A Reader Writes…
I am reading How Can I Ever Trust You Again? I recently found out that my husband of 10 years had an affair with a co -worker.
The affair happened 3 years ago and continued for 5 months. My husband said it was not just physical and that he felt he loved her and had a connection. The mistress ended the affair since she wanted “more”. I am really struggling trying to cope with this. I have confronted the mistress and she says it is over.
My husband says he loves me ..is truly sorry and wants to stay with me. I am trying to be forgiving ..but I know the details of their intimate acts…because I asked them. They keep playing in my mind like a movie and it is so painful.
I know that he performed oral sex several times on her…but even upon me asking did not perform on me in the past. For some reason I am really hung up over this fact and it angers me…I keep asking why he did that to her and not me? He says he doesn’t know why? I am associating that intimate act to the fact that he loved her more.
Can you please provide some insight…are affairs different and more intimate? How can I move past this? Please help..really struggling.
You are right—affairs are different from relationships but not in the way you think. In fact, they are LESS intimate.
The problem with sex with someone that you know really well is that it becomes so intimate—you know so much about them—that it becomes harder and harder to experiment.
Over time, couples end up having sex with which they feel comfortable but that can easily become a smaller and smaller list done in a very similar way. More often that not, it’s the same sex you had when you first met – and often that’s twenty years ago – and we’re not wearing the same clothes, going to the same places and eating the same food!
I explain all about how sex changes in long-term couples are how to keep it interesting and passionate in Make Love Like a Prairie Vole.
So why do people do things in affairs they haven’t done in their long-term relationships?
Firstly, there is no risk. If you give poor oral sex—or whatever—it doesn’t matter. You just walk away, and you certainly don’t have to face a long face at breakfast or be called a pervert for wanting to do something.
Secondly, an affair allows people to step outside their normal life and experiment with being someone else. What it doesn’t mean is that he loved her more than you. This is your stuff, not his.
My guess is that you’re over-thinking all this, putting two and two together and making three hundred. (I explain how to stop this in Learn to Love Yourself Enough)
To get these horrible images out of your head, I would try three tactics:
- Distraction. (Tell yourself, stop torturing yourself.)
- Replace. (Think about nice things you and your husband have done together)
- Expand your sex life. (Instead of getting hung up on oral sex – and letting it ‘belong’ to her’ – look through Prairie Vole and find something neither of you have done and let that belong to your relationship. There are hundreds of ideas).
Finally, allow yourself to be angry. He has cheated on you. You have every right to be angry. My guess is that you’ve been so keen on getting him back and being forgiving – you haven’t allowed yourself to let go off this feeling. Once you have, it will no longer be a barrier between you.
I have been unhappy with sex with my husband all the time I have known him. We married three years after meeting and have now been married for 21 years and have two children. I married him knowing the problems but thinking either things would improve or if they didn’t our marriage would last anyway because we got on well in other ways apart from sex. This I have realised very painfully was a big mistake.
The problems are that he does not like to give or receive oral sex, does not like to penetrate me from behind, has difficulty putting a condom on (so either I have to do it – a turn off for me – or he dies it, which often means it doesn’t go on properly so we can’t have penetrative sex). Another problem is he thrusts before he enters me – I used to point this out in the early days of our marriage but he continued to do it so I sometimes got very upset about it. After about 15 years of marriage he did this again – I didn’t even point it out – I was just too depressed.
Last year I was depressed and desperate about the situation – I know nothing excuses cheating – but I’m afraid out of desperation that’s what I did. I went onto a married dating site and started seeing a married man who met all my needs that had been unmet for over 20 years. He was cheating on his wife because she had illnesses which had effected their sex life. Again, I know none of this excuses our behaviour. We were both incredibly happy because we were having our needs met. But only a month after our relationship became sexual his wife found out so the affair stoppped abruptly as he is now trying to save his marriage. I am completely devastated. I never thought I would cheat. I would always have condemned anyone who cheated. But I was desperately unhappy. I overcame my guilt at cheating because I was so happy after 20 years of unhappiness and I also coped with the guilt by thinking it would be just one man as a long term secret lover. That he got caught after only a month has seemed so cruel to me. I’ve considered trying again to find someone – to be honest, as I’m sure we all know, it’s not difficult for a woman to find a man online to have an affair with – but emotionally I just can’t do it again, for many reasons. Mainly, I’m not really cut out to have an affair – I could only have an affair with someone I feel I’m in love with – a recipe guaranteed to break my heart in an affair. I do also feel remorse for the pain his wife feels.
I don’t have any hope for a satisfying sex life with my husband. So I think I’m now faced with a choice of either being faithful and unhappy in the marriage or getting divorced. I dread the thought of divorce because of the effect on the children and the wider family will be disappointed. Any advice welcome.
Andrew G. Marshall says
There is a third option – beyond shutting out and shipping out – and that’s to get help with your sex life. You could see a sex therapist who would help you to talk together about sex in a way that stopped you both getting angry (and feeling a failure or criticised). He or she would also you take your sex life back to the basics – simple stroking and touching – and build up to something different. Have a look at my book ‘Have the sex you want’ as this will give you a better idea of what I’m talking about. I expect the idea of this horrifies you but it is better to give your husband the choice: I can’t go on like this any more, it’s get help or consider splitting up – than reaching the point that it’s too late and you want out. Good luck
My husband of 15 years cheated on me , it lasted for one month and they slept together 3x . I look at my husband and all can see is him having sex with her . The other women sent me a picture of them in bed together but and I can’t get this out of my mind it’s so tragic. My husband said no emotions were involved it was just sex , he said he loves our family and is so scared to lose us because of a terrible mistake he has made . I don’t understand how he can love is with but leave to go into someone else’s bed. I just don’t understand .
Andrew G. Marshall says
What a horrible experience and how cruel of the other woman to taunt you like that. How stupid of your husband to let photos like that be taken or taken them himself. No wonder you are so stuck.
However, I have two questions for you: why is it important for you to understand? How do you think it will help you? My suspicion is that you hope that if you understand that you will be able to put this behind you. But I wonder if that is truly the case because I think you need something more than understanding to recover from your husband’s infidelity.
If you truly believe that understanding will help – and you could easily be right – I think you need to be able to look at this situation as a man (rather than a woman). We have been socialised in a completely different way and we often use sex in ways that seem alien to woman (because of the messages they have been given). My female clients find the book ‘The men on my couch’ by Dr Brandy Engler is really helpful as she is a sex therapist and has been given access into the dark corners of men’s minds. In a nutshell, she believes: men are brought up not to listen to their heart (real men don’t cry and to just get on with it) but are trained to listen to their penis. So what happens is emotional issues often get mixed up with sexual ones.
If understanding him doesn’t get you any further forward, I think you should understand yourself better. What would help you feel safe in your marriage again? What does your husband need to do to regain your trust? Can you ask for what you need? What else have you learnt about yourself from this experience that might be useful going forward?
The picture was very cruel my husband had no idea the picture was taken his head was face down on the pillow while she was taking a selfie . It’s been 7 months now and I feel devasted about the affair . We are going to therapy. My husband has given me the details of the affair and I keep going back and asking again . I’m very confused . My husbands said the affair was a big mistake and he deeply regrets it and has asked for forgiveness . I feel I’m stuck because he tells me loves me to death and he loved me during the one month affair and felt guilt , However if he felt guilt for sleeping with her the first time why did he go back for more ? Why wasn’t our love and our life together enough for him to stop . He saw her about 4x during the month and he ended the affair a month after he ended it she found me on social media and sent me the picture . I still suffer and can’t get the picture out of my head . Having a hard time understand how he can love me and love our family and say we ar who’s Work by at the same time cheat .
Andrew G. Marshall says
I suggest that you join my Infidelity Survival Training and Support Group which starts in October 2018. Ask the group how they answered the question: Why was our love not enough? Or you might find solace with other people struggling to answer the question and help each other. Details coming soon to the website.
Mine is the opposite. My then girlfriend and now wife cheated on me. I forgave her. We got back together and she reported menopause. It’s been over a year. We have had sex 10times. She’s on hormone pills to promote her sex drive. Hoping it is just her hormones. I have spoken to her about it and I am asked to be patient. Old boyfriend has a spouse she didn’t know about.
I am in a relationship but Sadly to say im a mistress. He says that he loves me by saying that i should finish my studies cos im still a student. He would pray that i could have a better life soon and good husband too. I am 26 and he’s 43 .this is my first relationship and it feels new for me everyone that he would say those stuff above stated is it normal for me to feel sad for myself? Im not asking anything else from him but he offered me a cellphone for me to be useful for my studies but it takes a year before i agreed to make him buy that stuff for me cos i feel that its not feeling good if i received anything from him but he insisted that is why i accepted it. We are on the same workplace. And we had shared many times in bed but he only gave me an oral sex for me to satisfied he always asked me if im happy with what he had done to me in bed everytime hes done. He says that the important is my satisfaction. I know that i didnt gave him satisfaction because im lack of experience. Does it Proves that he truly loves me?i am confuse because i feel sorry for myself because how would i become a mistress .i love him how could he say those words to me do i have to feel grateful because he didnt take any advantage on me. Because i refuse in intercourse and he respects that. He contented with an oral sex. Will you pls. Give some advice if i feel the same way.
Andrew G. Marshall says
You are in the prime of your life. The years from 25 to 30 are key. These are the years most women meet the man they will marry, settle down and have children. Why waste these precious years with a married man?
One thing I may and skimmed over (if OP or Andrew said it) that might have been looked over is: did the cheated on wife give oral sex to wayward husband? Often enough a wayward spouse will do sexual, affectionate and even financial things for or with the Affair Partner/AP that they don’t do with the spouse. There are a myriad of reasons why; chief amongst them for me (in my experiences in 1st, 2nd and 3rd hand accounts, & lastly opinions)
is that they don’t get these things at home.
A third hand example I know of is: John and Jane are married. Jane never really liked giving oral sex (think 3-4 out of 10 of liking to do it) when they were dating but did it ‘less than often’ anyways. Once they got married, she stopped doing it outright after X or Y years. Even sex became a ‘chore’ she despised shortly after that, all the while John is reluctant to giving her oral sex; not because he doesn’t like, it but out of spite of not getting any as well. Later John meets Sally. Sally really likes oral sex and John gives Sally oral sex as well (also since this is a new relationship or even a ‘non-relationship thing’; John gives Sally a reason to continue seeing him as, well as to keep getting oral sex from her.
Not giving John (or OPs husband) a pass whatsoever; just pointing out possible/likely reasons WHY the AP received oral sex.