A year ago my husband started chatting with women on the Internet. All his free time is spent chatting with these women. I have become very jealous and hurt over this. We argue about it all the time. He says that the women don’t mean anything to him, but he won’t quit. There is one woman that he seems very close to. They talk everyday. He is very secretive about her and doesn’t let me see what she writes to him. My husband gets very angry when I tell him how much this hurts me. We have had our share of problems through the years and have always managed to work them out up until now. I have become depressed and I feel unimportant to him. We have even talked about divorce. He tells me he hates jealousy and that I should trust him, but it is hard not to feel that way when he spends so much time with her.

Dear Struggling,

This is very dangerous. Your husband has stepped over boundary lines in your marriage. It is time to put your foot down. Marriage is for two people — husband and wife — with no one else between you. Your marriage and your friendship take precedence over any female friend (or whatever).

He is destroying the trust, intimacy, and commitment in your marriage. You took vows to cherish each other. How does this behavior “cherish” you? This is a romantic relationship at the very least and definitely wrong for a married man to participate in. Ask him to go to counseling with you. Considering contacting AACC for a referral to a counseling professional in your area. If he refuses to go to counseling with you, you need to go to a pastor (if you have one) or a counselor even if he doesn’t come with you.

This situation may require separation if he is not willing to work on your marriage. I do not advocate divorce, but separation may show him how serious you are about his behavior and that you will not tolerate it. He is addicted to these relationships. What he is doing is breaking the trust in your relationship. Trust is a very important ingredient and foundational to your marriage. How can you be united as a couple if another woman is so important to him that he ignores your concerns and talks to her daily and keeps it secret from you?

If these relationships are not intimate or sexual, then he should be able to show you all the emails he has sent and received to disprove any suspicions you have. He is bordering on unfaithfulness, though he may not have acted it out. If you put up with it, he will go farther. He will just keep patronizing you. I recommend reading Love Must be Tough: Proven Hope for Families in Crisis. Take care of yourself.

This article was written by: Lynette Hoy, NCC, LCPC

Photo Credit: Matt Wildbore