76

Background:

My wife and I have been together for about 8 years now (married for 6) and we have two gorgeous children. My wife, unfortunately, has been suffering from mild depression for quite a while, long before we even met so probably about 15 years. It comes and goes, some months she's fine and others she isn't. She hides it well so it's hard to know when she is feeling down unless she mentions it.

Before we had our children, I gave her my utmost attention and affection. We would do all sorts of things together constantly like going out, watching films, playing games etc. When we had our first child (4 years ago), I regretfully changed. Obviously having kids is a major event in any mum's or dad's lives but I became more distant towards my wife. I didn't think of it at the time, I gave our first child a lot of attention and not enough towards my wife. This continued with our second child (2 years) ago.

During these 4 years, she mentioned to me several times that I wasn't being there for her. When she told me, I would be more attentive towards her but this only lasted for maybe a few weeks then I went back to how I was.

I had an epiphany a few months ago and made a promise to become a better husband. So I started to hold my wife more, hug and kiss her. Gave her more attention. After a few weeks, she told me I was trying too hard. That I was suffocating her and not giving her enough space. She also mentioned that she pretty much gave up on wanting to spend time with me because I did the same to her previously which is understandable. So I try to take it slow and be with her when she's not busy.


Problem:

For almost a year now, she has been fairly addicted to an online video game. She would play on average between 6 - 10 hours a day easily. Sometimes she would play from 8pm to 4am. She has made contact with other people and has gotten quite personal with one person. So personal in fact that they would talk about sex. Not in general, but having sex with each other. How I found this out is not relevant but my wife told me that these were just jokes, that it was only a fantasy and not real. She admitted she was doing this for attention (which I clearly did not give).

This caused me, and still causes me, so much pain. I found this out a few weeks ago. I would not have minded much if they made lame generic sex jokes. But describing what sexual activities they would do to each other made me almost physically sick and now it's all I think about. Day in, day out, at work and at home. I get distracted thinking about this and everytime I see her playing her game, I keep thinking what sexual thing are they talking about now.

She tells me she loves me and that she wouldn't leave me or the kids. I trust her but at the same time, I'm not sure if I should tell her how this whole conversation thing makes me feel. She told me if I did the same to her, she would not like it but it's not a big deal as going to see the person physically. I am afraid of creating more tension between us and she getting closer to her 'friend' if I told her how I felt. But she also doesn't seem depressed when she talks to him so maybe it is good for her to have this fantasy?

I don't know what to do. I haven't stopped giving her attention and affection and I feel I could do so much more but I don't want to do too much too quickly in case she rejects me. I have told her how I utterly regret my actions during the time I neglected her. That it was completely wrong of me to do so and how I want to desperately make it up to her.


I guess what I am trying to accomplish is for her to stop having sex chats with her friend. And if she wants that kind of attention then she could get it from me. But I don't want her to think that she should stop talking to him (she won't since it is her choice). I am afraid that talking about this with her would result in an argument and could potentially cause a rift between us. I am trying my best to ignore the negative thoughts I have about this but I feel it will come to a point where I might just breakdown.

What would be the best way to discuss this with my wife?

(PS. Feel free to edit the question title and/or body, not sure how to word all of this at the moment).


Edit in response to comments:

  1. Is the "how you found out" really not important?...You don't need to share, but it might help us gauge the level of this relationship of theirs

    The chat log was saved in a file which I had no idea what it contained. After reading some snippets of it, I realised what it was and could not read any more.


  1. Does she have friends (real life, not online), and a social life, or does she stay home 24/7?

    Not real friends, more like acquaintances from the gym which she goes to 3-4 times a week.


  1. You say you withdrew your attention in the past. What caused you to do this?

    It started when we had our first child. I think I suddenly became more of a father than a husband.


  1. Gaming addiction?

    She has admitted that she has an addiction to it which started a year ago, the same time she told me she was feeling depressed.

She usually plays an hour or so in the morning and then all night. Our youngest is either asleep or watching TV. She does not have much of a social life (quite like me). She does go to the gym 3-4 times a week for an hour; I also go with her once a week so that it is something we both do.

My wife does look after the kids. She plays an hour in the morning then spends time with the little one. And she picks up the other from school. She does the usual house chores: cleaning, cooking, washing etc.

10 Answers 10

85

It sounds like your wife is having what is often called an emotional affair. Even though it is just talk, the heart is involved. I say this not to escalate the situation, but because it is important you understand the situation in order to address it.

I very much admire your stance to "be a better husband". Too many people give up on relationships at the first sign of trouble. It is possible to repair a damaged relationship, but only if both are willing. You have to get your wife on board with that.

I would say the reason she has rejected your affections recently is not for the reason she gives - that you are "trying too hard". An emotional affair is as real as a physical one, and if her heart is with someone else then she will actually feel guilty for accepting your affections - either guilty because she knows what she is doing with the other guy online is wrong, or if she is already committed to this other person in her heart then she actually feel that accepting your affections is "cheating" on him!

If you didn't already think all this, I apologise if this makes it sound very serious. But this does not mean your relationship is beyond repair!

First of all, remember that you cannot control anybody else's feelings. You cannot directly change what your wife thinks or feels, but you can influence it. So continue to be a good husband - support her in all reasonable pursuits, continue to provide for your family and be a good father. Demonstrate, rather than tell, that staying with you is the best option for her.

A psychology model I personally find very helpful is the Karpman Drama Triangle. Basically, the idea is that in every conflict there are three roles: a victim, a persecutor, and a rescuer. But the main idea is that these roles shift. See, from your wife's point of view, she feels she is the victim (poor me, my husband doesn't pay me any attention), you are the persecutor (to blame for the situation) and this guy is her rescuer. But from your point of view you (or maybe your wife) are the innocent victim here, this guy online is causing the problems, and now you have turned to IPS for help, to rescue you. What you need to do it turn this around so that you and your wife are a unit again. You can only be her rescuer if (a) she comes to realise that this guy is damaging her marriage, and (b) you are as reasonable and loving as you can be (without tolerating the affair) so that she wants to run to you as her rescuer. If you get into arguments, this only fuels the idea that you are to blame for the way she feels, and she will continue to run to the other guy.

Try setting up a situation where you can both talk, away from distractions. Maintain a reasonable distance, don't try to show physical affection because you know this gets a bad reaction and will only distract from what you want to discuss. Perhaps say:

I want you to know that I love you, and I am committed to making our marriage work. I need to talk to you about your relationship online. Even though you may not be meeting him in person, it is hurting me, and hurting our marriage, because you are emotionally involved with him.

Listen to what she has to say. Don't put words into her mouth, but try and ask her if she agrees it is tantamount to an "emotional affair", or if you are not comfortable with that term then whatever words you think describe the situation.

Although you must be understanding of her feelings, you also need to be clear about your expectations. Follow up by saying:

I'd like you to stop communication with this guy online because it is damaging our relationship. I want you to know that I am here for you, and I'm willing to talk about this. Whatever has brought us to this situation, I want to put it right.

If this doesn't get fixed immediately, be patient. But keep being loving, and try hard to rise above the situation. Be strong. No matter what really led to this, you can be the better man now, and hopefully she will see that you are.

I really hope things work out for you.

  • 11
    +1, but I've got a question, statements such as "I am committed to making our marriage work", "I want our marriage to survive". Are they too strong? The OP has seems to be on eggshells because doesn't want to risk any further rifts in the relationship. Are you suggesting this language because his relationship is already on that track, and therefore it's almost inevitable and should be brought up? The second quoted point "I'd like you to stop all communication with this guy online. That is something you need to decide on." is also an ultimatum that may cause the rift the OP doesn't want. – Philbo Apr 12 '18 at 12:13
  • 6
    @Philbo Fair comments which I respect, but all indicators point to the seriousness of this. Follow the link to 'emotional affair' on wikipedia, her withdrawal from affection would suggest it is at this stage. Plus, if he cannot communicate his love via affection, his words need to be affirmative and clear. Her stopping communication is what the OP sets as a goal and so this needs to be expressed verbally. Having said that I have adjusted slightly in view of your helpful comments. – Astralbee Apr 12 '18 at 12:20
  • 8
    @Magisch I myself am divorced, after a situation similar in a lot of ways to this one. It would be easy for me to be negative, but I do believe that it is possible to rescue the situation if both parties want to. And that is what makes the difference. What I believe firmly is that the OP in this situation needs to focus on controlling his own behaviour and not anybody else's. That is the best chance of fixing the situation. Even if it does not work (and I hope it will - other comments suggest I'm being too negative!) he will have done the right thing. – Astralbee Apr 12 '18 at 12:39
  • 2
    @Astralbee - Thank you for your advice, it sounds really helpful and makes sense with the model. I will have to find the place and time to discuss this with my wife. – Depressed_Hubby Apr 12 '18 at 12:55
  • 4
    I like this answer a lot, and it really does hit home, however "I want you to stop communicating with him" is much too controlling, and can lead to a much worse outcome. Rather than using that time to focus on "don't talk to him", ask her instead to "talk to me more". You're not shifting the blame on this guy, you're accepting that you want to spend more time with your wife. Eventually her communication with this man will either become less intimate, or devolve on its own. – Anoplexian Apr 16 '18 at 15:37
28

First off, the bitter pill to swallow:

Don't kid yourself, this is a serious threat to your marriage. What she is doing is an emotional affair at best, a regular and emotional affair at worst. It means a betrayal of your trust and emotional detachment from you. You have to recognize the severity in order to structure your actions here.

Your perspective in the question also means that there might be more going on that you don't know. I'm not going to question how you got this information, but you'll have to grapple with the possibility that a lot more is happening than what you know about. In every single case I've ever had happen with friends or family with a similar situation, this was the case.

Salvaging the situation

You want to work on salvaging your marriage, which is commendable. The first step to do so will be to making clear to your wife how much of an effect this is having on you. Ideally, you'll frame the discussion by avoiding accusatory language (even if that's what you're doing, you want her to cooperate, remember?). This might not end up working out, but it should be your first avenue to try.

Secondarily, you should ask her about and look into couple's counseling. Psychological damage from an emotional affair can be long lasting and hard to work through, for the both of you. Sometimes, it's not possible to work through issues on your own entirely.

Tips for the conversation

You should focus on:

  • Your feelings
  • Staying within the realm of no-deniability (do not veer into speculation to invite the dismissive "this didn't happen that way)
  • Make it not about what she has done primarly, but how that makes you feel. If she still loves you and is on board salvaging things, this will be a bigger motivator than her trying to escape blame
  • Avoiding accusatory language. It is merited in this case, but you want to work things out, so anything that allows her to save face and move on is important
  • 5
    @Astralbee Yeah, I didn't want to suggest to you to make your answer more negative. I do try to be positive but I think one critical point is recognizing the severity of the issue. I also think couple's counseling might be the best bet here. – mag Apr 12 '18 at 12:51
  • @Magisch - Thank you for your advice, I was afraid of there being an emotional detachment. My wife has been depressed for a while but neither myself nor herself knows why. She doesn't believe talking about it with anyone would help. – Depressed_Hubby Apr 12 '18 at 12:58
  • 4
    @Magisch Agree counseling could be useful, but she'd have to admit there is a problem first. The psychology model I mentioned in my answer was something I got from solo therapy, which if I'm honest was something my ex insisted on because she wasn't admitting to an affair and blamed me. I was willing to anything to save the marriage, so I went to therapy even though I suspected the affair. It helped me to approach the situation more calmly, and when it inevitably happened I knew it wasn't my fault, and that I had done all I could. – Astralbee Apr 12 '18 at 12:59
25

The elephant in the room is her gaming addiction. She is basically spending an entire working day at it, every day, if I understood you correctly.

That is massive. Who takes care of the kids? Who takes care of the home? Who takes care of you?

I'm not saying that to shift any blame on her, but to open your eyes to a much larger problem. Something very serious is going on with your wife if she spends the equivalent of a full-time job gaming. She not only misses attention from you, she misses something much bigger in life. A purpose maybe, or appreciation in general, not just from you but from society.

Maybe in addition to the other advise given already, trying to understand what is actually going on in her life might bring you back closer to her emotionally. The fact that your hugs are suffocating her shows that purely physical distance is not the issue, emotional distance is. Her online lover is just a symptom.

How to talk to her, your actual question, is IMHO a simple recipe:

  1. Avoid making anyone guilty. Talk about behaviour, not people.
  2. Openly talk about the fact that things are not as they should be, and that you want to make an effort to save your marriage together with her.
  3. Then the thing you want, that she stops her online affair - and let's stop mincing words, that's what it is - becomes just one of the agreements you two make towards this goal. You say what you wish that she changes, and she says what she wishes you change.
  4. Set up a regular place and time for reviewing how it's going. Maybe on Friday evenings (best if the kids are somewhere else) ?
  5. Don't expect miracles. Change takes time and doesn't always work immediately.
  • 7
    I didn't say that the gaming addiction is the problem. But it's a very strong clue that something much bigger is going on. If you see an elephant in your room, you should seriously ask yourself where the heck it came from and how it fit through the door. – Tom Apr 12 '18 at 12:55
  • @Tom - Thank you for your advice. She has admitted to having a gaming addiction which started a year ago, the same time she felt depressed. – Depressed_Hubby Apr 12 '18 at 13:02
  • 2
    @Depressed_Hubby If she games at night, the lack of sleep / messed up sleep cycle could also negatively affect her depression (webmd.com/sleep-disorders/features/10-results-sleep-loss, see #5). So, one more reason to get the gaming addiction in hand. Best of luck in this difficult situation! – AllTheKingsHorses Apr 13 '18 at 11:34
8

I am afraid that talking about this with her would result in an argument and could potentially cause a rift between us

Whilst approaching the topic right now may cause a rift, surely this would only be a short term reaction. However, this would allow you both to voice your side of the story. Delaying to speak to your wife, would most likely cause a rift in the long term, you would also have had more time to potentially over think your feelings towards the topic.

I find the best way to avoid an argument with my partner is to talk to them as soon as they've upset me. If my partner has done something that hurts/upsets me I will talk with them about it, sure there will most likely be tears from both sides of the party - but by talking to them about it now makes them aware of their action that upsets me and allows them the chance to do something about it. If I didn't talk to my partner, then they would continue to do the action that is upsetting/hurting me which would make myself resent them more. So when I finally break and tell them about it because I just can't take it anymore, I'm unlikely to talk to them about it in a calm manner, causing an argument between us, making it harder to come to a resolution.

What I'm trying to say, is from my experience, it's best to be open to your partner straight away, even if you know you're going to upset one or both of you in doing so. As the short term pain hurts less than the long term pain.

If you do decide to talk to your partner, try and do so in a calm manner, and preferably a time when your children are not home and you know you're not going to get interrupted soon, as it's unlikely to be a 5 minute conversation. Do tell her how her actions make you feel, but also explain to her how you recognise how your actions in the past have hurt her. Also listen to what she has to say, both of your feelings as just as valid as each other.

  • 1
    Thank you for your advice, it is incredibly difficult to discuss with my wife as I keep putting it off. I have to really force myself to talk to her about it. – Depressed_Hubby Apr 12 '18 at 12:59
  • I'm sorry for the situation you're in. I personally do think that approaching it now is better than trying to ignore it. Though I am aware that what works for one, may not necessarily work for another. There's some great advice here, I hope it helps you. I hope things work out well for you. – Violet Flare Apr 12 '18 at 13:28
6

Firstly, I am sorry for your situation. I know how you feel. I had an attitude for my fiancee a while ago and afterwards, when I was OK, she had it. My thought was exactly the same as yours: I did it first, I deserve it. But... for how long, and how much?

My suggestion is to talk to her about this problem, about your relationship and take some decisions in order to improve it. You both made mistakes, but you need to get over it, because when she'll give up this game and this person and will be OK, probably you'll stick with what happen in your mind and again get into some problems.

You both need to talk to each other, be honest and make some decisions in order to improve your relationship. And since you are the one who realized how bad is it, it's your job to make the first step. Or the first 100. Initiate the discussion in an appropriate environment(create it, if it must), speak from your heart, come with solutions(most from your side, in order to see that you really want it), then give her time to make the steps towards you.

She is your wife, you have 2 gorgeous children together. YOU HAVE to repair it. Quit about the things that take your time(both of you), and stay together, do things together, anything that you know it would improve your situation.

Wish you best, and hope it works out.

  • 3
    Suggestion about creating the time: she's on this game most nights. You think perhaps he should look for a couples retreat (without kids maybe) for a weekend/week/fortnight? Break her cycle of talking to this guy. Get evenings back to being the two of them? See if she uses that time to keep in contact with the guy, or is overly looking forward to getting back to the game (and him) which would suggest an emotional bond she cannot break - which would be very worrying. – Philbo Apr 12 '18 at 12:18
  • Thank you for your advice, I understand that I need to make things right and am trying for us to do more things together so hopefully it is helping. – Depressed_Hubby Apr 12 '18 at 12:56
6

You say this:

So I started to hold my wife more, hug and kiss her. Gave her more attention. After a few weeks, she told me I was trying too hard. That I was suffocating her and not giving her enough space.

Were all the things that you state in this above quote things you did before you had kids and things were better from your perspective?

Because often in situations like this, people do what you did here which is overcompensate. You decided that doing things that would stereotypically be associated with “romance” somehow had to be kicked up a notch to solve issues.

If I were you I would figure out how to do fun things together with your wife. Even with your children. And if the children are a burden to this? Then hire a babysitter and slot in more “us” time.

Do things as a couple that are not sexual but a partnership and I will state they must be outside of the home:

  • Go outside together and simply take more walks.
  • Go and do something interesting like see a movie, go to a museum or a concert together.
  • Are there short—but fun—classes nearby that you could take as a couple? Maybe cooking, home improvement or something art related?

Here is the deal: If your wife is spending that much time online chatting about sex with strangers in an online game, she is disconnecting from you, your marriage and your life to fulfill some needs.

While you might think hugging and using the word “love” more will heal things, those are—as I have said—clichéd things to do.

What you need to do is start to “date” your wife again. And if you are budget conscious, don’t be: Spend more money too spend more time with your wife as a partner. It’s a better long term investment than you think.

Oh, and as far as the video games go, this is easy in this context: Simply tell her you want to spend more time with her outside the home. And perhaps be persistent and if things get ugly just say, “I know you like playing this game but I would rather spend more time with you in the real world.”

5

As someone who has been through the same motions, I can say:

  • she might love you, but is not in love with you anymore;
  • the bigger problem is she neither having a full-time occupation, serious hobbies, nor a regular network of offline friends;
  • as for now, she is only bidding some time: this serves a double purpose: finding someone better and not allowing you to do the same first.

You might want to salvage the relation; looking back I should have got out of it while I had my dignity and sanity.

I strongly advise getting counselling ASAP, and getting support from friends. Two or more heads think better than one.

If you worry about the custody of children and leaving home, believe me that when she gets more serious with someone else, she will find a way to push your buttons for it to appear you are the one leaving first.

I would stress out the importance of getting a network of support from friends on this situation. No matter the outcome you will need it.

  • Harsh, but true. However, as your answer reads a lot like you believe the marriage is over, maybe you could add that we really do not know whether or not the two can pull it off. Some signs are bad, some not... that's all we can say. – sleske Jan 14 at 8:14
3

I believe the real problem here isn't that your wife has started an emotional affair, but that she continues it after she was caught. This is not only extremely rude, it also shows that she does not value you or your marriage at this point. Maybe her depression not over yet,and it may play a key-role in your relationship problems, the following links show that it is a very common problem. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/antonio-borrello-phd/is-depression-destroying-_b_8141292.html
https://healthunlocked.com/mental-health-support/posts/130626710/depression-and-relationships

Like mentioned in the other answers, I also think it is very important that you talk to your wife about this, but to find the right way to handle the situation, it is important to know why your wife has lost interest in you and your marriage.

Possibility 1 is that she lost hope because you have been treating her very bad for too long. Even when you have changed completely, it can take a long time before she is confident that the changed you is here to stay, and you will not go back to your old habits after some days or weeks. The only way to solve this is to stay patient and keep shower her it is different now, and keep helping her/giving her attention.

Possibility 2 is that she has lost respect for you and does not see you as a good partner anymore. (Possibly due to her depression, this is a key symptom) she only sees the negative things about you and your marriage. She may take you for granted, and think she can do whatever she wants and you are not strong enough to leave her anyway. If this is the case, then taking the blame for something that is not (entirely) your fault, and putting extra effort in the relationship will only make it worse because it confirms her idea that you are weak or not worth the effort.

I have very little information to base my conclusions on, and it only tells one side of the story, so you really need to find out what is going on yourself, but I have the impression that case 2 applies here. My reasons are the following:

  1. You seem like a very loving husband, I find it hard to imagine that you were treating her worse than she is treating you now.
  2. It fits very well with the symptoms of a depression: only seeing the bad things, finding an escape in gaming and affairs, it is all in the articles.
  3. Her behavior: saying 'you are trying too hard' rather than 'you need to keep this up a lot longer before i can trust you again', and because she doesn't seem to care about hurting you by staying in this affair, right under your nose.

If it is really case 2 that is going on, the better approach may be to reduce your efforts, and focus on things that you like to do, and to tell her that you love her, you want to make this marriage work, but you cannot do it without her. Tell her that you will give her some space, and she needs to think about whether her marriage is worth it. If she thinks it is worth it, she needs to come to you, and show she means it by ending her affair immediately, and put a lot more effort in making the marriage work.

Some of the people here seem to know a lot more about psychology than me, please comment on my answer and let me know what you think about it.

2

I'm going to give the apparently radical point of view that your marriage isn't over and there's a good chance you can salvage things if you handle it carefully.

First off, I am going to be the umpteenth person to recommend counseling, because most couples could benefit from it anyway, especially if there are communication issues. But not everyone is comfortable doing that, so don't force the issue.

Second, I'm going to suggest that the gaming addiction isn't an addiction at all. She has, for probably several reasons (not just you), become overwhelmed with life. There could be any number of factors in play here, maybe she feels unfulfilled in her career, maybe her work has become tedious or even toxic, maybe she feels like she's a failure for whatever reason, maybe she can't handle working and taking care of the house/kids all at once and is just mentally and physically exhausted. The possibilities here are endless and it's up to you to figure out the real reason, since she doesn't seem to want to talk about it. That's a complicated subject and without actually speaking to her I can't give much more advice than "Listen, look at things from her point of view, and don't invalidate her feelings even if you think they don't make sense."

So how does that relate to gaming? Being "addicted" to a game like that is simply a symptom of the unhappiness I talked about. It's an escape from reality, where you can take your mind off of things and meet other people who are probably there for similar reasons. It looks like an addiction because it occupies so much of her attention even when she's not playing, but really if you handle the problems mentioned in the previous paragraph, she'll more than likely drop the gaming (and probably the friend) in time. That's not guaranteed, because she might have accidentally discovered a new passion/hobby in it, but you'll definitely see her spending less time doing that and more time involved with her family.

Take all of that slowly, it's not going to be an overnight change and it will probably take some effort to get her to open up about what's eating at her. If you try to force it out of her she'll only retreat further from you.

Now the tricky part: the friend.

This is another symptom of the unhappiness I mentioned above. While escaping from life she bumped into someone who made her feel good about herself. It's okay to have people like that other than you. Humans aren't solitary creatures and we get depressed if we go too long without fulfilling contact with others. However her behavior with this guy is definitely inappropriate and needs to stop. You just need to be careful not to alienate or shame her in the process, or you'll never get her back.

Being open and honest about the whole thing is really the way to go, but when you have that conversation you need to avoid painting him or her as the villain. She didn't set out to hurt you, so don't accuse her of that. Explain how it feels from your point of view, then try to get her to explain her side (and try to understand it!) It won't be comfortable, but it's the only way to move past a problem like this. Here are some ways to express it in an impactful but respectful way:

"Your relationship with [friend] makes me really uncomfortable. I know it may not seem like a big deal to you, but it's got me feeling very jealous and hurt. I'm sure you're not intentionally trying to do that to me, but please try to understand where I'm coming from."

With that on the table, you can discuss how to turn the situation around. The key is not forcing her to take any action, you need her to actually understand why it hurts you so she'll be willing to change. If the conversation turns to "You're the bad guy and I forbid you from talking to this guy again" you will lose her completely. Accusing her of an "emotional affair" or likening the situation to cheating is just going to shut her out and guarantee further division. Try approaching it like this:

"I don't mind if you have friends online, especially if they're making you happy. Just please keep it appropriate, don't talk to them like [whatever she was doing], that really hurts me. If he tries to initiate it, please just refuse or change the topic or something."

This lets her keep her friend but makes it clear how you feel about what was going on. Don't threaten anything (like monitoring the chat logs) and don't force her to cut ties. She may do that on her own anyways if she feels guilty enough, but don't count on it. I know this will leave a little burning suspicion in you about whether she's still doing it or not, but that's where trust comes in. You have to express yourself, and trust her to make the right decisions.

tl;dr She's profoundly unhappy about her life, which is why she's retreating into games and making new friends online, and her behavior with this friend in particular is a result of trying to find something to make her happy. Be honest about how much that hurts you and ask (don't tell) her to stop (but don't force her to give up the friend either). Then try to have an open discussion about why she's feeling so unhappy, so you can take appropriate actions to support her better. (Hint: It's probably not because of you, despite what she's said. That would manifest in different ways.)

1

I think that there are various problems in your relationship to work on.

From your description it looks like the things are getting very complicated: she felt not loved, depression, game addiction (kids left alone to watch tv?), and now this emotional affair.

Honestly this is too much to be handled by yourselves.

My personal advise is to start going to a marriage counselor as soon as possible, because the more you wait, the worst will be. I can imagine she would not be so happy to go to a consuelor, since she already rejects your attentions, but try to convince her that's for saving your relationship, or at least if she can do that for you.

For sure the consuelor can help you to understand what's really wrong in your relationship and which are the causes of this. Only in this way you can start work on it.

Good luck!

protected by Community Apr 12 '18 at 16:25

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.