My husband, while out of town, slept with someone, and upon returning started writing very graphic e-mails to the other woman. I found out, and he says he's sorry but it's my fault. We have intimacy in our marriage, but not as much as before our children arrived. He said he enjoyed the excitement he got from the e-mails but has stopped writing the other woman.

I think it's unfair of him to blame me for his indiscretions. I want to get by this, forgive him and move on, but I find myself turning into a super sleuth, checking behind him, and not really believing anything he says.

How do people get by this difficult point in their lives and go on to have good, loving relationships?


They find a way to understand each other. And since blaming and spying represent each of your most recent actions in response to this situation, I think it's safe to say that if empathy is north, you're both heading south.

What your husband did was wrong, thoughtless, devastating - and the only conscionable way for him to greet your discovery was with abject remorse. Oops.

Yet even the most thoughtless and devastating mistakes can arise from a legitimate grievance. While it sounds like he's using his grievance to dodge responsibility - arguably a worse transgression than the infidelity itself - it is entirely possible that, once you scrape away all the wretchedness, he has grounds to feel neglected.

You don't say whether he tried to address the intimacy problem with you before he took it elsewhere, or whether you listened or brushed him off. He'd still have been wrong, but that would mitigate things.

Intimacy, both physical and non-, is often nudged aside by the daily drain of living. With small children present, it's often wives who do the nudging. And often husbands who get nudged away.

It is, of course, also possible that your husband is not neglected but instead merely selfish and opportunistic.

However, jumping to this conclusion, instead of openly discussing your way to a mutual conclusion with your husband, would rule out empathy and therefore kill any hope of a true reconciliation. In fact, the only way you can find out for sure whether he's remorseless and untrustworthy isn't by snooping to prove he is; it's by considering maybe he isn't.

From both of your actions, it appears you both want to be heard. The best way to get that started is for you to take the counterintuitive, and therefore brave, step of letting him know you're ready to listen. Then you can take the next step toward a restored relationship - or toward recognizing that one might not be possible - by seeing if he listens, too.