Dear Annie: My wife and I have been married for 18 years, and we have three children. I always thought we got along great. Over the past few years, we have not been as intimate as we once were, and I attributed it to busy schedules, children, etc. However, recently I discovered that my wife has been having Internet chats with a particular gentleman, and these chats get rather steamy.
Annie, I cannot even get my wife to hug me without resistance, but yet she can talk to a stranger like this. She doesn’t know that I have seen these conversations. Is the handwriting on the wall? Should I prepare myself for her to leave? – Confused in Virginia
Dear Confused: Some women (and men) enjoy flirting online with anonymous strangers. It’s playacting and fantasy, and they don’t believe these relationships will threaten their marriages. But even if your wife is not looking for real-life excitement, you should not ignore this. Please don’t jump to conclusions. A crucial part of marriage is good communication.
Tell your wife you saw her chats with this man. Don’t be accusatory or angry. Simply say that you love her and this makes you sad and worried. Ask her what’s going on. She also needs to stop contacting this man in order to regain your trust. If she refuses, hedges or indicates that there are problems in your marriage, ask her to go with you for counseling.