Dear Thelma: My husband flirts with girls online and is unrepentant


  • Family
  • Sunday, 26 Jan 2020

I’ve known my husband since we were young, and we were lovebirds for 16 years before we tied the knot.

Before getting married, there were times when we argued but we would always go back to being on good terms.

We’ve been married since 2016 and we have a baby.

In January 2019, I found out that my husband is actively flirting on social media, which includes sexting many girls (some are friends, others are unknown). He even had phone sex with some of the girls, showing off their private parts. When I confronted him, he said it was a mistake.

Checking further, I found out that he had also met up with some of these girls for some leisure activities during my confinement.

Our relationship was very cold a few months ago, but it’s back to normal now, after I realised that it might be my mistake as well for not being a good wife in fulfilling his sexual desires or maybe I had been paying him less attention and focusing more on my baby. Plus my job requires me to travel often.

There are times when I couldn’t erase the memory of the things that he had done, and all the images of the girls kept coming to my mind.

And I’ve noticed that he seldom touches me or loves me like he did before our marriage.

He doesn’t even say “I love you” or offer an apology, or console me in any way.

However, he cares for his son, is a loving father, and once promised me that he would never flirt with girls online again.

Just to let you know, I’ve been supporting our family financially, as his salary is lower than mine, and we live in my parents’ house. I’m fine with it but when I think of what he has done, I feel it is not fair to me.

But at the same time, he is also being pressured by his family financially, as he is the eldest son and has to support his family. I understand that, and don’t really mind as that is his responsibility.

But then, he has his own family now, which he has to care about more.

I didn’t tell anyone about what he did to me because I still respect him as the father of my child.

But I’m not sure how long I can stand all this.

Recently, I noticed he has an Instagram account with a different username, and my instincts tell me that’s not good.

I once wanted to file for divorce when I found out about his sexting habit, but I’m holding on because of my baby.

I’m not sure what I should do. Please help.

Anonymous

When you’re in a relationship and something isn’t working for you, you talk to your partner. After talking it over you come to an agreement that suits the two of you. If you can’t come to agreement, you drop it if it’s a small thing but if it’s important, you accept it can be a signal that your relationship isn’t going to work out.

The key here is honesty and open communication.

Your husband cheated on you. This did not happen by accident. He chose to cheat. He has not accepted responsibility, apologised for it and made an effort to do better. That means he thinks it’s okay to lie to you and hurt you.

I don’t understand why you think it is your fault that he chose to be a lying cheat. I suspect that is because adulterers often refuse to act responsibly; instead of admitting to their dreadful behaviour, they blame the victim.

Please don’t buy into this nonsense. If a person choses to behave badly, that’s their responsibility and nobody else’s.

As for all that stuff about him having to support his family because he’s the eldest son, what on earth does that have to do with not keeping his business in his trousers? It’s simply blowing more smoke.

What should you do? As he is not accountable and he’s not showing any interest in changing, you have a choice. You can put up with this for the rest of your life or you can walk away. Me, I would walk away but I’m not you. So think it over.

I suggest you talk to a lawyer to see exactly what your options are. Be sure to discuss divorce, a trial separation and what happens if you live your own lives without any formal agreements.

You may benefit from talking things through with a therapist. See how you might feel under all the various circumstances, and what kind of work or change it would take to make you happy.

At this stage, I would avoid marriage counselling. That is because unrepentant adulterous partners often hijack sessions and try to manipulate the parties in order to cast blame on their partners.

Therefore, I recommend you see a therapist by yourself and get your own needs sorted out first. It shouldn’t take more than a few sessions to discuss the ins and outs.

Later, if you decide to stay in the marriage, and if your husband shows an honest interest in learning better behaviour, he can start seeing his own therapist after which you can explore the value of joint sessions.

I know it’s not easy to confront the fact that your marriage is in crisis but please remember you have positives going on as well. Most importantly, you have a job, so you are already in the position of being able to support your baby independently if you have to. That means you are not stuck; you have options.

When you have your own needs and goals clearly in mind, rope in your support group and make the changes you need to. Remember that you deserve to be respected and happy.


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