I was reading my stories yesterday (Ask A Manager weekend thread), and there was someone asking for some outside perspective on her relationship and whether she should leave. The issue was that her common-law husband would never admit he was wrong, and it came to a head when she was out of town for a wedding, and he went out with friends. That wasn’t the issue. What was the issue was that he had a flirty friend (FF) he’s known forever, and she and another friend spent the night with hubby. FF wore his boxers and slept in the spare room. Hubby didn’t tell his wife, and she found out from someone else.
The OP (original poster) kept stressing that she wasn’t the jealous type and how fine she would have been if he had just told her–though maybe not about the boxers part. It was interesting to see the responses. Some took her at face value at her not being the jealous type, some questioned her on that. Some didn’t see the boxers as a big deal, but most did. Some gently told her she didn’t need to have a reason to get out, and others mused that by focusing so much on how the message was delivered (by a third party), she might be not owning her hurt feelings. Still others pointed out how her husband brushing away her feelings is the real issue and how he probably won’t change. One person suggested he might be trying to push her to leave (because the behaviors have been escalating, and they’d already tried couples counseling for a few sessions until he quit).
By the time I finished reading the post, I was exhausted, and I was on the side of leave him. Not because of the incident itself, necessarily (though I am on the side of wearing someone’s boxers being too intimate. You couldn’t give her shorts or sweats? And not telling your wife isn’t good either), but because the OP sounded done with the relationship, but not sure she had a good enough reason to walk away.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from reading advice columns, it’s that you can end a relationship at any time. You don’t need what other people would consider a good reason–but because our society is so invested in the narrative of coupledom and that you’re not a complete person without someone attached to your hip (especially as a het woman, even in 2019), and you still here how a bird in the hand, etc., etc., etc., it’s no wonder that people hold onto relationships for way past their expiration date. Not to mention sunken cost fallacy, and it’s understandable.