I’m a widow who’s been in a relationship with a widower for two years; he has a successful business and is very well-off and very good to me, and though neither of us had a very good sex life with our deceased spouses we have really made magic together. But for the past few months, things have cooled between us; the sex is still really good but somewhat less frequent, and his behavior has become odd. Due to his business he’s gone for about half of every week; this never used to bother me, but while I was unpacking his case from his last trip I found a bottle of Viagra, and some of them had been used. When I have sex with him now, he never wants anything but anal; he can’t come any other way. He gets a lot of junk texts on his phone from gay dating websites; he just deletes them and says he doesn’t know why they’re being sent to him. All this started after he hired a gay male friend of mine, and I have come to believe the two of them are having an affair. I sometimes find the two of them talking in whispers, and they stop when I come into the room; one night recently I went to bed during one of the friend’s visits and awoke about three in the morning to find the two of them sitting close together in the garden, talking in hushed voices. The next day he came by work and avoided me, rushing out without saying hello; we used to be close friends, but now he avoids making eye contact. I want to trust my boyfriend, but it’s difficult given the circumstances.
I wish I could tell you that you’re only being paranoid, but I really don’t believe that you are. If I were in your place, I would be just as suspicious as you are; all of these things do seem to point toward your boyfriend having an affair with your friend. His sexual difficulties, his evasiveness, the way he and the friend seem to be sharing a secret, the fact that the friend is now uncomfortable around you, and the gay solicitations…together, they add up to something that doesn’t look good. Despite the social gains made by gay people in recent years, there is still a great deal of stigma attached to homosexuality among older people, and even younger ones in many countries; it would therefore be no surprise for your boyfriend to be in denial about his attraction to other men.
Obviously, you’re going to have to talk to him about it somehow, but I think we both know he’s going to deny it because that’s what most men do when they’re caught. I suggest you really think about how to confront him before actually doing it; try to plan this so you are as calm and rational as possible. It’s almost certainly going to turn into an argument, so you need to prepare for that, but try not to let it degenerate into a screaming match; let him know how you feel, and watch how he reacts. You will probably be able to tell by his reactions and what he says whether your suspicions are correct, even if he keeps denying it. After that, you’ll have to make a decision based on what he says and what you discover; I can’t tell you what the “right” decision is, because you have to decide that for yourself, but one way or another this has to be resolved. As the old song goes, “We can’t go on together with suspicious minds”; either you have to deal with the suspicion, accept the situation or move on from the relationship, because it isn’t fair to either of you for things to continue like this.