Playing With Fire
Direct Answers – Column for the week of October 21, 2002
I am a stay-at-home mom, 24, married to my husband, 26, for six years. He has a problem chatting with young girls online.
I have “caught” him numerous times, and it’s always the same thing. He’s sorry and says it’s only a game to him, but he continues to do it. He works with a high school program and knows these girls in real life. I’ve recorded his conversations, and they are very disturbing.
He likes the attention, and for some reason teenage girls are attracted to him, never mind he’s 10 years older and married with children. Recently I read a conversation in which he told a girl the only reason he’s married is because I got pregnant, which is true. He says we are best friends, and eventually we will “move on” when the time is right.
This was news to me. I confronted him, and he said he only said those things because he knew I was spying on him and wanted me to come forward. I don’t believe that. I don’t think he knew I read his messages. I believe that is the way he feels.
He tells me constantly he loves me and is never mean in any other way. He says it’s an escape for him. In a way I believe it, but I cannot forget what he said about our marriage. If that’s how he feels, why does he want to stay?
Jewell, when your husband said he wrote something provocative to make you come forward, it’s a little like saying he wanted a policeman to come forward so he began to speed. It doesn’t hold water.
The question is what is real and what is fantasy. Your husband is playing an escalating game with real people who are too young for him to be playing with. He hasn’t stopped because there aren’t escalating consequences.
He is casting his net wide, hitting on these girls, waiting for something to happen. He is taking a chance one of them will print out what he says and pass it around. Even more threatening, sooner or later he is going to find the one he cannot resist.
Meanwhile, the young girls get a chance to try out their sexuality on an adult male. For most it will just be practice. For one of them, it is likely to be the real thing. If you don’t present him with serious reasons for stopping, that is where his behavior is likely to lead.
Your husband is toying with the pin on a hand grenade. If you can’t get him to put it down, you need to get out of the blast zone.
Wayne & Tamara
Song And Dance
Why is sex so public? Why is it used as a marketing tool? I just don’t get it. I throw up at the sight and sound of this garbage. What happened to the good old days when sex was private, shared between two people, and never spoken about in public? I miss them, and I wasn’t even alive then.
Briana, human beings are built to respond rapidly to things involving fear, food, sex, approval, and authority. There are people, companies, and institutions who know this and stand to gain by pushing our buttons. They don’t care about us. They care about their own agenda.
Wisdom comes from understanding our own hot buttons and detaching ourselves from self-serving messages. Just because we live in a certain time doesn’t mean we can’t stand apart from that time.
Instead of reacting to every message and letting people push our buttons, we need to ask, Who will gain if I act on this message? Until we understand that, we are like a willow whipped by a wind stirred by others. After we understand that, we are like the sedate oak barely moved by even the strongest winds.
Wayne & Tamara