Online Infidelity: My Husband is Cheating on Me
Sample E-mail Question and Answer by Carol Agnew, MA, LMFT
I found that my husband of almost two years was talking to a couple of women on a singles website. He was talking to one of them about hooking up with her to have a secret relationship (sex). She is also married when this happened. I have been through this kind of thing before. So now I don't know what to do. Can you please help me?. Do I leave him or continue to try and make my marriage work? And if I should continue to try and make things work, how do I do that? I don't trust him at all anymore and therefore I don't know what to do. Please please help me figure out what to do.
Sad in California
Dear Sad in California,
You are in an awful situation and I really feel for you. Infidelity is difficult in any form. It seems like it should be a cut and dry answer, but it is usually more complicated than that. You have invested a lot in this man and to simply turn and walk away is incredibly hard to do. I don't have the answer you are looking for, only you can make that decision, but maybe I can help clarify your options.
I would recommend sitting your husband down and having a heart to heart talk with him. Lay EVERYTHING on the table, don't leave anything unsaid. Tell him how you feel, what you found, how it hurts you, etc. and give him the opportunity to explain (if there is an explanation). If you think at that point that you might be able to work things out, there will probably need to be some hard rules he will have to follow. If he wants to stay together, he will cooperate. If he doesn't, then your decision has been made for you. He has decided he is not willing to do what needs to be done to stay together. First is for the two of you to go to counseling together, to a good marriage counselor. Look around and try out a few to see if you get a good fit. You don't have to settle on the first one you go to.
The second thing is for him to stop visiting the singles websites, stop talking to all other potential hook ups and to stop any other "unfaithful" type behaviors. If that means only being on the computer when you are within eyesight, or not being on the computer at all, that is what it means. Moving the computer to the living room so that you can see the screen whenever you want may be an option too.
Third, he needs to recommit to you and your relationship. This means he needs to go out of his way to show you he cares and wants to keep you in his life. This also means that he is OVERLY honest about everything he does. If he goes out to the store in the evening by himself, he is calling and checking in every 1/2 hour. He has to rebuild that trust and it takes a very long time and LOTS of effort.
Finally, you need to look at your part in your relationship with your husband. Is there something that you could do differently to make the relationship better? Has something changed over the last two years that you are not as close as you were? It is time to do some introspection and look at how things fell apart and what role you played in them. Typically infidelity is a symptom of other problems in the relationship.
If you decide that enough is enough and you are ready to end things, there are a few things to keep in mind. You will need to plan ahead to figure out finances, where you will live, if you have kids, the logistics of who they will live with, visitation, etc. Also, I would advise you not to jump right into another relationship for a while. You need time to process the loss of this relationship and figure out where things went wrong. Jumping too soon into another relationship will often end up with the same problems all over again.
If you would like to talk more individually or as a couple, I am available for private sessions at www.asktheinternettherapist.com
Good Luck and let me know if I can help more.
Carol Agnew, MA, LMFT