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'I snooped through my husband's things and now I suspect he's having an affair.' UPDATED 3X

'I snooped through my husband's things and now I suspect he's having an affair.' UPDATED 3X

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"Me [30 F] with my husband [32 M] of 8 years, found possible evidence of cheating. I'm devastated."

I don't know where exactly to start. He is working late tonight (or that is what he says) so I thought I'd take some time to write in and ask for advice. Sorry for this being disjointed, I've been pretty emotional and crying a lot this evening.

We have been together since college, married for the last 8 years (right after college grad for me). We were perfect for each other. Many friendships have come and gone but we've always found contentment in each other. Both adventurous and did some travelling together when we were first married. We argued, but not a lot.

We had kids. First (planned child) was 6 years ago, second (surprise child) and last is now 3. Since having kids it's been tough to get time together - both of our parents live a few hours drive away, there aren't many babysitters we've found that can handle our rambunctious boys.

Husband works a demanding, stressful job and has had to cancel vacation plans more than once over the last 6 years because of a terrible boss. We were seeing each other for what felt like minutes every day, and our children, while wonderful, demanded a lot of our time and energy.

His boss changed about six months ago. Immediately his hours became more reasonable and his stress levels went down. Still long hours and travel some days, but better. We had evenings together again but something was different. It felt like we were strangers, just roommates who had kids together.

We were just so exhausted from the last few years that we must have spent a couple months using any spare time we had once the kids were in bed crashing, watching Netflix, etc. Just boring stuff, and all along I felt very disconnected from the man who was supposed to be my partner.

So we talked about it. I told him I missed him. We had a few conversations about feeling disconnected. We hired a sitter, went on some dates, and things started to feel better. He's been more loving and attentive. He bought me flowers again. I was feeling so hopeful, like I was getting my partner back.

About a month ago I noticed something I think I wasn't supposed to. He has been talking about this work trip coming up for a week in August - it's been a bit of a sore spot for me since in my mind summer is for family vacations, not work trips. But I've been being understanding. However when he was in the shower his phone beeped, and I saw an email from someone named "Alison" entitled "Our Trip!"

I felt a little weird looking at it but when I asked him about it he checked his phone and told me it was a spam email. I didn't think of it after that, but since then I haven't seen his phone left out again. I found something else about a week ago - It was a receipt for a jewelry store, and it was a sizable sum. Money has never really been terribly tight for us but even I was surprised by how much it was for.

I felt a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach and (I admit) looked for his personal laptop to see if I could snoop through his emails. But he'd taken his personal laptop to work - something he'd never done. I was getting nervous but somehow didn't want to bring it up with him. Maybe I was trying not to believe it. But this morning I found his credit card bill in his sock drawer.

Why was he hiding it you ask? There were transactions going back over the last month, all for stores that men typically don't shop at. I added them up and he has spent a few hundred dollars on what looks like women's clothing and lingerie. I haven't seen anything from these stores in our house, so who are they for??

He is working better hours but still away some evenings. He could be spending at least an evening a week with someone else. I don't know what to think but I fear the worst.

Is there someone else? Was I too unavailable when our kids were younger? Is he going on a trip with them? Is it this Alison person? What am I going to do if he leaves me? He's buying her presents, for God's sake! Doesn't that usually mean a man is moving on or falling in love somewhere else?

I don't know what to do. I don't know any of his passwords so I can't snoop. I could call his office to make sure he is actually there when he says he is but if I talk to anyone I think I'm just going to start bawling again. He should be home in a few hours. What am I going to do?

I don't want to raise my kids alone. I don't want to be alone.

tl;dr: We've grown distant since having kids, recently I found receipts and saw an email that make me believe he is having an affair. I don't know what to do. Please help.

What do you think is going on? Does she have good reason to be suspicious/scared? This is what top commenters had to say:

said:

With what your edit says about what your sister said, I'm wondering if perhaps he has a surprise planned for you that she's in on? That being said, if you accuse him of cheating and he doesn't come clean about the purchases, you need to find a lawyer.

said:

I must have spent too much time browsing this website, as soon as I read your update with your sister my mind jumped to the most dramatic twist possible. If she's normally empathetic and isn't brusque by nature, that's a very odd way for someone to react to what you said. It definitely sounds like she knows something you don't.

said:

Seems by your update that your sister knows it to be innocent and has the inside scoop. Maybe Alison is a travel agent, sending him an itinerary he labeled "Our Trip!" For a secret vacation for you two? Don't quote me or anything, but it very well could be the best possible outcome and you're freaking out for nothing.

said:

Show him the receipt you found. Ask him to explain why he's been buying women's clothing and jewelry. If the reason is totally innocent (he's been quietly squirreling away gifts for you), he should be able to explain it easily.

If he gets defensive, accuses you of distrusting him, or otherwise tries to make the argument about your behavior instead of answering the question, you have your answer. If he is in fact cheating, lawyer up immediately.

Even if you have to shoulder the burden of parenting more or less on your own from here on out, you can do everything in your power to ensure that he has to contribute fairly to your kids' living expenses.

And said:

Judging by how calm your sister was she knows what your husband is up to and its probably not cheating. Maybe he is planning a surprise trip for you and him alone for a while and the alison message was about the trip he is planning for you. Keep calm, breathe, and talk to your husband when he gets home. Have a glass of wine if that helps, and try to think positive :) Good luck and please give updates

Edit:

The comments are making me very scared. I am thankful for everyone who is talking to me though, even when it's hard to hear. I've calmed down a bit (read: no longer sobbing) and I'm going to call my older sister to talk to a "real person" about this. She lives a couple hours away but we have always been close, and she knows my husband well. I will try and update again later. Thank you again to everyone.

Edit #2:

I just had a... very strange conversation with my sister. I told her everything, was getting really worked up and emotional and crying again... she interrupted me and told me "Sis, it's going to be fine, you need to calm down and talk to (husband) when he gets home.

I promise everything is ok. Hang up the phone, take a bath or something, calm down and wait for (husband) to get home." Then she said she loved me and she hung up. What the hell is going on with my life today... I feel like she just blew me off. She didn't seem to react to what I was saying. But most commenters here seem pretty sure that something bad is going on. I feel like I'm going crzy.

Edit #3:

Right after I posted my edit about my sister and the phone call, my husband texted. He said my sister had called him and he was on his way home.

UPDATE:

I immediately freaked out because I did NOT feel ready to talk to him. I was super pissed at my sister for calling him and to be honest I felt like the entire world was falling down around my ears. I broke down. I didn't even know where I was but when I heard the front door open I realized I was on my knees in the kitchen sobbing.

My husband skidded around the corner and when I saw him I just started crying harder. He dropped to the ground in front of me and started apologizing and I just lost it. I started shaking my head and saying "No no no no" over and over again, I couldn't even hear what he was saying. He tried to hug me and I held my arms out all stiff, like a kid does when they don't want a hug, just holding him back.

It took me a few minutes to register what he was saying, but he was repeating over and over, "I'm sorry for scaring you, please listen to me, you need to hear what's going on, I'm not cheating, please listen to me," just over and over. I finally stopped and just said "What...?" I just was so drained and confused.

It was good news. I saw some of the comments in the original post saying "maybe it was a surprise" and you folks get the grand prize. The story all came out. After our big talks about reconnecting he called my sister for advice.

My sister's idea was to have him spirit me away for a surprise weekend getaway while she and my BIL took the kids. She connected him to her friend, a travel agent (remember Alison?) to get the ball rolling. The plan evolved into my sister and parents trading off with the kids for the week.

The jewelry receipt is for a necklace, for me, to wear out to dinner on our trip. The credit card charges are for some fancy clothes and lingerie he got me for the trip (he took some of my clothes with him to get the sizes right and got a lot of help from the salespeople). He says they are my style but they could be bags for all I care at this point.

So why the surprise? My sister told him that it would be better if it was a surprise, because it would be romantic that way. She didn't count on me finding out early and assuming the worst. I have had mild anxiety issues all my life that have been worse since having kids, but this was the worst it's ever been I've never felt so totally out of control in my life.

He didn't tell me all of this right away. Some of it came out in that first moment in the kitchen, but when I realized it was not the end of my marriage I pretty much became incoherent with relief. This is embarrassing but I sobbed so hard that I vomited a little. At least it was on the linoleum. The rest he told me after I calmed down.

We talked until late last night. He showed me all the emails, showed me our destination, we got excited together. I am not mad at him at all - which he is relieved by, apparently my sister called him with a "red alert get home now before your wife calls a lawyer" message. She knows I have some anxiety issues, so I may have to get after her about the decision to keep this all a big secret from me.

Right now I'm too relieved to be upset.

I am a little concerned by how unhinged I became. I think I need to work on that. It's not like me. What am I going to do if a real crisis comes along? Some people were saying that I am "codependant," maybe they are right.

But that's for later. For now I'm enjoying my day with the kids and looking forward to my trip. :) Thank you to all the advise and good wishes from you all. I'm sorry for worrying anyone. You are wonderful people to spend your time ready to help a stranger through the screen. I hope your lives can all take an unexpected yet wonderful turn.

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