Dear Amy: I am newly married to a man I've been in a relationship with for three years. We have three children and we both work.
I understand that all of this can put a strain on our intimacy. I feel like he turns down my sexual advances frequently. I chalked it up to him being worn out from work, etc.
Trust has never been an issue. However, going on instinct, I checked his phone. His search history showed that he was paying for and had subscribed to webcam videos from a woman who is very wild-looking and is built nothing like me.
He has admitted his problem, apologized, and swore never to do that again, but I am having trust issues now.
I feel like he chose that over me. How can I get past this and be happy again?
Amy says: To paraphrase one of my favorite lines from poet Robert Frost, you can only get past this by going through it. And you can only do that with your husband by your side.
He violated your trust by paying a woman to simulate sex for him on a webcam. You violated his trust by catching him.
You seem to have discussed this episode, at least to the point where he quickly admitted to the impact of his choice. He obviously feels guilty. But frequently when trust is broken, couples issue their accusations, explanations and apologies very quickly and then slam the book closed, hoping to just move on. It is painful for two people who love each other to dwell on their broken trust. Suddenly, it feels as if the image you've had of yourselves and your relationship is completely flawed.
Your husband's sex habit in his virtual life might have created or exacerbated sexual dysfunction in his real life. Or sexual dysfunction or anxiety in his real life might have led him down this virtual path.
You two must talk about this, and you should talk about it until everything — all of your thoughts, fears and feelings — have been revealed.
You should both vow to be completely honest and nonjudgmental in discussing this. This would best be done with the guidance of a skilled counselor who could ideally urge you toward a compassionate understanding of your mutual needs and desires, and teach you how to talk about them.
Online dating caution
Dear Amy: Please do your research before suggesting that people try online dating. Have you not heard about catfishing and scams?
Sadly, I've been doing it for far more years than I care to admit, and I tell you that most men on these sites are FAR from "available and looking!"
Amy says: I have used online matching. Two of my five daughters met their partners through online matching.
According to a Pew Research study published last year, an estimated 33% of American adults say they have used a dating app, while one in 10 have met their spouses or committed partners online, either through matching services or social media.
The same study also points out that people do NOT have a universally good experience meeting potential partners this way: Six in 10 female users ages 18 to 34 say someone on a dating site or app continued to contact them after they said they were not interested, while 57% report that another user has sent them a sexually explicit message or image they didn't ask for.
As with any product, anyone using online matching should do their due diligence.
And, as with any other blind dating situation, people connecting online and meeting in person for the first time should take great care.
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