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by Abigail Van Buren

Wife Is Betrayed by Man's Repeated Internet Infidelity

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have been married for many years. We have three happy, successful children and a good life together. I love him dearly.

I recently discovered that he had been spending a lot of time in erotic online chat rooms. He had hundreds of contacts he was speaking with regularly for pleasure. It had escalated to the point that he would have "conversations" with them on the phone or watch them on a webcam.

After I caught him, he promised to stop. I caught him again and threatened to leave him. He swore that he had never met any of these people and that he had used a fictitious name. He's now getting counseling and expects me to get beyond it. I am trying, but I feel betrayed. I feel as though he was unfaithful.

I am sure you have other readers out there who have experienced Internet infidelity. Do you consider it cheating if they never actually physically meet the people they talk to? I have no one to discuss this with and would appreciate some input. -- JUST PLAIN SAD IN MAINE

DEAR JUST PLAIN SAD: Yes, I do consider it a form of cheating. And it would be in your interest to get to the bottom of why this happened before you "get beyond it."

You're feeling sad because you were betrayed. And the fact that you have no one to discuss it with makes me sad. That's why I'm advising you that you could also benefit from counseling, and I recommend that you seek a referral right away.