing what I can to regain my husbands trust
That would be a great step forward
Not there yet

Hi selfcontrol,

I would like to commend you for your self control! To me you are thinking this all through logically and have plans in place to try and turn this situation around.

All the best with the counselling. Are you aiming for couple's counselling as well? I took my husband along to a couples session. He talked the whole time about everything that is wrong with me, then declared there was no point having any more sessions as I now knew all the things I had to fix! Needless to say he was very happy and couldn't understand why I wasn't. Ha. Ha.

Confronting this other man may feel like the right thing to do, but I am not really sure how that would go.

Attending a gym, building up your self esteem in healthy ways, connecting with friends, being social, keeping busy, all of these things may help you feel better about yourself.

Unfortunately some people do grow tied of their relationships. They see something that looks exciting and new and want to go for it, not looking to see what is actually lurking in the background.

I wonder how far into the future your wife has looked? If you become tired of her behaviour and ask her to leave would the other guy take her in and look after her? What is to say he would not tire of your wife and look for someone else.

Infatuation can be exciting, exhilarating and make us feel good about ourselves. I don't know how far you are willing to go to help your wife see things from your point of view. Could you organise a date night with her? Do something a little different and new to spice things up a little for you both.

Wishing you all the best, cheers from Dools

Oh Selfcontrol,
I have been where you are at and I am a little jaded. I tried being the good wife. I tried making myself prettier, more accommodating etc. It doesn't work (well not in my experience). I foolishly went along trusting my husband and respecting his right to have a friendship with a woman. He slammed me for behaving jealously etc. As it turns out, I had every reason to be jealous.

If she is not going to respect your wishes, then why are you so prepared to respect hers?

I read an article recently, talking about playing the 'pick me' game, where both partners- in this case you and him, both want to win. Meanwhile the person in the middle- in this case your wife, is the only one winning. She is getting attention from two men who want her. What better compliment than that?

Honestly, having been there and seeing it now, from the other side. I would think long and hard about what you want and what you are prepared to put up with. I truly believed many of the lies I was fed. I was gaslit and manipulated whilst my husband carried on an affair right under my nose.

I hope this is not what is happening in your situation, but please know, if she was prepared to lie about one thing, she is going to lie about a lot of other things. You trying to be a better husband, is only feeding her ego. Until she see's the light, you can't win her back.

My husband openly admits, he needed to face losing everything he had, before he realised what he was throwing away.

I want this to work out for the best for you. It's a horrible situation, but it seems you are a smart man. Don't let this ruin you. Stand up for what you know is right. Make your choices, set your boundaries and stick with them.

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Selfcontrol

Good to hear you are heading down the path of counseling; reassuring to know you're both invested in nurturing the marriage (she obviously still cares for you).

Could be wrong but I imagine your wife is revealing things to you to indicate the idea that other men find her attractive/interesting. Is this an invitation for you to express the same towards her, in a variety of ways? If she's an intelligent woman, I suggest you appeal to her intelligence when sweeping her off feet (no large amounts of money needed in many cases). Intelligent women often appreciate many simple gestures! Personally, I'd absolutely melt if my husband suddenly pulled over to the side of the road to run into a florist. In my imagination, out he would come with a single rose proclaiming 'This is nothing in comparison to your beauty!' Sounds soppy but it's a winner. A single rose, a few dollars. I've tried telling my husband 'Romance is expressed through the gesture of feeding another person's soul'. I'm still waiting for that rose! In truth, he is a great guy.

If this guy's intentions are sinister, he sounds like a self-serving so and so who lacks some basic intelligence and self-control. You have the advantage of knowing who your wife is (her likes and dislikes); you have a history there to work with when it comes to what she would define as romantic or 'soul-speak'. If you have the cash, go for a nice weekend away up to the hills or down the coast and say to her 'I have saved $50 for every kilo you have lost over the past months, all the effort you have made, which has led us to enjoy this time together. Let us celebrate you!' Something that speaks to her soul would reveal you as being a mature thoughtful friend and husband and that dude as being a basic selfish sleaze. By the way, make it $20 for every kilo if she's lost a lot of weight, you don't want to send yourself broke.

You sound like you have both done much work on self-development already over the months and you are to be seriously commended. I hope you keep the ball rolling in the process of now growing together.

Take care and, I must say, I do admire your self-control!

Thanks so much to old for this, sorry to hear you went through something similar it does give me hope reading that you guys pulled through.
Yes I have struggled with that very question but love is one of those funny things I love my wife and until I don’t I won’t give up on her or us.

My belief is two wrongs wont make a right.

If I wanted to be respected I have to act respectfully.

If I get crushed doing the right thing so be it .
Then I will learn to unlove. Yes there is a google search for that😞

Trust is now the big issue of course I just don’t know what to believe.
Sadly I asked to look through her phone etc for evidence to backup what she was telling me.
I felt awful she got defensive is this how’s its going to be?
I have asked her to research regaining or rebuilding trust because it is not something you can just wing it and well what do you expect it doesn’t come back overnight if at all.
Actions and a willingness to change is what I’m looking for words are meaningless at this time.

At the moment the counselling is on individual bases I do hope it leads to couples counselling.
Hopefully we are both on the same page with a willingness to stay together
If that’s the case I would be pretty sure the one bit of advice would be to break all contact with this divisive person .
He has no respect for the sanctity of marriage.
Hearing it from just me she sees as controlling and I get the same line that just infuriates me ....he’s just a nice guy
hopefully hearing it from someone with higher stand will carry more weight
That will be the make or break for me I can’t go on if she considers him a friend
He obviously wants to be more and my wife well time will tell.
I have no doubt she is infatuated with him or the lifestyle he can offer.
I Just hope she can snap out of it like your husband did I am not prepared to give up yet.
Thanks again for your comments it does help to know you pulled through.
I am so glad I posted here even just writing my problems out has been a help