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. He seems to be particularly close to one woman in particular. 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 through them so far. I feel depressed and unimportant to him. 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.

You are right to worry about this situation. Your husband has stepped over boundary lines in your marriage. Marriage is for two people — husband and wife — with no one else between you. Your marriage and your friendship should take precedence over any female friend (or whatever).

By acting this way, he is destroying the trust, intimacy, and commitment in your marriage. You took vows to cherish each other and remain faithful to one another. By spending so much time with another woman, he is indulging in a romantic relationship at the very least, and this is a form of emotional infidelity. Ask him to go to counseling with you. If you live in the States, 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. It is highly probable that he is addicted to these relationships. He may not realize that by acting this way, he is breaking the trust in your relationship. Trust is a foundational ingredient to marriage. How can you remain 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 a secret from you?

If these online relationships are neither intimate nor sexual, then he should be able to show you all the emails he has sent and received to prove that your suspicions are groundless. If you put up with it, he will go farther. I recommend reading Love Must be Tough: Proven Hope for Families in Crisis for ideas on how to deal with this issue with love, honesty, and respect.

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

Photo Credit: Matt Wildbore