When Webster’s can’t fix the problem


Dear Violet,

My husband and I have been arguing lately about my definition of cheating. My husband says my definition is wrong and unreasonable. He and his friends go out at least once per month, usually playing cards, live music, or visiting a strip club. At first the strip club bothered me but my husband explained it was normal behavior, and his two married friends and their wives agreed that it was acceptable married behavior. I acquiesced on the strip club, but the latest behavior, in my opinion, is over the line. My husband and I keep separate phone bills and do not have the security codes to each other’s phones. According to my husband this validates our trust and commitment to each other and our relationship. We also keep a separate credit card for him to be used on his nights out with friends, because he needs to keep those finances separate in order to be able to quickly discern who in the friend’s group owes who and who’s turn it is to pay, keeping it separate from our household expenses and business expenses (my husband owns his own company). I have not had a problem with either of these things and trust my husband implicitly. The problem started when my husband bought a separate condo closer to his office. He claims this is for those nights when he is too drunk to drive all the way home (we live twenty minutes from downtown, where his office is located, and this new condo is about five minutes from his office). He claims it helps when he works very late, or has to go in very early, and he has used the condo a lot, staying the night away from our home at least three nights per week. He claims this makes it a good investment, The definition disagreement is over his secretary. On nights I call my husband and he is away from the house, staying at the condo, she will usually answer the phone. He claims they are simply working, I say this makes his actions questionable. It makes me more suspicious because his secretary has answered his phone during the last 6 boys nights out and he says she just happened to be in the same club and had heard the phone when he did not, and knows how much he loves me and wouldn’t want him to miss a phone call. Violet, am I being stupid for questioning his loyalty or am I justified in saying that having another woman in a separate home away from your family, several nights per week, is cheating/suspicious behavior?

Violet, please help us settle this argument,

Feeling Cheated

Dear Cheated,

The definition you should be researching is gas-lighting. Your husband is keeping you at arms length from his phone, his expenditures and even several of his nights during the week. These are all classic behaviors when a partner is being unfaithful and hiding their activities from a spouse. While it is possible that your husband really is innocent and merely trying to be cautious with his driving and commute logistics, it is very unlikely. It is more likely that your husband has been hiding many things from you for a very long time and that you have enabled him to do just that. If you feel that your marriage is worth trying to salvage I suggest you research a good marriage counselor. If you feel that you can no longer trust your partner or your partnership, researching a really good divorce attorney is the next logical step, to allow you your own time away from the marriage. Either way, for once, make it on your own terms.


Dear Violet is a relationship advice column, covering both domestic relationships and familial relationships, as well as friendships. If you have something you want to get advice about, write in and get a third party, no ax to grind perspective. Welcome to Violet’s world. Send questions, comments or concerns attention: Ask Violet c/o Gonzales Inquirer at