Sex and the city: I think my husband is having paid sex or affair during his trips

My husband travels alone for work. I recently found a condom packet in his travel bag with two condoms used. We do not use a condom as I take the pill. On questioning him he said it belongs to his friend who put it in his bag. I do not believe him and feel naive for not having suspected him earlier when he would be uncontactable for hours on end on his trips. My fear is that he is either having paid sex on his trips or then is having an affair and going on trips with this person. I don’t know what I should do as he has flatly denied any such thing. I have no other proof. Please advise.

The situation as it currently stands is at – ‘He won’t tell you what you want to hear’ and ‘You won’t stop till you have discovered what you are fully convinced is ‘the truth’. To know if your husband is (in fact) cheating on you, despite his denials of the same, you are going to have to invite some degree of intervention from a trusted 3 rd party since what you will seem to have reached is a ‘conversational impasse’. A trusted friend, elder from the family or a qualified relationship counsellor may be invited to intervene and help him open up about his priorities and lifestyle to better understand what he is dealing with as well.

This is a good first step to get the answers you are after. It’s impossible and impractical to ‘beat the truth’ out of people and it’s harder yet to ‘discover’ what the truth is if the person from whom an answer is sought is typically opaque about the way they think and operate. Most people hesitate to part with information about hidden aspects of their life due to the humiliation, scrutiny and ire they may face if they are cornered or worse – shunned.

These matters can be trying for both involved due to the high emotional stakes associated with the concept of ‘lies, deceit and living a double life. ‘The bitter truth’ may very well be preferred to ‘a better lie’ if clarity is what you are after and in searching for some kind of resolution – you are understandably justified. You are going to have to be patient and strategic. Know that your urgency for answers (in addition to the answers as well) may need to be communicated to your husband in a manner that arrests his attention. Have you been assertive enough while talking to him or have you portrayed yourself as a victim of his ‘evil ways’? You’re going to have to stand firm on what you want and need to feel nurtured in this relationship. These doubts are having an adverse effect on your emotional well-being and that is why this may be the perfect time for you to re-negotiate shared marital priorities and relationship goals. It’s not uncommon for a couple to lose sight of ‘why they decided to be together in the first place’ as they spend more time with each other.

You will certainly need to spend some time thinking about this. You might chance upon some unseemly facts that might confuse or further irritate you. Do not be surprised by what these introspections reveal. This is a sensitive time for you so be patient with yourself. Some people marry for the social prestige that comes with being a couple, the sexual privileges entailed in being with a constant partner, shared goals of child rearing, addressing their own loneliness or even because they are looking to add some variety to their lives.

Ask yourself why you decided to be with this man and ask him why he decided to be with you. This clarity will help you ask for whatever it is you desire from the relationship and more specifically from him as well (as a husband). You are going to also have to take an honest look at the emotional and sexual relationship that you share. Is it possible that he strayed from being loyal to you because he felt like his needs were not being met? Could he have found excitement in other places because he feels like the relationship you both share is stale or boring? Could he be confused about what he wants or is he someone who is always used to having his way at all costs? It’s easy to point fingers and allege someone for ‘missing a beat’ or ‘being such a disappointment’.

What’s often harder is – Investigating why a relationship may be headed towards misadventures such as ‘infidelity’ – if it is in fact proven in due course that your husband was wilfully cheating on you. To grow in your understanding of each other, you both must learn to place needs in front of each other with honesty without expecting each other to ‘intuitively understand’ or ‘mindread’ what the other person wants from the relationship.

If he having paid sex or an affair, you are going to have to ask yourself if you are ready to take this discussion to a marriage counsellor who may help you both finalise and negotiate on the fate or your relationship based on ‘the commonly understood definition’ of a trespass or a ‘painful strike’ against the core of what you share or don’t wish to share.

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