Internet Dangers: Rhodesia and Marcus

"I hate MySpace. It's a harvesting area for married men to cheat," fumes Rhodesia. "It destroyed my marriage."

She recently divorced Marcus, her husband of eight years. He explains, "It's very convenient to meet someone online. Everything is right at your fingertips."

"I first found out about Marcus' infidelity on MySpace through a friend. When I confronted him, he denied that he was on MySpace," Rhodesia reveals.  

Marcus says he initially created a profile on MySpace to surf for music. "She insisted that I was on there to meet women. I told her that that's not true," he maintains. "I wasn't looking for a girlfriend on MySpace, but this other woman was very attractive. I would tell my wife, ‘Keep yourself looking good.' I like a good-looking woman."

"I began to be a private eye. I was able to see, verbatim, conversations," Rhodesia explains. "My husband and the other woman had sexual conversations. I e-mailed the other woman. I e-mailed her family, her friends. I wanted everyone to know she was cheating with a married man." 

Rhodesia filed for divorce and was granted a restraining order against Marcus. But now she feels conflicted about taking him back. "Marcus constantly tells me now that he regrets what he did, and he wants to come home," she says. "I have three beautiful children. They're hurting, they're in pain and they miss their father. I want the man that I first met. I would do anything to get that Marcus back."

Marcus wants to reconcile as well. "I still love my wife and my kids," he says.

Because of the restraining order, Marcus is prohibited from coming within 500 feet of Rhodesia. She joins Dr. Phil onstage, while Marcus joins the show via satellite from a remote location. "Why did you do this in the order?" Dr. Phil asks her, referring to the 500-foot protection order. 

"Honestly, it was to keep my children away from [Marcus' mistress]. She was adamant about being in their lives," she explains. "She, basically, wanted to X me out, and meet the children and move on with my husband."

"You are hoping that there is some way to reconcile, correct?"

"I am here to reconcile," she admits.

"You've had more than conversation over the last few months," Dr. Phil observes.

"Yes, we have," Rhodesia says with a knowing smile.

Dr. Phil addresses Marcus. "Are you interested in pursuing, possibly, some reconciliation here?" he asks.

"Yes," Marcus replies. "That's why I wanted to come here."

"Being really honest, you did the 500-foot thing out of spite," Dr. Phil tells Rhodesia.

"Pretty much, yes," she says.

"You say that y'all have had conversation over the last couple months. You've actually had sex several times," Dr. Phil notes. "He's either, like, well-endowed, or you've already violated this order."


"We violated the order," Rhodesia admits. "I forgive him, and that's the only reason I'm here."


"Are you worthy of this forgiveness?" Dr. Phil asks Marcus.


He replies, "Yes, I am. I forgive her for the things that happened in the past. I want to put everything behind us and start all over from scratch."





Dr. Phil is puzzled by Marcus' response. "Let me rephrase that," he says. "I was just talking to your wife, who said she forgives you for the infidelity, and I said, 'Are you deserving of that? Do you deserve her forgiveness?' Is that behind you at this point?"


"Yes, it is," Marcus replies. "I forgive her. That's why I'm here."


"What is it you forgive her for?" Dr. Phil asks, perplexed.

Marcus says that Rhodesia talked down to him and told him that he would never amount to anything. "I just hated that," he says.


Rhodesia gives a bemused laugh. "Marcus knew from the very start that I would do anything for him, early on. We met when we were 17 and 19 years old," she explains. "The harsh words came over a period of time. They were just not right off the bat. But once you keep backing a dog up in a cage, and you know the dog has been lashed at and lashed at for so long, I'm going to start biting at you. I have to come home from work, I come to the door, and the three children are just coming at me from all directions, and he was in the bedroom after being on the computer all day."





Dr. Phil wants to get to the bottom of Marcus' gripe. "You're saying that she's responsible for this. If you had an affair " and you did " and you admit you did, and you say it's because she talked to you harshly. You also say if she looked better, that maybe you wouldn't have done it."


Rhodesia shakes her head. "But don't go get a woman who looks like me," she tells Marcus in disbelief. "You went to the Internet to find someone who looks like me."


"I didn't go to the Internet to find someone to replace you," Marcus says.


"I must be OK because she looks like me," Rhodesia repeats, with a satisfied laugh. "He did his best."


"What do you mean he did his best?" Dr. Phil inquires.


"He's a sweet person, don't get me wrong, but I'm just not going to accept those reasons," she explains. "The reason is, it was a game on MySpace and it got out of control."



"Do you think you were wrong to do what you did?" Dr. Phil asks Marcus.


"Yes, I know I was wrong," he concedes.


"Do you think you were justified because she didn't look as well as you wanted her to look, and she talked to you harshly?" Dr. Phil probes.


Marcus tries to explain his comments. "We'll go out shopping, and I would tell her, 'I will buy whatever you want,' or I'll see an outfit that she might look good in, and she'll say, 'No, I don't want it,'" he tells Dr. Phil. "If I want my wife to look a certain way that makes me happy, she should do it."


"We live nicely, but we don't have that income. Somebody has got to be the adult, and I took that role. I put myself behind my other three children, and also my husband on several occasions to say, 'No, you guys go ahead. I'll be OK,'" Rhodesia explains, on the verge of tears. "When it was time for us to go out as a family, I looked my best, and I will continue to do that. But nobody is going to ever stop me from putting myself behind to make sure my kids have [clothes], and they look nice and also my husband." 



"Would we be safe in predicting that if you guys reconciled and she didn't come up to standard " either in appearance or conduct " that you would be vulnerable to going back to the Internet and getting involved in another relationship?" Dr. Phil asks Marcus.


"No. Over this period of time, we have really talked and been straightforward with each other," he answers.


Dr. Phil addresses Rhodesia. "You miss him, and you want him back," he says. "He's not taking a lot of ownership in this. He's saying, 'It wasn't my choice,' you drove him to it, he was just browsing, and next thing he knew, he was in bed ... that's not really acknowledging that that was a choice that was counterproductive, and that you deserve better than that."


Before the couple reconciles, Dr. Phil wants to provide premarital counseling for them. "Go to the court, rescind the 500-foot order, since you're not really adhering to the spirit of that, at this point," he jokes.