General Question

Southernbell's avatar

Does betrayed spouse have the right to read cheaters journal?

Asked by Southernbell (16 points ) February 10th, 2014

I found out in Sept of 2013 that my husband has been unfaithful. I thought I could forgive him and we could work things out in our marriage. Since Sept I’ve found a lot of information. My husband only shared bits and pierce of his affairs with me. Lying about how many women he sleep with, how many times it happened. How many women he talked to online and on the phone. I’ve would ask him the same question over and over “have you told me everything” and he would give me the same answer “yes” only for me to find out one more lie, one more girl. I’m love my husband and want our marriage to work. I feel that I’m giving 110% to recovery and trying to find out what happen and to fix the problem. The biggest issue I have is I don’t trust him.

We both go to therapy. If he ask me what I talk about during my session I tell him. I tell him everything, even if it is hard for him to hear. I believe in being honest and not having secrets. Clearly my husband doesn’t feel the same way. He won’t share anything he talks about in his session.

He started writing his feelings in an online journal. He sent me a few of his entries where he stated that he hasn’t been “in love” with me for 4 years now. (around the time of the first slip) . He also shared that he is hiding a part of himself from me and has never let me in 100%

Do I have a right read his journal? He tells me that it’s his personal, private thoughts and I don’t have a right to read them.
But I think if he wants our marriage to work he needs to be 100% open and honest with me.

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34 Answers

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Step outside of yourself and read your question as if you were a stranger. Affairs(s)?, lies, not being true to you or honest with you. You’re most likely in a train wreck looking for a place to crash. I don’t think the journals will give you any new info. It’s all in front of you.

cazzie's avatar

This sounds like something I went through when I was younger. I tried to work it out, but the trust was never there again and he didn’t believe I had the right to any explanation or to ‘brew over it’ as he put it. It wasn’t the cheating, it was the entire relationship that was based on sand and the cheating and distrust was a symptom. If he isn’t going to share now, and ‘never let you totally in’ back then, you have to come right out and as him if he really wants the marriage. Where ever you are now, you cheating, lying Constable Summers, I hope she has left you for a much younger man.

syz's avatar

Why are you worried about reading his journal? Why aren’t you starting divorce proceedings?

janbb's avatar

I don’t think my husband was cheating on me during the marriage but when he left he told me he no longer had feelings of love for me. And this was after 37 years! I am still very sad about the break-up but if one person won’t do any work, it probably needs to be over. I agree that reading his journal won’t add any knowledge to what you know. Are there children involved? I feel for you. Keep talking to us!

zenvelo's avatar

Here’s the big issue: But I think if he wants our marriage to work he needs to be 100% open and honest with me.

You need to look at this and know that he doesn’t want the marriage to work, unless he gets to be secret and have affairs.

My take on it is, if he really wants it to work, he gives you access to his journal, his emails, his phone, comes completely clean. (You really wouldn’t want to know all that, it would hurt so much, yet his willingness to share would be a step in the right direction.)

Cruiser's avatar

Your husband is like an alcoholic, he is addicted to his sexual conquests and like an alcoholic he has to want to stop this destructive behavior in order to stop and not do it anymore. And also like an alcoholic he is in denial that his behavior and actions are not hurting anyone. I also think him saying he has not been in love with you for over 4 years is a selfish excuse to attempt to justify his weakness and infidelity.

You are in a rough spot @Southernbell and until he wants to stop this behavior and be totally open and honest with you about everything, I don’t see much hope in your situation until he does.

I would find a support group for yourself where you can find like minded people to help you think about your situation from a different perspective.

filmfann's avatar

I don’t think reading the journals would be helpful. You already have all the information you need.

jca's avatar

I agree with what @zenvelo said. However, I think reading the journals and texts and everything would be very painful and probably hard to get out of your mind.

Coloma's avatar

Been there, done that and I don’t mean to sound insensitive but it is OVER!
You MUST find your inner strength and GO, file for divorce and get yourself into some therapy asap!
Why do you wish to torment yourself any further?
The odds of rebuilding a healthy relationship after lengthy deception are about 1 in 80 billion, in other words, not gonna happen.

Find your inner tigress and leave this twisted jungle.

rojo's avatar

Are not journals mainly ways to express those feelings you cannot express out loud?

And why can’t or aren’t they? They are things you wish you had the nerve to say out loud but don’t perhaps because they are socially unacceptable or potentially could make life difficult for you if you said them out loud or would give others the true but “wrong” impression of who you really are?

Do you really want to know this about your spouse? Or, more accurately, since it is merely going to provide proof for what you already know in your heart do you really want to put yourself through this?

livelaughlove21's avatar

He’s not in love with you anymore – he’s said so himself. What exactly is there to “make work” at this point? He’s continued to lie and be secretive, so what’s making you want to stay? His stuff would be sitting on the curb when he got home if it were me, I don’t care how much I still love the guy.

Why read the journals? You’ve heard enough with your own ears to know that he’s a liar and a cheater. Reading those entries will only hurt you more – is that what you want? Do you really want to be with a man you obviously can’t trust, and who doesn’t deserve your trust? Do you really want to be with a man who doesn’t love you? If the answer is yes, I think you need to ask yourself why that is. Insecurity? Fear of being alone? These are things that need to be discussed in your therapy sessions, as I’m sure they have been.

I’m sorry that you’re going through all of this, but divorce papers seem to be a clear solution to the problem.

cheebdragon's avatar

I would have read that shit a long time ago. How can you trust him when he doesn’t trust you? It will never work until he is honest about everything. Eventually you will start to resent him and the relationship will get worse. So either divorce him or tell him it’s time to fess up.

janbb's avatar

What more do you need to know?

gorillapaws's avatar

I agree with the above. This guy is a piece of shit, who doesn’t love or respect you. There are millions of guys out there who would love and respect you. You are worthy of being loved and respected (as all people are). You’ll end up with an STD if you stay with this selfish piece of shit. And he may seem like a nice guy if I met him randomly somewhere, but you can’t be a good person and treat your wife the way he has treated you. It’s emotionally abusive. Get help for yourself, the journal is completely irrelevant.

bolwerk's avatar

If what you mean by posting it “on the Internet” is that it’s on a public site, it’s public. You have a right to look at it.

I think lifelong monogamy is impossible for most people, and the combined rates of cheating and divorce backs me up on that. Therefore, it makes sense to me to forgive incidental cheating and move forward with an otherwise good relationship. But you two seem to have wildly different perspectives and outlooks on just about everything. Opposites don’t attract; open books aren’t great partners for secretive types. You at least need to agree about boundaries.

He’s probably being secretive because he wants to fuck other women. Unless you can chalk it up to him being bonerstorming teenager or early 20something, he probably won’t stop this. This may or may not make him a bad partner for you, if you can accept an open relationship or even that he will cheat, but since it seems you can’t, I think you need to accept it’s over and move on for your own sake.

I guess you think he has some good qualities, but you didn’t say what. Saying he doesn’t love you in a private journal is a red flag he doesn’t love you. And IMHO he is an asshole for leading you on.

Coloma's avatar

We do teach people how to treat us. If you stay with this man you are telling him, in a loud and clear manner that you do not respect yourself enough to leave and therefore are giving him the green light to continue doing whatever he so desires.
Yes it is hard, yes it sucks, yes it hurts, but… if you don’t think you deserve better and want to live as a martyred victim in misery for the next 10, 20, 30, 40 years, well….your call.

The stress alone of never feeling secure and at ease will take its toll on your mental and physical health as well. Why would you want to stay with someone that does not love you?
Trust us wise peeps. this is not a fixable situation and you need to love yourself enough to put an end to it.

Haleth's avatar

You know, somewhere out there is a man with all the qualities you like about your husband, minus the cheating and secrecy.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Southernbell Honey, a relationship only works if both people are 110% invested.

You know cheating is a long tradition in the South and proper women were supposed to pretend they didn’t know about the cheating as long as their husbands took proper care of them and their homes and children. If they got out of line or too flashy with their mistresses, the wife’s family would take action against him to remind him that he’s not to be dismissive of the feeling’s of his wife and social position. Sometimes the wives even encouraged their husband’s to take mistresses to get out of the bad sex, and they had a laugh about it (the delicate southern flower denies her sexual urges you know.)

It’s up to you what you settle for, but if you’re wanting open and honest and he can’t give it to you, or doesn’t care enough to even make an effort, what exactly are you getting out of it?

Seaofclouds's avatar

Are the two of you in counseling together as a couple? Have you asked your therapist if reading his journals would be a good idea. Reading them may or may not be a good idea, especially depending on where you are in the scheme of recovery from these events.

As others have said, your husband has to want to save the marriage as well.

Cruiser's avatar

One other comment I should have made before. My advice is to not read the journal. I found my ex-wife’s love letter to her new lover and it was probably one of the more agonizing moments of the demise of my marriage. Those words were searing and painful to read and I regretted reading them for a long long time.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Cruiser On the other hand, reading it may allow her to see the side of her husband that he is hiding from her. She could learn he’s a freakin’ psycho killer or something for all we know. All I’m saying is that pain sometimes can clear the cobwebs from your mind.

GloPro's avatar

No offense, @Southernbell, but wake up. I say that from personal experience. I, too, tried to work it out with a guy that was a habitual cheater. Turns out that is synonymous with habitual selfish asshole. He will not, and has not, changed.
If he doesn’t already, he will begin to see you as a physical representation of what a jerk he is inside. He will begin to resent the fact that you think you are providing unconditional love to him, but what you are really doing is making him feel guilty and angry because he has to account for his actions… All. The. Time.
For you, you will begin to feel bitter. All. The. Time. You will NEVER fully trust this man again, nor should you. If you stay with this it WILL change you. It will slowly poison you, until you forget who you were. You will become someone else. Meek, suspicious, quietly angry but afraid to talk about it anymore because at some point this will have talked itself to death.
Please go to counseling without him and focus only on you. Dig into how you feel about yourself as an extension of the cheating and the deceit. Really sit back an consider WHY you want this to work…
@Southernbell, it is okay to fail. It is not okay to give up your life or happiness because you are afraid. You deserve better. Please believe me.

Coloma's avatar

More than likely your husband wanting to work things out is still coming from his own selfishness. He doesn’t want to go through a divorce, potentially have to pay you some alimony, lose his comfort zone. Liars and cheaters always think of themselves first and this is no exception. How nice for him if you can forgive and forget and he gets to continue benefiting from having you around to make his life easy.

Don’t fall for it, he is still looking out for #1, and I’d bet my life he is not being genuine and sincere, just looking out for his comfort zone.

Cruiser's avatar

@KNOWITALL I would argue to disagree. @Southernbell ‘s husband has confessed to these affairs so reading his words will only serve to cause additional mental and emotional pain. I know what that felt like. Knowing she was having this affair on me was tough enough but reading her words to this man did much more harm than good.

GloPro's avatar

And to address the actual question, I agree with @Cruiser. Don’t read the journal. It will hurt you, not help you. Don’t check his phone, don’t hack his email, don’t look at his social networking. As many others have mentioned, you have enough information. Details are not going to change anything, and will become things you cannot unsee. Don’t torture yourself.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Cruiser It’s like the difference in a person telling you they’re cheating, and you walking in on them in your own bed. Big difference psychologically.

Cruiser's avatar

@KNOWITALL I appreciate the point you are trying to make but when it is obvious like it is in her situation and it was in mine….I made a huge mistake in reading those love letters. It was the most emotionally painful, degrading draining moment of my life. It did not make accepting the situation any easier either only made it just that more painful….agonizingly painful.

If ever again I am confronted with information like that I would not indulge. No way!

Coloma's avatar

Once bitten twice brave. Once you survive this shit, provided you LEARN from it, you will NEVER allow yourself to feel stuck in an unhealthy relationship again. Your new philosophy will be that if you even have to ask the fidelity question time to exit. No discussion, no agonizing, no revolving door of emotional bullshit, no attempting to drag out secrets.

As much as it hurts you WILL grow from this experience in ways you cannot imagine now and once you reclaim yourself you will never allow another to mess with your mind & heart, ever again.

gailcalled's avatar

You have the right to do whatever you want. Why would you want to bother with a guy who has already shared these charming tidbits with you?

He sent me a few of his entries where he stated that he hasn’t been “in love” with me for 4 years now. (around the time of the first slip) . He also shared that he is hiding a part of himself from me and has never let me in 100%

Dump the bum. Start rebuilding your life. He has no interest in making the marriage work in healthy and mutually-beneficial terms. Saying that you love this man demeans you.

Judi's avatar

(I haven’t read the other answers yet.)
I think if your relationship is going to have a chance you need to get involved with a group like Recovering Couples Anonymous
He needs accountability. It’s going to take a lot for him to gain back your trust and from what you posted it is kind of doubtful he even wants to.

cheebdragon's avatar

I left a voice activated tape recorder under our couch because I could tell that someone had been in the house, things of mine (a cute pair of heels) that had not been moved in several months if not years were suddenly being hidden out of sight while I was visiting my mom. So the next time I left town, I placed the tape recorder under the couch, there are some things that you can’t unhear no matter how much you try to forget. That being said, i think reading it would be a walk in the park in comparison to actually hearing it, but not everyone deals the same way. I also know that the details I don’t know still plague me years later. You just have to decide what will bother you more, the unknown or too much information.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@cheebdragon Agreed. I’d rather know the unbearable than to always wonder.

GloPro's avatar

Trust is mutual. If you are searching through his things or spying in any way then neither of you are being trustworthy. Get out.

cheebdragon's avatar

Being a trustworthy spouse isn’t going to stop someone from cheating on you. Being innocent wont prevent you from being the victim of a crime, and not looking at something won’t make it go away.

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