< Back to front page Text size +

She's cheating on Facebook

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  February 23, 2009 11:09 AM

E-mail this article

Invalid E-mail address
Invalid E-mail address

Sending your article

Is Facebook flirting harmless? Let's help a confused husband in Worcester decide.

Q: Meredith - Can a Facebook fling be unhealthy for a marriage? I recently caught my wife in a lie. I know she had been on Facebook for the past several months and had re-connected with some old high school and college friends. That part did not bother me, but when I asked her who she was talking to, she was not completely upfront and said she barely talks to people on Facebook. She has been distant lately, so I actually joined Facebook and looked her up. What I found out was very hard to take. She had been IM-ing and posting on Facebook late at night and sometimes into the wee hours of the morning with a few guys from her past, one in particular that she had a relationship with. Some of the posts were very flirty and sexual in nature. I think this is highly inappropriate for a married woman, but she seems to think its all in good fun and no big deal, just joking around she said, nothing to worry about. She was also upset that I checked up on her, but I had a bad feeling from the onset about who she was talking to. Then I later found out that she had met one of these guys at a bar one night when out with her friends. Although she denies it, it seems pretty obvious she is cheating. Even if she isn't, it seems very disrespectful for a married woman to chat late at night with flirty IMs with old friends. This to me is inappropriate behavior and if the tables were turned, I don't think she would want me doing this to her. Any thoughts?

-- Confused by Facebook flings, Worcester

A: Confused,

Do I think your wife’s Facebook flings are wrong? Um … yeah. If you want validation from me, you’ve got it.

Here’s the thing, though. Facebook is addictive, especially for those with an attention-seeking itch to scratch. Back in the day, you might wonder what happened to an ex and fantasize about a run-in … but now, you can find that ex in an instant and flirt in the safety of your own home. It seems harmless. Like a computer game.

That said, it’s still cheating -- even if it’s just emotionally. And to be honest, I’m troubled by the fact that your wife met up with one of these guys in person and lied to you about it.

My advice is for the two of you to stop debating the appropriateness of her flirting and your spying. So many couples get stuck in that debate -- who did more harm (the cheat or the spy). Use these discussions to address the real problem (her need for outside attention) and decide whether that need can be addressed, what boundaries should be set, and how your trust can be restored. You can help by discussing as opposed to accusing. Use your nice guy voice.

Readers, do you agree? Share your thoughts for Confused here. Read a story about Facebook affairs here. Read Friday’s letter (which is quite juicy) here. Send your own letter here.

-- Meredith

E-mail this article

Invalid E-mail address
Invalid E-mail address

Sending your article

89 comments so far...
  1. Get an attorney and file for divorce...move on to someone better, she is obviously not worth the trouble. Once a cheater, always a cheater. Make sure you get money in joint accounts locked away so she doesn't take it when you aren't looking and then any other valuables she may try to take. These are all bargaining chips down the road. Find out from the attorney what is appropriate and not so you don't screw yourself. If you own a home together and bought in 2002-2007 you are screwed anyhow...Good luck. Plenty of other fish in the sea and many of them are better than what you got.

    Posted by Rico February 23, 09 11:30 AM
  1. Your relationship lacks excitement. That’s the first thing that comes to mind. Something is definitely missing so it seems like she looking elsewhere for it. My suggestion is have a sit down. Ask her to be more upfront letting her know she doesn’t need to fear what may happened in the end. As hard as it may be you’re going to have to remain calm. You love her so you want to make things right not worst

    Posted by Woodline February 23, 09 11:37 AM
  1. Good heavens, Rico, calm down. Not every marital indiscretion requires an all-out Divorce War.

    LW, good luck to you and your wife. Make the counseling appointment today. Clearly something is wrong here; cheating (of any variety) is a symptom of something lacking in the relationship, or occasionally in the individual. You've both betrayed each other's trust and you need to do some work to figure out what's going on, what you want to do about it, and whether you are both motivated to fix it.

    Posted by MJB February 23, 09 11:51 AM
  1. Take it from a guy whose wife (now ex for 9 yrs) was lying about these types of things. I didn't want to confront her because I knew the marriage was in jepardy (with 2 kids, 3&4). She had issues of her own (depression & a hard time with motherhood). When she ended it, I was not surprised. I confronted her and she became defensive or lied. You can't hold someone who wants to let go. It's not a good feeling that they are there, but would prefer to be elsewhere. That's why this fantasy of keeping marriages together is noble, but unrealistic when one of you wants out. It's important for you not to feel used and dishonored. It will take time (more than you think), but moving on to a whole marriage is the best thing you can do for your self-esteem. My ex and I are now good parenting friend and the anger and disappointment are gone. I found a fantastic gal the second time around: maternal, warm, family oriented, trustworthy and most importantly, into me, my kids and us. Trust is crucial for a healthy relationship. Make it a priority. Who's better than you?

    Posted by valentino February 23, 09 12:19 PM
  1. Once there has been a break in the trust of marriage there is nothing left...it is an empty shell of a life and you will continue to distrust her/each other as long as you are together. Listen to Rico, he is a very smart man. Get a divorce attorney and start the process of getting your life back together with someone you can trust. If she cheated and was caught this one time there is most likely another time that you are not aware of...these people don't just cheat once, it is inherent in their makeup. Seriously, get the attorney and move on before it is too late and you have children, a home, etc... No cheater is worth it. She is trash and should be thrown out to the curb. Rico is right, don't listen to the morons saying therapy and second chances...you obviously felt there was something dishonest about her otherwise you wouldn't have started snooping. If you keep snooping I guarantee you will find other indiscretions. Your child(ren) if you have any might not be yours, or maybe the savings for that new home is taking longer because she spends extra money on gifts for her other boyfriend.


    Posted by Rico's fan February 23, 09 12:43 PM
  1. Wanted to add a different type of comment - I have had several ex girlfriends contact me via Facebook, and a few of them I had significant relationships with. It's important to note that I am single now. Anyways, we now email back and forth outside of Facebook; we enjoy having a friendship that was there when we dated without it going any further. They talk about the struggles of marriage and their children to me, just as I do with them - on a friendship basis. That being said, if one of them wanted to meet me up outside of email, or started flirty talk, I would discontinue the discussions knowing they are married. There is an unwritten rule amongst (credible) guys that you don't cross that line off-line, never mind on-line. So the fact that your wife met him out "with friends" and that he showed up has me a little worried about both their intentions.

    That being said - take the chance to talk it out first. Think of it as an opportunity to make your relationship stronger - i.e. that you can bring tough issues to the table and work them out together. If there is any sign that she is ingenuine about that approach - move on quickly....its in your best interest (unfortunately).

    Posted by spaceman February 23, 09 12:58 PM
  1. Totally agree with spaceman, whether its guy code or acting credible, no guy should knowingly "meet up" with a married woman. Facebook can be an easy vehicle to look around and see whats out there, it's border line creepy sometimes. If she's on facebook, she's probably on myspace and if she's doing this online she's probably got some skeletons in the closet on her phone. It totally sucks to see this stuff but sometimes you just have to do it, especially married. I say check ithe phone, my space, see if she's on dating websites and do your homework before you make a decision. Doubtful she's going to be honest with you by just asking her, especially if she lied already.

    Posted by rock February 23, 09 02:26 PM
  1. I agree with Meridith -- finding out just how deep the issues run is critical at the point of discovery. But speaking from experience, if the lies continue, or if the message back from your partner is "this is who I am", walking away is for the best.

    Posted by P February 23, 09 03:56 PM
  1. Rico, you should consider starting your own blog/podcast. Hilarious stuff and so far I've agreed with the substance of all of your assessments even if I disagree with your tone. Love is simple, and when people introduce qualifications and complexity they transform it into something else. Keep bringing the real talk.

    Posted by Jay February 23, 09 05:55 PM
  1. Unless one of the parties accepted this guy as a friend, how did he see any of the conversations?

    Posted by MIKE February 23, 09 06:09 PM
  1. Facebook symbolizes everything that is wrong and immoral of our society. I am not 90 either, I am 23 and was a freshman at Northeastern when it all started. Its invasive, addicting and too easy for the socially retarded to stalk you and keep tabs on what you do. It promotes less face to face communication and increases rumours/gossip. I am on it still but I avoid it. You want me? Call me or email me. Like a normal person who has gained the right to converse with me.

    Posted by Death to Facebook February 23, 09 06:55 PM
  1. Honesty is a two way street. There's no way that by signing up for Facebook and looking her up, you could find out the information you claim to know.

    Posted by KC February 23, 09 08:10 PM
  1. "Once a cheater, always a cheater."
    I hate that saying, it's BS

    Posted by Anonymous February 23, 09 10:15 PM
  1. I agree with MIKE. Confused's story seems untrue to me. Unless the guy's wife or her ex-boyfriends had no privacy settings, he would not have access to their pages. Additionally, I do not believe that IM messages are public. And maybe it's me, but i've never seen any over the top racy comments on someone's facebook feeds. Only the extreme exhibitionist would do such flirting in a forum where friends, family, co-workers, bosses, employees and churchmembers can see everything that is posted. The only way for Confused to have access to any of these racy comments, then, would be for him to log into his wife's facebook page (presumably without her knowing).

    That said, the interweb does allow for such dalliances that are mentioned here; i just don't think the story unfolded the way that Confused claims.

    Posted by dan m. February 23, 09 11:12 PM
  1. I would suggest you both read the book "The 5 Love Languages" by Gary Chapman. Something is obviously unfulfilled in your wife's life and you both need to rebuild that connection.

    Posted by Anonymous February 23, 09 11:44 PM
  1. Well put Spaceman. My ex used to have "friends" over while I was at work and I couldn't be more sickened that these guys knew she was married. A clear violation of the guy code if there ever was one.

    Posted by MAsouthshore February 24, 09 05:34 AM
  1. To me, worse than the time spent emailing / IMing on Facebook is the outright denial when confronted. Plus, meeting up with someone while she just happened to be out with friends (wink...wink) and then denying it should be the last straw. She's moved from the fantasy virtual chatter to real world, face to face. For those who say she was "seeking excitement", then I say that she should have had the self-confidence to approach her husband with those thoughts. Tell him it's not working and they have to make some changes. At least give things a chance to improve by opening up communication and expressing her displeasure and boredom. Sneaking around behind his back is childish and worthy of a kick to the curb. Tell her she doesn't have to stay up late and sneak around. She can do whatever she wants because you have started the divorce process.

    Posted by Hoss February 24, 09 07:49 AM
  1. I agree with Rico - and Valentino you nailed it. Make no mistake, this is the day and age of the restless married woman. I know 14 men (including myself) between the ages of 38-45 (all with multiple children under the age of 10) and all going through the same mess. We're all married to selfish women who looked in the mirror one morning, saw a few wrinkles and scared themselves into believing there was something better out there - and it seems to be contageous. Forget about respect for themselves or their families, they feel it's better to lie and betray rather than deal with their feelings in a responsible PAXIL FREE way. They have no regard for the real victims - THEIR KIDS. My recommendation - launch her, focus on you and your kids and most of all - move because she's beneath you.

    Posted by Boston Buzzy February 24, 09 08:06 AM
  1. My wife and I are both on Facebook, as are many of our friends. So are many, many family members, from a ninth grader to an aunt in her 70's. I've caught up with many old friends on Facebook, people I'd always meant to keep up with but had lost touch -- and now I've found them again and it's great to see what they are doing. I find it a wonderful place to catch up.

    Also, I note that you use the words "found out that she had met one of these guys at a bar one night when out with her friends". It seems if she's cheating, she wouldn't be out meeting old flames with her friends, she'd be being more quiet about it -- did the guy just happen to be in the same bar at the same time? Especially if you live where you grew up, isn't that something that could happen pretty regularly?

    I'm not saying that your wife isn't cheating, but maybe she was out with her friends, and she saw this old friend, they caught up for a minute or two, and she went on with her night. That is plausible. However, the part that makes me suspicious is staying up all night. But then again, she had to allow you to see her profile and friend you, so she may legitimately not think what she's posting for everyone to read is a big deal. A good test for this would be if she has other family members as friends and she's still posting -- then maybe you are overreacting.

    And gee, Death to Facebook, might you have a bone to pick? LOL at "right to converse with me". Get over yourself.

    Posted by J February 24, 09 08:29 AM
  1. IF she was hiding it from him and felt a need to lie than theres a twofold problem. 1 the addicitve behavior of needing to be on facebook, myspace, etc... constantly 2 the flirting that's obviously gone beyond "harmless". Maybe the developemnt of # 2 has led to # 1? For some reason she felt guilty about what she was doing and felt a need to hide it from her husband. The fact that she met one of these guys at a bar either by contrived or actual chance and didn't mention it to her husband tells me it's gone beyond "harmless flirting". That is serious and needs to be addressed and not just by talking about it amongst themselves. these two need to seriously think about mariage counseling

    Posted by Francis February 24, 09 08:30 AM
  1. I think you need to realize two things, first, she's a lying cheater, second, she's your wife. Recognize that, and then proceed accordingly. First, get your information in order, so you can win any divorce battle. Second, if you want to start to rebuild the marriage, then you have to get some professional help involved. If she's unwilling to either stop face-booking everyone from her past, or get some help for your marriage, then she's already gone. Take your files to a divorce lawyer and make sure you get a nice clean break. If she's committed to you, she'll got to the couselling and lose the face book fantasy crap.

    Honestly, this crap is for kids. Why isn't there a stigma attached to doing this kind of childish crap? I don't get it. This is like high school behavior for adults. Don't listen to these bozos who say innane stuff like, cheating is a symptom of something lacking in your marriage. Duh! Yeah, like an adult brain. Here's an idea, how about understanding that and attacking the problem instead of creating a bigger one?

    Posted by hippydippy February 24, 09 08:52 AM
  1. You don't have to agonize -- just ask yourself "Am I having fun in this marriage?"
    If the answer's no then it's over.
    Sorry to be so simplistic, but that's it.
    You could try more sex, but if that's not working then you're done.
    Nothing remains but to bayonet the wounded and move on.

    Posted by spikethedog February 24, 09 08:54 AM
  1. I am going to have to raise questions about the "death to facebook" comments. You speak of the face to face yetttttt email and call... neither involve a face. In any event. You are raising more questions about the nature of your relationship and the insecurities that you have toward it. She is talking to people because it reminds her of the past. Which works in your favor because her past has not made it to her future and you have. If a guy was an jerk to her, chances are, he hasn't changed. If she starts meeting up with these people and not inviting you along then you have a problem, til then do your thing son. Be secure in your relationship. Facebook is the least of your concerns if you have all around doubts about your wife.

    PS i heart facebook, cus i know how to use it. It reminds me what i did last weekend when i don't remember

    Posted by Facebook... love it February 24, 09 08:56 AM
  1. Mike - if your profile is not private anyone can see what you write

    Posted by jm February 24, 09 09:04 AM
  1. Tell her how it makes YOU feel. Maybe if she knows her actions are hurting you, she can more easily stop her inappropriate behavior. I wouldn't throw the towel in on a marriage so easily.

    Posted by PattyB February 24, 09 09:10 AM
  1. Well said Jay. Too many people make it more complicated than it needs to be. You and your wife are either right for each other or you're not. There's no gray area in between and it shouldn't be so much work to figure it out. All this crap about counseling, opening up the lines of communication, trying extra extra hard to listen to each other..........if you're right for each other this stuff would happen naturally. Facebook sex talk means she's not 100% on board here, and you'd both be better off to get it over with quickly before you waste any more of your life trying to "fix" it.

    Posted by M February 24, 09 09:20 AM
  1. I think you could ask yourself what you're not giving her that she has to seek from others.

    Posted by promixcuous February 24, 09 09:40 AM
  1. Anyone who cheats on someone is a shallow and selfish and manipulative person. Facebook is just another easier tool for her to cheat. Trust me, my exboyfriend was contacted by his high school girlfriend, who lives in Florida and is married. Within a few months, unkown to me, they went to a Red Sox game together, that he was supposedly with his "buddies". And next thing I knew he flew down to Florida to visit her. And thus, the affair began. She went looking for him, and he took full advantage of it! Facebook and Myspace gives these shallow and selfish people and easy way to contact eachother!! Run for your life from your wife!

    Posted by Lisa February 24, 09 09:45 AM
  1. back to spaceman..let's pretend you're married..would you want your wife opening up to her exes about marital and family life struggles? honestly..I didn't think so..it's one thing for her chat with her girlfriends about this, but it's out of line to pour your heart out to your ex-bf..and a "credible" guy (to coin your phrase) would also recognize this as wrong.

    Posted by realitycheck February 24, 09 10:05 AM
  1. Facebook is going to bring this country down! And in the process, it is going to make a whole bunch of family/divorce lawyers very wealthy! Mark my words!

    Posted by Karen from Q-town February 24, 09 10:29 AM
  1. Agree with all those who feel this is cheating. My wife is very private about her Facebook life. Got me thinking....Was 'Confused's' wife dumb enough to grant him access to her profile - or is there a way for a 'stranger' to see what's posted on someone else's profile? I would love to see what's going on with my wife.....

    Posted by I Spy February 24, 09 10:33 AM
  1. I set up a facebook reunion (using the event feature in FB) at a local bar with a bunch people, male and female from HS. My wife had never met most of them so I thought it would be a good opportunity for me to catch up and for her to meet people I chat with on FB. It worked out great for her and me. About half the people I invited showed up, my wife was very comfortable among the different groups (and yes the same groups that huddled in HS, still huddle now). My senior year girlfriend/prom date was there, among others I was just friends with. It was nice to catch up after 15 years and nice for my wife to put a name with a face. Now if I chat on FB, she is way less interested because: 1. She has seen, met and talked to them. 2. We both joined FB together, so she has always been able to see what I am up to on FB and I am ok with that. 3. A little flirting is ok, but her and I both know what is taking it too far.

    To be honest, it sounds like FB is just one outlet for "confused's" wife. I would be suspicious too if my wife acted like that, but like I said, my wife and I are open and communicate about all kinds of thing...and that is key to a worry free marriage.

    Posted by Flaps February 24, 09 10:33 AM
  1. "Once a cheater, always a cheater."
    I hate that saying, it's not always true.

    Posted by Anonymous February 24, 09 10:41 AM
  1. All I know is that if I caught my wife having an affair, that guy would eat out of a straw for the remainder of his days. When single, I wouldn't cheat with a married woman because I didn't want to eat out of a straw.

    Posted by vito February 24, 09 10:49 AM
  1. I agree with Flaps. Further, why don't you suggest a little Facebook reunion where your wife can introduce you to her friends? It will tell you exactly where you stand.

    Posted by newfoundqueen February 24, 09 11:00 AM
  1. Realitycheck - just wanted to respond - the old girlfriends I spoke of in my statement aren't "pouring their hearts out" to me. When it comes to discussing topics such as marriage and children, they are philisophical discussions only - more recognizing the effort you have to put into such relationships and how we have grown from that experience. The key to my statement was that we discuss these topics on a friendship basis only. I am mature enough to discuss such topics with someone I knew in my past without it crossing a line, and more importantly, without adding a flirtation to the topic. I also wouldn't participate in such conversations if it had a hint of such tones. If my wife was conducting such discussions - I would expect the same approach and to use her common sense if it is bordering integrity. It doesn't sound like Confused's wife has that same concern or capacity...at least to me.

    Posted by spaceman February 24, 09 11:32 AM
  1. Well, it wsn't a Facebook affair, but my ex-wife started up an inappropriate friendship with a guy in a support group she went to. It started as long, long talks on the phone, then they started skipping the meetings and spent the time together. Long story short: Motel 6 stays soon followed, and then a long and expensive divorce procedure. She claimed they were "just friends" until she had to testify under oath that they were meeting for sex every weekend. The guy was also married. Look long and hard at your marriage. If you have no kids, get out NOW.

    Posted by MatroWest Guy February 24, 09 11:34 AM
  1. Here's the point, if she knew that you were concerned with the amount of attention she showed her FB friends and didn't have any sensitivity to that, then there's the problem. Her needs are more important than the marriage. End of story.

    Oh, and to the privacy thing- that's BS! The husband had a suspicion and, obviously, it was warranted. It called being smart. The stupid thing is that if he wanted to try reconciling, he shouldn't have told her how he found out. The trust angle is stupid, as she had already broken it. It was the premise for this whole discussion!

    Maybe she will outgrow this, but it sounds like she still has some wild girl nights left in her. Whether you can ride this time out or not will depend on how she reacs. If she still places her friends and FB social time at a premium, then i say this marriage has little chance.

    Posted by FiveFingereredexpert February 24, 09 11:43 AM
  1. Nice to see Vito with the tough-guy act. Most of the guys who talk tough like that don't have the stones to back it up.

    Confused's wife sounds, well, confused. They both could use some counseling.

    Posted by wicked February 24, 09 11:44 AM
  1. 1) If she isn't cheating, she shouldn't be lying about who she's hanging out with.
    2) If she doesn't feel like her husband would accept her platonic relationship(s) with men, the marriage is on rocky ground to begin with. There is a trust issue there.

    Posted by melli_fera February 24, 09 12:24 PM
  1. It's just not Facebook or MySpace for cheating. How about the Ashley Madison Agency? There moto is; Life is Short. Have an Affair. I really didn't believe there was such a site out there until a friend told me about it because her husband was cheating on her. That site should worry you most, rather then FB or MySpace.

    I really hope things work out for you Confused.

    Posted by sweetiepye February 24, 09 12:34 PM
  1. You people who advocate impulsive divorce if (as one of you put it) "you're not having fun in this marriage" or other self-indulgent reasons make me sick. If you think a marriage is supposed to be neverending fun, then please don't get married. Marriage -- like any rewarding, enriching, lifetime endeavor -- requires work. You're gonna go through some tough times. The road is going to be bumpy along the way. People and marriages grow and change over time and circumstance. If you're not willing to try and work through the inevitable problems, then you shouldn't get married. Do you quit other important commitments in your life just as easily? What's more important than your marriage and family? Again if you think marriage isn't that important, not worth your time and effort, something you should jettison quickly when it becomes difficult, then you don't have what it takes and should not get married.

    I wish 'Confused' the best of luck. I hope he and his wife can attempt and work through this issue, address the underlying problems, and salvage what could still be a good marriage before pulling the trigger of divorce.

    Posted by Slash February 24, 09 01:08 PM
  1. Any grown male or female that spends late nights instant messaging, emailing, chatting, facebooking, reminiscing, flirting, sexting, or whatever you want to call it, while his/her spouse is somewhere else in the house (town, state, country, world), needs to grow up and accept being married or terminate the relationship and go out and date. To later deny your actions to your spouse's face is just cowardly.

    The only thing I blame "Confused" for is not recognizing the signs sooner and confronting her sooner. The end.

    Posted by Hoss February 24, 09 01:08 PM
  1. Hey sweetiepye,

    Lets not worry about what site to "worry" about!!! if you or these people trusted those who they were with, the sites wouldn't even be in your vocab. Work on yourself first. Then try to "fix" everyone else!!!!!!!!!

    Posted by josh26th February 24, 09 01:24 PM
  1. No one on here can tell you what to do. You are the only one that knows the whole situation, my wife an i have been married 6 years and have been together 10 and have twins boys and were going strong. We both have myspace and Facebook and we get along fine don't listen to anyone on this site you are the only one that can make the right decision. Good luck

    Posted by Buckshot February 24, 09 01:35 PM
  1. True, 'adulterers' is the correct vernacular for both your spouse and the person they are cheating with, but let's not confuse a "Man Code" with where the issue lies for Confused. We can't expect the world to stop spinning if the 'man code' is ignored. The only thing you can control is what's going on with your spouse and how you will react. You can pay a shrink to tell you what you already know...or don't want to hear. They just give permission for people to feel the way they want to feel. So in the case of your wife, she is not wrong in feeling the way she does...and her reaction is hers. Now it's your turn to have a reaction. Stay or Go it won't be wrong (according to shrink). They keep you coming back for more ($)...and usually it's a good way for your wandering spouse to have someone mediate the last goodbye so she can say she sought help...did the right thing. The question is, Who has hand?

    NOEL: I ... am breaking up ... with you!

    GEORGE: You can't break up with me. I've got hand.

    NOEL: And you're going to need it.

    Posted by valentino February 24, 09 01:39 PM
  1. "Work on Yourself First: Then try to 'fix' everyone else!"

    I like it. Copyright that before Dr. Phil uses it as a book title.

    Posted by Dan Blocker February 24, 09 01:44 PM
  1. My ex-husband lied to me from the outset about communication with his ex-GF who had moved from MA to TX. He lied when he went on a military tour to Corpus Christi about meeting up with her (he told me he had no intention or plan to do so, but I found out when she called the house one night shortly before he left to finalize their plans - and it was confirmed when one of his friends called to tell me what a sweetheart she was when they met her).

    This pattern continued for years, with his ex and other women he conversed with online. We worked hard on better communications and being completely open, but in the end, he continued to lie, cheat and betray - and I had to leave.

    Talk to your wife. the warning signs are there. If she continues to deny it, gets aggressive, walks away, seek professional counseling.

    Posted by phe February 24, 09 02:21 PM
  1. Dan,

    I just tried to copyright, but it turns out Dr. Phil nabbed it just minutes before!!

    Posted by josh26th February 24, 09 03:03 PM
  1. Slash - You're asking Confused to be a sheep or a lamb ready for slaughter. It's not Golden Rule time...It's time to draw a line and watch her trip over it. If you've ever been betrayed by a cheating wife...with your trust hanging down to your knees, you might understand that we're not advocating immediate divorce. We're saying, get the money in the matress in order, button up the loose ends and get ready to hear what you hoped you would not. If there's indifference, you have your answer. Then treat it like a business transaction. Why be a puddle when you can be the mop?

    Posted by valentino February 24, 09 03:14 PM
  1. Another great book title:

    "Why be a puddle when you can be the mop?"

    Seriously, I agree. I would encourage "Confused" to start making logistical plans AND start gathering evidence. If she's going to deny it, you might as well get some proof now. Not necessarily legal proof, although it may come to that, but proof that you can bring to her when she denies again and proof for the court of public opinion (i.e. friends, family, peers, co-workers, etc.) if the marriage dissolves. You are a guy, so you will get the blame by default. That's how it works.

    Posted by Dan Blocker February 24, 09 03:39 PM
  1. To me, this is a sign of where our society is going as far as values and morals are concerned. I agree completely with Confused, his wife's behavior is completely inappropriate and actually quite disrespectful. Marriage is mainly about love, trust and respect. I am happily married in my mid-30's, but I am very old school. I believe in "for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health until death do us part". My grandparents were married for over 50 years. My parents are 36 and still going. The word divorce is not in my vocabulary. Too many people today give up too easily. The committment and vows used to mean something, but today people give up way too easy. My advice is to try to talk about it and seek counseling, but don't give up too easily, especially if there are kids involved. It amazes me how many people go through this in today's society and its just not right...

    Posted by Anonymous February 24, 09 03:44 PM
  1. Valentino: "we're not advocating for immediate divorce."

    Rico (1st sentence of 1st post): "Get an attorney and file for divorce."

    Try again, V. Immediate divorce is exactly what many of the responses here are advocating.

    And who are the 'we' to whom you're referring?

    Posted by Slash February 24, 09 04:27 PM
  1. PS, Valentino - I'm not asking Confused to be lamb. I'm just saying that it should be worth the effort for him and his wife to work through their problems, and only if that fails should divorced be pursued. I say this (a) because it's true, and (b) to counter the many flippant kick-her-to-the-curb type comments here.

    Posted by Slash February 24, 09 04:37 PM
  1. What you're dealing with is not a marriage. In a marriage, two people work together toward mutually beneficial goals and help each other meet individual goals as well. When one or both are interested primarily in attaining individual satisfaction, then you're not really in a marriage. That's what's going on here. This is a marriage on the rocks. He's got to find out why, and he has to make an effort to get her back on board and moving in the right direction. Failing that (and please don't make it 10 attempts over 15 years, if she can't see need for immediate action, that's not good), he has to start thinking in terms of the eventual face-off of divorce.

    You can do it fairly, but be fair to yourself as well as her. Don't be a doormat for anyone.

    It must really be tough to find love out there isn't it? Just look at all the cheaters and liars on this board answering this one qustion.

    Posted by hippydippy February 24, 09 04:41 PM
  1. @Anonymous (#52?)

    I agree with you, as is apparent from my other posts. But let me also say from experience that it takes both parties to try and make it work. If he's "old school" (as you put it) and willing to work through it but she isn't, there's nothing more he can do. I hope she's mature enough to try and fix what's broken in their marriage, if that's also what 'Confused' wants. It'll take both their commiitment to make that happen. They might still end up divorced, but it won't be for lack of trying.

    Posted by Slash February 24, 09 04:56 PM
  1. Right on, hippydippy! Good posts.

    Posted by Slash February 24, 09 05:20 PM
  1. Welcome to the new world. The rules of engagement have changed.

    Posted by Kyle February 24, 09 10:52 PM
  1. Not a Facebook fan, old flames should remain old.

    Posted by sean February 25, 09 01:04 AM
  1. Does it matter HOW "Confused" obtained the information that he did? You can see conversations on people's walls, and maybe he figured out her password. Regardless - he had reason to suspect something was up and he acted on it. I am a married woman (who also uses FB) and we all know that we are the best at acting on our intuition. If I felt something else was going on between my husband and a "friend" I will look into it until I am satisfied. If it smells like crap - most likely it is. The real problem here is that the wife took it too far. Chatting with an ex isn't a real issue - chatting about inappropriate subjects, having a secrect rendevous is. There was no reason for the flirty talk or meeting up with an ex except to see what happens. It's easy to get caught up and remember all of the "good" that happened in an old relationship - but you have to remember that it was over for a reason and the grass is not always greener on the other side. If one of the guys she met up with confessed to the husband that more than a drink took place - then she'd be in tears claiming she didn't know why she did it, what got into her, please for give her, blah blah blah. Avoid it altogether and keep the contact if any, general and remember who you sleep next to every night. If the husband is not playing his role - step it up and keep your home happy! Just my opinion.

    Posted by LDMT February 25, 09 07:33 AM
  1. How many people would rather hear what Rico has to say vs what Meredith says? Rico is blunt and to the point and doesn't sugar coat anything. It is refreshing to hear the truth yet sometimes not pleasant.

    Get Rico his own advice column!!!

    Posted by Rico fan February 25, 09 09:41 AM
  1. Rico-
    I regularly respond to a message board about love issues. I've 'virtually' met so many nice people while trading ideas and helping people to rectify their relationship problems. Recently, my wife of 8 years read my response to one of the other bloggers. She did not agree with my assessment, but instead found another contributor’s advice to be alluring and energizing. Last night, while sleeping, she screamed out the name of that blogger: "RICO, RICO...I LOVE YOUR MIND". I'm thinking of filing for divorce at once. Your thoughts?

    Posted by valentino February 25, 09 12:40 PM
  1. I agree this story sounds kinda fishey, this guy is lying or his woman is one of the stupidest people to ever use facebook, not only did she not set her profile to private she did not delete any incriminating posts (which is easy to do), If you were going to cheat with someone on face book you would probably do so in the real time chat not posting on someones wall.

    Posted by cj888888 February 26, 09 09:59 PM
  1. Valentino, while I am flattered by this I must say you and your wife probably need some therapy...just kidding.

    I love reading these blogs as apparently you do as well and probably get a good laugh at times like me. I find the responses to be rdiculous, funny, stupid, entertaining and sometimes insightful. What I do find is that Meredith's "advice" is lacking the thought that some of the bloggers seem to be putting in to their thoughts. Meredith probably is good at something but giving advice in love is not her forte' and I think in an effort to be fair to the people seeking advice maybe she should hand over the reigns/keyboard to someone more qualified. I can't claim to be Oprah, Dr. Phil, Maury, Jerry etc... and my education is not in psychotherapy. I do however have a masters degree in business and have been alive and in relationships long enough to know the answers to a few things. That being said I may not be the best person to answer these "relationship questions" but I think I do a better job than the current hostess.

    Keep reading and writing, I'll be out there....and tell your wife to call me anytime for advice...I am a great cook as well and can give recipes and teach even the worst cooks how to make a nice meal that will impress.

    I am happily married so don't get your hopes up on meeting me. There are other GREAT guys out there just like me...well maybe not as great, but they are out there :)

    Love, Rico

    Posted by RICO February 28, 09 10:43 AM
  1. Didn't read all the comments, but um, I guess these letters are made up? Since you can't "check up" on most folks on FB unless you successfully friend them, and you can't ever see an IM or message sent to another unless you have access to the FB account? Shakes head....

    Posted by Barbara February 28, 09 02:47 PM
  1. My wife started contacting all his ex-s a year ago and also outrightly tell them by email or MSN that she wants to see them. She has been a very good significant other for the most part and yes we argued from time to time, at least I think our family is very intact and close. and I don't think she is needing any physical attention. I haven't had sex with her myself for a long time, but when I found out that she kept IM/FB really private from me, I got really upset and betrayed too.

    Posted by Daniel February 28, 09 09:39 PM
  1. Wow... I totally agree this is cheating. I don't flirt on facebook OR in person except with my husband!!!!

    I actually had a guy on fb email me by accident thinking I was someone else. I told him that I was not that person - the guy then emailed and asked if I wanted to flirt - he is married and knew I am married - disgusting!!!!!!!!!!

    People create their own little fantasies online - they can get out of control and I believe ruin relationships. I know people who have had that happen. It is a complete betrayal of the trust of a relationship or marriage.

    Posted by KimberlyM March 1, 09 01:18 PM
  1. KimberlyM, I think that the guy on fb was using that as an excuse. For my case, my wife did not do anything wrong yet. but the signs are all there. His ex-s and her keeping exchanging messages when I am at work. Last friday, I came home early to look after kids so that she can go out with her friends (within the group, her ex will be there) and I know that. He even called at 7 to her cell when i was at home to remind her. I act normal. she came home at 4.30 am. I called at 2 am, 2.30 am, SMS her telling her kids are waiting (truth it is) and she will not call me back , instead call her sister who lives with us. She did say she will be back early. What am i supposed to do. Am i not already supportive of wife needing her social circle.

    Posted by Daniel March 2, 09 10:32 AM
  1. I think that you should either send her on her way or accept the fact that she cheats and enjoy it. Some of us are capable of that. It can add excitment if you are in the right frame of mind...

    Posted by C&B March 2, 09 08:08 PM
  1. We are reconciling the difference right now. I did show evidence of what I know. I am technical savvy to do so and yes she has her dance on denial. But I do trust her that nothing physical has happened yet. but the "connection and bond" is where it kills me. They went separate ways for a reason and why is there a need to seek for "soul mate" or "buddies" online. ? We are now this few days in better terms, and I did told her it bothers me a lot 2 weeks ago. She is now agreed to stop all MSN/SMS ing with him. Before, she told me "she doesnt see any problem. as she knows where she stands - being my wife". Truth to be told. It was hurting. FB is hurting my relationship.

    Posted by Daniel March 3, 09 08:55 AM
  1. I have this same problem. I suspected something was going on. So i hacked into her facebook! Thats right i did. I dont feel bad about it at all. I think that if you suspect something and dont do everything you can to find an answer...well that makes you a mark. I found what i was looking for which was flirting and attention seeking behavior. She was even talking to these people from her past on the phone. We realize what the root causes were and are trying to work them out but i feel that i am constantly on guard and that i will never trust her again...i wonder...is it even possible to get that trust back??

    Posted by Jkelsey March 17, 09 02:11 PM
  1. She did it again - falling into the same trap. Mr. B send a few FB messages and she couldn't resist and has to reply to him. I mean I can't stop Mr. B sending messages to her, but she has to stop replying and leading it on. That was 3 messages that he sent to her last nite. Of cos I have ways to hack the whole thing down - i have a right to stop this behaviour that "disrupts" my family - my trust to my partner. I mean how can a husband accepts that she has to seek for soul mate outside. Friend is friend but its stops at a point. Mr. B is not a gentleman at all and this is not cool.

    Posted by Daniel March 20, 09 03:52 AM
  1. This is what I sent using my wife's FB to him
    I am asking you as a gentleman to stop MSN/SMS/Facebook chating with my wife. This has led to many arguments b/t us; and to a certain extent that you wouldn't want your ex to have a broken life and hurt. We have a lovely and close family. Your messages and connection to her should really stop at a point - and let bygone be bygone. I am being a gentleman now ; but certainly not appreciating at all that you try to see her during a time when I had to go out for a buiness trip and to even dropping off things for her.

    Dxxxxl (Not Chilled at all)

    Posted by Daniel March 20, 09 01:46 PM
  1. Why does she and he has to keep FB messaging when I already outright informed her that it bothers me ? Why wouldn't she add me as friend and keep everything open ? Can anyone help me to answer this ? THere must be something (my theory) between them that does not want me to know then. whether it is those Wall-To-Wall comments or may be more..
    This is where it gets frustraing for the husband..

    Posted by Daniel March 20, 09 09:48 PM
  1. If you are married, then you and your spouse should have a facebook page together. There should be NO problem with that. That way, creepers would be a little more hesitant about leaving quick messages to test the waters. It simply holds people accountable. If one person refuses to do so, than there is a serious problem that needs to be addressed.
    The writer is correct. Wives or husbands should not still be friends with exes or people that they have hooked up with . If you are still contacting these people it is not fair to your significant other, and i bet you wouldnt do it if you both had one page.John

    Posted by JT March 24, 09 06:23 PM
  1. Help my wife is doing all the about and I am saddened

    Posted by Steve April 21, 09 04:53 PM
  1. My wife is doing all the above right now. I am hurt and my 6 kids are scared. She is being very secretive and avoiding me when I present it to her. She is on face book 50-60 hours a week and well into the mornings 2:00 am and on. She has completely changed. I have thought of getting a snooper software and I feel quilty. Is this the wrong thing to do. HELP ANYONE!

    p.s. I think she is meeting with someone today? She won,t tell me who.

    Posted by Steve April 22, 09 02:37 PM
  1. Last week I caught my husband in a Facebook affair. It has absolutely devasted me, and our marriage is in jeopardy. It started on that ridiculous game "Farm Town", where you pretty much IM people from all around the world. Though this woman lives far away, the threat to our marriage is the broken trust. He has since closed his Facebook account and we will seek counseling, but don't kid yourselves into thinking that this is just harmless flirting. Anyone who takes a spouse away emotionally from the other spouse is a danger to the marriage, and any person involved in intimacy outside the marriage bonds is cheating.

    Posted by Suzanne Buck June 16, 09 09:14 PM
  1. She is out of line, and is justifying her behavior. She has no right to be defensive, or to compare her behavior to your (non) "spying." Been there, decided NOT to buy the t-shirt, and am presently extricating myself from my marriage to the man I thought was the love of my life. the mental gymnastics I engaged in to try to explain away his actions didn't hold a candle to the convoluted stories and accusations he spun to justify his behavior. Screw the "nice guy voice" and lay down the law. If she doesn't like it, see an attorney. And for Meredith--if it had been the **husband** alley-catting on FB, would you have told his wide to use her "nice GIRL voice?" Gag...

    Posted by Been There June 17, 09 10:31 PM
  1. Opionions are like ass holes every body has one. You should talk to your spouse before listening to other folks. You may get the information you seek, either to adjust course or continue with this realtionship. Welcome to the digital age!

    Posted by Fedor June 17, 09 10:36 PM
  1. I just discovered that my wife was also "cheating" on facebook .... I call it cheating because she was dishonest ... I was never comfortable with her having a facebook account and recently she always turned it off so I couldn't see it if I walked into the room, etc. Just recently, she had left it on and I found out she had been in contact with an old boyfriend ... she knows that I would not like this and still she had done it. A few weeks later, I mentioned non-chalantly that I wouldn't be happy if she had ever contacted any of her exes (I didn't even mention facebook) - her reply: "I would NEVER look them up on facebook"! I couldn't believe it ... she basically lied to my face (but we were talking on the phone, so I couldn't see her reaction). I just don't know what to do from here ... we have a young child at home .... but I feel so disrespected - she knew that I would not want her to do it, but she did .... if I was looking up porn on the computer she would go crazy, but at least I wouldn't know the women, but I don;t anyway out of respect for her .... so, I don't know what to do anymore ... I've lost all respect and trust for her, and I don't know how to continue on with my life ... I gave up everything and moved across the world, left my family, for her and this is what she does to me ..... I don't know how to go on ... I feel like crap ... she's is all I have in this country and now I feel I have no-one, only my little baby ....

    Posted by JT June 18, 09 03:00 PM
  1. Confront her. I bought a software and kept checking on her and i logged into her account 1 day and sent her friend a message. TA TA. her friend and her are both surprised and make themselves look really really stupid, thinking i dunno. and i kept monitoring her. until the point she lost her desire to use FB. She hasn't use if for a long time until recently on Happy Farm. but it's ok. at least i know she doesn't FB and MSN him anymore. My action has stopped "them" cos I made them look really dumb (especially the guy)...lol. See message #73 above.

    Posted by Daniel June 22, 09 11:44 AM
  1. There are no comments on here from the person doing the Facebook cheating, so here goes.

    I am a married woman who ran across an ex on FB and had innappropriate messages. No hookup, just messages. And I am no longer messaging the guy.

    I was unhappy in my marriage for years, disconnected, but unable to give a voice to my feelings. Now, my husband feels betrayed (understandable) and in the midst of all the catastrophe this has caused we have been talking more and trying to save our marriage. Whether it can be saved remains to be seen as he is very hurt and sometimes will get bogged sown in what happened. Mostly because I didn't tell him how I felt.

    I was thinking about leaving. A scary proposition for me, even though I was unhappy. But, I'm in therapy now and couples therapy is (hopefully) on the horizon. I'm trying to learn why I push away those I care about and why I haven't let him in emotionally. I should've done this (individual therapy) years ago, maybe I wouldn't have done the damage I have. Neither of us is completely blameless (there are always two sides --- he has done things that have hurt me, too) but this one is a really bad one. I admit, and I'm not big on copping to when I've screwed up... I usually have to be cornered first. Hopefully, we can repair our relationship and move on.

    My advice is to seek therapy, both partners individually as well as together, to see if there is anything left to salvage. If there is, try like hell. If not, move on. But, try first.

    Posted by Wendy July 7, 09 11:50 PM
  1. the continued chapter..

    She finally add me to her FACEBOOK last week. after I have invited since Feb when all those saga happened. Being entirely fearless to open up the TURF for your siginificant others means you have nothing to hide. By not doing so, OTOH, is where it will do the most damage. !!

    Posted by Daniel July 15, 09 09:48 AM
  1. I just stumbled onto this blog looking for a way to forget. My wife and I had only been married just less than a month when I finally pinned her down and insisted she change her status to "married" on Facebook and post some wedding pictures. She was always putting it off. After much dramatic needling, she explained that she had an ex-lover whom she didn't want to know about me. I was devastated, and she promised it was over. just a week later, she accidentally left her email logged on and I saw that she was indeed still communicating with this fellow in very inappropriate ways for a newly married woman. After confronting her about that, we went to counseling together, and we have been doing ok for about a month and a half now, and I think about her cheats every day.
    I have hacked, spied, keylogged and more before and since our reconciliation. I hate checking every on her every day. I love her so much, but I dream of recapturing the naive trust I possessed before everything went down. Every day I a just try to decide whether to leave or not. It is terrible. She also had a Facebook romance shortly before we were married.

    Posted by jake August 7, 09 06:10 PM
  1. This clearly to me is an emotional affair. Google that for more information. Whether it is facebook, co-worker or any other situation, when a spouse starts looking for attention somewhere else, there is likely something they are not getting from their relationship. BUT that is not your fault, it is theirs for not communicating what the need is, or not "over communicating" this need.
    If you truley want to save the relationship, print out the definition of an emotional affair, and hand it to them, and educate them on what they are doing. Believe it or not, some people don't realize it until it is too late.

    Posted by Cheryl August 15, 09 10:33 PM
  1. This happened to me. My wife was having a FB affair for over a month w/ a man in San Antonio Texas whom she knew from high school. We have been married for 12 years and have an 11yr old son. She was planning to meet up w/ him. I hacked into her yahoo account and have all the emails from the chats. I have the phone records from texts and phone calls. She would FB and text him literally minutes after we would "make love." She would send him sexy photos and make up sexual dreams about him... to encourage the sexting. I'm crushed. I'll never be the same person again.

    She lied and made me feel as though it was all my fault. I had been confronting her for weeks... I knew. It's impossible not to. It took hard proof for her to admit it. I have it... most of it. I'll never throw it away.
    We're working on it. We have a child... I still believe she is in damage control mode. I still don't trust her. She tries to show me how much she "loves" me through sex. I don't believe here... I'll never know the lie she's capable of living.
    People, if your spouse is on FB chatting for hours at a time... all the time, there is something going on. Trust me.. I've lived it. It hurts like you wouldn't believe but somehow you're going to need "hard" proof.

    I feel so disgusted and betrayed. It is all so ugly. We are adults...
    I'll never love her the same way again.

    Posted by al August 20, 09 11:18 AM
  1. I'm a wife and I HAD facecbook until my husband read an IM from someone who is a friend. For my part, the compliments given to me from a past friend were harmless, but once my husband read the IM's and voiced his anger at how he felt disrespected as a husband; I did see his point of view that the compliments that I was receiving from a past friend (note: this person was a close family friend) was inappropriate and disrespectful to my husband. I do see that there are dangers in facebook for married couples, especially if the spouse is seeking past BOYFRIENDS or past INTERESTS.
    I have since deleted my account because ultimately I love my husband and do not want this to become more of an issue in our marriage as it has already become.
    Wives, respect your husband enough to listen to him if he states that he is uncomfortable with your having a facebook account where you open yourself up to past boyfriends/relationship contacting you or you are tempted to contact them (reiteration: I was not on facebook catching up with old flames). It will only make your marriage stronger and hopefully your husband will see that you care and are devoted to only him.
    To the man who's wife was up late at night IM past flames: It is a tragedy that your wife is that sneaky and even went as far to sneak out and meet up with this person. It sounds like you are a devoted husband and you deserve the same respect.

    Posted by S.B August 25, 09 06:47 PM
  1. Just give me some truth.
    John Lennon

    Posted by Chicken Wing September 4, 09 11:26 PM
ABOUT LOVE LETTERS: Welcome to Love Letters, the place for love advice (giving and getting). Globe relationship columnist Meredith Goldstein and Boston.com readers are ready to take your letters and tell you what's what. Have a question? Click here to submit or email us at loveletters@boston.com.
Blogger Meredith Goldstein

Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.

Ask us a question