What's your love and dating problem these days? Send a letter here, please.
Again, for those who missed yesterday: we're prepping for our next podcast season. For those who haven't listened, we tell a story every episode that falls under a topic related to love (breakups, meeting people, how age affects relationships, etc.). The next theme will be money. I'm looking for people (it can be anonymous, of course) to tell stories about how money has affected their love lives. They might be about:
- What it’s like to date someone whose background with money is different than your own.
- What it’s like to disclose to a potential partner that you have a LOT of credit card debt. Or student loan debt. Does it stop you from dating? Or change the way you think about the person?
- What happens when you come into unexpected money – or lose a lot of it.
- How it goes after you move in together not because you're ready, but to save money.
- What it's like to be married to someone who doesn't like to spend (or very much does).
- How you learned to talk about finances with someone, even when it was difficult.
- How wedding planning (and the cost of it all) changed or clarified priorities in a relationship.
- How money issues and philosophies caused a breakup – or didn't.
Submit your stories by clicking right here. Or you can email them to me directly at [email protected]. Again, we can make these stories anonymous. I know money is tough to talk about – which is why we picked it as a theme. An example of a recent episode is here.
Long story short, my husband and I had a big fight. For the first time in our five-year relationship, I looked at his phone. I checked his Snapchat, and I noticed that he had recently added an old sex hookup. I clicked on it, and it showed sexy pictures and videos on there – some were sent to him back before he and I even knew each other.
Although they weren't sent recently, they were still saved on there for him to view. It showed he had sent her a video in June of him looking cute, smiling at the camera. And then it shows nothing else. I confronted him. His explanation was that he added her in June, sent her a video, realized it was wrong, then deleted her at some point shortly after.
Fast forward to a few days ago. He said he added her again, but hadn't sent her anything. I found it, and he said he deleted it after I confronted him. I feel absolutely betrayed. I feel he cheated, and my whole world is upside down. I would never have guessed he would do something like this. Everyone is telling me to get over it and move on, that he didn’t really cheat. I tell him the sexy pics of her are burned into my mind, but he tells me "they were back from before I even met you." He not understand the point – that they were saved there for him to see. I'm so hurt. We have three small children. I'll never be able to look at him the same. Was I cheated on?
– Upside Down
I can't give you a "yes" or "no" on the cheating question. If you and your partner decide, together, that the boundaries of cheating involve keeping old sexy pictures and videos, then I guess your husband cheated.
Every relationship has its own rules, developed over time. Sure, some are common sense, but not always. It helps to have empathy when someone crosses a line without knowing one was there. He seems to understand that he shouldn't have sent this woman his own video, but that's only part of what happened here.
Please remember that some relationships allow for sleeping with others, but are strict about emotional connections. Some people have issues with secret friendships, as we've read. Think about why this felt off for you. Write things down so you can make sense of it.
I should say that I do understand why it hurt to see an old, sexy video of a person who exists for your husband in his real life. It wasn't porn designed for stimulation. To me (and again, this is a personal thing), saving the old material is less objectionable than his choice to reach out to her now. That makes it a real connection.
That's the missing conversation, it seems. He considered this woman a hookup, but nothing more, right? He's seeking stimulation and attention – and maybe some risk. Can he find that with you? Has it been difficult to connect with each other because of the kids? What have you been missing?
These are better questions to focus on than the one about cheating. His actions made you feel bad, and you want your marriage to be in a good place. Discuss that – and then you can move on to boundaries for the future.
Readers? Thoughts on keeping a video? Was this cheating, in your opinion? Also, this reminds me of a 2009 letter. Bonus points if you remember which one.