Infidelity on the Internet
Dear Dr. Harley,
My wife and I have been married for 9 years. We were very happy for a long time until our first son was born, at least that's when I can remember that everything started to go downhill. We now have another child. We have had lots of ups and down. But lately it has been more down than up.
About a year ago I was really stupid and started an affair with a woman on-line. My wife since found out about it and I have cut all connections with the other woman. But now my wife is doing the same thing. She spends most of her day on the computer talking to the guys in the sex rooms on the IRC.
It's really starting to drive me crazy. I confronted her about it, and she told me she was sorry and that she would stop. Well that was about three month ago, she didn't stop. The only thing she did was try to prevent me from finding out. Now she will get on-line and talk until just before I come home for lunch, then turn the computer off. After I leave, to go back to work she gets back on-line, again until just before I get home and turn the computer off again.
I don't know how to deal with this situation. What should I do?
You and your wife are not meeting each other's emotional needs. And it probably started right after your first child was born. All the pressures of life have prevented you from taking the time to reach each other emotionally, and bond with each other. With that vacuum, you are both vulnerable to others who will meet your needs.
The Internet is a great place to find people who are willing to help you with almost anything. If your emotional needs are not being met, there are literally thousands of people on the Internet that are willing to try to meet them for you. Both you and your wife have figured that out by now.
To inoculate yourselves from Internet affairs, you must simply meet each others emotional needs. Take the same amount of time that brought you together in the first place, about 15 hours each week, to give each other your undivided attention. Get out of the house away from your children and away from friends. Spend time together that gives you distraction-free opportunities to be honest, loving and caring toward each other, the way people are on the Internet. It's not just sex that your wife wants on the Internet. Its the attention she receives. Don't give her an excuse to go to the Internet to get the attention she should be getting from you.