My Lover's In Jail
Q: I've been with "Jim" for four years, though he's been incarcerated for the last two. I love him very much and have been faithful so far. He is due to get out in a month or so and I am looking forward to that very much. My dilemma is that I have been extremely attracted to a couple of guys that I met recently and want to act on my desire. Should I get it out of my system or should I continue on my faithful path and pray for pure thoughts??? -- Dani, 38
Dr. Susan: It usually takes more than prayer to keep strong sexual urges for other people from spoiling a relationship. Consider the following realities: There's no such thing as "getting it out of your system." If you decide to pursue sex with "a couple of guys" in the month before your boyfriend is released, you're either going to enjoy yourself and want more, or you're going to be sorry you bothered and feel guilty and disgusted with yourself. Certainly a secret hanging over you would make it that much harder to reconnect with your boyfriend when you're back together.
I'd try putting those extracurricular attractions on hold for a little longer and give the four-year-relationship a full-strength try when he gets back. You don't mention if you have kids together, so I'll assume you don't. If, in a few months, the two of you are not working things out, and you still want to see other men, then be honest with him. Tell him you were faithful while he was gone, but now you've come to realize that the two of you aren't really long-term material anymore, and you'd like to go your separate ways. That way, when you look in the mirror, you can look yourself in the eye. That's a pure thought worth aiming for.
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.