A few months ago I received a Facebook message from a man. Attached in his message were letters that my husband had been writing to his girlfriend. Apparently my husband and his girlfriend both work out at the same gym.
They started innocently talking and it ended up being an emotional affair. My husband and I had become stagnant in our relationship.
What with working full-time, trying to keep the house under control with little kids I definitely took him for granted.
He was seeking attention elsewhere and found it in her. She is years younger also.
The boyfriend and I chatted about the situation here and there, and then finally I decided to block him so there would be no more contact. He was still digging into the affair and spilling details to me. And I felt that to truly move on, I had to block him.
My question is, should I keep him blocked? I sometimes feel he is my only window to find out if my husband and his girlfriend start talking again. My husband had told me they didn't talk and he didn't work out with or near her anymore.
I feel as though this emotional thing they had going on was more hurtful than if it had been physical.
I don't want to be obsessive over it but feel like I will have someone on my side if I unblock the boyfriend.
Mary replies: You have been very strong and decisive in dealing with this. You discovered the emotional affair, confronted your husband, and then decided to get on with your life.
You accepted what your husband told you in that he didn't talk or work out with this girl anymore. Now all gyms are closed and so they no longer meet, but the time will come when the gyms will be open again, which is perhaps why you are anxious about all of this.
For those readers who do not use Facebook, when you block somebody they can no longer contact you and they cannot see what you post on your Facebook feed. You have taken the step to block him so he can no longer discuss the situation that you both found yourself in.
I think this is a really positive step, and if you unblock him you will be going backwards, not forwards.
But also looking forward, you and your husband have to take a look at the reasons why he felt the need to bond with somebody else. You have already given me lots of factors - both working outside the home, small children, and taking each other for granted. If you are both working from home during Covid-19 then you are probably feeling under more strain than usual. You then have to see what you can both do to change things, and even little adjustments to the way you interact can make a huge difference. The first one should be taking some time together, when the children are asleep, to actually talk. Turn off the TV and your phones for a half an hour, and just talk.
A good way to start is for each of you to talk about two different things that made you feel good on that particular day.
It may just be a hug from a child or it may be a successful phone call regarding work. It doesn't matter - the object is to encourage positivity in what is an incredibly stressful time for everybody.
Next you can ask what would help in making each other feel special, therefore not being taken for granted. It is amazing how even a small gesture, such as the offer of a cup of tea, a thank you or a smile, can have a great effect.
During the pandemic you can still have a date night.
If funds stretch to it, get a takeaway of your favourite food, both of you get dressed as if you were going to a very nice restaurant for a special occasion, put on some music and chat while you eat. If money is tight instead of ordering in then one of you prepare the starter/dessert and the other the main course. You haven't mentioned your sex life but it would be a good idea to check with each other as to how your needs are being met.
It is almost inevitable that one of you has a lower libido than the other, so perhaps some sort of compromise could be reached regarding frequency if that is an issue for either of you.
Now may be the time to inject a little variety into your lovemaking. Something as simple as a change of venue - it doesn't always have to be the bedroom - or having a shower together (if there is room in the shower!) beforehand can help a lot.
So my advice to you is to continue to block the girl's boyfriend, because if you unblock him it will only have a negative effect on you and consequently on your relationship.
Resolve instead to give all the positive energy you can muster to nurturing your marriage.
You can contact Mary O'Conor anonymously by visiting www.dearmary.ie or email her at email@example.com or write c/o 27-32 Talbot St, Dublin 1. All correspondence will be treated in confidence. Mary O'Conor regrets that she is unable to answer any questions privately
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