PLEASE, keep me from going crazy! I’ve been married for three years to a younger man. I’m 35 and he’s 28. We’ve always been crazy tight, but recently he just isn’t as into me or the things we do together. We used to watch Monday Night Football together, but now he’s going to the bar to watch with friends, some of whom incidentally, take their wives. He said he would take me, but I usually fall asleep somewhere in the fourth quarter so he thinks I might have problems staying out so late. I told him to try me, but he dug his heels and said no.
He seems to be using more minutes on his phone than he used to but I haven’t asked him why or if there’s a reason yet. Our love life hasn’t suffered much, but I have noticed he isn’t as into his own personal hygiene either. He seems to be putting in less work into our relationship. Our friends see it, even his mother has mentioned it. I don’t want to believe he’s cheating, but I don’t know all the signs. What are some solid indicators that he is cheating on me?
And once again, a GEM reader asks the Good Enough Guy to risk life-and-limb and break the unwritten man-code. It is only for the greater good and in the interest of saving relationships that I divulge these secrets; I seek no personal gain. Also, all GEM nation, take note: if I disappear in the near future, suspect foul play!
Let’s keep this short and sweet. The signs don’t really point to cheating, but they do point to a problem in your relationship. Here’s what I think is going on:
*CELL PHONE: You’re noticing his minutes, which means you still have access to his phone. If he was cheating, you wouldn’t have that. A cheating man doesn’t let his wife near his cell phone. A few extra minutes just means he’s talking more, probably to a close friend about the real problems you two are having.
*HYGIENE: If he were cheating, it would get better, not worse. If he starts wearing more cologne, paying more attention to his hair, or sprucing up his wardrobe out of nowhere, he’s probably cheating. Turning into a slob signals a whole different set of problems.
*FRIENDS: If he were cheating, at least a couple of his friends would know about it, and you’d see it all over their faces. And most men would NEVER let their friends’ wives know they were cheating. Wives talk. So if you actually know for sure that he’s going to the bar with his friend’s wives, he’s definitely not cheating in front of them.
*THE SEX: Cheating men run hot and cold on this one. Either there would be a lot less sex, because he is getting it someplace else, or there would be a lot more, because she’s turning him on and he’s fantasizing about her while he’s doing you (Sick? Maybe, but I don’t write the rules). The fact that it hasn’t changed much says that he’s probably not cheating.
*RELATIONSHIP HABITS: When men cheat, they usually become super sweet (out of guilt) or they start more fights (sometimes because of the stress of the affair, sometimes as an excuse to storm out and go do their thing.) He’s not doing either, and while his pulling away could signal an affair, I’m still thinking no.
*SO WHAT IS IT? That’s one you’ll have to figure out for yourself. All the signs don’t mean cheating, but they do mean something is very wrong. Maybe it’s an early mid-life crisis. When he was twenty-five and you were thirty-two, the age difference seemed exciting. Now that you’re thirty-five and he’s nearly thirty, you’re age may be reminder that he’s aging too. Or maybe he’s having some personal problems that have nothing to do with you. Mental stress, work issues, health issues, depression, there are a whole list of things that cause a man to withdrawal into his own little world. Or maybe it really is your relationship. It happens. People change. Sometimes, they grow apart. He may feel like things are burning out and doesn’t know how to tell you.
WHAT TO DO:
*TALK TO HIM: Tell him what you see, how you feel, and what you think is wrong. If you can get him to talk; listen. Once he starts, he’ll probably tell all. If you don’t know what to say or if you get nowhere with him (or even if you do), find a good marriage counselor. It may save your marriage. Trust, communication, respect and love are the four legs that hold up a relationship. If your trust is shaky and your communication is lacking, figure out how to get them back and things may get back to normal, maybe even better than before. Good luck to both of you.
Oh, and to the guys out there who are cheating: if you wife reads this, and you get busted, I’m sorry, but then again, is it really MY fault?
William Jones is originally from the tiny town of Alton, Illinois, and now lives in the tinier town of Reisterstown, Maryland. He is a happy husband and a proud father of three, and writes as a hobby, in those few moments he finds between husbanding and daddy-ing.