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Marriage & Life Partnerships Debunking the old-ball-and-chain stereotype one couple at a time.

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Old 10th January 2019, 9:02 PM   #1
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The Journal

All,

I just found this forum and am hoping I can use it to get a few things off my chest and get some feedback. I will post a couple experiences I have had over the next couple weeks, the first, below being something that happened in 2010, then a couple more up to something that transpired a couple months ago. I am not sure if I am making mountains out of mole hills or if I am in the right. I am hoping some conversation here will help me figure that out.

It was not quite seven years after we had been married and I came home from work a little early one day. I found the house empty as my wife had taken the kids and gone shopping. In the living room were two laundry baskets full of clean laundry. I sat down and folded it all then began putting it away. I went in the bedroom to put away my wife's clothes and when I opened the drawer to put her socks in I noticed something. The drawer was unusually empty and in the back corner I could see the edge of a little black book. Curiosity got the best of me and I pulled it out, embossed in gold on the cover it said Journal.

For the first four or five years after marriage my wife used to keep journals full of her thoughts about me and our relationship. She would occasionally give them to me to read and it was amazing to hear of the deep love and appreciation she had for me and the importance of our relationship in her life. Every time she gave me one to read I would recommit myself to be the best husband/partner/friend/lover possible. These journals had stopped coming and I had asked on a number of occasions about it and she would usually tell me she was just too busy but nothing had changed.

When I saw the journal in her sock drawer a flood of emotions came over me. I remembered all the journals she had given me in the past and how full of love they were. I remembered how I felt when I read them and how it strengthened our relationship and made me strive to be a better person. Maybe I shouldn't have but I got excited thinking she was still keeping a journal and it would be the same as the others - I grabbed it and let it fall open to a random page...

The page it opened to was full of emotion and admiration, similar to the ones she had given me and for a split second I felt full of love and joy at finding it, but then a couple sentences in I read a name...and it was not my name. Utter confusion entered my mind I did not know what was going on...who was she writing about? What was this. I randomly flipped to another page and the same thing, only this time a different name then the one before...then a third name.

I closed the book trying to process what was happening. Who were these guys, and why was she hiding a journal about them? I opened to the first page and read a little and realized this was an old journal, from long before she met me. I sat back against the wall unsure what to do. I sat for a long time then opened it one last time, the page fell open to an introspective dialogue not talking about anyone but relaying her thoughts. In it she was speaking of sex and said:

"It surprises even myself how casually I view it.
It is as if I have a new toy I am playing with"

As i read those words I instantly got nauseous, I dropped the book and ran to the bathroom trying to get there before I lost my lunch. I did not throw up but I sat there a long time. My world was spinning. I had known she had relationships before me but she was always hesitant to talk about it. One day, shortly before we got married I directly asked her and she told me "don't worry about it, there is nothing to tell." I took her at her word and did my best not to worry about it. Now I did not know what to think.

I went back to the room, put the book back and left. I needed some air so I went for a walk. My mind was spinning, I did not want to read any more of that book but I wanted to know what she wasn't telling me, how much of what she had told me was a lie...I walked for a long time.

Eventually my phone rang, it was her. They were home and saw my truck there and wondered where I was. I told her I had gone for a walk and asked her to leave the kids and come meet me. By the time she got there I had worked through my fear and most of my hurt. I came clean and told her exactly what I had done and what I read. I told her we had been married almost seven years and it was the bets years of my life. I wasn't going to let this change that. If anything we would be stronger now because there was no secrets between us. She did not say much and we walked back home in silence.

She did not say much at all and hardly looked at me he rest of the afternoon. We had dinner and put the kids to bed, then she came in the room where I was at and unleashed. I had never seen her as mad as she was at me that night. She laid into me saying I had breached her trust and she couldn't believe that I would read a journal I found in her drawer. I was caught off guard and just began apologizing. She yelled at me for a couple hours and I apologized over and over again. When she was done she stormed out and went to bed. Then she didn't talk to me for a week...

When she did start talking there was a huge distance between us that wasn't there before which completely changed our relationship and set the stage for some things to come...but that is for another post. Was I wrong in what I did?
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Old 10th January 2019, 9:25 PM   #2
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I understand you're being bothered by what you read, but these men were all before she met you. She married you, she had your children. I wouldn't see what came before having much, if any, meaning in your lives together.

No, you shouldn't have read the journal, although I understand, most of us would be very tempted in the same situation, it wasn't as if you were searching for it, you happened upon it.

I understand her being upset. The extent of the anger seems extreme, but we all have our own boundaries and triggers.

You saying there were things to come makes me wonder if you found out your marriage really isn't what you thought it was, that she really isn't completely devoted to you even if you ARE married with children.

But again, to answer your specific question - yes, in my opinion, you were wrong.
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Old 10th January 2019, 11:32 PM   #3
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OK, thank you for the response.

But is it odd that she still had that journal? The latest entry was from before she met me, why would she still have it after being married to me for 7 years at that point?
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Old 10th January 2019, 11:39 PM   #4
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Yes, it does seem odd she would have that one particular journal in her drawer.

Maybe something came up that prompted her to look up her entries about that particular time in the past. Did she reconnect with someone? If so, maybe she was trying to jog her memory about something that happened with them.

I'm guessing you have an idea of what's going on though.
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Old 11th January 2019, 12:40 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by praxeum View Post
OK, thank you for the response.

But is it odd that she still had that journal? The latest entry was from before she met me, why would she still have it after being married to me for 7 years at that point?
Not at all. My wife still has her journals from high school.

I don't understand why you are upset. Did you believe she was a virgin or straight-laced prude?
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Old 11th January 2019, 12:50 PM   #6
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I would have been absolutely furious if my husband went and read through an old journal of mine. And then CONFRONTED me about it?

Are you serious? It was an old journal.

It said "JOURNAL" on it.

Do you have no respect for the woman and her privacy that you feel you are entitled to read her deepest most personal thoughts without her permission? Thoughts that were from prior to your marriage even?

Wow. You're lucky she didn't throw you out of the house.
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Old 11th January 2019, 2:07 PM   #7
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Wallysbears-

Wow, your a little grumpy. Did you miss the part where for the first 5 years of marriage she regularly GAVE me her journals to read? I am not some guy who digs through her stuff looking for this type of thing to spy on her. I stumbled across it and thought it was the same as those she gave me. Just relax already.

BetrayedAndStayed

Your name interests me a bit and I commend you for it. I guess this is the problem with forums where things like this are given without context. At some point I might fill in more of the story but maybe not too
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Old 11th January 2019, 2:23 PM   #8
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The story of a person's life before marrying does not become unwritten after marrying.

I have journals from before I met my fiancÚ. I have journals from before I met my ex-husband. I have journals dating back to when I was a kid. Why would I discard any of them?

I would be upset if my fiancÚ read any of them without asking me first. A big part of that is because if he wants to know something about me, I would rather he have a conversation with me and ask me questions. Snooping through my private thoughts from years ago would seem sneaky and like he doesn't want me to know what he's looking for or what he's curious about, or like he doesn't trust me to be honest with him. Nothing about that creates intimacy or trust or opens up lines of communication. It would feel like being ambushed rather than being invited to share about myself.

You say you knew she had relationships before, but you're not clear at all about what exactly you asked her shortly before getting married. She said there was "nothing to tell" - but you already KNEW that wasn't strictly true in any literal sense, so what were you expecting? Furthermore, if you were so concerned about her past relationships, why didn't you press her for that information prior to your decision to marry her?

Is there something about her behavior presently that gives you cause to doubt her commitment or her fidelity? Something other than possessing an account of her personal history?
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Old 11th January 2019, 2:46 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by praxeum View Post
Wallysbears-

Did you miss the part where for the first 5 years of marriage she regularly GAVE me her journals to read? I am not some guy who digs through her stuff looking for this type of thing to spy on her. I stumbled across it and thought it was the same as those she gave me. Just relax already.
But she did NOT give you that journal to read. You found it and you opened it and you read it without permission.

And as if that wasn't bad enough...then you confronted her about it?
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Old 11th January 2019, 4:01 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by praxeum View Post
I stumbled across it and thought it was the same as those she gave me. Just relax already.
Revisionist history at its best. Why not just be honest - you saw it, curiosity got the better of you and you decided to read it?

And as soon as you figured out it wasn't the "same", you stopped reading, right?

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Old 12th January 2019, 1:43 PM   #11
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If you have only been married for seven years, how old are your kids that your wife could just leave them to go meet you on your walk? Lol...I know it's not a relevant part of your story but little kids usually can't be left alone.

Yes it was wrong to read her journal and then you made it worse by confronting her on it. Your reaction was extreme. People change and evolve. You seem quite upset that she said she views sex as a toy to play with. Well sex without love does tend to be rather light and shallow. Sex takes on more meaning when we are deeply in love with our partner. Just because she felt that way about sex back then, doesn't mean that's how she views sex now.

You both sound highly emotional and over reactive. Your reaction to reading her journal was over the top but her reaction to finding out seems a bit over the top too. I get why she was upset but not talking to you for a week sounds a bit too much.
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Old 15th January 2019, 6:00 AM   #12
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OP, talk about picking at something on your skin until it bleeds.....you are literally picking a fight here, and you are the at fault party.

As others have said, we all have a past and our own thoughts...not all of them are the other spouses business.
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Old 17th January 2019, 6:04 PM   #13
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Well, with respect to the journal let's differentiate two important things:

1.) having read it
2.) judging her on it's contents

People can argue over the appropriateness of reading it but, essentially knowing the contents and never speaking about or disclosing them in any way, to anyone, including her, and never acting on that information, would make that a worthless argument.

That's not what you did, however. You acted on the information, judged her for it, and advanced yourself to a position of power over her. You used what you read to impose your own moral authority.

Why she had the journal there is too big a question to answer. I have a box of old stuff from my school years the attic. Last week I was up there and did some reminiscing. That was who I was then, not today.

Your reaction is a bigger red flag than hers. What was already in your head that allowed you to be so devastated by history that predates your existence in her life? What is going on with you today that makes this OLD information so destructive?

Last edited by Turning point; 17th January 2019 at 6:09 PM..
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Old 17th January 2019, 6:33 PM   #14
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I also think your concerns about her prior sex life is an issue you have to own not her.

Yes, when sex is playful I guess your partner could very well be described as your toy. Her analogy is not shocking at all. Sex is not a ritual it's a transcendent form of PLAY.

The great thing about sex is that we can also transcend into great romance and passion because this is also our most intimate and reserved form of PLAY.

So, again I would ask what is going on with you that makes your wife's view on the playful nature of sex so disturbing?
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Old 17th January 2019, 7:21 PM   #15
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OP: Are you from a culture in which a woman is not supposed to have sex before marriage and she had lead you to believe she was a virgin? If not, it boggles my mind why you would be so bothered. My boyfriend is divorced, and I have always assumed he was playing the field and had quite a few casual flings immediately after his divorce. But I have never bothered to ask him.
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