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Dear Stavroula

Dear Stavroula: My Wife Is Flirting with a Man Online

September 30, 2023

Dear Stavroula,

I have been married for eight years to the woman who was the love of my life. We have two children together, four- and six-years old. I provide my wife with the option not to work by covering all her financial needs including financial help to her parents, travel, and anything she wants to buy. Our relationship seemed to be ideal. She was always very tender with me, very giving, took care of me, our sex life had no problems. Until recently, as I was seeing some signs of change, I looked into her computer and found that she is having an online romantic relationship with a man who lives abroad. From what I’ve read it looks like she hasn’t met him in person – yet. However, I was very shocked, something broke inside me and I don’t know what to do. On the one hand, I don’t feel ready to break up our life together, to stop seeing my children every day whom I adore, and on the other I feel very strange sleeping next to a woman who wrote to another man that no one has ever made her feel the way he does. I don’t know if I should tell her about what I saw, or shut him up. I would like your help.

Dimitris

 

Dear Dimitris,

The extramarital affair is a very traumatic experience for the person who discovers it and often for the person who lives it. In some cases, families break up, but in others, infidelity is the reason for both partners to look critically at themselves, admit their mistakes, and save their marriage.

In every relationship there is a need to feel intimate, to feel close to the other person, so close that you can be yourself, fearlessly sharing your thoughts and feelings. On the other hand, everyone simultaneously has a need for distance, for a personal space where no one else can enter, a space that allows him to feel that he has kept something of his own, that he has not been completely absorbed by his relationship with the other person.

Any imbalance that may exist, such as too much intimacy or too much distance, can be destructive to the relationship. Too much intimacy can lead to the need to prove that you exist as an entity outside of the relationship space. On the other hand, excessive distance can be perceived as rejection, as a sign that one is not good enough for the other.

In both cases, you may be led to infidelity. Infidelity shows that there is a problem in the relationship, but it doesn’t always mean that one partner doesn’t love and care about the other.

Perhaps something similar is happening in your case.

If you are really interested in keeping your family together, it would help a lot to look for the reasons that led your wife to this behavior. In other words, what is she looking for and not finding in the relationship with you? What could be missing from a seemingly ideal relationship? Is it possible that she feels rejected by you or feels that she has lost herself in being only a mother and a wife?

The fact that your wife chose a ‘safe’ way, via the internet, to have a romantic relationship with a man she doesn’t have much of a chance of meeting in person, might mean that she doesn’t want to ruin your relationship either.

I don’t know if you should disclose to your wife that you opened her computer, but it would help to have an honest discussion with her about the problems she may be facing in your relationship.

In any case, talk to an expert and ask him or her to help you with your problem, first on your own, and then maybe meeting with the both of you.

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