I cheated on my wife. For the last 4 y she hardly lets me tough her. The first 2 years was very passionate. We’ve talked about it. She has no real explanation except that her sex drive has decreased. She says she still loves me.
I’ve been very clear that I can’t take much more of this and have been spending more time away from the house. I met someone I really like, feeling grew and we slept together. I told my wife what happened and that we should perhaps end the marriage. All of a sudden she wants me and says she didn’t realize the lack of intimacy was a deal breaker for me. Now she is trying to be affectionate.
I’ve also been honest with the new person. I don’t know what to do. Part of me wants to move on and the other part of me wants to give my marriage a chance. I love my wife but my new person makes me feel loved. I’m torn.
Torn in Taylor
You are definitely in a quandary! You write that you “have been very clear” with your wife that you couldn’t take “much more” of the lack of sex in your marriage. Apparently, she didn’t know what that meant in black and white terms. What has the communication with your wife been like? What promises did you make to each other at your wedding? What boundaries and rules have you jointly decided to guide both of your choices? Did you know your wife seems to not understand that you would step outside the marriage if your sexual needs were not met with her? At this point, your wife is clear that you were unhappy. And now she is unhappy that you have a sexual and emotional affair out of the marriage. It is wise to nurture constant, clear communication in relationships. Everything changes over time, and each spouse’s needs, abilities and personal growth can get out of step. I hear that you are torn. However, being married, you have made a legal and emotional commitment to your wife. You owe it to her to be honest and clear now about what your needs and non-negotiables are. It is up to her to be honest about what her needs are and what she can or cannot do to meet your needs and non-negotiables.
Individual therapy might help you clarify your feelings and priorities. If you are going to try couple’s therapy, I suggest you and your wife see a therapist. It would not be appropriate to get into couple’s therapy with your lover until you are divorced. You may be in love with someone else, but you are not single, nor free nor available. It is wise to complete one relationship before starting the next, as that best respects your wife and your vows. It also respects your lover. Perhaps she didn’t care that you were unhappily married, but now that you are torn, perhaps she does care now, and perhaps she is campaigning for you to divorce your wife and just be with your lover.
Let me know how you are sorting out your life, marriage, needs and wants. Relationships are difficult to navigate. Clear communications and boundaries help.
Christine Cantrell, PhD,
Prism of Possibilities Psychotherapy
1026 W. Eleven Mile Road, Suite C
Royal Oak, Michigan 48067