Facebook romance worries wife – The Boston Globe

I have surreptitiously checked his phone and have seen that these messages have become increasingly lengthy and personal and have included several pictures of themselves. Granted, none of these are X-rated, but one of my concerns is that the intensity of this online relationship has grown quite exponentially in a very short time and could very well lead to actual X-rated material.

What would someone my husband’s age really expect to get out of such a relationship, and what is driving this woman to pursue a relationship with someone old enough to be her father? She is now writing that she is always thinking about him and is sending him hugs and kisses.

I am not sure what to do because I really cannot confront my husband regarding this as I know it will only end up in a massive argument with denials on his part about it being anything but innocent.

Your take?

ALARMED WIFE

A. You seem to draw the line at “X-rated” messages, and yet if sexual messages are passed back and forth in this completely virtual relationship, what difference would their rating make?

I’m suggesting that the relationship is already happening, that it is already interfering in your marriage, that you don’t trust your husband, and you are surveilling him in secret.

Some people seek online romantic relationships because they want that thrilling, “You’ve got mail” rush. Your long-married husband might be seeking emotional connection and a feeling of fantasy and romance with a woman who would not glance at him twice in real life. Many people of a certain age yearn to feel younger, and so of course this appeals to him!

A woman half his age might engage in this online relationship because she is looking for the same thing. Or something else altogether.

In fact, your husband might be getting “catfished” by a stranger. His correspondent might not be 35, and might not be a woman. “Catfish” reel people in using fake identities and photos. After establishing an emotional connection, they will then sometimes move in for more — emotionally and financially.

This relationship is affecting your marriage in a fundamental way. I hope you can find a way to discuss it.

Q. I’ve been in a long-distance relationship with “Ross” for about six months.

We met when he was visiting my hometown on a business trip. I work at the hotel where he was staying, we exchanged numbers and started texting and calling back and forth.

He has visited two more times and stayed for the weekend. We talked about being in an exclusive relationship and agreed that we wouldn’t see other people.

He tends to be really private — almost secretive, I guess. I know what town he lives in but not much more about his lifestyle. He has sent me photos and we FaceTime back and forth.

I am starting to wonder if he is married.

I went onto Facebook and he doesn’t have an account but I think I have seen recent photos of him with a woman. Now I’m unsure.

UNSURE

A. “Ross” is waving a number of red flags.

First, you should ask him if he is married or in another relationship.

Next, you should tell him that you will be visiting his hometown the following weekend and you’d like to stay with him.

If he is in a serious, exclusive relationship with you, he will open up his life to you. This means that you should see his home and meet his cat, his friends, and his folks.

Q. “Tired” asked how to tell guests it was time to leave.

My go-to answer stems from a black-tie dinner my wife gave me for my 70th birthday at our home. My way to get friends to finally end the night (well after midnight) was to go upstairs, shuck my tuxedo jacket, and come down wearing my bathrobe.

It was funny then and it remains a memory that friends still invoke. Someone will say, “Well, guess we should say goodnight or Al will get his bathrobe,” or I’ll ask the host or hostess, “Can I borrow a bathrobe?”

AL IN VA

A. I’m definitely going to use this. Thank you!

Amy Dickinson can be reached at askamy@amydickinson.com.

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