Dear Miss Pearl,
 What do you consider cheating?  I accidentally found a text thread on my husband’s phone that seems to be with a man named Bill (work).  I have a couple of problems with this text.  The first one being that Bill (work) is clearly not a man. The second being that my husband is talking about his feelings, goals, and other private matters with Bill (work).  My husband, like most, doesn’t talk to me about his deepest thoughts and feelings.  Any information that I get from him is very hard work.  I have always trusted my husband and my gut tells me that he is not physically cheating, but I think I would be less hurt if he were physically cheating instead of emotionally cheating.  Am I wrong to be mad?  Should I ask him about Bill (work)?  My heart is broken. 
-Jane Doe


Dear Jane Doe, 
  Okay. In my opinion, cheating involves some form of deceit. If your husband had to change the name and gender of his “confidant” that is deceitful. It really doesn’t matter at some point if it is emotional or physical cheating, cheating is cheating, and your wedding vows are an agreement to trust and be trusted. Most affairs start off as emotional affairs and nothing good can come from having to hide conversations from a spouse. My rule of thumb is “behave in my absence as you would in my presence.” It may be hard, but you really need to find a way to get him to open up to you about his feelings, goals etc. Friendships between a husband and another woman (or vice versa) isn’t woman, but he changed that by deceitfully changing her name and creating doubt in his wife’s head.  Before things get serious, at least ask him to give you a chance to listen and figure some way to work together, like counseling. Are you wrong to be mad? Girlfriend, I would be furious and would have made sure that everyone at his work knows he is having an affair with some man named Bill! Wishing you well, Miss Pearl.  P.S. Maybe you should send “Bill” a text of your own.

Disclaimer:  “The advice offered in this column is intended for informational purposes only. Use of this column not intended to replace or substitute for any professional, financial, medical, legal, or other professional advice.”