I discovered condoms in my girlfriend’s bag before she left for a girl’s trip. Is she up to no good?

I haven’t been able to wrap my head around this one. My girlfriend of 4 years is due to go on a trip this weekend with some of her closest girlfriends. They’re headed to Cancun then Tulum for a week and a half. I trust her – always have, with her never giving me a reason to doubt her. But she’s someone who plans pretty far in advance, so her suitcase has been sitting around for weeks now as she gradually piles up clothes for the trip. She messaged me to tell me she’d misplaced her spare house keys a few days ago and asked that I have a look for them while she was at work (I WFH). My first thoughts went to the suitcase as it’s been sitting around so long, I thought there was a good chance the keys had made their way into the heap. No keys, but I did find an unopened pack of condoms. She and I haven’t been using them as she’s been on birth control since we met, so I have zero idea why she would even have them. I brought them to her almost immediately when she got home from work and her response was nothing short of deadpan. She claims they’re just an old packet that happened to be in the suitcase but I can’t help but get a bad feeling about this. She’s set to fly out on Friday and I have no idea what to do. Do I say she can’t go? Is she cheating? Is she lying? Please help a man out of his misery!  – Anon


First of all, deep breaths. This is a murky situation indeed, but the reality is that we’ve all been there – that gut-wrenching feeling when something just doesn’t add up in our relationships.

Trust me, I’ve had my fair share of heart-pounding, what-the-hell-is-going-on moments. And while it’s easier said than done, try your utmost not to jump to conclusions just yet, as you might end up doing a lot more damage than it’s worth.

It sounds like you and your girlfriend have a solid foundation of trust, and that’s worth a lot. Four years is no small feat, and it means something that she’s never given you a reason to doubt her before.

But whilst a foundation of trust is all well and good, your intuition isn’t something to ignore either. It’s there for a reason, and you shouldn’t gloss over it – especially when a big, rubber, red flag has just made its way into your lives.

Let’s begin unpacking this suitcase situation (pardon the pun!) Finding an unopened pack of condoms when you and your girlfriend haven’t been using them definitely raises some eyebrows. And her “deadpan” response is hardly the most reassuring. But playing devil’s advocate, you might have been just as alarmed by emotional reactivity and screams of denial, so I would avoid reading too much into her tone or choosing to make your mind up over it.

Wherever the condoms may have come from, I want you to know that it’s okay to feel hurt, confused, and even a little betrayed. Those feelings are more than valid.

The reality is that sometimes, things get stashed away and forgotten about. My own partner had a stash of tampons in his bathroom that he had been carrying around from apartment to apartment for several years (or so he claims…) It’s very possible that those condoms are from a pre-you era, a forgotten relic from a time before birth control was the norm. Suitcases do also tend to be places where an odd assortment of old objects are left to rust and wrinkle, so if they’re to be hidden anywhere, I’d bet you’ve stumbled upon the right spot.

Have you tried talking to her about it again? I know you confronted her when she got home, but sometimes a little distance and then a second conversation can do wonders. Approach her calmly, express your concerns, and most importantly, listen to her response. I’m sure she feels just as alarmed as you, as would anyone given your situation, so I hope you can work together to better understand one another and unpick what’s going on.

If her explanation still doesn’t sit right with you, the best advice I can give you is to say that it’s then time to trust your gut. You have every right to voice your concerns and set boundaries.

That doesn’t necessarily mean forbidding her from going on the trip. Even if you tried to forbid her, she’s an adult and her own person, and she may well choose to do as she pleases. Holiday aside, you definitely need to step up and make it clear that this issue isn’t resolved and needs further discussion.

Remember, communication is key. Talk to her. Listen to her. And trust your instincts.

You’ve got this,

Do you have a question for Evie? If you would like advice from Evie, fill out the form here or send your problem to askevie@ideapod.com. 

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Ask Evie

Evie is on a mission to revolutionize relationships and help you sort through your emotional woes. Her popular column helps readers break free from societal restraints and create empowering relationships - both with their inner selves and with those around them. With a wealth of experience in relationship counseling, backed by several professional certifications, she’s open-minded, big-hearted, and extremely compassionate… But she’ll also be completely honest in telling you the (sometimes) brutal truth, so you can get straight to the heart of the matter. Maybe you’re trying to save a marriage that currently feels like a sinking ship? Or worrying that your new friend isn’t quite as nice as they seem? Perhaps you’ve accidentally killed your partner’s goldfish and are weighing up the pros and cons of going to the pet store and finding a doppelganger, or fessing up? Whatever the dilemma, Evie’s at the ready to help sort through the emotional turmoil and guide you towards the next best step. To get in touch with Evie, click here.

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