Coffee Break: Medium Tote Bag

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I’ve been dealing with a marriage issue/self doubt for almost 11 months and need a gut check. Sorry for the long story and thanks to those who read it…

Background: I am an attorney and have been married for five years. DH is a 4th grade teacher who went back to college to earn his degree and has been teaching for 3 years. Prior to last summer, DH has had a close professional relationship with another (female) teacher who is approximately his age (we’re late 20s, early 30s). DH often mentioned how much he admired her teaching style and care for students. DH had been open with me that he and this teacher routinely discuss common students and approaches to teaching. Both are very popular with the students and some have even referred to them as “work husband/wife”. I have previously told DH that I’m not especially comfortable with the relationship but that I trust him to draw appropriate boundaries. I’ve never previously had any reason to suspect anything inappropriate or infidelity.

Last July (2021), I was scrolling through my husband’s social media in our kitchen with DH and our then-2-year-old daughter. I was also 5 months pregnant at the time. I was not snooping, and this is/was common and NBD for us, as we have many common friends and are “open phone”, “open social media” with each other. I looked at DH’s Snapchat DMs and saw a message from a female user (no username was visible, but the female emoji-face was). The incoming message from the female user said “You naughty boy” in response to an outgoing message from DH that said “For your eyes only ;)”.

My heart sank immediately and I demanded to know “who the F is this?”, while knowing it had to be the teacher. DH immediately grabbed the phone and admitted it was indeed. DH (almost tearfully and seemingly sincerely) profusely apologized. He was adamant that nothing physical had ever happened but that it was a breach of trust and inappropriate. He said he was willing to call the friend with me on the line to confirm and/or quit his job at the school. I demanded to see the rest of the conversation, but DH had already deleted the entire DM convo. He claimed that deleting it was an almost automatic response, but the conversation was gone forever. DH claimed that the photo/video in question (which was not visible to me) was a video of him working out (which I confirmed that he had taken the previous day), which he inadvertently sent to the teacher friend. He also told me that the teacher had only recently added him on Snapchat and that they had exchanged only a few DMs (all of which were deleted and none of which I saw).

Later that day, we discussed the episode again and DH remained very apologetic yet adamant that nothing more had ever occurred between them. I told him that if it had, now would be the time to discuss it and see if things could be patched up. In the 11 months since, DH still teaches with said teacher, but has (apparently) significantly reduced his contact with her. We’ve also continued our open phones, open social media policy. I did discover that he had previously DM the same teacher on Instagram, but other than having the DM conversation at all, the content of the conversation was unobjectionable—nothing more than you’d see in public comments.

It’s now been almost a year (with the birth of another baby intervening), and DH and I have hardly discussed this episode. My impression is that he thinks it’s essentially resolved. While I haven’t found anything to suggest DH was lying about the conversation (nor has anything else happened since to make me question him), I’m still very bitter about this episode. At a minimum, I feel like a victim of emotional infidelity, and quite frankly, I have a really hard time believing his story for the DMs (the timing, the “mistaken” recipient, the words, the deletion). I guess it’s possible, and I’d like to believe him, but it just feels very unlikely. If I were to discover he’d lied about this episode when caught, I’d want to end things, but we also have two children under 3 years old…

What to do, wise hive?

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