Dear Guys,

My husband recently had an emotional affair with someone in California. He has family out there also. That being said, after I confronted him about the affair- and thought that we had gotten over it, and we were doing better than ever- he said he still wanted to go visit family out in California. I reluctantly bought him the ticket to go, scared that he would not return like he promised. (Round trip ticket) I was right, he did not return on this ticket. Mind you the woman he was having the affair with is his cousin (I know, I know, I know…LOL….Jerry Springer all over it.) He stayed with her and her family for the two weeks he was supposed to be out there. (She is married with two kids.) As far as I could tell they avoided being alone together.

Anyway, now he is staying at a male cousin’s house. He says he wants to extend his visit and possibly get a job out there for a few months. So far he has not tried to get a job, like he said he was going to. And I don’t want him to do this. I want him to come home where he knows for a fact he has a job waiting for him. (At least two) He still says he loves me everyday and texts me throughout everyday and also sends pics of himself. He sends pics and texts to my son as well who is fifteen. He promised me before he left that he would come home, and says he will still keep that promise. In the mean time, I feel like my life is in limbo not knowing when he plans to return. He will not give me a date or a definite time frame for his return. So guys my question is basically this…would he keep saying he loves me in text and on the phone if he didn’t mean it? He is already out there 3,000 miles away from home, so I think if he didn’t mean it or wanted to stay out there and not return home he would just either drop off the face of the earth… texts and no phone calls.  And certainly no “I love yous.” (Sometimes just a love ya or a goodnight with love but usually love you) Can you guys help me shed some light on him? I want so badly to believe he will be returning. But the “not knowing” is driving me nuts.


Dear Hummingbird,

Thanks for writing. This is complicated. And we won’t lie to you. The whole cousin angle kind of threw us a bit, but we’ll do our best.

We’re not exactly sure what you mean by an emotional affair. Do you know the extent of it? Did he talk with you about it? Or did you find it out covertly by seeing emails/texts? How far did it go? Did they discuss being together? If you’re not sure of these answers you should find out to what extent they were “together.”

And what about his cousin’s husband? Does he know what’s going on? It seems he probably doesn’t since your husband was staying with them.

We’re big on actions. Right now his actions are speaking much louder than his words. He may be saying he loves you, but then why isn’t he coming home? This is quite a mixed message.

Our sense is, he’s keeping his options open. He’s trying to establish a life for himself out in California, but if for some reason it doesn’t work out, he still has you to come back to. It seems if all he wanted to do was relocate, you would be part of the plan. He would be talking to you about WHEN you and your son would be joining him. Instead he’s kind of being vague, and that’s a sure sign that he’s being deceptive, at least about his intentions.

Relationships aren’t easy, and there are times when couples go through rough periods. During these difficult times communication breaks down. And that’s a big problem, because it’s during those times that couples need to communicate even more! You need to get him talking!!

So “Hummingbird,” stop wondering and get more proactive about this. It seems you’re almost afraid to ask him what’s really going on. But you have to get to the bottom of this for your own sanity and for the welfare of your son-and for the sake of your marriage. So talk to your husband. Ask him to come home to talk with you. Be assertive. If he won’t come home, you might have to take a trip out to California. (That’s a last resort because we know this would be expensive.) But you’re not really getting an accurate picture of what’s going on. You’re only getting what he chooses to tell you. The worst case scenario is, he decides to stay in California, and you’re left wondering with no answers.

And why are you buying the ticket for him? Are you supporting the family financially? We know these are tough economic times, but you shouldn’t be supporting his explorations. It sounds like you want to be a loving partner and that’s a wonderful thing. Relationships are about give and take. But it’s a two way street, and he’s not holding up his end of the bargain. So please don’t support him anymore with this. It’s not helping your relationship. If a guy accepts this kind of help, even if he’s grateful, he’s also resentful and feels emasculated. And if he doesn’t, well than that’s even worse. We call those guys, mooches!

Things haven’t ended yet, but they’re moving quickly in that direction. You deserve an explanation and some real straight talk. And if he’s not willing to volunteer this, then you need to force the issue. He owes you that much. And there still might be a chance to salvage your relationship. It does sound like he cares for you on some level, even if he’s confused.

We’re sorry this is so difficult. We wish people would live up to their commitments and be honest with the people they are closest with. But unfortunately many people don’t do this. The way your husband is dealing with his confusion is damaging your relationship, especially in the trust department. Even if you get through this, you’re still going to have to deal with the aftermath. This is going to take some strength on your part. And his.

We wish you the best. Let us know if you have any other questions.


7 Comments on Cousins

  1. I was thinking this as I was reading also. He’s keeping his options open. You paid for him to leave you and you’re hanging onto him…even though you are trying to do the right thing…he isn’t.

    I would say…until HE can man up and decide what he wants to do with his life YOU should go dark. No texts or calls in return, no answering his calls, no nothing. He can decide without you hanging onto his every word what he wants to do. If he misses you (and loves you like he claims to) he’ll come back. If not, he won’t. Either way you need to make a life for yourself, learn to live without him around, learn who you are without him…and become the best you you can.

    It won’t be easy. But I believe it’s necessary.

  2. Two words – BUH and BYE.

  3. I agree with Charlene!! This is a no-brainer. When he told you he wanted to go to California, just what did you think he planned to do?? And what were you thinking, paying for his ticket? Why exactly couldn’t he buy his own ticket? Are you independently wealthy? He stayed with her? They avoided being alone? ARE YOU KIDDING?

    I know all this sounds pretty brutal, but you sound like a very nice person, and I think you are being taken for a ride. Husbands who are devoted to their wives and family, husbands who are real men who stand up to their commitments, they just don’t do this stuff!

    If you want to stay married to this guy, tell him to come home right now and work things out. If he says no, file for divorce. End of story.

  4. I agree with The Guys:

    “He’s trying to establish a life for himself out in California, but if for some reason it doesn’t work out, he still has you to come back to.”

    You are NOT his priority. You are NOT his number one. You are only his “Fall-Back” plan. And if that’s good enough for you – then you’re going to have to wait in limbo for a very long time.

    Personally, I would cut my losses and move on. Immediately.

  5. You know, he is keeping a back door open, he wants his bread buttered on both sides. Ask him how he would have felt if the situation was reversed. You owe it to yourself to be happy inlove.

  6. A little background on the relationship: I’ve been dating my 23 year old boyfriend for almost 2 years (I’m 20). I go to college about an hour away from our hometown, so I only see him on the weekends. This upcoming fall, he’ll be going away to college an hour in the opposite direction, so we’ll be 2 hours apart and will likely only see each other 2-3 weekends a month. (point is, we have a relationship that requires a lot of trust).

    He grew up without his father in his life, so he’s never known anyone on that side of the family. About four years ago (before we knew each other), he met a girl at community college in a class. They we’re attracted to each other, flirted, and planned to hang out later that week, presumably with the intention of hooking up. Only when they traded phone numbers and last names did they find out they were cousins (needless to say–the date/hookup didn’t happen). However, he’s maintained a close friendship with her over the years. Fast forward to two months ago. We’ve had a few trust issues in the past, so I admit that I was snooping through his phone. I found a pretty inappropriate conversation between the two of them in which they were calling each other pet names, he asked her to come over and cuddle, and when she said she was bored, he suggested they “get naked and start the revolution,” which is a phrase that he regularly says to me as a joke to initiate sex. I finally confronted him about it recently. He admits that it was flirting, but that he was never thinking about her specifically, just “flirting at anyone.” He also admitted that he never comes to me when he’s frustrated with something I’ve done, but would go to her to discuss it instead, and that flirting with her was emotional release. Lastly, he admitted that they’ve shared intimate details with each other about sexual experiences/seek advice from each other regarding sex. I believe that they’ve never had the intention of hooking up since they found out they were cousins, but to me, this seems like a pretty textbook emotional affair.

    As an aside, we had a very similar problem almost exactly a year ago, except this one was just with a friend. He was calling her pet names that he knew were special to me, expressing how excited he was to spend time with her, and called her “the most beautiful girl the in the world.” I found out, and he cut her out of his life and hasn’t spoken with her since.

    My questions are

    1) Do I stay with him?
    2) If I do, how can I ever feel comfortable/get over the fact that he was comfortable talking to his cousin that way?
    3) Is it unreasonable of me to ask him to recover his text message records with her from the phone company? I really only ever saw a few conversations…but if I choose to stay with him, I want to know for sure that the things I DIDN’T see aren’t worse than what I did see.
    4) Do I have the right to ask him to cut off contact with her–for good? Because she’s from the side of the family that he doesn’t know, they don’t see each other at family functions, etc. The most they ever saw each other was to grab lunch/dinner together to catch up. He has already agreed to cut off contact with her while I try to get over what happened, but I can’t imagine that I’ll ever feel comfortable with him talking to her or seeing her again…his relationship with her has been like this all along, and he has admitted that he doesn’t know how to conduct his relationship with her in another way.

  7. @Sam……The most relevant question is whether or not you’ll ever feel comfortable enough with your boyfriend to have a trusting, honest and open relationship, which is what we think you ultimately want. He sounds a bit immature and frankly probably not ready to be fully committed to anyone. Yes, these ARE emotional affairs, and frankly just as serious as physical ones because of what they represent: he’s looking outside the relationship to get his needs met. This really has nothing to do with what you’re not doing. It has everything to do with his mindset. Timing is just as important as love when it comes to relationships, and maybe the timing just isn’t right for him. He just doesn’t seem ready. All of your other questions fall under the umbrella of trust. Even if you confiscate records, demand he doesn’t talk to his cousin, get him to apologize, etc. are you really going to feel more secure in this relationship? That’s the question you need to answer honestly. If the answer is yes, then proceed forward with caution and see if you can make it work. If the answer is, “I’m not sure” then you’ve got some thinking to do. Hope this helps a little. Take care and good luck.

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