Should you tell your spouse when you meet up with an old fling?

Consider your intentions for the meet-up. Credit: Purestock
Consider your intentions for the meetup.
Credit: Purestock

Question: I recently had a drink with an old girlfriend from high school who was in town for the weekend. The relationship is platonic. But I didn’t tell my wife, and when she found out through a friend of mine she completely flipped out. Was I wrong not to tell her, even if I knew it would make her upset?

Lies of omission can be the most insidious, depending on their size. Sure, sometimes it may be a kindness not to trouble our loved ones with minor, seemingly innocuous matters that would unnecessarily upset them. But innocuous is relative. In this case, your lapse in disclosure seems to suggest a deeper issue of trust between you and your wife — and, perhaps, between you and yourself.

Let’s say you didn’t tell your wife because you assumed she wouldn’t understand and would assume the worst. What does this say about your assessment of her faith in you? Reflect on whether you’ve ever given her any reason not to trust you. If you haven’t always been transparent and faithful, there may be a good reason why she is especially sensitive and reluctant to believe that your rendezvous is innocent. If that were true, and meeting with your old flame would open old wounds, you might want to think twice next time about keeping secrets.

Now, let’s address your faith in your wife. Suppose you’ve never given her any reason not to trust you. Do you trust her to be a reasonable person who can anchor herself in the strength of your relationship and quell any irrational fears or flashes of jealousy? If not, you might have considered inviting her along, or perhaps even calling her from the bar to reassure her, slipping in an “I love you” so both women understand where they stand.

Finally, do you trust yourself? When setting out for this drink, was a part of you hoping to rekindle a spark, or perhaps seize an opportunity for something else? If so, consider exploring your feelings about your marriage that are leading you to stray. Is the possibility for momentary satisfaction really worth putting your marriage in jeopardy?

Trust is the foundation of marriage. Without it, there can be no relationship. Once you wife has cooled down, I would suggest that you begin a dialogue about trust in your marriage. If that feels scary, a couples therapist could help.

This column is not intended to be a substitute for a private consultation with a mental health professional, nor is this therapist liable for any actions taken as a result of this column. If you have further questions related to this column, make an appointment with a licensed mental health professional. Metro does not endorse the opinions of the author.


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