Dear Coleen: My hubby sent loads of intimate emails to my best friend

Dear Coleen

I am a married woman in my 30s with two young children. Recently, I found a load of emails on a shared computer that my husband had exchanged with my best friend.

I suppose deep down I’d felt uneasy for some time that he was hiding something, which is why I looked. The emails were over-friendly, intimate in some cases and there were loads of them going back months.

I’ve known this friend for several years and we see her and her husband and kids all the time. We’ve even been on a family camping trip with them.

I confronted my husband with what I’d found and, at first, he tried to make out I was crazy and the emails were just friendly banter. But he’s since admitted he’d become too close to her and that they’d met for coffee and dog walks, but that nothing physical had ever happened.

I also confronted my friend, who was in floods of tears, insisting nothing happened and begging for things to go back to “normal”. She said her husband was aware and also hopes we can all still be friends.

I feel so angry, hurt and betrayed (not to mention stupid) and don’t see how it’s possible to turn back the clock. I’d love your opinion.

Coleen says

Of course you feel all those things. It’s an emotional affair and your husband was intimate with another woman, even if nothing physical happened.

To know he was sharing things with her, confiding in her, caring about her and in contact with her behind your back is so hurtful. It is cheating. They’ve been dishonest, broken trust, ruined friendships and I think it’s pretty impossible to come back from in terms of remaining friends. A line has been crossed.

What would have happened if you hadn’t found these emails and confronted them? Would they have carried on in secret or would things have become physical? Emotional affairs often lead to sexual affairs, although not always.

If you want to repair your marriage, my advice would be to accept the friendship with this couple is over and focus on your relationship.

Your husband needs to be honest about why he got close to this woman and what he’s not getting from your relationship. It might be beneficial to explore this in counselling together. It’s going to take time and a lot of talking to rebuild trust, but it is possible to come through it and move on.

Don't miss the latest news from around Scotland and beyond - Sign up to our daily newsletter here.