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Alicia_MSW
Alicia_MSW, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 554
Experience:  Specializing in mental health counseling
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I have recently become a victim of separation. My husband having a cyber affair through a

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I have recently become a victim of separation. My husband having a cyber affair through a poker game whom he is in love with and known for six months. We were happily married for almost 25 years. Although I kicked him out twice in 6 weeks I am wreck and feel guilty. It is through a poker game that he plays on and has become addicted to the game over the last 18months. Luckily the gambling does not involve real money. He then was chatting on her facebook profile letting each other know how much in love they are. Please help me I want him back to his old self where we were happily married. Desperate
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Alicia_MSW replied 2 years ago.
Hello,

I'm Alicia, I'm happy to help you today. I'd like a bit more information before I provide my response, if you don't mind, because I want to make sure I understand your question. Your found out that your husband was having an online affair with someone he plays poker with on Facebook? How did you find out that he was chatting with her on Facebook and saying that he is in love with her? What did he say when you confronted him about this, how did he respond? Do you get the sense that he wants to work things out with you? Thanks for any additional information. I will respond as soon as I hear from you.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi Alicia, I caught my husband chatting on her profile on facebook. At that time he was not on poker. I become suspicious and my husband did not log off. I went to messages on his profile and discovered of how much they loved each other I mean very strong romantic messaging. That night I kicked him out. A week later he said he was sorry and could not explain as to why he did it. He wants to save our 24.5 years marriage. By the way the female whom he is in love with is 25. My husband's age is 51. I took him back after the separation and everything was excellent but I still had my doubts. During the course of 5 weeks when he came back, he was still chatting with her romantically, continued playing facebook poker and he made out that he had no contact with her. I noticed he was carrying the mobile phone alot with him as he usually doesn't like carrying it around and when I turned his phone on she sent a text of how much she loved him. I asked him why he was doing this too me and that I needed to know the honest truth. He said that is very much in love with me but also with the cyber fantasy woman that he does not want to let go of.
Expert:  Alicia_MSW replied 2 years ago.
Thanks for the additional information and I'm so sorry to hear about this situation. Even though it happened on Facebook, an online affair is still cheating - although some people do not consider it to be such. However, even though there were some strong romantic messages, the problem with internet cheating is that there's so much room for fantasy and imagination - things that don't actually involve reality at all. So it's much easier for people to come across to others as something they're not, and it makes the whole situation that much more alluring. However, the positive side of this is that there's no basis in "actual" reality. By that, I am assuming they haven't met and have not made plans to do so. We don't know, for example, if she is who she says she is, and he might be simply drawn to the mental image of her (even if she has posted pictures - who knows if they are really of her?) as a form of escapism. I would not take him saying that he loves her as a sign of a serious emotional connection, but more of a sign of a deluded fantasy life.

There's a two-fold issue here. One is the internet gambling addiction, and the other is the "addiction" to this fantasy woman. The two seem to be feeding off of each other - in that he's playing poker as a way not only to gamble but of interacting with her.

I think you were very smart to lay down the law and kick him out - this shows him that you are serious and you're not going to tolerate this type of behavior. The thing is, he has to make a commitment to get help for the poker/fantasy woman addiction, and he has to make a promise to you to stop interacting with her if you are to repair your relationship. Their emotional affair (regardless of how silly or imaginary it may seem) is still hurting you and your relationship. Since you have such a long history together, and because nothing has happened between them in person, I do think that you can work this out, as long as you are both on the same page. Building the level of intimacy between the two of you is a step in the right direction.

One - he has to be completely honest with you, like an open book. You need to rebuild your trust in him, so he needs to a) promise to stop the poker and contact with this woman b) spend more time with you and c)get help for the gambling addiction. You might want to suggest Gambler's Anonymous (if he wants to repair your relationship, he has to commit to getting help). You can refer him to this website:
http://www.gansw.org.au/

Two - you might want to consider seeing a couples counselor. (At the very least, you might want to see a counselor on your own to discuss and process your feelings about what's happened.) This way, you can talk about what has happened with each other, in the presence of a neutral third party who can act as a mediator and suggest things that you both can do to get your relationship on the right path.

If you need help finding a counselor, you can search this website for someone in your area:
http://www.aarc.org.au/

You might find this article helpful:
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/resolution-not-conflict/201111/recovery-affair
Although it is geared toward affairs that occur "in person", I believe the information will also be useful for you in this situation.

I hope that helps. Please let me know if you need additional assistance.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I've got three children although grown up they are all living at home. This affair started while he was using my sons facebook account pretending to be him. The children are aware of the whole situation. He was chatting under my sons profile and then openly admitted that he was using a friend's profile name, and told her of his age and that he was divorced for quite some time and did not have any children. I had previously offered the counselling and he told me that he didn't require it. Today my brother logged on the poker game and my husband and his fantasy girlfriend were both on it blowing each other kisses and chatting to each other. My husband did give me his password XXXXX check on him about a month ago. He changed his password XXXXX day after he left again. How long can I give him, I have a mortgage and worried about the children and my own sanity. For now I am not making any contact with him to give him some space.
Expert:  Alicia_MSW replied 2 years ago.
It's difficult if he's not willing to go to counseling. You might want to see someone on your own, just so you have support and someone to talk to about this. I think counseling is something that is necessary for him - or there's a high chance that he's going to continue and/or revert to his old behaviors. It's not fair of him to expect that you're going to stick around while he continues to engage in contact with this woman and essentially, continues the affair. He's not giving you any reason to trust him or to think that he wants to move forward by changing his password XXXXX continuing to talk to her. He has to decide what the priority is in his life - you and his family or this imaginary woman. It's not fair to you and it's not fair to your children, even if they are grown, it's not a good example to set by any means. I think you are smart to avoid contact with him for now. If I were you, I would say that you've already given him enough time to stop this nonsense - and you say it's still going on after five weeks. You can't drag him to therapy or to Gambler's Anonymous, but I think you need to put your foot down and tell him it's time to stop and get help - or it's time for you to leave. I realize there are practical considerations such as your mortgage and other issues, but he needs to realize the severity of the situation and make some changes, and soon. Not to sound harsh, but it seems that the only thing that is working with him is when you put your foot down, and I think that's what you need to do in this situation - for your own mental health and sanity.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I'm glad that I'm on the right step. I have given him the options as described above but how long one must wait. I noticed that when he collected his belongings he was extremely down and told me that he loved me gave me a strong hug but could not look at me in the eyes. He handed the keys over and left without acknowledging the children at all.
Expert:  Alicia_MSW replied 2 years ago.
I think you're definitely taking the right steps, to be honest with you. It's not easy by any means, but you are doing a good job. I think he might have a real problem, based on what you've said. It's the same with any addiction - (the gambling, the internet addiction) - he might actually not be able to control his behavior without professional help, even if he wants to. Something needs to give, so to speak, to get him to realize the need for help. You know, sometimes people need to hit rock bottom and have everything fall out from under them in order to realize the severity of the situation and the impact of their behaviors on others. So I think it's not a matter of you waiting any more - it's a matter of letting him know that you think he needs help and it's a requirement (if you want to put it so strongly) of your agreeing to stay in the marriage. Because it just simply cannot go on the way it's been going - he needs to cut off the "imaginary" woman and let go of the fantasy and start rooting himself in reality again - committing himself to you and his family. If he truly loves you (and I believe that he does based on what you've been saying) then he will agree with you and agree that you and his family (and not the Facebook woman) should be his first priority right now. Good luck - let me know if you need additional assistance.
Alicia_MSW, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 554
Experience: Specializing in mental health counseling
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