I’m in a committed relationship with a man who admitted that he cheated on his now deceased wife. I recently found out he is still in touch with the woman with whom he had the affair.  He didn’t hide it from me and says that a couple times a year they talk on the phone. I don’t feel this is healthy and he doesn’t understand why I’m concerned with it. He tells me, “we are just friends catching up”. Am I overreacting?


This is a complicated situation and you’re right to feel discomfort. Relationships are built on trust, understanding, and respect for each other’s feelings and boundaries. The fact that you’re feeling uncomfortable is a signal that your needs and feelings need to be addressed. Also, the fact that he is dismissing your concerns is a red flag that should give you pause. Remember, your feelings are valid, and they deserve attention.

It’s important to acknowledge that every person is entitled to maintain their friendships, but when an outside relationship starts creating tension in a committed partnership, it’s important to slow things down and speak openly about your feelings and concerns.

Even though your partner’s past isn’t something you can change, it’s something he’s still engaging with in the present. His ongoing contact with the woman he cheated with, regardless of the nature of their current relationship, would naturally cause you distress. Neither of them had respect or regard for his previous marriage, so it’s easy to see why you have no confidence he would respect your relationship with him.

Instead of trying to determine whether their relationship is innocent, focus first on his resistance to your concerns. You need to feel secure and cherished in your relationship, and his actions and lack of concern are threatening that security. If our partner won’t care about our pain, then it’s difficult to have other meaningful conversations.

Speak directly and clearly with him. For example, you might say, “I feel anxious and uncomfortable when you speak with this woman because it reminds me of your past infidelity.” This approach focuses on your feelings rather than accusing him of wrongdoing, which is more likely to foster understanding and empathy from his side. If he can slow down and care about your pain, this is a good opportunity to determine the boundaries you’ll have with others in your relationship.

It’s possible he may not realize how much his actions are affecting you, particularly if he genuinely views that relationship as a simple friendship. It’s also possible that he struggles to empathize with your situation because he has never been in a similar position. One positive is that he appears to be open with you about his past affair and his current connection with this woman. Concealment adds another layer of pain to already difficult situations, so the fact that he’s open about his information is a good start to resolving this. Of course, it’s also possible that he has no remorse for his affair and, therefore, won’t have any concerns about how this might impact you.

If he truly values your relationship and wants to alleviate your distress, he might consider setting boundaries with this woman or even cutting off contact. But it’s his choice to make. You’ll have to determine what response you need to make based on what he chooses.

Ultimately, the initial question isn’t so much about whether he can have female friends, but rather about whether your relationship can sustain the emotional toll it takes when you feel hurt, disrespected, or insecure. It’s about finding a solution that allows you to feel secure and valued in your relationship.

Geoff will answer a new family and relationship question every Friday. You can email your question to him at ge***@ge**********.com  

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About the Author

Geoff Steurer is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice in St. George, Utah. He is the co-author of “Love You, Hate the Porn: Healing a Relationship Damaged by Virtual Infidelity”, host of the podcast, “From Crisis to Connection”, and creates online relationship courses. He earned degrees from Brigham Young University and Auburn University. He is married to Jody Young Steurer and they are the parents of four children.

The advice offered through Geoff Steurer’s column is educational and informational in nature and is provided only as general information. It is not meant to establish a therapist-patient relationship or offer therapeutic advice, opinion, diagnosis treatment or to establish a standard of care. Although Geoff Steurer is a trained psychotherapist, he is not functioning in the role of a licensed therapist by writing this column, but rather using his training to inform these responses. Thus, the content is not intended to replace independent professional judgment. The content is not intended to solicit clients and should not be relied upon as medical or psychological advice of any kind or nature whatsoever. The information provided through this content should not be used for diagnosing or treating a mental health problem or disease. The information contained in these communications is not comprehensive and does not include all the potential information regarding the subject matter, but is merely intended to serve as one resource for general and educational purposes.