When you suspect a spouse is cheating, how do you handle it?
It's tough, because you don't want to put yourself in the position of being the "jealous spouse," but at the same time, you can't shake that feeling that something is wrong.
Redditor ThrowRA09060906 found that was the case when he came across things he didn't expect in his wife's luggage.
He went to the popular subReddit "Relationship Advice" to try and figure out how to proceed:
"My wife  is a flight attendant, I [27M[ale]] found lingerie and heels in her luggage."
Our original poster, or OP's, wife is a flight attendant who often goes on overnight trips:
"We've been married for almost 2 years now. My wife works as a flight attendant and is often doing long journeys to other countries. Her work has not slowed down during the covid quarantine as I thought it would so she is constantly working and has been tested negative several times now."
But when he went to surprise her with an anniversary gift, he himself was met with an unpleasant surprise:
"Our anniversary was last week and she was not going to be home for it so I decided to give her a surprise card and one of a few gifts, but I was going to bury it in her luggage suitcase before she was about to leave. That is when I found new looking white lace lingerie that I have never seen before, as well as a pair of heels that I do know of because I got them for her."
And though he tried coming up with the best explanation, he fell short:
"As soon as I saw it there was ringing in my ears and it felt like the world had come to a halt. I have been trying to come up with reasonable explanations as to why she would have it, but none of them are in character for her as far as I am aware. That's why now I am fearing the worst, infidelity. She doesn't know I saw it because I didn't leave the gift and card but she has been back home since then and gone again."
The thoughts of infidelity are starting to interfere with his life, and he doesn't know what to do:
"I am going crazy with the thoughts of her with another man but I don't have concrete proof before accusing her. I don't know how I'd even get solid evidence. Reddit please help me on what to do now because I am in a very bad place emotionally right now."
People had a mix of thoughts of what to do.
On the one hand, lingerie really doesn't mean anything.
"I need the definition of lingerie here, cause my husband calls any bra and pantie set that matches and is remotely lacy lingerie. If it was like a silk camisole, might be to sleep in. If it was a bra and pantie set, some girls just want to feel pretty."
"If it was a baby doll cami with like under wire and strappy things that are not remotely comfy.... Yeah no one buys those or takes those somewhere without the idea that someone is going to see them. If they still had the tags on that would be a different story. The heels are nbd. Sometimes flight attendants do go out if they have an overnight layover."~Timmyisagirl
"Confronting her in person is a much better idea. Body language is key. If he calls or writes to her, she has time to divert and distract from the topic, the opportunity to calculate her responses. In person, a cornered person will usually admit guilt by trying too hard to control their behavior and will end up acting completely out of character."
"Additionally, what if the lingerie is an innocent item purchased while away that she wants to keep hidden until a future time? (My doubts are on this one) But what if he confronts her while she is away and she leaves the conversation feeling attacked or resentful? We don't know their relationship, so what if she is still faithful but just unhappy enough to want an excuse?"~WOLVESintheCITY
"He said he doesn't have evidence to accuse her yet."
"To me I think he's going about this wrong, mentally. You're not accusing her, you're asking for an explanation because you can't make sense of something."
"Don't accuse her of cheating, ask why you saw what you saw and be ready to have an open conversation. You go into this pissed off or angry or accusatory it makes it hard for the truth to come out and she will get defensive and you'll not get anything out of it."
"My wife got a text one morning 'I love you, baby.' We had been living together for several months at the time, and had the same social circle, but I didn't know who 'James' was. I stewed on it hard, I was pissed off for weeks even through a Christmas vacation her parents took us on."
"She finally asked me what's going on with me and I snapped. 'Who is James and why is he texting you he loves you? What are you hiding from me?!?' James was her biological father, that I had never met, and I knew her moms husband was her stepdad but it never occurred to me that she was in contact with her dad."~hamcandle2
On the other side, more than one person thinks something is up.
"Hi! I don't usually comment but FA here... I found super weird that she didn't stop flying? Every airline in the WORLD cancelled tons of flights, the airports were closed so are you sure she was flying? Airlines are doing very few flights so every crew I know has been flying 1 time a month tops. This doesn't add up."~thebasictraveler
"I (straight male) worked as a flight attendant for 4 years in my late 20's, all overseas and international flights. I won't lie, this is not a great sign. We all partied and drank a lot. Crews were always hooking up with each other and some had 'boyfriends/girlfriends' in different cities we frequented. It's essentially a sex kit for someone on the crew or a guy she's been seeing."
"Do you know her crew-mates? We could do this this with our scheduling system called a 'buddy-bid' where you could assign weight or points to being scheduled to work with a particular person. Does she operate flights with the same people a lot? All speculation, but I've been there and done that. What happens on layovers, stays on layovers. It's a lifestyle."~hankexfa
"Talk to her.. I went thru the same thing with my wife when she was going on a business trip.. She had packed a very sheer babydoll nightie with a thong, garter belt and stockings. She denied anything was going on but it led to us going to therapy and she admitted she hadnt cheated but was considering it."~billy678543
"I witnessed a very similar situation with my friend and his wife. She apparently thought cheating hasn't a big deal because "everyone does it" in that field because of its nature."
"They had been together nearly a decade and the entire time she didn't think twice about screwing the pilots. Apparently it was a lot of different men too. My friend was in denial until he got an STI."~anomanderforPOTUS
And the criteria for approaching your partner about this is difficult and uncertain.
"I'd say just ask and gauge her reaction buddy. Lingerie is a weird thing to bring in your luggage as an FA. As someone who works in the Canadian airline industry and has FAs for friends and acquaintances, they generally try not to bring anything they don't have to besides some small creature comforts. Just be transparent and explain you were trying to surprise her and saw the lingerie."
"Could be maybe she wanted to surprise you after her flights since she's been working through CoVid. Could be she's cheating. You won't know until you ask, but it's definitely unusual."~JazzHandsJim
"So, obviously talk to her. So, gonna give you a best and a worst here: Best case: She, like many women likes to feel attractive. I frequently wear my classier sets of lingerie during times of stress, as feeling attractive makes me more confident."
"Worst: She's cheating while away, and you caught her. But to find out either one you need to talk to her. Be honest about what you were doing, and ask her straight up what they are for."~Old_Trees
"Not sure if anyone has said this already, but reading comments on Reddit is only speculation and will only add to your paranoia and make you more upset. Redditors can make up the craziest fantasies based on one line of text and no prior knowledge of your wife."
"You are asking for people to reassure you, however the only way for you to make this go away, and potentially find out the truth is to talk to your wife. No one in here will solve your problem, they will more likely make it sound worse in your head. Go talk to your wife before you go crazy."~fallinlovewithplaces
"I know this is purely anecdotal, but I worked as an Flight attendant P.C. (Pre-Covid), and I would intentionally pack my gross, period-stained underwear and save the good stuff for my partner at home. It can be a dangerous industry for monogamous relationships. Spending days with pilots or other FAs, often going out and drinking together, then returning to your hotel where their rooms are only feet away...I'm not saying she's for sure cheating, but to date someone in this field, it can be very rewarding (vacations together!) but you both need to have profound trust for each other, and it sounds like she broke your trust."~ChezCheeze
OP is in a tough place and it seems like the only true solution is talking to his wife.
Until then, Reddit can only speculate.