It’s 11 months since I discovered my spouse’s affair. Months of couples’ counseling and sincere efforts to rebuild our marriage, yet there are still lingering doubts, inability to trust, and discomfort with intimacy.
Her affair lasted for several years, but our relationship was long foundering before then. We’d become more like caring friends who had sex infrequently. The spark was long gone.
I often feel we were never that great for each other sexually, not really intimate.
I struggle with uncertainty about how I’ll ever know if this will work. She loves me and expresses a desire to keep working at and maintaining our family life. I love her very much but it doesn’t feel truly comfortable and there’s tension about sexual relations.
We have teen-age kids and a life together. I can’t just leave, yet I feel this’ll never feel like a relationship that’s safe to trust.
Confused and Still Hurting
From my experiences hearing from post-affair couples over many years, you two have a lot going towards improving your marriage.
You’re both committed to making the effort. There’s now been honest disclosure about the affair, and a fair degree of understanding why it happened.
Had you both carried on with no “spark,” for the sake of kids (soon grown and leaving), you two could easily have drifted apart.
Now you have a chance to probe why intimacy was a problem long before her affair.
Go back to counselling – both of you individually - to find the roots (in background, childhood experiences) for a holdback on deep emotions and connection.
Otherwise, even if you eventually part, one or both may still struggle with intimacy with someone else.
Consider also seeing a sex therapist to learn new ways to allow yourself to touch, feel, and engage fully in a physical, sexual way.
No marriage, at no point, has a warranty as a relationship to trust. But that goal is more important to you than ever before. Keep working towards it for as long as you can.
The man I’ve dated for three years and I love each other and have discussed a future together. We both have children from previous marriages who’ve been introduced on both sides.
He’s met my entire (extended) family and recently attended family functions. I have not been introduced to his parents nor do they know about me.
I’ve met his siblings but he doesn’t invite me to family gatherings. He says that his father is old-fashioned and judgmental.
I’ve explained that it doesn’t make me feel good that I’m not a “part” of his family especially as we’ve discussed a future together and he’s become a part of mine. I feel like I’m not good enough.
Is he not seeing a future with me and this is why he’s distancing me from his world?
Ask more direct questions. Example: Does his father being “old-fashioned” mean he’ll never accept a union between you two?
Or, does he mean that his father doesn’t accept an intimate relationship between unmarried people?
More important: How much does he, as an adult with children, require his father’s approval for this relationship, and will it ever be forthcoming?
Drop any and all thoughts about you not being “good enough.”
It breeds harmful and unnecessary insecurity in you, such that you’re letting his “hiding” you from his parents, continue on.
You need some timeline about this “future” you two talk about, a ring or other symbol of engagement/commitment, and a welcoming introduction to his parents.
Recently, a friend used the phrase "Jewed down." I told her that it’s an offensive phrase. She argued that it’s commonly used and a compliment because Jews know how to haggle for better prices.
She proudly added that she also uses another phrase, meaning to cheat to get insurance money.
Two other friends then spoke of their own uses of the phrase and other stereotyping of Jews. It was very uncomfortable.
Should I have kept quiet?
Absolutely not. Offensive, racist remarks have no place in our diverse society where people of all backgrounds must avoid the false stereotypes of thoughtless “common” chatter.
Any word or phrase, which differentiates a whole group of people, especially in a negative way, promotes bigotry, and eventually hatred.
Every culture knows how to “bargain.” Your so-called “friends” were baiting you with anti-Semitic insults. They’re insensitive and ignorant. You should seek smarter, kinder and truer friends.
Tip of the day:
The work of marriage starts anew post-affair, but does have a chance.