By: Katie Lersch: I sometimes hear from wives who are so frustrated because their husband is somewhat indignant about his emotional infidelity. Often, he will take the stance that since he did not psychically have sex with someone else, then he is not a cheater and he does not understand why his wife is treating him like one or why she is so angry. As a result, the wife is often at a loss as to how to get through to him.
I heard from a wife who said: “I suspected that my husband was up to no good because he would be on his computer for hours and this went on late into the night. I would ask my husband about this and he said that he was playing online games. This didn’t ring true for me, so one day while he was work, I went onto his Facebook account. And I found that he’s been corresponding for months with an old female classmate. Is is totally inappropriate flirting. They will make suggestive comments to one another but mostly they talk about their lives and their jobs and they complain about their marriages. He always tells her how ‘special’ she is to him and they chat or write several times per day. I am beyond furious about this. I believe that this is not just cheating, it is a full blown affair. Yes, it is an emotional rather than a physical affair. But it is an affair just the same. I got so mad that I kicked him out of our bedroom and I am considering kicking him out of the house. My husband is very indignant about his behavior. He says that I am greatly overreacting. He says that my anger has no place in our house because the woman is just a friend that he never even touched. He said he’s sorry if the relationship has hurt me but he also says that she is easy to talk to and he didn’t see the harm in allowing her to listen to his problems. Well, his arguments don’t hold water with me. It is cheating pure and simple. How can I make him understand that my anger is justified?”
This is a very common problem. People who have participated in emotional infidelity will often argue quite passionately that they haven’t done anything so horribly wrong to deserve the wrath that they are receiving. They will often use the argument that since no sex or physical infidelity took place, then this doesn’t meet the standard of cheating.
But most faithful spouses disagree just as passionately. If you have gone through this, you know how badly it hurts to know that the person that you love and are supposed to be faithfully sharing your life with is crouched over their computer in secret sharing their thoughts and dreams with someone else. And the key word here is secret. This is often how you can tell that your spouse knew that what they were doing was wrong. I often ask people in this situation if they would still be typing away and offering words of affection to the other person if their spouse was standing over them and reading the words over their shoulder. Almost none of them would. Because the extent of the relationship is kept secret. And this is a good indication that they know full well that it is inappropriate.
So, understand that on some level they know that they are in the wrong, but usually what they don’t understand is how deeply this has hurt you and how damaging this truly is. They need to understand that their whole “there was no physical contact” excuse just doesn’t hold up. To that end, here’s a suggested script that might help you to get your point across.
Some Suggested Words To Make Him Understand: Feel free to use what I’m about to suggest and make it your own or to tweak it until it sounds more like something that you yourself might say. But, I would suggest something like: “you might disagree with my anger but I still feel it very intensely and here is why. You went behind my back in secret and in the dark and you shared with someone else the things that you should be sharing with me. You told her she was special and you seemed to make a huge effort to understand her. I wish the same were true of me. I want for you to make me feel special and to try to understand me because I am your wife and I am the appropriate person for you to express these feelings to. How would you feel if you logged onto my Facebook account and saw me having this type of conversation with another man? And what if I told you that you had no right to be angry because there was no sex involved? Would you buy it? Because I don’t buy it. You may disagree with my anger, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not going to feel it and that I’m not going to act on it. Once we both calm down, we are going to need to evaluate where you we go from here even if we disagree. But until then, I need some time to process my feelings. And I am asking you to try to understand and respect them, even if you may not agree. I have every right to be angry because you betrayed me emotionally even if you did not betray me physically. You might not understand or agree but this is the way that I feel and that is not going to change because of your words. It might eventually change because of your actions, but for now, I stand by it.”
Some husbands will continue to argue but others will take your words to heart relatively quickly. And many will realize that there is no reason to continue to debate this when they see that you are going to stick to your convictions. This is very important because you don’t want for him to be under the mistaken impression that this is ever going to be acceptable again.
I believe that the healing process for emotional infidelity is much the same as the healing process for physical infidelity. Although I dealt with physical infidelity in my own life, I believe that healing is essential no matter what you are dealing with. If you don’t deal with it, then it is always going to haunt you. And you don’t deserve this. If it helps, you can read about my healing on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com
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