July 22, 2011
Our column about infidelity was quite the feedback generator. Here are some highlights from Facebook and in e-mails.
"My husband cheated with my best friend," wrote Kate. "They hid it for years and I didn't find out until I discovered one of her earrings in our car. I'd bought the earrings for her, which is how I started putting the pieces together. It was absolutely devastating. He got his though because she eventually left him after he left me. Payback's a bitch."
"This is a great topic, Jenniffer," wrote Adrian. "I expand on this question: With Facebook and Twitter, is it considered cheating if you're spending more time with your online friend than with your spouse or significant other?"
"My ex-wife left me for her old high school flame she re-connected with on Facebook," said Terry. "I found out by logging on to Facebook, and she hadn't logged out. I can't explain how horrible it was to read those notes. They weren't having any physical contact yet but the emotional connection was there and it was only a matter of time. We tried counseling but I could tell she'd already made up her mind to go when we started the therapy. She was just going through the motions."
"My ex-fiancée cheated on me with a guy in prison," wrote Ray. "She was calling him and sending him letters. (This was before e-mail.) She would drive to the prison to visit him. I busted her when the guy called our house collect from prison, and I was home at a time when I'm usually not. That was brutal."
"My husband and I both cheated, but now we are closer than ever," wrote Marilyn. "We were growing apart as many couples do. We got caught up with kids and work. We each spent more time with our co-workers than with each other. Since we both admitted to what we did to contribute to our marriage's demise, we were able to re-connect on a whole new level. You can't just point the finger. We knew we were both making bad choices. Now we make a point to check in with each other. A good couples therapist also helps."
"I notice that my husband is my best friend first," said Kristina. "Every situation is different though. I believe people cheat because they can't communicate. And if you can't communicate about your deepest feelings then why do you commit in the first place? You have to know your mate and talk about everything before you make a commitment to each other."
"I went to couples therapy for five years after I found out my husband was cheating online," wrote Jen. "He said it wasn't cheating because it was all happening in cyberspace, but I just couldn't get past it. The kicker was I always made the effort to spice up our sex life and he said he 'wasn't in the mood.' But apparently he wasn't in the mood to be with a real person."
And finally, Jerry shared his stories of leaving his emotionally unavailable spouse after two decades of marriage.
"An affair or breakdown in a marriage is not the cause but an effect that takes both people doing or not doing something for it to happen," he wrote. "I know this because after 22 years I did what I thought was unthinkable for me — I had an affair. It took years of being pushed away sexually and emotionally to the point that when someone came across my path that was nice to me, I lost myself in it. I lost count of the times I asked my ex-wife to go to counseling individually or as a couple. By all other accounts we had a great life — two great kids, meaningful work and overcame a lot of obstacles together. My therapist said I was 'ripe for the picking' when someone showed interest in me and the affair went on for over a year before my wife found out.
"We tried for six months to work it out and I was stuck between a rock and a hard place," he continued. "I have seen too many couples divorce and then go find someone just like the person they left only to once again go on the rollercoaster ride. I am sure there are men and women that are serial cheaters, but my thought is that it takes two to build a marriage and two to break it down. I never want this pain again, and am committed to being a better man because of this. It's easy to pass judgment on surface appearances about other people and their relationships without knowing how they got there."
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