AdviceHey, Bonita!

All My Exes Send Me Textes

My wife of seven years has been the love of my life, but my trust fell apart a couple of weeks ago when we were riding in our car. Her phone was synced to the car when she received a text message from an ex-boyfriend I’ve never had the privilege to meet. I didn’t react, but calmly asked her what he wanted or, “What does the text say?” Can you believe she wouldn’t share the contents? That was so critical to our relationship and my trust. I got out of the car with one last desperate plea for clarity. She wouldn’t clear my head. Five miles in the rain, lightning and thunder, [walking] through darkness until I made it home. No, I did not walk it off. Am I wrong? Being faithful and securing her trust in me has always been a top priority, along with our children. Not to mention the all-nighters she’s had since that evening. She tells me she loves me so sincerely, and I want to believe her, but now my head is all messed up. What do you think about it?


Hey Anon,

There are a few reasons that she may not have wanted to share her text messages with you. I can see that you’re worried that she’s being unfaithful in some way with her ex, and that’s a fair suspicion to have. If nothing untoward is going on, then why not just tell you what the message says? 

I am the type of person who likes boundaries in my relationships, and I am not one to demand access to my partners’ phones, emails, social media, etc. Maybe you aren’t, either, but seeing that ex’s name pop up was just a bit too much for you. Personally, I would refuse to show a partner my phone out of principle alone. I’m an adult, I deserve my privacy, and my boo should trust me enough to honor whatever agreements we’ve made in our relationship. But I would stop short of letting them get so upset that they walk five miles in a thunderstorm with their head full of doubt about us.

I do think she was within her rights to refuse to show you her phone, and even though I might have given way to keep my partner from getting struck by lightning, I don’t think it’s fair to blame a choice you made on her actions. You chose to walk home five miles in a storm, and that was no one’s decision but yours. Maybe you thought that putting yourself in harm’s way would force her to prove her love to you, but I’d say that’s a rather negative way to get attention in any relationship. Sometimes people will cede their point just to keep someone else safe, and not because they feel driven to demonstrate their love for them, so how can the person doing these behaviors actually feel good about winning ground via emotional manipulation like that? Personally, I would not abide by that behavior in a relationship, and it would be grounds for a serious talk about our compatibility and what we each want from our relationship.

That said, I think that her behavior also would prompt a serious conversation. The text message is one thing, but these all-nighters you mention do not inspire confidence, either. Combined, they’d also make me wonder if my monogamous partner was stepping out on me. If the text was truly harmless, then I personally can’t imagine letting my partner go into a tailspin over it and putting themselves in danger out of frustration. Again, your choices are your own, but there’s something to be said for cooperation and mutual respect when conflict arises in a relationship.  The weather has been terrifying lately, and if my boo threatened to stand out in a thunderstorm because they want to see a pointless and non-threatening text that someone sent to me, I’d show it to them to keep them safe, but then immediately give them both horns over trying to manipulate my behavior. I think you were both not awesome in this scenario, but that both of your actions make sense. I also think that couples counseling could help you two get past these highly emotional behaviors and get to the root of any trust issues. Good luck.

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