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Sexy texting and snooping shake marriage

DEAR AMY: I am a stay-at-home dad who has been married for nine years. My wife and I have three children. Recently and impulsively, I checked her text messages. I found that she was having a conversation with a man that I felt crossed the line. The subject matter was personal and sexual. It seemed to be one sided and initiated by my wife. She told me he was a co-worker and that they have been talking and communicating via texts for months. She stressed that she never cheated on me, but only vented her frustrations to him and on two occasions it veered into the inappropriate stuff I saw. She said she wanted to talk to someone who was "neutral." We are going through financial issues and may lose our house. She feels I have not done enough to help out. I agree, but I told her I had concerns that she was so open about this personal matter with him. She agreed to stop all communication with him. I agreed not to go through her phone again. Recently I was getting a contact number from her phone and noticed she still has his number in her phone, only now it is listed under another person's name. My wife said she wanted to save his number just in case she needed it and didn't want me to get upset so she changed the name it was listed under. She said she has not communicated with him since breaking it off. How concerned should I be? Have I overreacted? My wife is angry because she believes I violated her privacy. --Concerned

DEAR CONCERNED: You have violated your wife's privacy. She also has violated yours. Her choice to share marital frustrations with another man places him toward the center of your relationship. This isn't fair to you. Your diving into her phone is pretty sad, even if it turned out to be justified. I understand your wife's impulse to discuss your problems with a "neutral" person. That neutral party should be a marriage counselor -- and the conversation should include you.


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