Time to Leave a Marriage?
Q: My question is - when is it time to leave a marriage? I have been married for over 16 years, and my wife doesn't like to have sex very often and always seems to pull away when I touch her. She always tells me it is not me, it is her. She's just not interested in being touched. I recently met someone. We had an incredible few days and had a great time just walking and talking and enjoying each other's company. Is this a sign I need to leave? -- Bob, 35
Dr. Susan: No, this isn't a dependable sign about needing to leave. Having an affair tells you nothing about the state of your marriage. In your situation, it's obvious that you've been longing for more affection and intimacy. And this woman just happened along at the "right" time. Talk to your wife. It's not enough for her to say she doesn't have an interest in being touched and just leave it at that. You married young and are still young. Many women have low libido issues, but quite often these can be dealt with if the woman still loves her mate and wants to do what she can. Does she want to improve and keep the marriage? Or is she willing to let you go entirely? That whole "incredible few days" thing doesn't mean much. It can't last (not that you will believe that right now). At least give your wife the option of going to therapy with you. You have to let her know that intimacy, both physical and emotional, is still critically important to you. If you decide you want to run to this other woman, be prepared for the early days "fizz" to fizzle out pretty quickly.
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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.