Ask Alma: My wife’s emailing an old boyfriend in jail


Dear Alma,

I found e-mails my wife has been writing to an old boyfriend who’s now in jail. He will be locked up for a long, long time. At first I wasn’t all that concerned, but now she’s sending him pictures. I found out, because I read her e-mail when she’s not home. I saw where she told him, “I can’t wait to get your letters” and “I wonder if you’re looking at my pictures and thinking about me.” Even though this man is in jail, it still affects me just as if she was writing to someone out in the streets. Am I being petty, or am I right in thinking that she is disrespecting me? I love my wife, but this really makes me wonder.

— Mr. Wondering

Dear Mr. Wondering,

And wonder you should, but there’s more than a few apps on disloyalty downloaded on your cell phone. Why are you checking your wife’s e-mail when she’s not home? After addressing that, you can move on to your issue with the inmate. Nope, you’re not being petty. You just need to nip this rusty nail in the bud. It seems to me something was cockeyed before you caught sight of those e-mails. I’m not excusing her behavior, because infidelity is selfish and, yes, disrespectful. But some parts to this story you aren’t telling me. Tell her why you’re reading her email, and then ask her about her contact with him. Make sure you both honestly talk about both sides to this situation. Speak the truth to each other, not just saying words you think the other wants to hear. Equally important, listen to each other. If she makes this about you and the e-mails, then she’s not ready to own her unfaithful behavior. Yes, you were wrong, but she’s wrong too, and both issues need to be admitted, confronted and discussed. Give purposeful thought to what you two want out of your marriage. Since he’ll be locked up, as you say, for a long, long time, both of you can work at this and take the necessary steps to rebuild your commitment, reminding each other that your devotion is crucial to saving your union. And don’t forget to apologize to each other. It is my hope that you two will find your way back to seeing each other through new eyes – eyes of forgiveness, blinking with compassion and winking with desire.

— Alma

Alma Gill’s newsroom experience spans more than 25 years, including various roles at USA Today, Newsday and the Washington Post. Email questions to: Follow her on Facebook at “Ask Alma” and Twitter @almaaskalma.