Wife Needs Outside Sex

Q: My wife and I have two preschoolers and have been married five years. Last year, I discovered she was using the Internet to seek out casual sexual encounters. She had slept with one man and was setting up meetings with him again, as well as with at least three other men and a couple. She assured me this would never happen again and pleaded with me to stay. But a year later, it's happening again. She is due to meet another man for a first "face to face" encounter in the next few days and is spending 2-3 hours online per day trying to set up other meetings. She is very clear in her messages: She states she is happy with me and would never want to risk our marriage but wants variety, spice and fun without any strings attached. To my mind, this behavior goes beyond "normal" infidelity into territory that is very self-absorbed and unhealthy. What do you think? -- Paul

Dr. Susan: I think your wife has somehow renegotiated your marital vows without asking for your input. The two of you agreed to monogamy at the start of your marriage and then again after you discovered her escapades last year, but she has decided that's just not spicy enough for her.

I'm not sure there is any such thing as "normal" infidelity. People get hurt. Kids suffer. Genuine intimacy flies out the window. However, your wife sounds obsessed to me, the ways she spends so much time seeking out sexual kicks. She might benefit from some professional help to get her priorities straight. I would try to convince her, first of all, that it's worth getting help for your marriage to make it more lively and satisfying. Or you may have to call it quits if she won't agree to be honest and do some serious work on salvaging the marriage. You don't have to put up with her extreme behavior. She is definitely pushing the limits.

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