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Hot mail

Posted by Adrienne. Comments (7).

Something happened this morning that has distracted me from everything else I was talking about in this blog. Maybe I’m blowing it all out of proportion. But I’m scared, and I need advice.

I got up before the rest of my family to check lab results on one of my patients. The first warning sign was the half-full coffee mug on my desk. I should say “our” desk. Our apartment is so small my husband and I have to share one, and we both use the old desktop computer there. But he — let’s call him “Charlie ” — is extremely tidy, so it usually works OK.

Then as soon as I pulled out the keyboard tray, the machine hummed out of its hibernation. Charlie had stayed working late when I went to sleep, and evidently he had gone to bed thinking the computer was off. The screen lit up to reveal a Hotmail account I didn’t even know he had. And the message in the center of the screen read, “Goodnight, Bigbear.”

For a moment, I tried to believe this message was only internet flotsam that had drifted across the screen before Charlie went to bed. But when I checked the history window in the browser, I found that Charlie had been on Hotmail all night, apparently sending and receiving message after message.

With Charlie still asleep and spiders creeping up my spine, I hit the “back” button. I got a password request. I tried the one Charlie uses for Amazon and similar services. Nothing. Almost giving up, I typed “connect.” It’s a word Charlie throws around a lot, not in reference to computers, but people, as in “Honey, please connect with me a moment.”

I got in.

There was an entire screen of messages from 2dance and, except for several obvious pieces of spam, no messages from anyone else. I hunted through them, more and more frantically, reconstructing the history of their correspondence.

Bigbear: “I’ve never responded to one of these before, but this time I couldn’t resist…. I love that you dance and that you teach others, that you read poetry to children, that you crossed the Atlantic by ship… ”

2dance: “Where are you? Is it nighttime there? You don’t tell me much, but I see you in my mind. On your head is a fedora. You stand beneath a streetlamp, to light a cigarette. Then fog comes in.”

There were dozens more like that, exchanged over the past couple of weeks. I wanted to wake Charlie up right away, to make him explain, to scream, to scratch his face, to throw this coffee mug at his sleeping head. But a voice inside me said that nothing here was a surprise, that the text in front of me only confirmed what I’d known since I was a teenager.

That sooner or later, in one way or another, all marriages fail.

What should I do?

7 Responses to “Hot mail”

  1. JC

    I would suggest the first thing you do is allow yourself time to calm yourself. Screaming t him now will only make matter worse. Evaluate what you actually know about the situation, and determine what your mind is filling in. For instance it doesn’t sound as if he has even sent this person a picture yet so there may be nothing there more than an online friendship.

    Also, do not assume that your marriage as failed that is only setting yourself up for defeat. You will need to confront him but when you do be prepared for some feelings from him which will be related to his perception of an invasion of privacy.

    Use “I” statements, such as “when I read this I felt X” not ” when you wrote this you made me feel X” Listen to his explanntions as calmly as you can. If you need to take a break to let your emotions cool down, do it.

    Two final things – therapists are your friends, find a good one and ask Charlie to go with you and check out the book Non Violent Communication, it is beneficial for confonting others with deep emotional topics such as this.

  2. Jean

    Dear Adrienne,

    I think you should sit down and talk with your husband. Next, run, don’t walk to find a good marriage therapist. Ask friends for recommendations.

  3. Jan Leuin

    People who always put away their coffee cups but don’t log out of their account and leave the computer on at some level must want to be caught. You really need to talk to him.

  4. Frau

    Agree with Jan. He wants some kind of resolution to a dissonance he’s been feeling.

  5. Caroline Postlethwaite

    My husband & I had a lot of problems in our marriage & Dr Greg Baer & http://www.reallove.com helped us a lot.

    These things happen when we don’t feel loved. When we don’t feel loved we look for love in any way we can because we feel alone.

    My husband & I turned our marriage around. It is possible. A marriage can get stronger through something like this.You just need a little will & help, the right help.However it is a warning sign that shows you need to do things differently.

    I have now learnt a lot of new skills in the loving department. The truth was most of the time I was controlling my husband out of fear not love. Many of us do this & we need to learn how to love better. It really helps if we are loved whilst we learn to become more loving.

    Have a look at the site & if you can, get some personal help as well as reading Dr Baer’s books & I promise you miracles can happen. I have experienced one myself! It takes commitment but it’s all worth it.It takes time to change the habits of a lifetime but wow can life feel good if we do.

    Please contact me if I can help you at all.

    • Adrienne

      What do you mean by controlling? Now that I’ve calmed down, I actually think Charlie and I probably don’t have a problem. I think I over reacted to this email correspondence I came across, which really is his business and not mine.

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