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Is this texting suspicious?


dwh1785
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I am a 37 year old male. I have been married for 8 years. I will admit I have been in marriage rut for a while now like 2-3 years. I have recently been suspicious of my wife and wonder if she is cheating on me. 
 

my wife worked a high stress job. She managed her own department at work and was the only person in her dept. She loves her job and generally close with coworkers. She works in a female dominated industry so she works with mostly women. However, there is one guy who works as a manager in another department with whom she is friendly with. My wife does talk about him a lot, so I know he is a single guy who is our age. They are definitely not friends outside of work as they do not converse or hang out outside of the office(or at least they didn’t)

my wife lost her job several weeks ago(laid off). She has since found new employment but she is completely devastated because she loved her job. She fell into a deep depression and is a shell of her former self. 
 

She has recently started texting this guy she used to work with. It’s not incessant but some of the contexts and timing of the conversations are a cause for concern. For example, she was texting someone on a Sunday around 8:00-9:00 at night and I asked who she was talking to, she stated that it was him. 
 

Another time she was texting him on a Friday evening around 7:00 or so. The texting back and forth continued until quite late, about 11:00 pm. 
 

I have not asked my wife what they are talking about nor have I looked through her phone. I have, however caught a few glimpses of things that worry me.  One time he texted her this giant heart emoji thing. Another time he said he hopes that her new coworkers are complimenting and noticing her clothing. My wife is quite stylish and she told me that he has frequently complimented her on her wardrobe. 

Since I am a guy that generally keeps to myself, I am not sure whether or not this is normal/appropriate. Should I worry or does this seem innocent?

I am a non confrontational person but I know I have to work up the nerve to address this with my wife. I just wanted to gauge people’s opinions on how seriously to take this. I do wonder why my wife admits to texting him. I believe if she was cheating, she would hide it or lie about who she is talking to? but she does happier after she talks to him. 

Please do not sugarcoat your opinions, I appreciate honesty. 

 

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23 minutes ago, dwh1785 said:

my wife lost her job several weeks ago(laid off). She has since found new employment but she is completely devastated because she loved her job. She fell into a deep depression and is a shell of her former self.

How is your marriage overall? It's not unusual to keep in touch with coworkers. Perhaps they're friends, but that isn't what concerns you. 

Talk with her about how she is feeling. Leave the coworker out of the conversation for now, especially that you are keeping tabs on the conversations.

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36 minutes ago, dwh1785 said:

Another time he said he hopes that her new coworkers are complimenting and noticing her clothing.

Yeah, I believe that guy is at least "the orbiter". As in somebody who is orbiting there awaiting his chance. It doesnt mean that your wife is cheating. But she is at the very least oblivious to that guy intentions. And at the very worst keeps that guy for attention or even cheating. It is a cause for at least a good conversation between you two.

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I would just block him without her knowledge.

I everyone here will say, be respectful, blah, blah, blah, but I have been where you are, and have the T-shirt to prove it.  Out of sight, out of mind, and trust me, all good upstanding people aren't regularly or if at all busting into someone's marriage, to lull them into an emotional affair.  I'm not saying they aren't doing their part, but really, some low lives are out of sight, out of mind.

That was several years ago, and she never contacted my hubs since...cuz I blocked her, and he never bothered reaching out.  I believe if it's not good for the marriage, and they aren't people they need to speak to, then why permit it.

About to celebrate 11 years soon, and we are happy.

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3 hours ago, dwh1785 said:

I will admit I have been in marriage rut for a while now like 2-3 years.

Marriage ruts can have one or both people in a relationship vulnerable to emotional affairs, and yes, it's often a co-worker one encounters on a daily basis.

Apparently, you two have never discussed the relationship boundaries you two are comfortable with. That something that actually should have been discussed when deciding upon exclusivity.

Some couples are fine with their partners having buddies of the opposite gender which includes regular texting. Some are not comfortable with that, and rules are discussed about what is okay and what's not okay.

You're not okay with what's happening, so it's best not to bottle that up. When you're in a mellow mood, talk to her about how you feel. 

When two people disagree about relationship rules, it's a cause of regular arguments. I hope you two can come up with a resolution.

I don't know what kind of rut you're in, but I'm assuming there is an emotional disconnection happening. It's easy to Google articles on reestablishing an emotional connection. When that exists, it would be rare for affairs, either emotional or physical, to happen (of course, barring serial cheaters, narcissists, etc.)

Good luck and let us know how it goes.

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11 hours ago, dwh1785 said:

I have not asked my wife what they are talking about nor have I looked through her phone. I have, however caught a few glimpses of things that worry me.  One time he texted her this giant heart emoji thing. Another time he said he hopes that her new coworkers are complimenting and noticing her clothing. My wife is quite stylish and she told me that he has frequently complimented her on her wardrobe. 

Since I am a guy that generally keeps to myself, I am not sure whether or not this is normal/appropriate. Should I worry or does this seem innocent?

I think it's fine to talk to your wife about this and tell her that it makes you uncomfortable. Give her the opportunity to stop the communication with him, or at least explain what's going on (maybe he's gay).

What's stopping you from communicating?

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10 hours ago, tattoobunnie said:

I would just block him without her knowledge.

Please don't resort to this. It won't resolve the disconnect in your marriage.

"The Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) is a federal law that makes it a crime to access someone else’s private communications without permission. It covers cell phones, computer use, email, social media accounts, and other types of electronic communications".

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12 hours ago, dwh1785 said:

. She fell into a deep depression and is a shell of her former self

Did you step up to the plate and supported her? Made her feel special/extra loved in this dark time?

You need to care for your wife and give her the attention she should have. I agree with @smackie9 Be spontaneous. Plan dates. Make thoughtful gestures. You need to do these constantly to keep a marriage. See if they helps. If not, then have that conversation.

 

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I Just wanted to follow up with some greater context to my marriage because I did not go into great detail about our marriage issues. I do plan on confronting my wife about this guy. I am working up the nerve because I do not have a good feeling. I also know my wife is struggling and I’m trying to be understanding. Unfortunately he is not gay, like someone above suggested. He has a child from a ten year long relationship with a woman. Like I stated before, my wife talks about him a lot. 
 

i have tried to fix the disconnect in my marriage, I don’t know where it’s coming from. I felt her pulling away for almost three years now, the same amount of time she was at her job. When I have talked with her about what’s wrong, she agrees we are in a rut but denies anything being wrong. She blames everyday life stressors. We both work outside the home full time in incredibly high stress jobs. We also have 5 year old twins, one of who is high functioning on the autism spectrum. 

I will admit I have had trouble in the past with communicating and showing affection which is why I have always kept to myself. I never really had friends. My wife is the only one I have ever really connected with on a physical and emotional level. It all stems from a rough childhood I had. Years of therapy has helped me a lot to be a better communicator.

I have tried to resolve my marriage rut. We have done marriage counseling, but my wife never was real receptive to do. I take my wife out all the time, but continues to seem like she would rather be anywhere else when we are out together.  I’m still very much in love and attracted to her. We are still intimate, but when we are she is a million miles away. We haven’t been intimate much at all since her job loss. 
 

I have supported my wife the best way I can throughout this tough time, but at this point, she needs  start helping herself too. She needs to start going to therapy and putting effort into getting better and moving on but she continues to want to wallow in self pity. I am just not sure where else to go at this point to fix things. I will talk to my wife tomorrow about this guy and we will see where things go. Thanks everyone for your help. 
 

 

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1 hour ago, dwh1785 said:

I do plan on confronting my wife about this guy. I stated before, my wife talks about him a lot. We both work outside the home full time in incredibly high stress jobs. We also have 5 year old twins, one of who is high functioning on the autism spectrum. 

Yes talk about what's going on . It seems like she uses this 'friend" as an escape from pressures and troubles at home, however that can be a slippery slope to an emotional affair.

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Yup, I agree with the above .... sounds like she's possibly leaning on him for 'emotional support', instead of you.

I also agree with your planned approach.  HE needs to back off and she needs to realize the same.  Yeah, have a heart to heart conversation about everything going on... from her changes, to her pulling away even more from you. ( and suggest some more therapy, out of concerns, even if she can consider a med eg. anti depr as well).

You won't know or get too far until you do.

Good luck!  

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As much as I am a huge fan of couples not putting limits on the gender of a platonic friend there are exceptions - and one of them - to me- is that the person has to be supportive of the marriage or committed relationship.  I mean not always affirmative but the sense that he or she won’t make inappropriate comments. Or play with fire. 
I have a platonic male friend since 1994 who over all these years will refer to me as “cute” or like that. I’ve actually never complimented his looks but I’ve complimented him - congratulations on accomplishments like marriage , professional , kid-related.
But I know for sure he likes and respects my husband and my husband likes him. He is very supportive of my marriage meaning he’s so happy I’m happily married and will often refer to my husband in laudable terms.  He’s married many years. 
but yes he has been a person I’ve gone to for advice during hard times - not in my marriage but otherwise - he’s a close friend.
By contrast since I’m married I avoid making new close friends who are men. It’s simply not worth the risk of misunderstandings. And I wouldn’t text for hours about personal stuff with a man. But I do with certain girlfriends.
I am friendly with male colleagues.  In a surface way. If I want to be more “personal “ I’ll do that with the wife if I’m acquainted with the wife. Meaning I’ll contact the wife if my colleague shares that their child is ill or there’s some family situation where I feel I can be helpful. 
If your wife wants to network with her former colleague she can keep conversations to professional subjects. I don’t love the heart emoji crap.  It’s inappropriate and suggests a path that’s risky. 

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I will be straight with you.

This is not good at all.  There are all classic signs of cheating.  Has it happened yet? I don't think so but it could easily go that route.  Your wife has turned her feelings towards another man.

  I know you feel better about her talking to this guy since she doesn't hide it but that is a mistake.  Hidden in plain sight is common with infidelity.  "He is just a friend" "He understands me" "He is supportive" "He knows how I feel" are all possible phrases you might hear when you finally get up the nerve to speak to her about this and it does need to be discussed at length.

This comes down to boundaries and she has crossed several.  How you approach it with her should be your question.  The reasons for her emotional distance need to be discussed BEFORE you bring this guy up.  He is just another symptom, not the cause.

Lost 

PS  Ha she changed her appearance lately?  Dress nicer? Seem to focus on how she looks to run simple errands? Gone to visit a friend more than usual?  

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2 hours ago, lostandhurt said:

I will be straight with you.

This is not good at all.  There are all classic signs of cheating.  Has it happened yet? I don't think so but it could easily go that route.  Your wife has turned her feelings towards another man.

  I know you feel better about her talking to this guy since she doesn't hide it but that is a mistake.  Hidden in plain sight is common with infidelity.  "He is just a friend" "He understands me" "He is supportive" "He knows how I feel" are all possible phrases you might hear when you finally get up the nerve to speak to her about this and it does need to be discussed at length.

This comes down to boundaries and she has crossed several.  How you approach it with her should be your question.  The reasons for her emotional distance need to be discussed BEFORE you bring this guy up.  He is just another symptom, not the cause.

Lost 

PS  Ha she changed her appearance lately?  Dress nicer? Seem to focus on how she looks to run simple errands? Gone to visit a friend more than usual?  

My wife has always been fashionable and preoccupied with her looks. However, my wife dressed to the nines everyday when she worked at her job, better than for a night out. She job was far from glamorous, yet she spent the mornings blowing out her hair and putting on a full face of makeup. She was always buying new outfits and spending quite a bit of money on clothes. Like, I said this guy has been very complimentary on my wife’s clothing choices.

I am now over analyzing some of the things that he has done previously that my wife gas shared with me. Like when he has cleaned snow off my wife’s car after work, and held her hand in the parking lot at their work across an icy patch. Also, he has writes my wife Christmas cards every year that are a little sentimental, telling her how kind and dedicated she is how he feels comfortable bothering her with anything. And bought her a few nice things last Christmas from a bath and body store. 
 

I honestly didn’t think all that much of all that at the time but now I am feeling all of that is inappropriate. Am I right? Was/is he overstepping and playing with fire? 

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3 minutes ago, Batya33 said:

Probably. And obviously he could have held her elbow.  Were you once attracted to her being so into looking a certain way ?

You mean you think he is being inappropriate and overstepping? I am still and always have been attracted to my wife. I have always felt like she is out of my league. 

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1 hour ago, dwh1785 said:

Like when he has cleaned snow off my wife’s car after work, and held her hand in the parking lot at their work across an icy patch. Also, he has writes my wife Christmas cards every year that are a little sentimental, telling her how kind and dedicated she is how he feels comfortable bothering her with anything. And bought her a few nice things last Christmas from a bath and body store. 

Yes, do you think he cleaned the snow off colleague Bob's car, or bought lotion and body spray for Bertha at the front desk, who is a great-grandma?

Whenever you start treating an attractive co-worker differently than another, (one who you'd boink if both of you were available),and being overly involved, it's an emotional affair--just as damaging as a physical one.

In your shoes, I'd read some articles on emotional affairs to educate yourself about them. I'd then sit down with your wife when the kids are asleep or at school, and explain how you want to strengthen your marriage. Ask what she would like improved. Listen, and then tell her what you want. I'd tell her of your concerns, of her being overly involved with a male you don't know, and even if there is absolutely no physical cheating, you're uncomfortable with their closeness. There is a different dynamic there, and you don't feel it's healthy for your marriage.

As for you, you said you don't have friends. It can be smothering for a partner if you have no life outside of her and the kids. Many couples have other couples they sometimes get together with and/or have group friends. Just because it isn't your thing, doesn't mean you couldn't push yourself to try. 

If I were you, I'd start a hobby on your own, just so you will have something outside of being a husband and dad, that is fulfilling. A partner may also start seeing you in a more positive light, that you're doing something interesting and so you'll be more interesting, plus, it gives her time to miss you.

I also recommend starting a new hobby with her. Maybe something sexy like tango or salsa.

You can also be doing things where you don't have sex as a goal, but use physical touch to gain back an emotional connection. Give her a foot or back massage. Try new things you don't normally do on date night. Go to a speakeasy. Go to the roller rink.

If she sees you putting in effort, hopefully she will start putting her own effort in.

Don't let her give excuses about this other guy without you letting her know the consequences if she doesn't care about your reasonable feelings. 

Any guy who plays fire with a taken woman doesn't want long term. If she became a divorced woman, believe me, he'd run for the hills. I hope you two can right these wrongs to prevent a family tragedy.

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On 11/24/2022 at 1:09 PM, dwh1785 said:

I do plan on confronting my wife about this guy. 

I'd use care to frame this better, because 'confront' is a strong word.

It makes no sense to sit on something until it boils only to launch a big 'confrontation' about it. That's not communication, it's attack. Attacks are adversarial and the antithesis of teamwork--so they're not productive.

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... I have always kept to myself. I never really had friends. My wife is the only one I have ever really connected with on a physical and emotional level. It all stems from a rough childhood I had. Years of therapy has helped me a lot to be a better communicator.

This is a big problem, and likely the crux of the 'rut' you've mentioned in your marriage.

People with no friendships beyond their partner can be kind and loving, but they pursue and offer no external stimulation. This can make life boring--even depressing--for a partner who is social and craves outside experiences.

Being a better communicator includes having things and people and experiences of our own to communicate about.

Focusing on wife like a laser beam as your only connection to friendship is a pretty big burden for her to carry.

Yes, I am biased. I still love the man today who I needed to leave years ago for this reason. Despite his encouragement to socialize on my own without him, I grew depressed and envious of healthy couples where partners interacted with other couples and formed real and lasting friendships.

I wanted that experience with a partner. 

It's also been proven that things like double-dating with other couples keeps each partner skilled at using their public personae, the one that initially attracted their partner--and continues to inspire pride and love.

Individual friendships also matter. You each have your people with whom you can relax into shared experiences, and you take home new and exciting experiences to share with your partner.

Your wife can't share that with you if you won't participate. There is no balance.

2 hours ago, dwh1785 said:

I am now over analyzing some of the things that he has done previously that my wife gas shared with me. Like when he has cleaned snow off my wife’s car after work, and held her hand in the parking lot at their work across an icy patch. Also, he has writes my wife Christmas cards every year that are a little sentimental, telling her how kind and dedicated she is how he feels comfortable bothering her with anything. And bought her a few nice things last Christmas from a bath and body store. 

I honestly didn’t think all that much of all that at the time but now I am feeling all of that is inappropriate. Am I right? Was/is he overstepping and playing with fire? 

I've had male coworker/friends do all of those things for me. I think you were on target not thinking much of this, but now that he's on your radar, it's like retroactive suspicion.

I'm not defending the guy or her relationship with him. I can only tell you that he's a symptom of a larger problem. It sounds as though wife has been struggling in the vacuum you've created around your social issues. 

Bottom line: wife is bored and depressed. You can talk and talk and talk about it, but her heart won't be in it because she's bored and depressed.

When you speak of working on your own issues, have you done anything to address your isolation by learning how to make new friends?

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6 hours ago, dwh1785 said:

You mean you think he is being inappropriate and overstepping? I am still and always have been attracted to my wife. I have always felt like she is out of my league. 

So yes I think you liked how into herself she was as far as her looks and fashion sense because you like this wow look what I won.  But this is the downside. She’s more vulnerable to this sort of attention.  And this will increase as she ages and is needier about needing this sort of compliment and validation. She likes that you’re intimidated by her looks. It’s kind of sad in my opinion 

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I agree she likes the attention from her looks and now she likes the emotional attention.  This is very bad because she will start to justify anything she does that is shady.  You will become the villain and she will be the one that is being wronged.

  She is an adult and can speak up if she is feeling out of sorts with your marriage so don't allow anyone to lay blame on you if she is in fact cheating, emotional or physical.  You may have your issues but there is no justification for cheating.

 Do you need and want to work on yourself?  Sounds like it so stop talking about it and make an appointment with someone that can refer you in the right direction.  Your general MD's office is a good start.

 In the mean time keep your eyes and ears wide open as far as your wife's behavior goes.  Once you finally wake up to what is around you and you take off the love goggles things will become clearer one way or another.  Be mindful if you go looking hard enough your mind can create things out of very innocence situations.  In that theme why don't you suggest that you have this ex coworker over for dinner?  "He has been so supportive of you and such a good friend we should have him over for dinner" Keep an open mind with the guy and get to know him and also see how they act around each other.  

Be smart, play the long game and don't let on just yet you think this guy is a problem.  Best to play along while you get your feet under you better and get a handle on the signs and symptoms of a cheater before you go accusing her or making it out like this guy is bird dogging her.

 Lost 

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