Still the Lover of a Man In a Sexless Marriage


I am the Lover of a Man in a Sexless Marriage I’ve been posting here since 2/7/9 when my happy romantic extramarital affair with a man in a sexless marriage took an unexpected detour that went south but now is meandering north again. I found a lot of people needing shoulders here and thinking about your problems really helped take my mind off of mine. As the “other woman” in his sexless marriage I have what seems to be a special voice in this group. I’ve tried posting this twice only to have it vanish into the ether. Well the 3d time’s a charm, so they say.

 My lover “B” married his wife “M” in 1969. Good Catholic couple, they were both virgins on their wedding night, which did not bode well for things to come. The marriage wasn’t consummated until day four. B had expected his sex life with his wife to be wonderful, after all they’d been together for two years and when they’d gotten serious, she’d provided oral sex which was wonderful for him. Well, not so much for her as it turned out, because that stopped on their wedding day. Now that they could have intercourse, she never needed to do that nasty thing again! Since they decided not to have kids, sex was always a risk because they were the aforementioned good little Catholics. So let’s just say sex was not good, rarely spontaneous, and not frequent. I know many of you are nodding in sympathy. You’ve been there.

I met B in 1980 when I was 22 and he was 35 and had been married 11 years. I started working in the office of the factory whose physical plant he managed. He was cute, funny, and always smiled at me. I was tongue-tied around boys my own age, but B was the same age as my brothers, so I had no problem talking to him. I had a whopping crush on him, but he never touched me. We developed a friendship which eventually got me invited to his home for dinner. So I got to meet to meet his wife that evening. I was young and naïve and the only young married couples I knew at the time were my brothers. But even then I knew something was ‘off’ in B & M’s marriage. I knew wives weren’t supposed to scold their husbands in public. They weren’t supposed to make prune faces when their husbands told stories. They weren’t supposed to flinch when casually touched. It took a while for the answer to filter through my brain. They had problems in their relationship and one was that she was frigid.

I had been working there a year and had just come back from my weeks vacation when B finally acted on his feelings. He told me he’d missed me (I was dumbfounded, because I’d missed him!). That afternoon he kissed me and our affair began. When he explained why he was having an affair, his wife didn’t like sex and they only had it two or three times a year, I believed him because I'd seen her in action. We continued seeing each other for 2 ½ years. Both of us changed jobs, I changed careers and residences, but we saw each other as often as possible for as long as possible. Back in those days it was telephones only so our communication was limited, but when we were together we talked a lot. We shared everything about ourselves, and I grew to love him. But eventually I wanted more consideration from him and more time and he was unable to give it. In a pique one night I broke it off. Twenty minutes later he was fired, and that effectively stopped us seeing each other since he lived 20 miles away and no longer had any reason, or the freedom, to visit me. We spoke several times over the next nine months but never saw each other again. I broke his heart the last time we spoke as I told him I’d moved on and no longer loved him. He had finally realized how much he loved me, but too late. He never hated me, or blamed me. He understood I had to move forward since there was nothing that he could offer me.

So 24 years passed. He made a great career change and got a fabulous job and started earning real money. B used to fantasize that I would show up at his building in the city and he would be paged to the lobby. He knew exactly what restaurant he’d take me to for a lunch filled with longing glances and hand holding. This was a recurring fantasy for 22 years.

Meanwhile I moved out of the state and returned only rarely to visit family. But when I did, I always checked the local phone book to make sure he was still there. I surprised myself with how frantic I became one visit when his name had disappeared. I couldn’t rest until I found it in the white pages of a neighboring county. He’d simply moved a few miles. Relieved, I never bothered to contact him. It was enough to know he was alive. My fantasies about him continued on a regular night time basis, no matter who I dated. They weren’t just about lunch either! LOL

Flash forward to September, 2008. Finally after looking for me off and on over the years, B found my name and company email in an online networking site I’d joined at the invitation of someone I didn’t want to offend. His email to me landed in my boss’s spam folder. Only because he’d put my name in the subject line did she not delete it automatically. Even then it took her a day to remember to tell me about it. When she gave me the number I couldn’t dial it fast enough.

We reconnected over the phone the next day and in no time we knew we were in love. When we came together physically it was like we’d never been apart and I remembered his scent and taste as clearly as I had his voice. We live over 300 miles apart so seeing each other was limited, but in this new techno age we burned up the phone and data lines. When he got a cell phone with text abilities OMG we were in heaven! With our laptops (thank you honey) and webcams we were able to tolerate the weeks of separation between ½ day visits. (Our schedules didn’t mesh at all!)

But with every visit, it became more apparent that an affair was not what my lover wanted. He started talking about marriage, and leaving. Although their marriage had continued, the sex had become non-existent. NONE, NADA, ZIPPO sex for over 20 years. None of you will be surprised to learn that the affection disappeared too. No hand holding, no tongue kissing (“Dirty!”), no caressing (well that had been gone since 1981). To reconnect with me, whose every touch said “I love you, I want you, I cherish you” was like the rains coming to the African desert; he blossomed into the most caring devoted sexual partner I have ever had. I was an overwhelming, intoxicating, balm on his soul. After so much rejection, dismissal, invalidation of his needs and feelings and love for his wife I was literally the answer to his heartfelt prayers. He has never in his life loved anyone the way he loves me. He has never felt the way he feels for anyone but me. Yes, he will tell you he never loved his wife the way he loves me.

I knew what leaving would do to him, because although I didn’t know you all then, you know he still loved his wife, as a sister, a companion, as a helpmate. Like many of you, his wife was easy to get along with, no big fights; they had shared values, a long history together, through good times and bad, serious illnesses on both parts. He struggled with wanting to marry me, yet leaving seemed impossible.

I sent him to counseling to be sure this was what he wanted. The priest encouraged him not to see me. He told my lover that he would never leave his wife. Through deep soul searching, B discovered that he wanted me even more, and he could not and would not live without me in his life. So after much agonizing he decided to leave on Friday, February 6th, and I drove up to be there when he did.

That’s when it all went horribly wrong. Instead of beginning a new chapter in the book of our lives, our road took a sharp dogleg into unchartered territory. My lover was certain that when he told his wife that he was in love with another woman and wanted to marry her, she would go ballistic. He deliberately told her in a room with few items available for throwing and no sharp objects. But to his amazement, instead of throwing his cheating *** out, she burst into tears and begged for a second chance. She’d do anything, go to counseling, and even have sex (“…but no oral”) but please don’t leave me, please don’t leave me.

So. Now it’s almost a month later, and where are we? Well. I’m back at my house self-medicating on chocolate. He's still in his house in their bed but has told her that he is not giving me up. He  told her he will continue to call me, communicate with me, and when he sees me he will tell her where he's going. He has not recommitted to the marriage although she believes he has. She is VERY good at denial and her selective memory is in really high gear. She's made no move towards counseling  because she's tried to initiate sex. He’s fending off her advances and guess what? After all the rejection and humiliation, he no longer finds her in the least bit desirable! He’s spent decades learning  not to think of her sexually. She’s initiated sex several times trying to cement their relationship, and he can’t do it. How ironic is that? Payback is a *****! She’s (you’ll love it) asked him to get Viagra! HAH! He doesn’t need it with me! If it wasn’t so horribly sad, we would all be roaring with laughter. (You over there! Stop laughing! This could be your life in a few years!)

So now he’s realized what was “I’m in a Sexless Marriage” has become “I Don’t Find My Wife Desirable”, and “I’m in Love with an Other Woman”. What began as him giving HER a second chance has become the realization that SHE needs to give HIM a second chance. Only he’s not sure he wants one. Torn between the two of us, he feels caught between the past and the future, companionship vs. love, forced affection vs unconditional love. He’s been on a spiritual retreat looking for help from God who didn’t send a burning bush, but did send a very wise lay person spiritual director. Who told my beloved what I’d already told him. You have to choose what’s right for you. You cannot be responsible for your wife’s happiness or your girlfriend’s. He has realized just yesterday and actually verbalized with no qualifiers that he KNOWS I would make him happier. What he can’t bring himself to do just yet is take his happiness at the cost of his wife’s unhappiness. He has spent his life trying to make everyone happy but himself, so this is a very hard thing for him to do. He spent years believing that God had given him this raw deal that he would just have to live with. At least the priest was able to set him straight about that!

So that’s my story. Many of you will be sympathetic, either because you are in this situation, or because you have been torn between leaving and staying. See my current favorite reference “Too Good to Leave; Too Bad to Stay” to help you decide.

Some of you will read this knowing you could never leave your spouse because you still love them (ah yes, but do you still find them desirable?)

Many of you will say, I would never cheat on my best friend, I just couldn’t do it. Yes, you do run the risk of actually finding love. But please don’t kid yourselves. If your spouse is healthy and is just not having sex due to an aversion to it, and you’re not cheating out of respect for your spouse, I’d tell you that by not working together on your sex life, your spouse is disrespecting you. Just a thought.

Some of you may take the religious hard line with regard to vows and ‘better or worse’. No matter what your religion, what you need to know is that the Priest B saw has told him he would certainly receive an annulment if he requested one. The Catholic Church recognizes that intimacy is an integral part of marriage and without it, there is no marriage.

You should also know I am not giving up on him, nor will I walk away from him. I believe in our love; we know we complete each other. Leaving will accomplish nothing for me. I have everything to gain by fighting for his happiness. He decided to leave once, and telling her was the hardest thing he’s ever done. The second time will be easier.

He is going to continue to see his priest and keep in touch with his spiritual director. Could this bite me on the ***? You bet. But I don’t want an emotional wreck for a husband. I want him psychically whole, emotionally certain he’s made the right choice. I know there will always be sadness that his marriage came to this, but believe me when I tell you. If his wife had continued to even have BAD sex with him several times a year, and had shown just a moderate amount of physical affection outside the bedroom, B would never have strayed. She’s brought this on her own head.

Oh and for those of you waiting endlessly waiting for your spouse to change, wake up and smell the coffee! They are happy in their comfort zone. They won’t change unless there is outside pressure from you either by telling them you’re leaving, that you are insisting on joint counseling or going to seek it for your own needs. Yes there are exceptions for physical reasons, but most of you for whom that is valid know why your spouse isn’t responding , and for the most part you’re standing by them, coping as best you can.

So there you have it, my story to date in just under 3000 words. Sorry! :D Enjoy and comment, or don’t and have a nice life. This is for me and my ever increasing circle of friends on EP. BTW I joined this site because B googled it in the days prior to 2/6 and he was stunned absolutely stunned there were so many of you. Someone’s sad story convinced him it was time to give up and move on. God bless you whoever you are!


TinkerDill TinkerDill
24 Responses Mar 1, 2009

Wow, that was quite a story! I'm so happy to hear that you two are together now! Have a wonderful "loving" life! I'm in a sex starved marriage, but I know I will get to a loving relationship someday. I love to hear about those that have been able to find that. Yay for you!

Hi just um, like that your name is Tinker like Tinkerbell :)

Another update. Though several posters on here doubted it, on April 15th he left his wife and moved into a huge apartment 20 miles away from his wife. I've lived here part time untl 8/1 when I moved up here permanently. The separation has sadness on both sides but is moving along amicably.<br />
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Our life will not be all wine and roses, but we love each other deeply and we are committed to each other. And our marriage will NOT be sexless!

Wonderful story Tinkerdill! I liked your advice and sincerity.<br />
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Just a few questions? You say your lover is you "soul mate", what exactly do you mean by that?<br />
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I'll ask you the rest later in a message.

good luck tinker!<br />
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whats the latest??

Seems like you need to convince yourself (over and over again) that his wife is the problem.....That man is too comfortable (even if it is miserable) in his situation. You have challenged everyone who has commented on your long and drawn out situation (that really isn't exceptional). You seem to be comfortable being the other woman. Who am I to challenge your choice.....But while your sitting there miserable, his "wife" is not even stressing you.

Life is very freaking short. Grab it where you can. Good for you honey. Im always amazed at how many of us say we dont want to hurt our spouses by leaving...but its eemingly ok for them to hurt us for years...and years...and years

Tinker: I am very happy for you and for the love of your life. May you both find a happiness that grows and grows.<br />
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It is a very sad and painful thing when relationships die and people need to move on. But good things can come of it too. <br />
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I will pray for her that she may find some peace.<br />
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Thank you for sharing with us.

So glad for you that there is a resolution at last. It is sad for them both after suc a long time together, despite what has happened in those years. But you and he can now start a new relationship together and she will come to terms with it in time.<br />
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ALL of you have my best and warest wishes for a happier future - and especially you, dear Tinker!! Wonderful news!

And now an update for the faithful followers. ;-)<br />
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He knows he will leave her. He has realized the problem isn't her refusing to have sex anymore, it's that he cannot and will not give me up. <br />
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He promised both of us that he wouldn't sleep with either of us until he made his decision. He also promised to tell her any and everytime he would see me. This had an interesting effect. When we set up a deliberately platonic date which involved meeting some of my family and being in public, she went ballistic! Seemed she'd begun to think that although he kept telling her otherwise, she believed he was committed to healing the marriage. Our date showed her that that was not case and led to her having a 'long dark night of the soul' and they've now had a series of long discussions which I believe that is allowing them both to see that the marriage is dying and they are grieving because neither of them ever thought it would happen. She has finally admitted to someone she respects that "we are having some problems" (she is a very private person and as Enna030 pointed out she is terrified that "people will find out" and she will be embarrassed). <br />
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The other thing Saturday night proved is that he cannot live without me. Without any sex beyond a few soft not even deep tongue kisses, he could barely bring himself to leave me. <br />
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The following Monday a big revelation. He knows now he never wants to bed his wife again, because he is committed to me, and he has allowed himself to know that I am the person he's supposed to be with for the rest of his life. The stress pains in his shoulders disappeared suddenly after telling me these decisions.<br />
He realized his body had been trying to tell him to leave. His mind was clear and he was at peace. He told me it was all due to talking to me that morning.<br />
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More importantly, he has asked me to come up again and this time SEX!!!!!!!!!!! Sorry, it's been a while and I now know what some of you have been going through. No sex sucks!<br />
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So by his own set of values, he has made his decision. When he tells her we are seeing each other next week, that will effectively end it. All that will be left is the divying up of the assets.

Dear Tinker:<br />
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I understand where you are, and I understand where he is.<br />
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I left my sexless marriage 6 months ago to a man that I was and still am madly in love with. Did he withhold sex, yes, was he emotionally abusive, yes; did he make me feel unloved and unwanted, yes; but I never stopped loving him. My love was unconditional. I left because I cheated, and I refused to be a cheating wife. My husband, like your lover's wife, broke down and begged me to stay and work on the marriage. I was so angry with myself and angry with him and bitter, and hurt that my staying only would have done further damage to our marriage. For the record, I have no children.<br />
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I am with someone now, who is like you. Holding on, waiting, loving, caring beautiful inside and outside. Has given me a true gift of love and self back. I adore this man, absolutely. He resusitated me. <br />
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But, I can no get out of my head the sense of obligation. Marrying for better or for worse. I can not get past the guilt that no one deserves to be cheated on (this is only my belief and I am not judging as I have no right here). I have not asked my husband for a divorce and while I don't live with him, rarely see him and don't sleep with him, my heart still belongs to him. <br />
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I hope you and your man some day will be happy together. This is a sad story. I wish you all the best. I am glad that you shared with us and continue to share.

I do know that after such a long marriage, people are set in their ways and just basically older, but none the wiser. I think you are familiar with my stories and background, but I will mention that marriage cannot overcome obstacles rooted in lack of intimacy. The true bond of love and devotion is the underlying fire that fuels the passion. When passion is lost, so is the bonding. These marriages are more like lifetime friendships, familiarity hard to break. Crying has no affect on my husband, but obviously it does on your friend. He sounds like a moral man and believes in the vows taken oh so long ago. Situations and people do change and nothing stays the same after so many years, unless it was a once in a lifetime relationship, which most of us here on EP never had. <br />
He knows what he has in you and wants you in his life.<br />
I pray that he listens to his heart, as you have listened to yours by staying close to him.<br />

Ahhh, such doom and gloom! I don't believe it! TinkerDill, I think you WILL get your happy ending. Truly - not just saying that to make you feel better.<br />
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Your beloeved is / will soon see through the desperate protestations of his "wife" (note the quotation marks) as they are empty of any force strong enough to reunite them.<br />
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I feel sure your lover's wife does not want the Catholic Ladies Guild (or similar) to know she is being divorced - that is probably much more important to her than her husband's happiness.<br />
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He WILL see this I believe, and he will make the (albeit very difficult) decision to come to you.<br />
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You have both proved your love over almost 30 years - this relationship was MEANT to be!!<br />
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Have you considered showing him this thread. . . and seeing what he makes of the responses?<br />
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I'm cheering for you both!!

Thank your Zorbas for your POV; what you describe is typical of most affairs. How ours will turn out is yet unknown. I have not posted some things which might make you see it differently, out of respect for his privacy. When someone said it's not that bad at home, I'd agree and so would he. She keeps the house, has a good job, in every sense but affection and sex is a wonderful wife. The problem is now he's seen that there is so much more (remember he's had affairs too) and he realizes for the first time, that he doesn't WANT to have sex with his wife any more. He CAN'T. He does and can have sex with me w/o pills. So many here admit that if their spouse would just show affection that would be enough to stay. He's beyond that now. But now he's reading Too Good to Leave; Too Bad to Stay.<br />
He answered "No" to the first question. Although there are many other questions to be answered, a NO answer to question 1 means generally you'll feel better leaving. Thanks again. =)

Yours is a sad tale and one that I am well acquainted with. There are several here who have already stated more eloquently than I that in essence this was relationship doomed from its onset some 20 odd years ago. <br />
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I have had many affairs over the years and all have started as yours with passion and with earnest intentions but seldom did they wind up as we would have wanted them to. All were cases of self delusion on our part at the time, really a momentary break or escape from the realities of our lives. In the bright light of day nothing changed. Grandiose pronouncements of everlasting love disappeared when financial commitments and family obligations come back into focus. I think I see a parallel evident in your situation as well.<br />
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I have recently had a reunion with an old flame from some years ago and the passion was as great as it was then , but she is on her second divorce now with a dysfunctional family which I frankly do not selfishly wish to deal with at this point in my life. Do we still have that emotional spark. Damn right but the time for any action has long passed us by.<br />
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I think that your affair like mine has run its course as well. Perhaps it would be better to realize this and stop resurrecting a dream that may never come true. <br />
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I know full well my reasons for not leaving my wife and it wasn't love for her nor any financial issues but simply my abhorrence of having my children become a product of a divorce. <br />
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In that vane I must wonder what has kept your love from divorcing his wife when there is nothing of this commitment binding him to her. She has for all the world simply become a habit he cannot break nor wishes too in spite of his comments to the contrary

TinkerDill thank you for the update. You know I'm a refuser but seeing how sexless unions affect others is eye openning. I am reconsidering my thoughts on just how important sex could be to my husband. I know for me it's a waste of time but I am thinking a happy marriage isn't and shouldn't be just for one of us.

He's made the decision (2x now actually) that he should be with me. It's the "How do I leave my wife when she cries she loves me" that he cant' wrap his head around. If she gives him an ultimatum, he'll leave. If she starts fighting and screaming and becomes a true witch he'll leave. If she keeps crying he will have to get tired of it before he'll walk out the door.<br />
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I think if she found out how much $$ he's spent on me she'd kick him out, but I'm letting him play it as he sees it.

123nna, with respect you don't know and I can't type everything I know. Remember I met the woman years ago and I didn't mention I met her again recently. Believe me, she hasn't changed! Some men are pla<x>yers, he is not. You'll just have to believe me when I say I know him. I own his soul for reasons I WON'T post here. But thanks for caring enough to try to point out what is the case in 90 out of 100 affairs (i've done the research ;-) there's a reason B calls me the smartest woman he knows.

Well said. If you can filter out the noise, though... if you can make an honest assessment about what is important, what isn't important, and what you can't do anything about anyway, then decisions like this pretty much make themselves.

1st affair sooooo much guilt. This time none. Not even after he told her. Causing her unhappiness by leaving? That engenders feeling of sadness, not guilt. If he stays it will be out of a feeling of responsibilty and keeping his vows, but I know my man and I have hope. <br />
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I'm not pushing him for a decision right away, because until he works out how to live with it in his head, he WOULD stay with her, and he's told me that's where he is right now. But their relationship is very dynamic now too, now that his wife has a say in it (and she could very easily tell him to leave when he tells her we're seeing each other this weekend.) She begged for a 2nd chance, but he's not interested now in rekindling their sex life, and who'd blame her for tossing him out now?

do you really believe everything he's told you.<br />
he has told you what you want to hear, if things was that bad at home he would have left his wife years ago for you. don't kid yourself

wow. thanks for sharing. i have experienced something quite similar. it is good that he told her, but his guilt may force him to stay. are you concerned about that? or do you believe that he will leave and be with you?

Hey Lexi, thanks for your 2 cents. You may have missed in my gargantuan post, but I did leave him for exactly the reasons you said. I did date others, had relationships in the 24 year interim, and even turned down an offer of marriage, not because of thoughts of B, but because I knew it wouldn't work out. I was pretty happy being single, when he found me again. I just came to realize how much MORE happy I was with him.<br />
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As to why he didn't leave, well if you're under the age of 40 you may not remember a time when boys didn't know how to cook, or keep house, or even eat alone. My lover had never made a bed or ironed a shirt in his whole life and his sexless wife has never pumped her own gas or figured out the ATM card. <br />
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When we reconnected I asked him, and it was a very sad honest answer. "where did i have to go? At least here I have company over the dinner table." Maybe not the best reason for staying in a marriage, but not uncommon for men on this board whose wives are not bad mouthed drunk harridans. It seems so petty with each passing year to say I'm leaving because I don't get enough sex.<br />
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Whether he will leave or not is yet unknown. He got real close on 2/6. I believe he can do it for real. But we'll see. Thanks again!

Interesting story. I am impressed that you waited for him to end his marriage for so many years. I have to tell you that , in the event I would have ever started such a relationship, I would have left him many years ago; he will never divorce his wife and like you said, you don't want an emotional wreck for a husband. They don't have kids, I see no real reson why he never left his wife other than he doesn't really want to. I think you deserve so much more. Just my 2 cents sorry.