DEAR JOHN: My husband meets all kinds of women in chat rooms, and then proceeds to carry on email relationships and instant message private chats with them whenever these ladies are online.
I stumbled across this several years ago by accident. I sometimes read his emails to them, where he says things like: “I am counting down the days until you return from vacation, so we can chat again” and “I have missed you so much.” It just makes me sick. I want to end my relationship with him. He claims he has nothing to hide, yet he deletes most of his emails to these women, and he doesn't delete everything else. He says he has done nothing wrong. But I say “guilty as charged.”
I know that these online chats can be the start of an affair. Meanwhile, I have never been untrue or even thought about it in our 23 years together. I am upset because not only do I feel threatened personally, but also he insists on continuing to carry on with this.
— Jumping Offline in Murfreesboro, Tenn.
DEAR OFFLINE: I get a many letters every month that deal with spouses who have online relationships that make their husbands or wives feel uncomfortable. When concerns are brought up, the live online spouse invariably responds: “Since I haven't had sex with my chat partner, I haven't been unfaithful to you.”
Faith, trust and passion in a marriage are not merely based on sexual fidelity. Emotional fidelity — the knowledge that your partner is wholly and totally committed to you — mind, body and spirit — is just as important. If your husband's actions make you uncomfortable, let him know that he is undermining your marriage. If he chooses to continue, you will then have to decide if you wish to stay in a marriage that lacks the emotional commitment that you deserve.