Should He Have an Affair?
Q: My wife has not had sexual relations with me for over ten years. She says people our age should not be interested in sex anymore and I should act my age and accept that fact. She is 59 now and I'm 64 and we've been together 20 years. I still have a great desire to have a sexual life again but don't know where to start. Don't encourage us to seek therapy, as she absolutely refuses to do so. My question is, do I stay in this sexless union, or have an affair on the side? I'm ready, willing, and able to pursue a sexual relationship with another woman if the situation presents itself and I think I'm justified in doing so. -- James, 64
Dr. Susan: First of all, your wife is ignorant of biological reality. Especially yours. Neither of you is going to talk you out of having sexual urges, and I can only wonder how you've dealt with them over the past decade. But you have to decide how much subterfuge you're willing to live with. Do you still love your wife in other ways? If you would like to stay married, you really ought to tell her that you're not going to turn down a chance to have a sexual relationship with someone else. She may not choose to live like that, but it's only fair to give her the choice. Also keep in mind that extra-marital relationships often get much more complicated than you expect at first. The other woman could fall in love with you. You could fall in love with her. She could blackmail you. She could give you a disease. She could tell your wife even if you don't. It's not that you're not justified in seeking to satisfy this essential need somehow, but that honesty is so much cleaner a way to live. You also need to ask yourself if it's only sex you're missing. If it's affection and caring too, then you may need to leave your wife altogether.
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Advice for Her
Advice for Him
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.