Connie in Huttonsville writes:
There was recently a situation with my husband and now former friend. My husband denied anything was going on for two months and finally told me that he had started flirting with her to make her feel better and let things go too far, but when she had come over he told her that it was wrong and he could not go through sleeping with her. I am wondering what his other motivations were. Why did he even think about sleeping with someone else?
Is he telling me the truth when he says nothing like this will ever happen again? I knew the whole week they were flirting that something was going on, but I couldn’t prove anything and then one night I had to take the children to stay at a motel because our heat pump broke (I’m wondering if that was an accident now) and he told her to come over and bring condoms. I found her number on the caller ID at 11:30 pm, which is really odd. I know he didn’t go through with it, but he won’t tell me why it started other than he was trying to make her feel better about herself.
I feel that if there really was no problem between us then this would have not been an issue. Also, the computer game, which has chat on it, that started this whole situation is taking up most of his time. He spends very little time with his family now. Can he break his addiction to this game? Will we stay together and if we do will I ever trust him again? The main thing I’m still wondering is why all of this occurred.
You are a very sweet person, but you really need to wake up. Your marriage is, and has been, in jeopardy for quite a while. The big question is, what are you going to do about it?
Your husband and your friend developed this flirtatious relationship because they are both rather lonely. While he may have started flirting with her in part to boost her ego, it started because her flirting with him boosted his. Your relationship has been on auto-pilot, and that is an invitation for disaster in a marriage. The two of you may share the same house, but you are leading separate lives. Each of you is more or less in your own world, but neither of you wants a divorce or to leave the security and benefits marriage has to offer.
Your husbands gaming addiction is an escape. It is an alternate reality that is fun, where he can be what he wants to be – powerful, cunning, and desirable. The game itself is enjoyable to him, and he has developed a kinship with several of the other players. Above all, when he is at home glued to the computer, he doesn’t have to deal with you and the kids, and also isn’t catching hell for doing anything “wrong.” You may not like it, but it does bring him a sense of peace. He doesn’t want to give up his gaming or chatting, because he believes it is one of the things that help keep him sane.
Your husband saw an opportunity when your heat pump failed. Whether or not he followed through, he had every intention of sleeping with your friend. He still thinks about it. If the two of you don’t put some effort into repairing your relationship, he will eventually have an affair. That is the road he is walking down, and you are just standing there waving.
I really want to encourage you to enlist the aid of counseling. Not just for you and your husband as a couple, but also for the whole family. While I don’t see a divorce in your future, whether you stay married out of love or convenience remains to be seen. This incident is a wake-up call for you both. Are either one of you listening? Do you really care? What you choose to do from here will determine how your future evolves, either hand-in-hand in happiness, or just sharing a house and breathing the same air.