Adapted from a recent online discussion.
Carolyn: I think my husband is on the verge or in the middle of having at least two emotional affairs via online chatting.
We share a computer, and before I realized the Facebook account I saw wasnt mine, I saw wife (i.e., me) and sex referring to our sex life. I otherwise wouldnt have kept reading, but how do you not when you see those words? In the other chat I saw, he confided in another woman feelings about my family that he not only did not share with me, but that he also said he needed to keep from me. Then, he shared something with her thats meant to be a secret between the two of us.
I dont know either of these women. Its shocking to me that hes been so forthcoming with these women online. Part of me feels like he doesnt know hes doing anything wrong, but in the past, hes cornered me about normal interactions with men Ive worked with.
Am I going to have to confront him to get a resolution, even though I invaded his space by seeing his chat history? I dont even know what to say.
SHAKEN, STIRRED AND SAD
Yes, you do have to confront him. Dont let him turn the blame on you, though, for reading these exchanges. The damning words were in plain view, and you reasonably kept reading.
Dont expect miracles, either; this talk will likely be the exact emotional situation he dreads most. You can make it as easy as possible for him in fact, even prove to him that sharing with someone close is not a scary or dangerous thing by being a safe place for him to tell his truth. That means no interrupting, yelling, threats, or name-calling. That means expressing your feelings as well as your preference for the truth, no matter what it is: I am not angry that you feel this way about my family; I only feel sad that you didnt tell me, and didnt think you could.
After all, the best outcome is that you both guide your relationship onto a healthy path. If he refuses his part, then counseling is the next step, and if he refuses that, then you have a decision to make: a dont-ask-dont-tell marriage, or no marriage at all.
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