Wife on husband: "He dated a girl online; he says he loves me but won't stop talking to her"

Amy Christie

*This article is a work of nonfiction based on actual events recounted to me by a friend who witnessed them firsthand; used with permission

Being determined to make a marriage work matters a lot in the long run, particularly once it's been more than four or five years, and you need the relationship to stay strong. What do you do when you realize your spouse has emotionally engaged with someone else, though?

Does that count as being disloyal, or is it something that can be forgiven since he didn't actually meet someone or do anything?

My friend Andy has been married to her husband, Jeremiah, for 11 years.

They had one son together, and their marriage looked solid. They celebrated anniversaries, went out on dates at least twice a week, and everyone looked up to them as the ideal couple.

As it turns out, what seemed like a solid marriage was actually slowly drifting away. Andy always trusted her husband and never tried to read his texts or his emails.

Still, one day, after speaking to one of her friends whose husband was talking to other women, she thought she should make sure Jeremiah wasn't doing anything unusual.

"I didn't think about looking through his phone until then, particularly since he always had it on a table or close to the sofa. It's not like he was hiding it or going somewhere else to write texts. So, I didn't give it much thought until that day. I took it then while he was busy reading the newspaper. I knew that would take him at least half an hour. At first, there was nothing, no texts showing anything. But then, I went on social media. He was logged in everywhere, and I started reading the messages," Andy recalls.

She went through several conversations that were friendly, but she eventually got to something different.

"It was hidden under a special category, down on the page, but it caught my eye because of the person's name. Maite was like no other name I'd seen, and I wanted to read that discussion. Sure enough, the friendly tone was gone, and it was all romantic. It was full of suggestions and declarations, and it even included specific dates to talk online," Andy said.

She couldn't believe what she'd discovered, and she said nothing at the time because she still felt like maybe there was some other explanation.

"I didn't want to think what that meant to my marriage and how his promises were kind of gone as he said those words to someone else. It's true there was no suggestion of actually meeting, but even at a distance, he was being romantic to another woman. Had he stopped loving me?" Andy said.

She decided to wait for a while and try and figure out if that conversation and the relationship that was behind it would end with no intervention on her part. Her husband, however, had no intention of stopping.

He kept talking daily to the woman who lived in a different country, and the suggestions got more clear every day. It was also apparent that he hadn't told her he was married and kept asking her to be his girlfriend.

In the end, Andy concluded she had no choice but to tell him she knew everything and ask him to stop talking to the other woman. As she got ready to have that talk, she thought about all their anniversaries and questioned if he'd been talking to other women even then.

"It just felt like maybe he hadn't been honest the whole time, not just when I found out about this woman. What if the only reason he was on social media was to connect to different women and have fun while being unfaithful to me and our marriage?" she said.

As soon as he learned his wife was aware of what was going on, Jeremiah blamed her for the fact that he needed to talk to someone else. He also pointed out that it was just a conversation and that he hadn't actually met that woman. In his opinion, that meant he hadn't been dishonest.

"He treated it like it was just a bit of fun and nothing to get worried about. He even added that he did it because I wouldn't ever talk like that, and he needed to discuss his ideas about love with someone who had no limits and wouldn't tell him he was out of line," Andy said.

Despite all this, Andy still felt that something was missing and that he hadn't actually apologized for something she found hard to handle. She's still considering whether this would be enough to divorce him or if she could give their marriage another chance.

The issue is further complicated by Jeremiah's refusal to end his talks with the other woman.

"He dated a girl online; he says he loves me but won't stop talking to her. Does that mean he no longer cares about me? Is online fun more important than our happiness?" Andy questioned.

They've argued about it several times, but Jeremiah keeps saying he won't be told what to do when he doesn't actually break any rule about his marriage. Talks don't count as disrespecting his wife, in his opinion.

What do you think about this situation? Are online talks enough to make someone give up on their marriage, or does something need to happen for it to bring about a divorce? What's the limit to talking to other people online, and can it be considered as being unfaithful?

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Amy Christie is a passionate writer and journalist, always striving to bring out the positive and create meaningful connections.

Dallas, TX

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