Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Updates: “Addicted to His Sext” Responds (Again)

It’s time again for “Dear Wendy Updates,” a feature where people I’ve given advice to in the past let us know whether they followed the advice and how they’re doing now. Today, we hear from “Addicted to His Sext” who was in a long-term relationship with one man but couldn’t stop sexting another guy from her long-ago past whom she’d recently reconnected with on LinkedIn. She updated us once before to say she was working on her relationship (including counseling) but admitted that she still occasionally texted the long-ago fling. She wrote: “Do I need to completely cut the sexting to work on my current relationship? Or what is the place of this fantasy in my life? I like it and don’t want to give it up if I don’t have to.” Keep reading to see whether she gave up either the relationship or the sexting and fantasy (or neither or both).

The counseling sessions were helpful. My husband initially stopped working last year when he got tired of his job. I had been working part-time since I had our last child, and in between kids, to contribute financially to the household expenses. Now that our youngest is three, my husband’s decided to become a full-time stay-at-home dad who is expecting me to work full-time while he (mostly his mom) “cares” for the children.

Given his poor ability to provide for our family, we have acquired significant debt. He has decided to sign out of all financial responsibility and has no issue with declaring bankruptcy. He has unilaterally designated me as the sole provider for the family. I would be ok with this if we did not have debt and my income was ridiculously good. Reality is that there are bills and debt to pay, and he refuses to work and share the financial responsibilities. He doesn’t even want to be bothered to discuss the situation or talk about solutions or strategies to manage. He wants me to figure it out all by myself. And THIS was the start of the end of the relationship.

He doesn’t believe he has an obligation to share financial responsibility because he wants to be home full-time (doesn’t matter if I like it or not — he expects me to put up with his decision). He feels entitled to be provided for, and he refuses to accept any responsibility because “it is too stressful for him.” This is what came to surface during couples counseling.

For the last six years, I’ve been struggling to manage finances ALONE while working part-time, going to school and raising two wonderful children. If anyone has signed out of the relationship, it was him. The sessions helped me realize how dissatisfied I am with this situation.

So, he refuses to change and I refuse to live like this; therefore, we are splitting up. He refuses to divorce and is demanding alimony from me, and he wants full custody of the children to make me pay full support and all living expenses. Thankfully, I’ve got a good lawyer and my husband’s issues have reached the courts. Still, he refuses to get a lawyer or talk to my lawyer about this. As a result, the relationship has completely disintegrated. I had been holding it together for a long time, just picking up his slack and running the show so we could have “a happy family for our kids.”

The sexting man served the purpose of helping me realize how unhappy I was in this relationship. I had completely stopped talking to Mr. Sexty for a few months, until 10 days ago when he invited me to reconnect. We have since been talking, sexting and enjoying that connection. At this point we haven’t met face to face, but we might some day. This may turn into a relationship or it may not, I’m just letting it be. If it happens, it happens. If not, I’ll be okay. I do fantasize about a future with him, but I don’t expect anything serious going on here, at least not for a while.

Contrary to what most of your readers’ opinions are, I do love and care deeply for my children. It is better for them to know their mom won’t put up with their father’s BS and can instead go for what makes her happy. They also need to see that it is important to work and provide for the ones you love and for yourself, instead of feeling entitled to be catered to.

Anyway, thank you so much for your advice. I am glad I wrote to you initially; it was you who got me looking into the current relationship.

Thank you so much for your help.

 
You should feel proud for taking the steps to leave what sounds like a very unhappy and unfulfilling marriage and to move forward, creating the best life you can for your kids and yourself. Going to counseling was a really smart move, too, because it sounds like it opened your eyes to your husband’s unwillingness to make any positive changes and your need to move on. Good luck with everything.

***************

If you’re someone I’ve given advice to in the past, I’d love to hear from you, too. Email me at [email protected] with a link to the original post, and let me know whether you followed the advice and how you’re doing now.

You can follow me on Facebook here and sign up for my weekly newsletter here.

If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at [email protected].

64 comments… add one
  • landygirl

    landygirl November 18, 2013, 12:38 pm

    Um, Mr. Sexter is married (or in a committed relationship as you mentioned in your first letter), so why don’t you just find another way to feed your ego instead of sexting a married dude and possibly meeting up with him so instead of it being an emotional affair, it can be a full blown affair.

    Seriously LW, grow the hell up and find a way to work on your emotional issues without dragging other people in to them.

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    • avatar

      sarolabelle November 18, 2013, 2:01 pm

      This woman is going through a lot. She fell in love, had two beautiful kids and suddenly her husband is being a child and not taking responsibility for his life. She is sad, depressed, taking care of two children while in debt and unable to pay bills. To me if she wants to send some texts/sexts so be it. Who knows if the guy is still in a committed relationship or not. She doesn’t say. I really think we need to be a little bit more nicer to this woman who is going through a lot.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest November 18, 2013, 2:07 pm

        Sorry sarola, but I think this is bs (assuming he is still in a relationship, since she didn’t say otherwise). Because her life isn’t perfect, she should be given the OK to sext someone in a committed relationship?
        Also, I guess I don’t see how she’s going through anything more than what most people deal with. She has 2 kids-Normal. Debt-Normal. Divorcing-Normal.

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      • avatar

        sarolabelle November 18, 2013, 2:36 pm

        I just think landygirl is being a little mean is all. Maybe should could have phrased it better without the word “hell”

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest November 18, 2013, 2:42 pm

        Idk, I have no issues being mean to people who have no issues with inserting themselves into others’ marriages (see today’s letter, for example). But you are usually nicer than me, and yes, I suppose her comment was a little mean, even if it was warranted.

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      • landygirl

        landygirl November 18, 2013, 2:47 pm

        Lots of people say mean shit in here so please don’t single me out.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest November 18, 2013, 2:52 pm

        Wait, what? I didn’t call you mean. And I even said I’m not nice! All I said was if your comment was a little mean, it was warranted. I was backing you up. ??

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      • avatar

        Matcha November 18, 2013, 4:46 pm

        I’m thinking she meant to tell sarolabelle that.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest November 18, 2013, 4:53 pm

        Ohhhh. Oopsy.

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      • landygirl

        landygirl November 18, 2013, 2:47 pm

        Seriously?

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      • landygirl

        landygirl November 18, 2013, 2:19 pm

        Seriously?

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      • Kate B.

        Kate B. November 18, 2013, 3:03 pm

        Going through a lot doesn’t give you carte blanche to do whatever you want, and that includes potentially wrecking someone else’s relationship. It’s not a classy thing to do no matter what you’re going through. And BTW, saying you did something you shouldn’t have because “you’re going through a lot” is just dodging responsibility in my book.

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      • avatar

        Datdamwuf November 19, 2013, 4:44 pm

        Totally agree, no matter what you might be dealing with, flexible ethics are not cool. Sexting/emotional texting with a man you know is married is wrong. Slippery slope to being entitled and rationalizing her shit, no different than her STBXH.

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    • float_in_the_ocean

      floats_in_the_ocean November 19, 2013, 4:13 pm

      Whoa…settle down girl…seems like LW hit a nerve…anyways – you’re right, the LW is sexting s a married man and as such the onus is on HIM to stop and “grow the hell up.”

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  • avatar

    lets_be_honest November 18, 2013, 12:43 pm

    Of course both should agree on who stays home with the kids, if anyone, but…
    “Given his poor ability to provide for our family”
    Huh? Because he wants to stay home with his kids and raise them?

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest November 18, 2013, 12:45 pm

      Ok, forget it. I kept reading.

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    • avatar

      rachel November 18, 2013, 12:46 pm

      I noticed that their debt is because HE can’t provide for the family. Um, pretty sure it takes two to tango there.

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      • avatar

        kerrycontrary November 18, 2013, 1:28 pm

        Yeh this is what I was frustrated by. Get more than a part-time job and stop letting your husband spend money. Take away his credit/debit cards if necessary. Don’t have a third child if you can’t afford it.

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      • landygirl

        landygirl November 18, 2013, 1:48 pm

        Trying to get another person to do something can be next to impossible if they don’t want to do it.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest November 18, 2013, 1:50 pm

        If you are the sole earner, its quite easy to stop allowing someone to spend your money. Just don’t give it to them.

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      • avatar

        RangerChic November 18, 2013, 2:14 pm

        If they are married then likely both of their names are on the bank account. Even if she takes away all cards he can just go to the bank and make a withdraw and it is legal no matter who made the money or who put it in the account.

        Also, she works part time because she also goes to school. If you (general you) have never tried to work, go to school, and raise a family without support then don’t judge. It is extremely hard, I worked part time and went to school nearly full time with children but I at least had the support of my husband. She likely can’t work full time if she is trying to finish school.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest November 18, 2013, 2:17 pm

        And all she has to do is only put money into an account only in her name.
        I know you were talking to the general ‘you,’ but this ‘you’ (haha) has worked full time, gone to school full time and raised a family without support, as a single person too. So I guess I’m allowed to judge?

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest November 18, 2013, 2:18 pm

        But fwiw, I wasn’t judging in my comment. I was just commenting on how she very easily can stop giving him money to waste.

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      • avatar

        rachel November 18, 2013, 2:20 pm

        I never said it was easy for her, but I think it’s a weird attitude to take to blame him completely for the debt. I mean, obviously he sucks though. I hope she gets some nice court-ordered child support so he finally has to take some responsibility.

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      • avatar

        rachel November 18, 2013, 2:23 pm

        And I say this from the position of someone who did go into debt because I lived with an irresponsible partner. I don’t blame him for it though – I made the decision to support him.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest November 18, 2013, 2:32 pm

        Love this!

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      • avatar

        Ammie November 18, 2013, 4:56 pm

        Sure it does. But when you’re on the edge of bankruptcy and one partner is refusing to work because it stresses him out and he’s tired of it, I wouldn’t be too generous in my phrasing, either.

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  • Fabelle

    Fabelle November 18, 2013, 12:48 pm

    O-TAY. well, at least you figured out that your marriage was just… dead? & are taking the steps needed to move on.

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  • avatar

    Boosker November 18, 2013, 1:42 pm

    Sounds like the sexting was the least of your problems. Glad you have a good lawyer. This guy definitely doesn’t sound like the type of person who is invested in a partnership, so what’s the point of basically taking on the responsibility of an additional child rather than enjoying the support of a spouse.

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  • avatar

    bethany November 18, 2013, 1:49 pm

    Ummm… I’m really just confused by this whole situation, and am glad that I’m not a part of it! Good luck with everything.

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  • avatar

    sarolabelle November 18, 2013, 1:58 pm

    Well you can’t make a man be an actual man now can you? Shame.

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    • bittergaymark

      Bittergaymark November 18, 2013, 4:35 pm

      So sexist. Assuming a man can’t be a stay at home dad is no different than assuming all mothers should stay home. Imagine if I fucking said: “you can’t make a woman be a woman?”

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        Ammie November 18, 2013, 4:54 pm

        Oh right, because that’s *exactly* what’s going on here… a doubting of his ability to be a stay-at-home dad. There’s nothing other than his stay-at-home decision to make sarolabelle say that whatsoever… we all read how mutual this decision was between the two partners in the relationship, and how it was made due to a deep desire to care for his children as opposed to just getting tired of working, and how it makes sense in their financial situation to live as a one-income household and how they’re not close to bankruptcy so there’s nothing irresponsible about this at all.

        Oh wait, that’s NOT what the letter was about? But… your response… it’s like you ignored all the context just to level an absurd accusation of sexism. You wouldn’t do that, would you?

        (Also, when phrases like “woman up” and “be a woman” or “grow some ovaries” are in the popular lexicon as positives, maybe you can liken your phrase to hers. But our language doesn’t naturally position womanhood that way, so the comparison is nonsensical.)

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      • bittergaymark

        Bittergaymark November 18, 2013, 5:23 pm

        Honestly? This LW is both a liar and a cheat who OF COURSE will spin everything her way. She is ACTIVELY trying to wreck somebody else’s relationship simply because it suits her own selfish needs. My bet is much of that debt is hers and she is simply full of shit.

        When a man cheats around here — he’s an asshole. But the moment the shoe is on the other foot many around here accept or even make the feeblist of excuses for the LW…

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      • avatar

        Ammie November 18, 2013, 6:32 pm

        Definitely agree that the LW is a cheater and the sexting is awful. But in the context of the letter, her husband quit his job because he was tired of it, doesn’t care if they’re going bankrupt, halfheartedly minds the kids while his mother does most of the work, and says work stresses him out too much to get another job. I just can’t see spinning that as an example of an admirable stay-at-home dad, such that criticism of him must be rooted in sexism. Maybe he’s perfect! But if we accept his traits as they’re presented to us, he’s terrible.

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      • katie

        katie November 18, 2013, 5:25 pm

        um, no … i think that sarobelle’s comment was extremely sexist. she said, “you cant make a man be an *actual* man”- with the context of this letter, that means “you cant make a man become an *actual* man (breadwinner), because that is what is expected of him” – which is inherently sexist.

        its true- what if some man came in here railing about how his wife unilaterally decided to work outside the home, and someone said “well, you cant make a woman be an actual woman, shame”. thats crazy. they would get ripped apart! torn to shreds.

        no one is denying that the unilateral decision making process and the rational for him wanting to stay home is wrong. but that doesnt mean that saying something like “you cant make a man be an actual man” is very sexist.

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        lets_be_honest November 18, 2013, 5:28 pm

        Hmm, I wish she would clarify, because when I first read it, I assumed she was just talking about him being lazy, etc. and that should could’ve just replaced the word “man” with “adult.” Obviously if she meant it how you guys are interpreting, I agree…very sexist.

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      • katie

        katie November 18, 2013, 8:32 pm

        honestly, im not sure how else to take the statement when you add in the word “actual”. “an actual man” has some very specific connotations in our culture, whether that was meant or not, as does “an actual woman”.

        if it was meant differently, fine. i can see how it was meant as just adult, taking care of one’s self, ect, like ammie is saying below- but if thats so, better word choice is needed for sure….

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      • avatar

        sarolabelle November 19, 2013, 10:36 am

        Yes that is what I meant. If a MAN or WOMAN saw that the family dynamic as it was, was failing and knew what they had to do to make it change and didn’t do it because (and I quote from the letter) “it’s too stressful” then yes, that person is not being a man or a woman in the literal since of being an adult, taking responsibility of your actions in life, paying your bills, supporting your family. It seems to me he checked out of the family unit and wants to do nothing to make it succeed. However, that is not giving her a pass. She also is not doing all she can. I wish they would work on their problems to keep the family together. I wish he would get a clue and DO STRESSFUL things to SAVE his family. I wish they both would spend less and get their debt under control. I wish she would stop texting the other dude. However, it seems that is too much to ask.

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        Ammie November 18, 2013, 6:28 pm

        Oh, and here I was thinking she meant man as in someone who takes responsibility for himself, doesn’t act like a lazy, entitled child, and pulls his weight in a marriage. Maybe she can help us understand whether she meant it using your inferences or mine.

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      • LadyinPurpleNotRed

        LadyinPurpleNotRed November 18, 2013, 10:27 pm

        Soooooo an adult? Those characteristics aren’t man specific…

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        Ammie November 18, 2013, 11:19 pm

        An adult, yes! A man is the adult form of a male, while a boy is the juvenile form. This person is physically mature, technically a man, but while one would think he would therefore act like an adult male (a man), he clearly is not.

        I think we’ve parsed this post just about to death, though, if we’re having to specify that adult males are called men.

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      • LadyinPurpleNotRed

        LadyinPurpleNotRed November 18, 2013, 11:35 pm

        Yes, but there are certain connotations to saying be an actual man that are sexist versus be an actual adult.

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      • avatar

        Ammie November 18, 2013, 11:44 pm

        And I get that you think that, but given the context, I don’t agree. I guess we have no way of knowing for sure unless sarolabelle tells us. 😛 For myself, I see it as the dissonance of someone who’s technically a man, but acts like a child.

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark November 19, 2013, 12:25 am

        I dunno. If I ever posted “You can’t make a woman, be an actual woman. Shame.” nobody would think I was talking about her being an adult. Especially in THIS context. 😉

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      • avatar

        sarolabelle November 19, 2013, 10:30 am

        This is what I meant.

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  • becboo84

    Becboo84 November 18, 2013, 3:04 pm

    Clearly in the minority, but the LW’s attitude just really rubs me the wrong way. I’m also curious as to whether it was a joint decision when she was the one staying home, and suddenly became a unilateral one when he was the one who wanted to hang out with the kids. And also, I get the going to school is a worthwhile endeavor, but if you don’t have the $ to meet your family’s basic needs and are therefore acquiring a lot of debt, it might be a worthwhile idea to scale back to just a class or two a semester so you have the ability to work full time.

    The LW is obviously super resentful of her (soon to be) ex husband, and that might be totally justified, her wording just was just off-putting to me.

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    • becboo84

      Becboo84 November 18, 2013, 3:05 pm

      And please excuse all the typos!

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      lets_be_honest November 18, 2013, 3:07 pm

      Totally agree!

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      Ammie November 18, 2013, 5:04 pm

      Yeah, I agree that her wording is off-putting… she definitely seems to have a few traditional ideas still ingrained in her (the thing about him providing for his family, for example). But from a purely egalitarian perspective, leaving her words out of it, this guy sounds like a lousy excuse for a partner. You don’t stay home with kids because you’re tired of working regardless of the financial situation, you do it because your partner makes enough to pay the household expenses on one income and it would be better for your family to have one person working and the other minding the home and children. To just up and do it because you’re stressed out at your job while your family spirals into bankruptcy is insane. That would be true regardless of the gender of the stay-at-home partner.

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  • avatar

    AKchic November 18, 2013, 3:26 pm

    Good luck in the divorce. My 1st husband refused to work too (one of his many flaws). I didn’t stick around long, and yes, he wanted alimony too. *snort* Didn’t happen.

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    • bittergaymark

      Bittergaymark November 18, 2013, 4:27 pm

      Eh, turn about is fair play. Lord knows women have been pulling this shit for years…

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      • meadowphoenix

        meadowphoenix November 18, 2013, 4:46 pm

        I guess you’re not going to let history of alimony and woman in the workplace get in the way of your opinion, eh?

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        artsygirl November 18, 2013, 4:48 pm

        Difference is that women were not allowed to work…or if they worked they were only allowed to pursue a small number of jobs (secretary, nurse, teacher) which did not pay well and therefore they still depended on a husband’s income. For the record, I am not saying I agree with the LW – just that you cannot use historic situation and suggest that it is the same.

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark November 19, 2013, 12:28 am

        Oh come now. This isn’t 1952. Women have been freely working since the 1970s. I mean, look, if you want equal rights you have be willing to shoulder equal responsibilities and sometimes that means spousal support… It seems many want all the privileges and none of the headaches.

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        Datdamwuf November 19, 2013, 4:56 pm

        Women were not even allowed to apply for a credit card until 1974, and there were many restrictions on jobs for women in the 1970s, like it was OK to fire a woman for getting pregnant until 1978. Marital rape was not completely criminalized until 1993 and it’s still not prosecuted in most cases. I could go on, but why bother. We still don’t have equal rights, but yes, people like you want us to take on all the freight when we still don’t have all the rights.

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      • avatar

        AKchic November 19, 2013, 7:48 pm

        Considering that he was perfectly capable of working and by his refusal to work, it put us on welfare (while he continued to belittle anyone else on welfare), I don’t think this is the same as historical issues. Women weren’t supposed to be the breadwinners then. Nowadays, yes, it’s feasable, but when you’ve got a guy who refuses to work simply because he doesn’t want to, and it ends up putting you in debt/on welfare, then there is a serious problem. Especially when the individual in question (in this case, male) refuses to work at all and would rather lose his home, borrow money he has no intention of paying back, and generally cheat/scam in order to stay at home.

        I know in my case, all he did all day was play on the computer and get into fights on forums. He certainly didn’t take care of the kids.

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  • avatar

    csp November 18, 2013, 3:33 pm

    LW, I am glad you went to counseling. This proves that cheating is usually a symptom and not a cause. I think you were focusing on this other relationship because the rest of your life was in bad shape. I don’t think the way you approached this relationship was appropriate, but now that you are focusing on your next chapter, I hope your transition will be more positive.

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  • kare

    kare November 18, 2013, 4:28 pm

    Maybe some things were edited out in past letters, but did anyone notice how the first letter it’s “her partner” then the next letter it’s revealed they have kids together, then the next update it’s like oh yeah this is my husband and he sucks. It’s the opposite of the updates where they try to explain how wonderful their partner is – we just don’t know the whole backstory.

    Stop sexting this guy though. He’s in a committed relationship, and you need to focus on yourself and your kids. The first letter made it sound like you sext but have no desire to actually pursue anything. Now it sounds like you’re open (if not somewhat hopeful) that something will happen. Move on.

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  • Addie Pray

    Addie Pray November 18, 2013, 4:39 pm

    Um, was her letter or was one of her letters where i came up with “cease and de-sext”? Can we revisit that one because that was BRILLIANT. Remember?? CEASE AND DE-SEXT?!! Bwhahahahaha.

    chirp, chirp, chirp

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    • avatar

      rachel November 18, 2013, 5:11 pm

      <3

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      jlyfsh November 18, 2013, 5:39 pm

      i need a good laugh today AP, say something else funny!

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray November 18, 2013, 6:38 pm

        What do you call cheese that’s not yours? Nachos cheese!

        (That’s one that you need to tell verbally.)

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  • avatar

    Datdamwuf November 19, 2013, 5:01 pm

    No matter how shitty your relationship, or bad your life may be that does not excuse carrying on an affair with someone in a committed relationship. You may be divorcing but the guy you are sexting has a SO and you are simply rationalizing your contact with him is OK because poor sad you. Not OK. Tell us how bad you’ve got it and defend your actions any way you like but what you are doing with that person is wrong. If what you’ve written is true about your husband then good for you getting out of the relationship, but it has no bearing on your inappropriate and unethical sexting.

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