With the advent of email, chat rooms, and other online technology, it is easier than ever for a married person to engage in a private, often intimate, relationship outside of their marriage. In the hothouse of secrecy, seduction can flourish.
When Lynn met Bill in a chat room they hit it off right away. His clever little comebacks and talent for conversation impressed Lynn and kept her coming back for more. Over time they decided to exchange photos. Sexual innuendo crept into their e-mails. A terrible fight with her husband, Anthony, gave Lynn the excuse she needed to finally meet Bill face to face. While Bill wasn’t quite as she had imagined, their relationship continued, resulting in adultery.
It started out as just a friendship. A loving wife and mother of three, Lynn had no intention of getting mired in an adulterous relationship. Do you know how to tell if your email habits are leading you somewhere you don’t want to go?
Inbox infidelity self-test
If your husband were to read all of your e-mails, or instant messages, or text messages, how would he react? Is your communication with the opposite sex completely aboveboard? If you gave your husband access to your private e-mail account would he read anything in there that would cause you to feel embarrassed or defensive?
Is there a platonic friendship that has slowly become something more? Take a minute to ask yourself the four questions below.
- Do you check your e-mail compulsively, hoping to see his name in the inbox?
- Do you often laugh out loud at his clever comments? Blush when he throws a little flattery your way? Sigh with contentment when he shares his heart with you?
- Have you ever gotten up at night to check your e-mail and correspond with this person?
- Do you glance around to make sure no one is watching while you read e-mails from him?
If you’ve answered yes to some of those questions, it may be time to make some changes.
1. Discontinue the “friendship” and change your e-mail account immediately. In a polite, yet firm email, let this man know that the relationship is over. Although this may seem like a drastic step (especially if the friendship hasn’t resulted in a sexual relationship — yet) it’s necessary.
Once you’ve written the email, it’s time to change your email account. There is no excuse that for not doing this. It will be worth the time-consuming process of giving out your new e-mail address to those who need it. Creating a new account and discontinuing the old ensures that at least this form of communication is cut off.
2. Bring more accountability into your life. The best way to eradicate dysfunctional and destructive behavior is to bring it out in the open. Remember, it’s only as issues are brought into God’s light that healing can come. Now is the time to share your struggle with others. Find a trusted older friend (of the same sex) in your church whom you can confide in, or ask your pastor and his wife for counsel.
3. Turn your attention back home. Make a concerted effort to turn your heart, mind, and body back toward your husband once more. Do your best to reconnect with your mate emotionally and sexually. At the same time, resist the urge to relive the flattering and exciting conversations that you once engaged in with this other man.
It’s important to note; remembering is a choice. You can choose to deny yourself the pleasure of recalling those electrified or intimate email exchanges. Deliberately put your focus back on your husband, the man you would have followed to the moon before the wedding.
Infidelity begins as a thought long before it becomes an action. Do not let yourself believe the lie that it’s not important or that because nothing has happened yet, nothing will. The time to deal with infidelity is before something happens. Marriage is far too important to play games with.
Paula Friedrichsen has been speaking at women’s retreats and church conferences regionally, as well as nationally, for years. She is a member of Church on the Mountain in Crowley Lake, California, where she serves as Communications Coordinator.
Paula began writing professionally in 2004, and saw her first book, The Man You Always Wanted is the One You Already Have, (Multnomah, 2007). She also writes magazine and newspaper articles, as well as book reviews.
The heartbeat of Paula’s ministry is to encourage believers in a deeper and more intimate relationship with Christ. Whether she’s talking about marriage, joy, abundant life, or even how to thrive in today’s faltering economy—the sub-theme of every message is “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
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