ASK THE EXPERT: QI have been married 10 years and we have four children aged 9, 7, 6 and 4.Recently, I discovered that my husband has been using adult chat rooms online and seems to have been communicating in sexually explicit ways with other people.Of course your husband should not blame you and he must take responsibility for how he has hurt you with his online behaviour, but the two of you must take responsibility for improving the marriage.
A second issue for a marriage is that one partner turns to the internet for flirting and sexual excitement rather than to their partner.When this happens frequently, it can lead to a reduction in their sex-life together, a growing sense of disconnection and an erosion of the marital bond.This should be time you have alone perhaps when the children are in bed and to make sure it is distraction free (with the computer and TV turned off).In addition, try to have at least one special evening a week when you get a baby-sitter when you can do some new things together. The biggest prize of a successful marriage is closeness and intimacy – which allow a couple to accept and support one another on a deep level.Such intimacy is built on communication and friendship and leads to deep affection and a satisfying sex life.
However, creating this intimacy is hard work and much harder than the easy escapism of the internet or watching TV or even over-working or domestic chores.
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To move forward, it is important that you continue to talk to your husband and try to understand the extent of his difficulties and what the underlying issues are for him.
At the heart of the problem of online “infidelity” is the fact that it is usually done in secret and without the partner’s knowledge – even with infrequent access this secrecy can reduce the intimacy between the couple and can be a first step on the road to bigger betrayals.
Up until this, I thought things were okay in our marriage, though of course we haven’t had much couple time with the demands of four children but this discovery has come as a bolt out of the blue.