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Uh Oh, Now What?

When I married my husband 25 years ago, I knew his libido was not as strong as mine.  Of course, I never would have believed that he would stop having sex with me.  Like many here, I blamed myself:  not attractive enough, too aggressive, too fat, not sexy, too demanding and critical (let's face it, an unsatisfied woman can be a real *****).  But many of my friends told me that I was sexy and desirable woman.  So I continued to beg, cajole, demand, and 3 years ago started to threaten: "if you won't make love to me I will find someone who will!"

I am not a woman that makes idle threats.  Last year I began an affair with a man I adore and love.  It started off simple:  just sex, wonderful, incredible sex!  But has become much more complicated as we have fallen in love.  

My lover and I began the relationship with the understanding that I had no intention of leaving my husband.  But while I still do love my husband, it is not the same because I now am in love with another man.  

OK, MORE DETAILS:  I told my husband several months ago about the affair and while there were some rough times, we are still together.  I know this sounds lame, but I didn't want to lie to him anymore, and if I am honest, probably some part of me wanted him to leave me.  

Obviously, he wants me to stop the affair, which I have not agreed to do.   However, I have not been with my lover for months although we sext regularly.  He actually moved to another city and we have not gotten together.  I know that day to day life with my lover would be much different than the afternoons we were able to spend together.  I have tried to break it off, but frankly am not able to.  
firefly2008 firefly2008 46-50, F 13 Responses Dec 1, 2011

Your Response


I don't see why you think you will be punished for your transgression. You simply did what you needed to do to keep your sanity. Life in a sexless marriage is torture to a person. Marriage is not all about sex, but sex is a great indicator of how a marriage is doing. My marriage is sexless and it is miserable. When she knew I was not happy she pretended to want more sex, but I could tell it was not sincere. In my opinion that was just as bad as sexless. Sincere sex is merely a byproduct of how a person feels about another person.

Thank you and I hope I won't be punished, either in this life or in another! :-)

I'm not sure whether faking interest in sex is worse than refusing, I suspect there has been many women who have not been in the mood but allowed their partners to have their satisfaction. Of course, that doesn't work for a man who is not in the mood as sex does require his desire and active participation!

But I agree that good sex is a reflection of true desire between two people which is why I shouldn't be surprised that I am now in love with my lover and not my husband. But I my marriage is not miserable, purgatory, or an emotional and/or physical wasteland. If it were I would want and would get a divorce, instead I am left wondering if I want too much fun and should just continue to accept my SM.

In my situation my wife gives in because she feels that she will lose a companion. She doesn't give in because she wants to satisfy me it's purely self centered. As far as faking being worse than refusing, I think it is when the other person knows why you are giving in. If they do not know that you are faking then on the surface there really isn't a difference, however, as far as the relationship goes faking only causes false hope for the other person. False hope can only lead to more problems and a worse crash when they do finally find out. Accepting your SM will only make you want the other person more because you how it makes you feel to be with the other person. When you compare the two I know I would prefer the feeling of being wanted and loved not just used as a companion.

Isn't part of marriage being companions that provide emotional support and love to each other? I know my husband loves me and wants me in his life, albeit not sexually. Certainly, to be held by a man who desires me sexually is an amazing wonderful feeling of being fully alive with all my senses engaged, and one that yes, I prefer.

And I do see your point that having sex with someone who doesn't really desire you is not healthy. It make you feel as if you are using her and that she is using you so that neither of you truly feel pleasure. And that instead of bringing you closer, you now feel even more distant, and possibly a bit disgusted with each other.

Yes that is part of marriage, but her only reason is for her to feel a companion she doesn't care if I have my companion needs fulfilled. She has also told me that the only reason she had sex with me was because she felt she was obligated to do it.

I know that she feels disgusted with me when I try to become intimate (No there isn't anything disgusting about me). I will say that I do not feel pleasure in my marriage.

I used to feel satisfied (mostly) with the companionship, but pleasure? Yes, I still feel happy (sometimes)... My husband feels sad that he doesn't fill my sexual needs and if he could I'm sure he would have sex with me because he felt obligated (duty calls boys!). Would I want him under those circumstances? Probably not; there's nothing that kills desire like knowing you're not desired. At least I no longer feel it's because I'm not desirable!

It's always good to know that you're still desirable, I know at one point I wasn't sure if I was desirable, but I now know that I'm still desirable. It felt really awful to hear her say the words,"I felt obligated to have sex with you." I know my wife does not feel bad that she does not fill my sexual desires. At times it still stings, but for the most part I'm over it and I look forward to moving on. I must say that I'm not satisfied with the companionship.

5 More Responses

Have seen your addition.<br />
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There is a "Phil-ism" I've heard, that the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.<br />
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On that basis it would seem that, up to a point, your husband is going to tolerate you having an affair / FWB / casual sex. And that he is not going to engage you sexually. So the basis of your dysfunctional marriage will continue as is on the balance of probability.<br />
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This would be the self same marriage that drove you off into colouring outside the marital lines in the first place.<br />
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Is it not inevitable then, that you will do what you did last time again ? Maybe not tomorrow, or next week, but in the foreseeable future ??<br />
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You need an exit strategy.<br />
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Your husband did not split on cheating #1, but he may take a different view at #2, or #3, so you need that safety net under you. And, you have seen yourself from #1 how involved things can get. How about a scenario where #2 was "THE" dude, and you wanted to be with him ??<br />
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You need an exit strategy.<br />
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Your marriage is as dysfunctional as it ever was and it will not be able to stand this sort of pressure much longer.<br />
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You need an exit strategy.<br />
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Tread your own path.

Is that a reference to the good Dr?

Thanks for your continued interest and advice! Let me say that while I am an intelligent and somewhat thoughtful person, I am also very spontaneous. So while one would think I would have an exit strategy, or at least think about developing one, I do not have any such intention. Perhaps I expect to be punished for my transgression, perhaps I am in denial that he would want to leave me. Or maybe I am just an idiot who wants to believe that there is no way he would divorce me?

I would agree that my marriage is dysfunctional as ever, despite many heartfelt discussions, therapy sessions we have had, and the real love we share. But if marriage were all about sex, we would all be divorced by now.

I feel your pain but have a couple of questions. Is your lover single? I am assuming he is and being together is possible if not for your marriage. Two if you are in love with the other man in your life and the sex is good what is it that makes you want to stay in your marriage?<br />
I too decided to get the satisfaction I needed elsewhere, I am careful to love, care but not fall in love I think living in a sexless marriage has allowed me to compartmentalize hope I can fix that when I get out. Just my opinion but I don't think leaving your marriage for another man is a good idea, not saying you shouldn't leave just saying you should do it for you. Again just my opinion but I do think if you can you need to leave get out on your own if you want to continue your relationship with your other man than do but don't move in together or plan marriage. To me safest bet is get out get your head screwed on straight as the sexless marriage damages us in so many ways, get a divorce and take time to make sure that the other relationship is the one you want. I personally don't think I will ever marry again. But things may look different to you once you are on your own fixing your mental state and have freedom to enjoy life. Want to make a better choice the second time around as we obviously didn't the first time.....I would also suggest if and when you consider marriage to your lover or anyone I would live together for at least a year or two before entangling myself financially or on paper to make sure.....Yes once burnt twice shy.......

My lover is single. But while I know he wants me and I want him, there is a big difference between reality and fantasy. I have not even spent one full night with him! And if I did leave my husband, I know it needs to be for me. And I guess I still don't know whether I'm ready to give up on my ~30 year relationship / investment.

understood and yes things are always better with someone you don't have all the baggage with...that's why I am careful not to read too much into it until it can really be evaluated in a real world setting

A "comfy convent" - I can relate to that! <br />
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Confusion abounds! I understand that! After all, if the SM was really so comfy, would you have had an affair? Is it just a difference in sex drive? It doesn't sound like you and your husband were that into each other in the beginning.<br />
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We marry for different reasons than sex, too. Perhaps what seemed like a strong list of priorities 20 years ago, has changed a little? Settling down 20 years ago, did it seem like you may not need the exciting sex? and opted for the safe relationship guy? I don't think you mentioned children - did you choose him because you thought he might be a good father? Was that more important to you at the time?<br />
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And why does everyone think you didn't tell husband about the affair? Was that an addendum to the story?

I did add more details at a later date. :-)

No, we do not have children and that was always the plan. My husband is funny, smart, attractive, capable, successful, and seemed open to experience life. Was actually a grown up hippie!

Now he is very conservative, doesn't want to travel, and is happy staying home and watching TV. While he is not the man I married, he is the man I am married to and I still love him. But I am not in love with him.

You are engaging in behaviors that possess the potential to jeopardize your marital status.<br />
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As other's have commented, you need an exit plan.<br />
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You might not have intention to ever leave your husband, but you are only married as long as your husband wants to be married. He might petition for divorce first.<br />
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However, with that said, you did tell him of your intentions to stray, so there is a high probability that he knows of your affair and prefers a Don't Ask/Don't Tell stance.<br />
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You still need an exit plan. For hubby might find someone of his own too.

As my husband is aware of my affair, I am in the Don't Ask Don't Tell phase. As for exit plans, the premise of my affair was to protect my marriage first and foremost. I was the one who blew that by my confession. My lover is confused, I am confused and my husband terribly hurt. Funny how I used to think he was seeing someone else, but now I just understand that he is not interested in sex, it really isn't about me.

I think you're being too accommodating to your husband. Think about telling him more, not less. He needs to feel his "hurt" (why, pray tell, is he hurt? He doesn't care and said so. He's choosing to believe a lie and this doesn't let him get away with it) every time he turns around, because that is what he has been dishing out for years. He thought it didn't matter - and the fact that it does is coming as a shock to him. Its the only way he will come to an understanding of what he has done.

I also agree that you need to complete your exit strategy in a way that you can implement it at the drop of a hat.

My wife withholds sex also. It's as if she wants my companionship without the sex. What do I do? I am being very inadequate but my needs for sex are growing by the day. Do I look for a secret sex partner?

This is my first affair and I have more sex in 3 month than I have had in 20 years of marriage. I have to say that (if not obvious), I am very confused and conflicted by the emotions I have for my lover. I would enter into an affair cautiously with the full expectation that she will find out.

Very sad but I know exactly what you mean. When I told my ex I was over, done, finished &amp; got out, I actually had more in one NIGHT than in the last 5 years. So

Totally understandable.My choice was to get out first before seeking the companionship of others but I completely understand how anybody living the hell of a SM do not wait until then. Should you decide to leave the marriage (the next logical step) do keep in mind that it is EASY to fall in love with the affair guy. It is usually a bad idea to leave a marriage & just move in with the affair guy/girl. <br />
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You have experienced on the good with him & have never had to deal with any of the bad. When you see each other their is hot sex. There is passion. There are all the things that are missing in your marriage.<br />
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BUT you have NEVER had to deal with the hum drum life that is a real relationship. You have never had to deal with child rearing, financial priorities, being with the other when they are sick, seen their soiled underwear etc with the affiar guy. You have built up in your mind how wonderful life would be if the two of you could just be together. Hum Drum Marriage can in no way compete with all of that.<br />
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I'm not saying stay in a SM. That is a life of purgetory that nobody should ever have to endure. I am just saying don't jump right from the frying pan into the fire. What you have with your affair guy is totally fantasy ba<x>sed. You honestly have no idea what life would really be like wiht him. That is why the failure rate in relationships that started as an affair have a failure rate of over 85%. <br />
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So it would be wise that when you get out of the SM, which will likely happen, to live on your own for a while. Date the guy, you can even have him stay the night then if he isn't also married. That way you can at least get some idea of what life wiht him would really be like. In a affair you just dont know.<br />
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Bang Away<br />
NSH :-)

Yes i realize i am in a fantasy world and who knows what life with my lover would be like. Other than great sex! But my SM is not purgatory it is a very comfy convent and I do love my husband,,,

See the funny thing about any of us SM people is if we start an affair it is because we are missing more than just sex from our marriage, we are missing that connection. When we give ourselves to someone else, we will more likely than not fall in love with that somone.<br />
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That we have tried so hard to get our spouses to have sex with us and they constantly refuse gives us feeling we are not good enough is so many ways, too fat, too dumb, don't do enough around the house, and all the things you stated. So when we find someone to share ourselves with, now all the sudden, how can we be all those bad things we had in our head if this NEW person will have sex with me.<br />
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I would advise not telling your husband unless you want to hurt him, but it may make sense to leave him even if you can't have your lover as now you know you are attractive and can find a healthy relationship in which you can flourish.<br />
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Good luck.

I did tell him and I know it hurt him terribly. But he doesn't want a divorce and I don't think I do either

I'm SURE it hurt him terribly. I'm also sure it hurt him about half as much as his rejection hurts you every time it happens. Consider using this as a sledgehammer on his toe. Really put him in a corner about his arrogance at trying to make you a non-person.

A major part of my motivation in telling him was to force a change: in my life, in his behavior, our marriage. Unfortunately or fortunately, not a lot has changed.

Sparse on important details here. <br />
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What did your husband do and say after you told him "if you won't make love to me I will find someone who will!" ?

you sound like a strong woman. You need to tell your husband about the affair. I told mine and we are working on things, not sure what will happen, as we take things one day at a time. Bring the affair into reality--that's the only way you will ever know if it will be more than just an affair.

Agreed... dumping your guilt at his expense... NOT good.


read the whole story he already knows

They talked about it some time ago and her husband is trying to get her to stop the affair, but will not give her an incentive... his zipper remains locked. Dumb ****.

1 More Response

I too was in a sexless marriage, my husband is like a fridge and hardly shows any emotion. We separated a year ago and I am desperately still in love with him but have found someone new. Thing is, I think day and night about my husband and he has no idea I have met someone else. I am so screwed up in my head knowing what to do next.

Wow, I am so sorry. Is this new or have you always desired him so?

I think of my lover day and night. I gave up on my husband years ago.

Hi there Firefly<br />
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Uh oh, now what? You've got a dilemma, that's what. I don't blame you for stepping out. Everyone needs sexual contact from their spouse. It's terribly punishing to be in a marriage with someone who withholds sex and it's also grounds for divorce.<br />
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I can't help feeling your husband must have a idea you're doing this because you said you threatened to follow through with it in your post. Thing is, you didn't say if the other man involved with you is willing to take care of the financial responsibilities you require. Obviously, there is a lot to consider.<br />
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This affair is already taking it's toll on your marriage because a husband or wife can tell if their spouse is in love with another, it's not rocket science. I suggest you review the financial ramifications and the willingness of your lover to assume them and go from there. Good luck.

The real question to ask yourself is whether or not you want to continue in this marriage. The question of whether you want to continue in the relationship with your affair partner or not is a separate question. If you do not want to continue the marriage, seek a divorce. It's not fair to him, you, your affair partner, or any future affair partners you might have in the marriage.

That is the question for us all isn't it? Why do we choose to stay in a SM when clearly sex is important to us. I agree it is unfair to all involved and none of us are truly happy.

I can support myself so do not financially depend on my husband or anyone else. My husband knows about the affair and we are still together, see more details in my original post.

Did you negotiate colouring outside the marital lines with your husband ?? or is it a (yet to be uncovered) secret ??<br />
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Did you develop an exit strategy BEFORE embarking on this choice ?? or are you walking the tightrope without a safety net ??<br />
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To proceed, let's make 2 assumptions. That your husband doesn't know and you ain't planning on telling him - and - that you are just trusting to luck that you don't get caught.<br />
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I'd suggest -<br />
A.S.A.P. see a lawyer so you know how a divorce would shake out in your jurisdiction. That will be valuable whether YOU want to enact a split to be with the new dude, or if your spouse wants to enact a split over an infidelity matter. It will take one level of "the unknown" out of the equation for you.<br />
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Tread your own path.

See more details... Yes, while I did wonder how the affair would end, I did not and still do not have an exit strategy. I guess I naively hoped my husband would agree to an open marriage, after all, he is not interested in me sexually. But he of course wants me to end the affair. And neither of us are talking divorce.