Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Morning Quickies: “Should I Tell His Wife About Our Online Affair?”

I was part of a Facebook group, related to a cruise I took with my husband and children. It was a fun and active group that I really enjoyed. On a few occasions, I exchanged DMs with other members of the group, relating to cruise activities. During the cruise I introduced myself and my husband to the group admins.

Shortly after returning, I updated my profile picture. This led to a male group admin, “John,” DMing me to tell me he liked my new picture. I thanked him and let it go, but a few days later he asked a question via DM and we started chatting. I wanted to believe it was innocent, as we were both married with kids. John’s wife was even part of the Facebook group.

However, friendly quickly turned flirty, flirty to sexting, and eventually we had cybersex. I quickly realized how foolish and selfish I was being and broke things off a few days later. My husband was suspicious, so I told him the truth and we have been working at strengthening our relationship and communication.

My question is, should I tell John’s wife? My husband read some of our early exchanges and felt this was something John may have done many times. I’d hate to mess up their relationship if he was just like me and the only thing that ever happened was that he spent a month chatting with someone and never touched them or saw them naked (though we did exchange a few suggestive photos). I’d also hate to think this might be something he does regularly and I could warn his wife. Do I give her a heads up or let her figure things out on her own? — Cruised Online

No, it’s not your place to warn John’s wife about behavior you have little idea is chronic or that his wife doesn’t already know about or even condone. Let it go and be grateful that your husband is as understanding as he sounds, that this flirtation didn’t go any further, and that you hopefully learned a lesson before too much damage was done to your marriage. As you said, now that your husband knows the truth — and good for you for being honest about what was going on! — you have an opportunity to strengthen your relationship and work on whatever made you give into the temptation of an exciting distraction from John.

By the way, if you never saw this guy naked, I guess cybersex doesn’t mean what I thought it does…

After 42 years of marriage, my husband moved in with a guy he met at a bar so he can smoke, drink, and smoke pot there since he can’t do it here. We both have COPD. However, he thinks it’s fine to live there and party like a teenager with no rules while I live alone in our 4-bedroom home. He doesn’t want to get divorced, and if he does, he wants me as his POA since I’ve been his caregiver for the last 20 years when he was sickly. I hate to leave, but I don’t see another choice. — Left Alone

 
I don’t think you can leave someone who’s already left you. I know that, after 42 years, it must be heartbreaking and infuriating to be essentially abandoned, but is there any part of you that can find some relief in the situation? If your sickly husband whom you’ve been caring for all these years has moved out, you are no longer responsible for him. Is it possible that’s even part of his motivation? At any rate, you need to discuss with him how you will not continue your marriage in this way and if it’s his wish to live his life like a young, unattached bachelor, with no regard for you or his health concerns, then you want a divorce. I would consider selling the big house and downsizing to something more physically and financially manageable, and definitely think twice about whether you’re willing to be your husband’s Power of Attorney if you divorce, especially if you think you’re going to get anything from him in return because you likely will not.

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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.

16 comments… add one
  • bittergaymark

    Bittergaymark January 24, 2020, 9:24 am

    LW1) What affair? You had a mere online flirtation and — honestly? It sounds like you are now looking for revenge or make yourself look like some avenging victim to your husband. Stop. Just stop.

    LW2). Yeah, you’ve already been left so you can’t do the leaving. Time to find yourself a good divorce attorney and spread your wings.

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  • avatar

    ron January 24, 2020, 11:09 am

    LW#1 — very overly dramatic.
    LW#2 — sounds like your ex has chosen suicide by his weapons of choice.

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    LisforLeslie January 24, 2020, 12:29 pm

    LW#1 – are you really concerned about his wife? Where was that concern before all of this nonsense? Sounds to me like he got the experience he wanted and now you’re feeling used. Tough tits baby. Make your peace with whatever you did and move on.

    LW#2 – He’s made his choices, all you can do is determine if you’re willing to keep nursing him because it sounds like he will continue a downward spiral.

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  • avatar

    PDX816 January 24, 2020, 12:47 pm

    LW 1 – Yeah, I don’t buy that you are suddenly concerned with his wife. My guess is that your marriage is rocky and you want him to feel the same pain. This sounds vindictive as hell. You don’t get to blow up his marriage because you’re being held accountable.

    LW 2 – You need to decide if your rules are more important to your marriage. Your husband is not ‘allowed’ to drink, smoke or smoke pot in your home. Obviously that no longer works for him, so maybe loosen up on some of that. There are ways to get high without compromising your lungs (or lessening the effect). I absolutely understand that COPD is a factor for you, but your husband has decided it is no longer a factor for him. You don’t get to control his decisions. If you are committed to maintaining the house rules your marriage is over.

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  • avatar

    FYI January 24, 2020, 1:52 pm

    LW1 — Your definition of “quickly realized” (after a month?) is … interesting. I think you’re trying to turn that guy into The Villain because you don’t want to look too closely at your own responsibility here. He didn’t trick you into anything. You have agency.

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  • avatar

    BonV January 24, 2020, 2:30 pm

    LW2: he can certainly appoint you as his POA in a DPA form but there is nothing that says you have to serve as his POA – you can decline to act. Just because someone wants you to act and appoints you to act doesn’t mean that you are legally obligated to act as his POA.

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  • avatar

    Helen January 24, 2020, 3:26 pm

    I totally thought POA was piece of ass lol

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    • bittergaymark

      Bitteegaymark January 25, 2020, 11:32 am

      Hah! So did I… but in my head knew I was off somehow… 😆

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  • avatar

    Anonymous January 24, 2020, 6:54 pm

    LW1: own it and stop thinking about this guy. Don’t try to make it more moral on your side by speaking to his wife: that would be worse. Just accept your responsibility in your choices, take the lesson with humility, and progress in life.
    Cruise group admin: that sounds so vain! Perhaps you could try some camping or trekking for your next vacation with your husband.

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  • avatar

    brise January 24, 2020, 7:01 pm

    LW1: Own it and forget about this guy, stop thinking of him. Don’t try to make it more moral on your side in speaking to his wife. That would make it worse.
    Just accept your responsibility in your choices, take the lesson with humility and progress in life.

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  • avatar

    d2 January 24, 2020, 8:54 pm

    LW2 – If this happened to me, I would get a divorce attorney and get my share of the marital assets. His life choices will likely result in the decline of his health, which could in turn consume much of the financial assets in medical expenses leaving you with nothing. As heartbreaking as this would be after 42 years of marriage, I would protect myself financially and get out while the getting is good.

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  • avatar

    dinoceros January 25, 2020, 12:22 pm

    LW1: That’s super rich to engage in an online flirtation with someone and then turn around and act like you have some kind of moral high ground to the point that you feel the need to tattle on him. Focus on your own marriage, not his.

    LW2: He doesn’t want to get divorced because of literally what you already spelled out. He wants you to mother him, but doesn’t want to have to be a husband. Divorce him.

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    • avatar

      dinoceros January 25, 2020, 12:23 pm

      Also, LW2, I think it’s 100% accurate to say that if he weren’t relying on you for care and keeping his finances more stable, he’d have divorced you already.

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  • avatar

    Sea Witch January 27, 2020, 7:47 pm

    Okay, I’m clearly too old to understand, but how does one have cybersex? Do you exchange nude emojis? Text a written description of the acts? Snapchat while wearing provocative lingerie?

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  • avatar

    Sea Witch January 27, 2020, 7:51 pm

    LW2: is the mortgage paid off? If so, get in a roommate or two for extra money. If one of them is a fine looking gentleman with good house maintenance skills, well, be sure to tell your husband all about him. Or not.

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  • avatar

    mellanthe January 30, 2020, 6:39 pm

    LW1: focus on the things you are responsible for- your marriage.
    It’s lucky this didn’t get far. Maybe this is how you’re channelling any guilt or shame, but it’s honestly risky to involve his wife.

    LW2: He’s left you. He lives away, you don’t state that he has any romantic interest in you, or that you do anything together. It sounds like he only wants you as is wife so you can be his next of kin. You’re his carer, not his partner.

    But you deserve happiness and love, not relegation to unpaid carer.

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