Reader K. Z. writes:

I just found out that my wife had has her own apartment for two months. She has even taken half the pots and pans and tried to hide it by saying they were “put away”. I just found out about this apartment and now she wants to get rid of it. She wants me to help her pay three months rent in advance so she can get out of the lease. Should I kick the bitch to the curb (or her apartment), let her stay at the house as long as she wants, or what? And what about paying for her to get out of the lease?

Dear K.Z.:

weighing the options

Image: jscreationzs / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Wow, she’s been hiding her own apartment from you?

That’s my initial reaction.

Here’s the deal:

I can understand the need for “my own space”. This is why I think two bedroom apartments are a great idea even for couples who love each other. Sometimes ya’ just gotta’ have your own space, even after you’re married. Carrie Bradshaw kept her apartment in “Sex and the City”, and obviously she’s the ruler against which all women should be measured, so…

(I’m kidding.)

However, the fact that she got this apartment after you were married and without telling you about it kinda’ cues me in that you two have problems.

Basically, what I think is that when a couple starts having huge secrets from each other, it’s over. Sure, you’ve got your little secrets in the back of your brain (that time you made Jimmy eat a worm on the playground in second grade, the pencils you stole from your first job when you were 19; you know, little secrets) that you may never have shared. But once secrets start being current rather than past, and once they reach a certain level of magnitude, the relationship has taken a turn it will probably not recover from.

“Kicking the bitch to the curb” might be a bit strong of a verb, but I would definitely look into a good counselor, and possibly a good divorce lawyer. The fact is, your wife got caught in her lie (about the pots and pans), and instead of owning up to her reasons for doing what she did, she renounced the whole arrangement. Obviously if she signed a lease long enough that she’d have to buy out of it, she wasn’t planning on relinquishing it anytime soon. And if she wants to give it up since you found out about it, either the thrill is gone from keeping the secret or she was using it for nefarious purposes.

And you’re probably not going to trust her ever again.

As far as what to do… it all depends on certain factors.

Are you willing to work on the marriage and at not keeping secrets from each other? It’s going to be a long, soul-searching journey, and for her part, the fact that she got an apartment might be a hint that  she has already given up on things. (I’m not sure what her reasons for having a second apartment are, and I’m not sure if you two already have some history of not communicating.)

Do you have the money to buy her out of the lease? If she’s been paying rent on it with her own money (which she has, or you would have noticed the drain on the mutual bank account pretty quickly), I think the financial responsibility lies entirely with her. Perhaps it will be less expensive just to let her keep it, even if it’s not going to be her primary residence. In fact, if you’re going to work on your marriage, she might be willing to let you use it once in a while, which could be nice if you have a big work project, or just need a night alone with the TV, or if the apartment complex has a really sweet pool.

You’re obviously rather upset, and it might be good for her to have her own place for a while as you work through things. I’d say keep the apartment for the time being. If you’re still together when the lease runs out and you want her back home, by all means, drop the apartment then and start over.

But for now, it sounds like she needs a haven anyway.

And it sounds like she’s got a lot of ‘splaining to do.


1 Response to “secrets”

  1. 1 Richard
    July 27, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    Regarding the wife’s apartment, there’s a very important decision to make. If the marriage ends, does he want the house? If yes, then he should NEVER use that apartment and NOT help her buy out the lease. In fact, it would be wise to encourage her to put some more of her stuff there. He should lend a hand and even invite his friends to help move some of her favorite furniture to her comfy new nest. That way, if the break comes, there is little question as to who is moving where.

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