Is Facebook at root of problems in his relationship?

| 03/03/2011 | Comments (1)

Dear Ms. HeartBeat:
I’ve been married to my wife now for almost eight years. I would be lying if I said things used to be perfect, but they were pretty good until a year ago.  That’s when I caught her sending nude pictures to an ex-boyfriend that she reconnected with via Facebook. Obviously we had a HUGE argument, and I was ready to call it quits. We decided to try to work things out because of our children.

Things went well for several months, but the other day she told me she was going to a girlfriends house. Turns out she went to a guy’s house. She has told me before that she has a “history” with this guy. I did a little research, and she has had over 150 contacts with this guy in the last 13 days. She says I am controlling and don’t want her to have male friends. She has other male friends that I don’t have a problem with.

What should I do? Obviously if she hasn’t cheated before with the ex, she came close. Should I trust her? Please help me. I am ready to abandon our relationship. I need some advice.

Hurt in North Carolina

Dear Hurt:
I am curious what the phrase “lying if I said things used to be perfect” really means as it pertains to you, your wife and your marriage. It really makes me wonder what went on between you two that could have laid the foundation for what is going on right now. I say that because errant behavior involving seeking attention from outside sources within a marriage does not happen by magic. There is usually a long history of behaviors which cause an emotional and mental disconnect from the marriage and each other, and the 7 year mark is historically about when this happens.

You’ve heard of “the 7 year itch” right?

Please understand that I am not making excuses for her, just as I would not make excuses for a man that sought out companionship and attention from women on the web either. I’m merely trying to get you to explore with a calm and rational honesty how you two have grown apart over the years which would make your wife vulnerable to other men. Let me give you some examples of behaviors men display towards their wives and girlfriends which lead to the situation you wrote to me about:

  • Have you gotten so busy with “life” that you no longer spend time together talking about things that are important to you, maintaining and building ever stronger a bond of deep emotional intimacy?
  • Do you take her for granted or behaved in ways that fail to show appreciation and respect, month after month?
  • Are you open to sexual experimentation, or do you think only nasty women do certain things and the mother of your child should never be one of “those women!”?
  • Do you leave your wife alone a lot so that she is lonely and feels unfulfilled in the marriage? Do you choose to spend time with your friends or alone with the television while you ignore her?
  • Consider when was the last time you brought your wife flowers, gave her a romantic card, held her close and told her how much you love her, got dressed up and took her out dancing or on some other romantic date?
  • Do you cuddle with, touch or kiss her her frequently in non-sexual ways that show tenderness and affection and tell her how sexy she is…  or do you only do those things when you want sex? 
  • Is there emotional abuse in your relationship – threats, name calling, profanity, yelling, put downs, taunts, ordering her about like a child, brushing her off when she tries to talk to you or asks you for help, to go places with her, to do things with her?
  • Are her conversations, thoughts and dreams as important to you as your own, or do you discount and trivialize her interests and conversation with condescending snorts, smirks or cruel words?
  • ARE you controlling as she states? Do you frequently find yourself ordering her to do things, not go places, not wear certain clothes, not have certain friends? Do you find yourself commanding her like a drill Sargeant, jealously and possessively checking up on her every move so that she feels like a caged animal?

These are just a few of dozens of behaviors men display towards their wives and girlfriends that  lead to emotional separation and ultimately a breakup or divorce. 

For a person that has been totally faithful for years to suddenly start seeking companionship outside of their relationship means that there is something very wrong IN the relationship. That person usually has emotional needs that are not being met by the primary relationship, and they turn to others to get those needs met. 

The warning bell has rung in your household dude. Rather than run away at the first sign of trouble, you need to roll up your sleeves and figure out what is going wrong then FIX IT.  If you want to proclaim yourself the leader of your houshold, you must step into the role of leadership immediately and take your marriage where you want it to go.

Leaving your wife and children because your woman went to visit another man is crazy. Especially when you yourself have not indicated that she actually DID anything sexual with this guy. That leads me to believe that she is merely seeking your attention, but filling in the gap with attention from someone else.

I suggest you stop fighting immediately. Take your children to your Mom’s or something then sit down with your woman and ask her “baby, what is it you need from me that you aren’t getting?” Then listen carefully. Listen with your heart. Listen to her words. Hear her. Do not sit there thinking about what you are going to say to shut her down, prove her wrong, or to win the argument. 

Cry together if you need to, but I don’t want you to stop talking until you have this hashed out. And whatever she needs from you, give it to her as often as possible without being grudgeful or letting your pride and ego dictate how you handle yourself and this situation.

Don’t punk out here and take the easy route (leaving). No one wins here if you two divorce! You don’t win because you lose your family, your wife doesn’t win because she becomes a single Mom, and your babies certainly don’t win because they lose everything.

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Dating expert and advice columnist since 1993, writing as Ms. HeartBeat. Author of the hilarious street smart dating guide "Sucka Free Love - How to Avoid Dating The Dumb, The Deceitful, The Dastardly, The Dysfunctional & The Deranged."

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  1. Mace says:

    At the first sign of trouble, running away is not the answer. I understand that this man is hurt and angry that he discovered his wife communicating inppropriately with another man, but they really do need to sit down and have a heart to heart talk.

    She needs to know that seeking another man is only a temporary fix and will ultimately result in more pain on top of what she may already be experiencing with her husband.

    He needs to find out what has pushed his woman in that direction. Either way, they have fallen out of touch with each other where it most happens. Unfortunately couples forget that a relationship takes maintainance. It is a living thing. Too many allow their relationships to stagnate and expect them to just bop along without any nurturing. Relationships really do take work on both partners parts.

    There two need to talk, and review what is going on and how did it get so far off track and what can be done to salvage it.

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