"Hey, can I look at your computer for a sec?" she asked her husband, Paul Rothrock, a 30-year-old product-support representative for a social-media ad company. He was in the living room, on his laptop, and his reaction stunned her. "No!" he hissed, pulling the computer to his chest.
Confused, she asked him again, and he became even more agitated. "You are not looking at this!" he insisted, gripping the computer tightly.
That was when Ms. Rothrock realized what was wrong.
There are few moments more painful than the disclosure of an extramarital affair, an event that provokes stress and anger in both the betrayer and betrayed. What each spouse does and says in the aftermath will reverberate a long time. It is critical to stay calm, counselors say. The realization "felt like being punched in the chest," Ms. Rothrock recalls, of the moment her husband wouldn't surrender his laptop. Her training as a mental-health crisis counselor served her well when, as calmly as she could, she told her husband to hand over his computer—and his phone—or they were "done."
Counselors say it is possible to repair a relationship after infidelity, but only if both parties are willing to work hard and honestly acknowledge shortcomings in the relationship and in themselves.
...Mr. Rothrock's affair took place by video chat and other electronic means, but it was no less sexual or emotional, he says.
I found this WSJ article on rebuilding a marriage after an affair to be an interesting read, but I was a bit surprised that the reporter should have built a whole piece about infidelity around one couple dealing with virtual cheating. Although any kind of betrayal in a marriage is damaging, the nature of physical consummation seems to indicate that an affair that involves, you know, physically cheating on your spouse might be more sexual than having a virtual affair, if not more emotional.