We’ve been married for 18 years with one child. We’ve not had sex for ten years. I’ve accepted her disinterest as low libido, which she doesn’t care to change.
We’re otherwise a very normal couple, active in our own fields, and compatible together.
My wife’s away for awhile, and I did some spring-cleaning. I stumbled upon explicit letters and cards she’d received when in a relationship 10 years ago. They were kept in an old shoebox in our attic.
My heart wants to confront her when she returns. My head says to let it pass as I’ve seen no signs of that relationship continuing, and our life continues smoothly.
Do I follow my heart or my head?
Torn Inside Out
Since you’ve managed without sex in your marriage, you may feel you can continue this way without further discussion.
However, I doubt it’s possible, especially now that a whole new factor has emerged.
Yet, as you likely suspect, confronting her will blow away the placid belief that this marriage is “very normal.” It’s not uncommon to have sexual issues in a long marriage, but it’s not healthy to bury them.
Unless you’ve had affairs yourself, you’ve sacrificed having “normal” sex for years.
Meanwhile, your wife has carried this secret and perhaps felt guilty about it all this time, causing her withdrawal from physical intimacy.
Or, she has sacrificed too, and lived silently sad over something she couldn’t reveal, lest she hurt you and rock your mutually maintained stability.
I believe you need to know the answer.
If you do confront her (gently, and with compassion, since this is so long ago) and if you both still want to stay together, be prepared to seek marriage therapy to help you two adjust.
There’s even the possibility that this buried past can bring you closer, through new understanding and honesty.
I’m a gay man, 53, with a partner of 12 years.
For several years, our sex life’s been infrequent - he doesn't appear interested, though I’ve asked for more frequency.
A year ago, I received a thank-you on our jointly owned company Facebook page “for a great time.” Not recognizing the client, I inquired what he enjoyed the most. His reply: "Kissing you" and “your” great body (my partner has that).
It was apparently a one-off between them.
Recently, when home alone, a hand-written note appeared. The writer indicated he’d already visited our home and thoroughly enjoyed what transpired. He’d soon park nearby, and if available “I” was to wave him in again.
When I saw the note, no car was parked nearby. But he’d added he’d be parked there again at a specific time, and described the car. The following night, that car repeatedly cruised our house before driving off.
My partner won’t discuss anything he refuses to deal with. I need more factual evidence before I jump to conclusions or instigate something I’ll later regret. Any advice?
Confused and Hurt
Decide ahead just what you want, e.g. to stay together even if he denies and cheating continues? Or, to break up unless he ends trysts with strangers (risking STI’s for you both)? Or, a better sexual relationship together, with no tolerance for straying?
My point: If you don’t know what you can or can’t accept, you’ll get no satisfying response, just more hurt.
Think it through, and then show him the note. Say what you want AND where you draw a line in the sand.
How do you know when it’s really love you’re feeling, or just the high of having great sex?
Crazy For Him
You can tell more about your own feelings when the “crazy” starts to normalize.
That’s when you’re no longer in the early stages of passion – when you’re cancelling meetings, and friends you used to see, and rushing through work, just to be together to make love.
Or, if it’s an illicit affair, you can weigh the difference more accurately when the newness of risk and excitement at getting away with it, calms down.
That’s when you can take a hard look along with self-awareness to assess the connection between you two… is it escapism, love of danger, neediness, physical release, or deep intimacy beyond sex?
Though frequent great sex can become “addictive” as the body/mind begs to keep feeling those happy-making endorphins, that’s not love.
For enduring love, you need to also feel trust, respect, caring, and compassion.
Tip of the day:
When a buried secret emerges, it changes the relationship’s balance but can bring new understanding.