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Ask Amy: Husband’s secret online friendship ends abruptly

By Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: I’ve been married for many years. A few years back I started an online friendship with another woman. We’ve emailed back and forth, and I really enjoyed our correspondence over the years. She’s had a much more exciting life than I’ve had, but I found our shared knowledge and experiences made for an online relationship that’s better than anything I’ve had with my wife.

I knew we’d never meet in person. I never attempted a face-to-face meeting with her and was perfectly happy with that. Then, two years ago, her writings to me became less frequent and much more politically tinged.

She attributed this to an injury she suffered, and the subsequent recovery from it.

Her correspondence to me has since dropped down to nothing, I miss it and feel truly hurt by this. My wife knows nothing of this, and I find that my wife and I have less and less in common anymore.

Should I continue to correspond with her and hope things will go back to normal, or should I just end things altogether and try to move on?

Hurt Online

 

Dear Hurt: When I comment on the insidious effect (and often damage) that secret “friendships” have on a marriage, people often respond: “But married people can -- and should -- have friends!”

YES, committed partners can (and should!) conduct their own friendships, but when the friendship is a secret, over time the secrecy amplifies a feeling of intimacy between the friends, leaving the primary partner out.

Your situation is a perfect example of this phenomenon. As your online friendship grew, your in-person relationship shrank. And now – unfortunately, both relationships have dwindled.

Maybe you pursued your online friendship in the first place because you believed that something important was missing in your marriage. But – if you aren’t at least going to try to be a full partner to your spouse, then you should own the consequence.

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