Should you marry someone who keeps secrets

Zoei asks: I’m engaged. Last year my fiancée started talking to another woman; when I asked he said its someone his interested in but wanted them to be friends with me first (polygamy). I asked him to stop contact with her and he did. Early this year I just got a feeling that he was doing something, and yes he was talking to the same woman. They seem to call each other at night, but he denied it. When I showed him his phone he kept quiet. I asked him why he’s still talking to the same woman I asked him to lose contact with; he asked how I know it’s the same person. I said because I know her number. He said nothing is happening between them. I said fine let me call her and ask her why she’s calling you at night, and he said fine. I acted like I was dialing the number, he said do it and you will see. I asked him why he was being defensive, he didn’t answer me; and I asked why they’re calling each other at night, when, if she’s a client, couldn’t it wait till morning office hours. Two weeks ago I saw a text on his phone from her (I was using the phone to text my mum) saying “I’m back, let me know when you’re here.” We were with friends at a party but I couldn’t stand it anymore. I pulled him outside and asked him what he was doing at her place. He denied it, then said nothing is going on. I just left him there and I walked back home. He tried calling me and I just ignored him. He came back home after 30 minutes. He said I shouldn’t have walked away, and how much he loves me, and the fact that we left our home town to another town to pursue our dreams, so he’s not going to let me go. But the feeling is not going away. On Sunday he called her seven times; she didn’t answer. He now calls her almost every day, in the morning mostly. He says she knows he has a woman. Now I’m playing the fool, acting like I can’t see anything. What do I do?

Hi Zoei –


Okay, I have an answer for you, but first I have one gigantic question.  A question so big, it might determine your entire future:


Are you sure it’s the same woman?  I mean are you ABSOLUTELY sure?  Is it even 0.00001% possible that that woman canceled her phone account and a client of your fiancee’s astoundingly happened to get that number?  Is it NO QUESTION that it’s absolutely her?


If you’re not 100% sure (and yes I mean more than 99.99999%!), then you absolutely MUST find out.  If your fiancee has a job where he has to keep his clients confidential, and so can’t tell you, then he’s already doing an awful job of it by letting you see his phone.  But if you have the right, then yes, call her, ask her about their relationship, or how about having your fiancee take you with him to meet her (it could look totally innocent; he meets her for a business reason, and brings you along because you wanted to go shopping near there while they met, something like that).


But if you know, if you’re absolutely sure this is the same woman…  then I’m very worried about your engagement.  And more worried about the marriage you’re heading into.


I am a dog, and so have no judgment against different lifestyles.  People who are into polyamory or polygamy (if it’s legal where you live) or multiple partners at the same time… who am I to tell them they’re wrong?


But that’s only if everyone involved is in agreement (and they’re all adults).  When this is done in a way that can hurt someone, I’m suddenly VERY judgmental.


And if this is that woman, everything seems to point to your fiancee doing things that he knows perfectly well will hurt you.


I don’t like the way he responds to your questions about her.  Why not be totally straightforward, “Yes this is the same woman I had talked to, but there’s nothing between us because you asked me not to.  And I am more than happy to spend the rest of my life being faithful only to you, because that’s what you want and you’re the most important person in my world.  Here’s the paperwork from our business dealings.  If you like, I’ll be glad to set up a lunch for the three of us.  And you may look at our whole texting history.”


Instead, you’re getting non-answers like “How do you know it’s her?”  What are you supposed to do with that?!


Zoei, marriage is the most profound and powerful relationship anyone can ever create.  And a good marriage requires trust.  This guy isn’t doing a good job at all of building your trust in him.  And this needs to change.


If he absolutely needs to have more than one partner in his life, maybe that’s something you can live with, and maybe it’s not.  But it has to be your choice.  A choice made with all the facts clear and open.


That’s not the way things are right now.


So I’m not telling you to leave him or to stay.  But I am DEFINITELY saying he owes you clarity.  Find out the facts.  And then you might well find you have to make a very difficult decision.


If so, just know I’m here and happy to help.


All my best,


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