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Old 29th October 2012, 02:13 PM   #1
kristenerikson
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Question Husband's Online Relationship-How Do I Cope?

So I just found out that my husband, I'll call him John, has an online relationship with another woman, and he loves her...I need some advice on how to cope with this. We have been together for 12 years and love each other very much. I won't go into every little detail, but due to my personal issues with depression/anxiety, things started going downhill about 4 years ago. I became distant (I can see now - didn't realize then) and around 1 1/2 years ago John felt emotionally cut off. He really believed I did not much care about our relationship, and eventually was convinced that I must have someone else, though I denied it (I honestly have not given another man a second look or thought since I met John.) He is a strong man but needed some support. He wasn't getting it from me, and so he turned to his online community. About a year ago a relationship began that grew into more than simple friendship, and he told me about it this past weekend. He is so ashamed and feels terrible about letting his guard down, letting this happen and hurting me, and I am, naturally, devastated. She is in another country far away with no passport, and he has no passport either so it's not been an 'in person' thing, but he does love her, I can see that, and he told me she says he's the "love of her life." We are in the process of rebuilding our formerly very close relationship and strong connection. I pray to God I won't mess that up. The problem is this: he can't just discontinue the relationship. He is a very good man, very empathetic, and has a huge heart. This woman was in an abusive marriage and had no one to turn to...until she connected with John. He helped her through that, and after a terrible period of time she left her husband, leaving behind her (almost grown) children. She has no other relationship, no other support besides John. She is alone, and he is her lifeline. He said she knows about me and feels terrible and says she is sorry, but she is so afraid of losing him because he's all she has. He told me he will not leave me, does not want to leave me, that he will be here for me and work with me on rebuilding the closeness we used to share. This relationship doesn't really take his time or attention away from me, and I know he has enough love in his heart for the whole world. He is a special person in that way. He is loving and still very attracted to me (and I to him!) For a long time he's been trying to keep it from getting any more involved, but he says it would be cruel to just abandon her - and the thing is, I agree. I was once in her position. I was all alone, with no one to turn to, and John was my lifeline. I do not want to think about what would have happened to me if I hadn't had his support, and I do not wish that on any other person either. And because he loves her, I just have to love and care about her too - I can't help it. He says he is going to really encourage her to grow, to find someone she can have in real life, but I know she really hopes he will leave me for her. And of course she does - I completely understand how any woman would fall in love with him, given the chance. If he could go back he'd be more careful and not get into this predicament, but here we are, in an impossible situation. I feel sick about all these months of not knowing - of him having this separate life in a way - but I understand where he was coming from, that I am in part responsible for him being in that vulnerable state, and I forgive him. My problem is that, even taking all of the above into consideration, I still feel intensely jealous! I feel threatened, even though he has reassured me and I do believe him. Her name just keeps going through my head. I catch myself thinking bad thoughts about her, this woman who is hurting so badly and does not have what I have. I don't want to be that way. In my heart, if I were face to face with her, I would want to give her a big hug and cry with her. Does anyone have any thoughts or advice on how I can deal with this situation, how I can help myself to feel better, calm down and move forward?
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