Dear Jeff: About a month ago, when I was in the shower, my wife went through my phone and found out that I have been sexting with someone. We’ve been married for seven years and I’ve never cheated on her. I don’t even know, and have never met, this person I have been sexting with. I think she actually lives in another country. But, now my wife’s accusing me of cheating, and is saying that she spoke with an Attorney and is going to file for divorce. I don’t feel like I did anything wrong – at least not enough to cause a divorce. What should I do? I don’t want a divorce.
— Sending Pics
Dear Sending Pics: This is an all too common scenario these days. You’re trying to act like your actions are harmless. But, if that was the case, why would you have hidden it from your wife. If you have to hide something from your spouse, it may not be the right thing to do. This situation is no longer about you. You’ve hurt the person you love by having inappropriate communications with another person, and hiding it from her. You may not have “cheated” in the traditional and physical sense, but you have strayed from your marriage and your commitment to your wife. “Emotional” or “sexual” relationships on the internet are certainly harmful to a marital relationship, and are a new form of cheating.
You need to let your wife know that you didn’t appreciate how your actions would hurt her. Validate her feelings because they are real. Let her know that it will not happen again, and that your phone will be an open book to her at all times. And, that you are open and willing to participate in any counseling if she thinks that would help build back her trust in you.
Look, it can be okay to do stupid things. We don’t always consider the impact of our decisions on our spouse. But, when you see the impact, you have to take immediate action to openly discuss the situation. And, here’s the key: don’t try to defend your actions in this situation – you were wrong. Validate her feelings, and work towards healing.
I hope this gets you moving in the right direction.
Jeff Runge, is a practicing New Hampshire Divorce & Family Law Attorney. He is the Managing Partner at Family Legal Services, P.C. If you have questions for Jeff, please email them to Jrunge@familylegalservices.org. All inquiries are confidential.
Jeffrey A. Runge, Esquire
Family Legal Services, P.C.
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