Yearning for the Truth After All This Time
Dear Annie: I'm still bothered by memories that are over 20 years old. I mostly just want to know the truth of this situation. Here is the incredible and unlikely story that I have shared with no one.
My wife and I became good friends with a Catholic priest whom we both respected. We would occasionally invite him over for a meal at our house and shared good times for a couple of years. We all got to know each other well. The more we got together, the more I could tell my wife was becoming more and more infatuated with the good-looking priest. Let's just say the look in her eyes told the entire story.
We had two children, and I was working nights at the time. There were some occasions when they spent time alone together at our home. I figured it was OK since he was a priest, and I trusted my wife. Well, on one of the late nights of having our guest over for dinner, I pretended to fall asleep on the couch to see how the two behaved when I wasn't watching.
The flirting from my wife went into HIGH gear. It was all I could do to just lay there and listen to it, and a couple of times, she whispered things to him that I could not hear. After he left, I let her know of my ingenious ploy of fake sleep and pleaded with her to tell me what she was whispering to him. She claimed that she could not remember what she'd said. I did not believe her, but I loved her so much that I wanted to.
I've tried many times over the last two decades to get her to tell me what was said. I wish I had called the priest the next day to see if he would tell me. I'm guessing I would not like what was communicated, but I'm sure I could cope with the truth of the matter better than hearing her say, "I still don't remember what I said to him."
There is no information (even sexual) that could make me want to end our marriage. We still enjoy every day together, but I would greatly appreciate the truth even all these years later. Her unwillingness to open up about it sometimes reminds me of Bill Clinton's repeated lies under oath where he claimed no wrongdoing. -- Still Waiting For Answers
Dear Still Waiting: Trust in your partner is a primary pillar of any successful relationship. This incident with the priest, though decades ago, left a dent in your wife's pillar. Seek the help of a couples therapist to communicate why it matters so much to you to learn the truth about this encounter and create the right environment for her to do so.
If she continues to withhold it (at this point, maybe she really has forgotten what she said), perhaps that's your sign to leave it and your curiosity in the past once and for all. If you're sure there's nothing -- actions or words -- that would make you want to leave her, then clearly what you have is more important than murmurs from decades ago. Don't let this weigh on you for another 20 years.
"How Can I Forgive My Cheating Partner?" is out now! Annie Lane's second anthology -- featuring favorite columns on marriage, infidelity, communication and reconciliation -- is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to email@example.com.