I’m a married man, in love with a married woman.
HER: She confided that her husband cheated, but she’s working on her relationship.
She’s fun, married, and has two kids. She drops them off at school, we chat everyday. She smiles at me. I haven’t told her how I feel.
ME: Two kids. On sick leave at home, fighting a problem that’s probably someday going to make me very sick. My wife works 60-70 hours weekly. She’s cold, frigid.
I have a sleeping disorder, so we sleep separately; our sex life non-existent. Only partly her fault. My sickness causes erectile dysfunction (ED).
I know she cheats, but I don’t blame her. I know we’re only together for the kids.
Should I just let my wife go?
Am I a monster, wanting to break up another woman’s marriage, so I can be with her though I cannot fulfill her?
She just might be my soul mate.
You’re lost in fantasies harmful to YOU – creating an imaginary “soul mate” lifeline.
If this little-known woman rejects you, that’d be another emotional wallop on top of illness, adding strain on your physical health.
Harmful, too, to HER – sorry, but you’d be the worst escape for her… a man with long-term problems who desperately hopes she’s the answer to making his life perfect.
Talk to your wife. Ask what she sees/wants for the future. Maybe she hopes you’ll recover and is cold and angry because you’ve given up. Maybe she wants out, but won’t say so when you’re ill.
Talk to your doctor. There are strategies for sleep disorders, treatments for ED, and other ways for intimacy besides intercourse…. if you seek solutions instead of escape.
My wife’s oldest brother, 40, lives alone in an apartment, has no car, and holds a steady full-time job.
He has no friends that we know of. He’s friendly with co-workers only at work. He doesn't date, hasn't had a girlfriend in two decades.
He’s not seen his family (father, three siblings) for six months though we all live close.
He avoided getting together for Christmas. He’s missed occasions before, but usually showed up to the next one.
My wife gave birth to our second daughter and there was no contact to congratulate us.
He won't respond to emails whether he's going to attend an event.
His father’s visited him at his work several times, to assure he's okay. When he asks him about the next family outing, he always replies he has to work.
Their mother once told my wife, "he hasn't been given the same tools as everyone else," and he refused to get help.
My wife feels that a confrontation might drive him further away, even lead him to suicide if we make him feel "guilty."
Yet I think we'll never see him again if we do nothing.
He’s a loner, functioning for his daily life. His father’s visits should continue regularly - suggesting lunch or a coffee while there, so there’s time to chat.
He shouldn’t make him feel guilty. However, if there’s a change in his appearance, or odd behaviour beyond his absences, a family intervention needs to be discussed.
I recommend a family meeting with a psychologist experienced with patients who withdraw socially, to discuss this. The brother may be masking deepening social anxiety, may be a hoarder at home living in chaos, and may already be on the edge of despair.
Do NOT stop showing him that the family cares about him, not about showing up.
FEEDBACK Regarding “No Hope” who’s un-attracted to wife who rejects erotica and “spice” (May 27):
Reader – “I had a similar problem with my ex-wife in the latter years of our marriage. I'm glad she left me, and wish I’d done the same much sooner.
“I'm now with a wonderful woman who values a good sexual relationship as much as I do.”
FEEDBACK Regarding girlfriend “Played by Gambling” boyfriend who lied (May 25):
Reader – “I’d been friends with this woman for several years, then realized she was an alcoholic. I had problems with her and she had to go to rehab. She called me after, wanting to live with me.
“I said No, as I thought I’d have more trouble with her.
“Played” will have problems with her male friend if he keeps gambling, so she should leave him if she doesn't want her life ruined by him.”
Tip of the day:
Serious marital problems can benefit from positive strategies, but not imaginary rescues.