Dear Coleen: Am I cheating on husband by secretly speaking to other guy online?

Dear Coleen

I'm married with three young children and have been with my partner for nine years. About 18 months ago, I started chatting to a guy online occasionally to pass the time when I was up late with my baby.

But now I talk to him every day and it's starting to feel like I know him better than my partner – and I'm certainly more connected to him.

Lately, the conversations have become deeper and more intimate, which I know is a huge red flag – but I've come to rely on this guy a lot and can't seem to stop myself.

I have admitted to my partner that I chat to "people" I've made friends with online but he doesn't know it's just one guy or how long we've been talking.

I've never met him in person but I know he's single and divorced. Please help me get some perspective – is this situation acceptable and innocent?

I've started to feel guilty about it and I do go to great lengths to hide it from my husband, so I do it late at night when he's asleep. But then I keep telling myself that I've actually done nothing wrong.

Coleen says

You've 100 per cent done something wrong as far as your relationship goes. In my book, it is cheating. Just because you haven't met in person or had sex, you're really getting to know this guy, having intimate conversations with him and hiding it from your husband.

It's become an emotional affair, which means there's something lacking for you within your marriage. At home, maybe you feel like your role is wife and mother and you've lost yourself somewhere along the line.

This guy has come along and made you feel interesting and attractive. I get it because I was in this situation years ago but, if you carry on, it'll only lead to heartache further down the road.

If you do love your husband and want the marriage to work, you need to stop chatting to this man and focus on what's going to make your relationship better. Tell your husband how you feel about yourself and what you really need from the relationship.

You also need to block this guy, which I know is hard, but do it if you want to save the marriage because this emotional attachment is damaging it. Trust me, your husband will find out at some point.

And if you're in any doubt about whether it's wrong or not, put yourself in his shoes – how would you feel if he'd been speaking to another woman online for 18 months and had hidden it from you? That’s your answer.

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