Stop the surveillance and ponder divorce

Ask Amy

Amy Dickinson, Ask Amy Ask Amy

Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.

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DEAR AMY: Five years ago, I saw my wife's social website profile, which implied she was single. She refused to talk about it, so I put a keystroke logger on our computer and caught her in a one-night stand with a friend from high school. She swore she'd never do it again, offered me her passwords and closed her Facebook account. Two years later, I became suspicious again. Again she avoided talking, so I put a tape recorder in her car and discovered she had been going to a motel with another married man. A few weeks ago, I was dropping a movie off at the library when I noticed my wife was on a public computer. She was flustered when I said hello. Yesterday, I had a friend go to the library to see what she was doing. She was emailing, but from a secret email account. I knew her passwords for her four other email accounts. Is her using a secret email account justified? I was slowly beginning to trust her again, but her sneaking every day to use a public computer seems like a huge setback. Is it better to find out if she is having an affair first or talk (and fight) now, when I can only confirm this secret computer usage? We have two children, and I'm afraid of acting prematurely. But if it's another affair, I want out now.

--Hurt Husband


DEAR HURT: Your wife is a chronic liar, and you've responded with surveillance. She's asking for it, but it's not yielding the result you desire. So stop. You can't prove your wife's innocence. Given her history, that's her job.

Your task now is to figure out what you should do next. If you think you must stay together for the sake of the kids, reread your letter and ponder the lessons they are learning from their folks. It's time for you to see a counselor and a lawyer.

Suggest to your wife that the next time she's at the library, she should bring home a book for you: "Divorce for Dummies," by John Ventura and Mary Reed (2009, For Dummies). This might compel her to talk.