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Opinions - Is this Emotional Infidelity


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Hi, I am new to this site - but I have been reading it for a while. I thought I would post about my situation and see what peoples thoughts and opinions are. I have read several definitions of emotional infidelity and I am trying to figure out if this fits the definition.


It started about a year and a half ago. I have to say that my wife is a singer in the music industry and is in a position where her fame is rising. She is not a household name or anything, but she is on the rise that way and often gets obsessed fans. One of her new 'stalkers' a year and a half ago was a fellow musician that found her on myspace. He would often send her long and involved messages. I don't have much of a problem with this as I expect it comes with the territory.


However, the dynamic changed one day. My wife was out on a performance and I was doing some work in the basement. I heard our MSN message thing go so I raced up to answer it. Some friends of ours were going through some difficulties and I wanted to answer it if it was them. When I got the computer I couldn't see any MSN message. The computer was logged into my wife's profile, but I thought I would check my GMail account. When I opened gmail it went to her gmail account. I didn't think she had a gmail account! We always check our email together (we have 2 computers) and I had never seen a gmail account. Anyway...it was full of emails back and forth between both of them. There were no emails from anyone else...just this guy. So, right or wrong, I read them. They were not sexual, but they were intimate and deep thoughts. They were flirty and that bothered me. They talked of things like wishing to go out on Sunday drives together, etc. When my wife came home I confessed that I had come upon her gmail account quite by accident and that I had read all of them and that they upset me quite a bit. She said she was sorry that it upset me (not that she was sorry that she had engaged in that behaviour). I told her that if she was to continue communicating with that guy that I needed some transparency there...for my comfort.


That didn't happen. Weeks passed and she became very secretive over it. She would often close computer windows when I came into the room, etc. I became paranoid...so one day I read through her MSN logs. Again, I recognize this was not a good or polite thing to do...and I make no excuses for it. What I found really bothered me. While my wife never said anything explicitly sexual, she was very flirty. And this other guy was quite flirty and sexual. he would often go on about how beautiful she was and how she was the bright spot in his day (he is married as well). he would get her to turn on her webcam so he could watch her and tell her how cute she looked etc. To me this was kind of creepy as he didn't have a webcam himself....he just wanted to look at her. He would often try to get her to turn on her web cam or skype with him. He would beg her to turn on her webcam so he could get an image of her before he went and had a shower (you don't need a big imagination to think what he would be doing in the shower with her image in his head). His behaviour was quite over the line and unforgivable. My wifes behaviour was flirty, but not equal to his.....yet she let it happen. I think she reveled in it. She liked the flattery. Its understandable....but if the same were to happen to me with a girl...my wife would be livid...and I would have never allowed that to happen at any rate. The length of time and timing of her chats with him always bothered me too. I work all day and I am the primary bread winner in our family. My wife stays home with the kids and works on her music during the day...which works well with the flexibility of staying at home. But often there chats were 4 hours a day...which is more time than I get to spend with her in a day. Often they would happen when I was doing the dishes or putting the kids to bed or reading the kids stories. Often they would happen within 1 minute of me leaving the house. Many times they had happened on days when I asked her if she had heard from him and she said 'no'....a complete lie.


Anyway, again I confessed to my actions. I printed out her MSN logs and showed her the things that bothered me most. She was very angry at me for breaking her privacy, which is understandable. Again she said she was sorry that this had hurt me...but not for the action itself. I tried to institute some rules around contact with new people we met on the internet. I thought that perhaps 1 hour per day of contact would be sufficient with no webcam or skype until the spouse in the relationship was ok with it. She said she didn't want to be constrained by that sort of thing. Eventually I was able to convince her not to use webcam or skype with new people and with this guy. When she told him that he was furious at her.


On my part I promised never to look at her MSN logs, emails, etc again. Its a promise I keep to this day as I take my promises very seriously. What bothers me though is that she refused to stop contact with this guy no matter how much pain it caused me. They continue to this day to talk and chat. It is completely hidden from me. I see a comment form him once in a while on her public myspace and it pours salt in the wound like it was fresh again.


This guy is a real piece of work. Looking up information on him on the internet it seems like he gets into these emotional affair situations a fair bit....or at the very least...this isn't the first time. I often wonder what his wife would think of it. I have her contact information and have been tempted to tell her of everything he has done. But I don't want to cause undue damage to someone else's relationship. I wont go so far as to name him here...but if you searched on google for "Extended Baritone Guitar" you would come up with his name fairly quickly.


I have thought for a while this may fall under the banner of emotional infidelity. I gave my wife some articles on it and she said she didn't think that was a *real* condition...just a term that people made up on the internet. Its ironic really as her university training was in psychology.


I don't know what to do. No matter how much pain this causes me, she is unwilling to change anything about it. For him I wish for swift and merciless karma. With my wife, however, I love her to pieces, and I dont wish her any pain or suffering over the situation. I understand her enjoying the flattery. But at the same time I would wish that she could understand my side of it enough to take action on her part. Its funny, as she is the jealous type, such that any of our joint female friends that I talk to she gets jealous. If the shoes were on the other feet I would be considered a complete jerk for behaving in the way she is behaving herself. I have often considered overt online flirting with other women just so she can feel a small percent of the pain I feel...so she could understand. Every time I get close to skirting that line though...I cannot....it just isn't in my nature. I cannot hurt my wife in that way. So I am at a loss. I continue with the pain. We will fight about it every month or so...and nothing will change...I will just continue with the pain.


Any thoughts or opinions on this? Is it emotional infidelity? Am I wrong to think it might fall into that definition? Am I wrong to take issue with this at all? I am anxious for your thoughts.

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Trust your gut. It will not let you down.


What she is doing is wrong. She knows that and that is why she becomes angry with you when you tell her you have read her 'goings on' and encounters with this other man. She is your WIFE. He is someone else's HUSBAND. Their interaction/relationship is wrong and it is emotional infidelity...period. No "If's", "And's" or "But's"


I would sit her down and tell her that you will not tolerate her behavior and tell her that what she is doing is unacceptable. You can't make her stop carrying on with this other guy, but you CAN let her know that you will not accept or condone it and if it doesn't stop, there will certainly be repercussions. No threats, just the truth. But that, is up to you.


I wish you the best of luck.


Fight for your marriage, because if you don't now, it might not be possible later.


God Bless.

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I think you are partly absolving her of blame here. You're talking about her like she is a love-sick teenager who is being taken advantage of by this guy and that is utter rubbish. She is a wife and mother who knows exactly what she is doing and does it in spite of you knowing about it and how much it hurts you.


And I don't think you get it... She doesnt want to stop!! There is no big secret about that, she loves it, she is enjoying it and and will not stop until she gets a short sharp kick up the butt to make her realize what she is doing and what she is about to lose.

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I don't think it would lead to real infidelity with her. She is generally a very caring and loyal person. Even in their chats I could see she was careful to not step over the line. But she let him step over the line and that's the issue I have. And regardless of her intent (or his for that matter) it still causes very real tension and issues in our marriage.

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I agree with all the above posts and will add that the person you should be upset with is your wife. This is cheating! Yeah, that guy crossed the line but it is your wife who accepted it. A real woman would not have ever excepted this and would have told the guy to F-off! If you want to save your marriage talk to her- if she doesn't listen or change let her know that that is where you will draw the line and she is wrecking the marriage.

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Several ideas.


One: There is a school of thought that says that infidelity is whatever the offended spouse thinks it is. The problem with this definition is that it is overly broad, and some people are truly insane. I don't think that applies to you, as the behaviors you describe would be offensive to most. To get an idea of what I am talking about, on another forum a woman said her husband should hold his breath around women with heavy perfume so he didn't smell it. The point is that different people have different ideas as to what constitutes infidelity, and that needs to be addressed.



I think you mentioned more than once that she apologized for *your reaction* NOT for her behavior. This means she doesn't think she did anything wrong. This is a fairly typical reaction for emotional adulterers. They assume that if X didn't happen, there was no cheating, so the spouse has no reason to be upset. This is disrespectful to you. Anytime someone invalidates your feelings, they have effectively blocked communication.



A marriage is an agreement between two people, and each one is different. Some people are big on transparency, and some insist on privacy. When there is disagreement on this issue, the relationship is likely in trouble. IMO, transparency in a marriage is the way to go. When you keep things secret, the spouse can imagine things to be much worse than they are. Also IMO, anything you do, you should be willing to do in front of your spouse, unless there is an agreement otherwise. (e.g. a spouse is okay with porn, but doesn't want to know about it, or one likes hunting but the other is sickened by it)



Emotional Adultery often happens because the cheating spouse has one or more unmet emotional needs. In other words, there is some psychological payoff for your wife to do this, especially after you have made it known that it upsets you. Is it possible for you to talk to her, non-judgementally, about what it is that she gets from these chat sessions?



There is a site link removed that goes in depth on emotional needs, communication, and emotional affairs. Lots of good info there, but I must warn you that the forum posters there are not nearly as friendly as they are here.




PS - I have no direct experience, but lots of folks with this issue will expose. They might send all the chat logs, etc to the guy's spouse, and sometimes that ends it. I would caution you that is is something of an atom bomb though, your wife will be mad.

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PS - I have no direct experience, but lots of folks with this issue will expose. They might send all the chat logs, etc to the guy's spouse, and sometimes that ends it. I would caution you that is is something of an atom bomb though, your wife will be mad.



This is exactly what I would recommend. This MARRIED MAN is ruining the OP's marriage. In this case, I think he is 100% justified for returning the favor.

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You know, it makes me wonder, what on earth it is about the internet/ email / im that makes people think that this sort of behavior is acceptable.


I would be absolutely devestated to read messages like this about my SO.


Yes, it is emotional cheating. Yes, it is betrayal. Even though her messages to him have been less than 'flirting' as you call it, she is sitting there getting some ego trip from some guy who is going way over the line. With every line, message etc that she sends back to him is an encouragement of his ahem - shower moments.


How hard is it for people to just close down an email account?


Or say no? Not appropriate, im in a relationship?


If she is sitting there for 4 hours a day listening to his married a** BS, then your wife needs a huge ego reality trip back home.


She is leaving you, in her mind and soul. And for several hours a day is somewhere else.


SolFeather get real here!


Stand your ground for heavens sake. This is NOT acceptable.

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> PS - I have no direct experience, but lots of folks with this issue will expose. They might

> send all the chat logs, etc to the guy's spouse, and sometimes that ends it. I would

> caution you that is is something of an atom bomb though, your wife will be mad.


Its a delicate balance. I have no desire to want to see his marriage ruined...at my hand. Not only would it make my wife mad...I would also somehow feel responsible. Don't get me wrong...I wish to see justice come to this jerk...but to do so in this fashion would likely hurt his wife as well. really I want justice..not necessarily vengeance In my more vengeful moments...my mind starts to think thoughts like '...but perhaps she deserves to know...perhaps keeping it from his wife is unethical...'

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My ex did it with a co-worker, notes, sat togehter daily, etc. Once I found out, I was hurt but I forgave. Years later, I did made a similar mistake only I did it online. Never met anyone in person, so I don't know what is worse. Then the evil came full circle and my ex was talking to a woman online here and got pretty explisive. I found out about it and he SWEARS it was only because he thought I was involved in it as a joke on him. I tried to believe him, but some of the comments they made to each other just did not jive with someone that supposedly thinks I was involved. Now we are getting a divorce. The evil circle will finally stop. My heart will now heal, and hopefully his will too.

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What if this situation were reversed and his wife knew but you didn't ?


Would you want her to send the things to you ?


Make no mistake- What your wife is doing is absolutely emotional infidelity, any way you slice. Have you actually told her those words ?

I think you need to stop Making excuses for her. Nothing she is doing is "understandable". After all, she's making no effort to stop this behavior. She isn't sorry for what's she's doing just that she's getting caught. And For Her Information - Fidelity IS a constraint of marriage that is NOT optional. (Unless you've agreed to an open marriage, which I'm guessing you haven't) It's generally not considered acceptable to maintain a consistently openly flirtatious and secret relationship with a person of the opposite gender, most especially if it starts involving sexual implications and explicity. I'm all for having opposite gender friends, but let's be honest- This is not mere friendship. People don't set up new email accounts, secretly chat & webcam for hours a day and send daily suggestive emails to someone who's just a friend.

General rule of thumb- If you can't do it in front of your spouse, it's beyond the friendship line. (Which you astutely observed in asking for Transparency)


The real problem here is that you have told her how much this bothers you and she not only does not own up to what she's been doing, but then goes even further to get mad at you AND refuse to stop.

That shows disrespect to your relationship and to you personally as both a Husband and Person.

Marriage is a Partnership, and needs to be worked on by BOTH parties to be successful. Not one person making all the rules.


You need to talk with her and have a detailed conversation about boundaries with her. Tell her how much you love her, but ask her how she would feel if you were writing those types of things to another woman and if she would think it was innocent. She needs to understand how serious this issue is.

This IS a big deal and is Not negotiable.

You may need to put in plain terms that this might be a dealbreaker for you.

If she repeats what she said before, then I think you need to suggest counseling to discuss this with a mediator. If she refuses again, then you may need to take a long and hard look at your marriage.

And decide if you can live with a marriage that lacks trust, respect and compromise.

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I don't think it would lead to real infidelity with her. She is generally a very caring and loyal person. Even in their chats I could see she was careful to not step over the line. But she let him step over the line and that's the issue I have. And regardless of her intent (or his for that matter) it still causes very real tension and issues in our marriage.


Sadly, SolFeather- No one ever does think it will lead to physical infidelity until it does. (Notice I didn't say real, because what she is doing now IS emotional infidelity and it is VERY real) And IMHO, I don't think your wife is the perfect angel you imagine her to be when she showed no consideration for your feelings on this matter.


Physical infidelity often progresses from emotional infidelity and often the people in the situation aren't even aware of how far it has gone until it's too late. I really and truly hope this doesn't happen to you.


If you want to stay married, fight for it now before it does progress into more (If it hasn't already).

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