"He Cheated But He Won't Admit It"
Kate: 39, marketing manager
Alberto: 40, city planner
Married: 10 years
Kids: Alisa, 9; Miguel, 7
David Carrillo, Palatine, Illinois
Kate usually travels four days a week for her marketing job, leaving Alberto alone to deal with the kids. When Alberto met Nina, a mom from their children's school, they became really close friends -- maybe too close. Kate feels sure that Alberto has been having an affair with Nina, but he denies it.
Alberto had told me about a new acquaintance, a woman who's originally from Mexico, like he is, and who has children the same ages as ours. He thought I'd really like Nina, but I was on the road so much for work that meeting her wasn't really a priority for me. One week I was off on a business trip and Alberto got called in for a late-night work emergency, so he asked Nina to watch the kids. When I got back I wanted to bring her a gift and thank her in person. From the moment she opened the door, I got a bad vibe. She acted really nervous and I didn't like the way she looked at me. My gut told me right then not to trust her, but Alberto liked her and our kids had become friends, so I tried to ignore my first instinct.
Several months later Nina stopped by while we were having a garage sale. I don't know how to explain it, but her body language around my husband and kids seemed too familiar, and she was strangely comfortable in my house, going around and tidying things up. I asked Alberto, "Has she been here a lot?" He immediately got defensive, saying that she was our friend and she cares for our kids. So again I dropped the issue against my better judgment.
A week or two after that I sat down with our family laptop and it was opened to an e-mail from Nina. It was in Spanish, but I could make out the gist: "Don't throw me away. If you're not happy I can make you happy." It was straight out of a soap opera. I guess because I'd had so many suspicions, I didn't freak out. I just went downstairs and told Alberto I'd read the e-mail. Of course he denied having an affair. I just didn't believe him.
Eventually Alberto admitted that he'd been flirting with the idea of having an affair with Nina, but he insisted that nothing had happened. He said he was confused and agreed to see a marriage therapist.
We went together for several months. It was a safe place to talk and we did a lot of exercises to improve the way we communicate, but Alberto still hadn't explained what had happened between him and Nina. He wouldn't even say why he'd been unhappy enough to "flirt" with an affair. He's never been good at talking about his emotions or even engaging with mine -- it's one of the issues I've always had with him. Finally I decided I wasn't getting anything out of the counseling sessions, so I quit. I told Alberto that I had taken responsibility for what I could, but until he could come clean with what had happened I couldn't sit there and talk about forgiving him. It's hard because while I haven't stopped loving my husband, I also know he's lying to me. What does that say about me? And what does it say about him?