01/22/2015 05:27 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Husband Made Ashley Madison Account, What Do I Do?


Reader Blindsided writes,

I recently found out my husband created a free profile on Ashley Madison. He said he never met anyone -- never even looked. I don't believe he met anyone, but I have a hard time believing that he didn't look. He said he created the profile to spite me after an argument. He had apologized profusely and we are seeing a marriage counselor this evening. But I am terrified. I am so hurt. I feel like he has already cheated. I've told him how I feel and he is trying to repair the damage, but I don't know how I can get past this. We've been married for 3 and 1/2 years, together for eight years, and have an 18-month-old son. I don't want our son growing up in separate homes. He deserves to have his parents together and in love. I want to fix things with my husband, but I don't know how to fix something that I didn't realize was broken. This totally blindsided me.

innocent or not?

Dear Blindsided,

I totally understand. If I found out that my husband had an Ashley Madison account (it's a site where married people try to meet each other for affairs, for you innocents), I would throw his laptop out the window. (Note: I am not condoning violence. Close out of the email you were going to send me, readers who hate hyperbole). Here are the main issues:

1. Is he lying and he really did look? Further: does it matter?

I'm with you, I bet he looked. I mean, if it were me, I would have looked. He made the account already. How could he not be curious? So, let's say he looked. What difference does it make?  I think all it shows is he's human. I am super curious about Ashley Madison since reading Marriage Confidential: Love in the Post-Romantic Age, where the author, Pamela Haag, made an account (and told her husband about it) in order to research her book, which by the way, is fascinating, and is about why everyone seems so bored and dissatisfied in their marriages, and how to stop your marriage from sucking so much.

2. Your husband obviously has passive aggressive tendencies.

Instead of telling you how mad he was, he went and made a cheating online account to spite you. This in and of itself speaks to a communication problem in the marriage. He probably grew up in a household where conflict was indirect and passive aggressive, not out in the open. So now he does the same thing.

3. I bet there are some other issues going on here too, in regards to your sex life and romantic life.

He's mad at you and wants to spite you, so why didn't he just spend $1,000 on a flatscreen TV, or go out drinking with his friends till 2:00 a.m. and not answer your texts, or work late on purpose for a week, letting you do bathtime and bedtime alone? I mean, if he wants to be passive aggressive, there are so many options. But he picked to set up an account on an online service for cheating spouses. Something tells me he is dissatisfied with your sex life or love life and has a fantasy where some other woman appreciates him (reads: sleeps with him) more than you do. This should be explored, possibly with some objective introspection. You have a toddler, so it's tough to spend any time together. But how is the marriage really going? Probably not awesome. Take some time to write down the top ten things you do that hurt your marriage.  Be objective.  Bring the list in to the counselor and use it as a starting point for a discussion.  You will not regret taking stock of yourself in this way.  It can be game changing for the relationship.

4. Look at this as an opportunity.

You are starting counseling now, and you probably needed it for a while. Whatever issues were being pushed under the rug are now out in the open, or at least they will be as marital counseling progresses. Consider this a blessing in disguise, as it's forcing you to focus on the issues in the marriage and work through them, directly and without passive aggression.  You're right, your son deserves to grow up in a happy home, and counseling and working on your long standing issues will only help you get there.

Thanks for writing in, good luck in counseling, and keep me updated.  Till we meet again, I remain, The Blogapist Who, If This Was a Lifetime Movie, Would Find an Ashley Madison Account on My Husband's Computer This Very Evening, In An Ironic Twist Augured by My Foreshadowing In Paragraph One.

Visit Dr. Rodman at Dr. Psych Mom for more about marriage and relationships, or on Facebook or Twitter@DrPsychMom.