I’m a married man in a mutually unhappy relationship. We finally figured it was time to let go. We’ve tried all routes open, to no avail.
We can’t separate until we fix up our house for sale in spring, and neither one of us can afford to move out on our own unless house assets are sold and split.
In the meantime, I met a friend of my wife and we instantly clicked… it became a very loving emotional relationship.
No, I’m not saying this because I lack this in my marriage. We have an unconditional type of love, where we support each other.
She’s single and won’t go the next step which is physical… she’s saying it’s because I’m still married… though my wife and I don’t sleep together.
Am I right in saying that I’m separated and so we can be physical, or is she right that I’m still married?
When do feelings take over for your life’s position?
Sex Now or Not Yet?
Neither of you is “right.” Instead, you have different goals at this time.
You, emotional and eager, want to bind your new loving relationship with intimacy. She, more practical (and wiser) wants to know this is a sure thing.
Her position is self-protective: A single woman, she’s not putting this relationship into a holding pattern.
It can take time to “fix up” and sell a house, time to come to a separation agreement, and fairly split all assets and resources.
Also, this woman has been a friend of your wife. That may not last, who knows? But she’s trying to do the so-called “right thing” by not sleeping with you when you’re still married to her friend.
You may not sleep with your wife currently, but she’s still your wife, still there in the house you share.
You waited this long to find what you believe is an unconditional, supportive love.
So, support each other. She loves you, which is what you wanted most. But she’s not ready for sex while you’re married. Accept it.
Reader’s Commentary Regarding a husband’s concern about his wife’s harsh reactions to “small stuff” (November 10):
“Though the headline suggested her behaviour could be rooted in health changes, I immediately recognized myself and many similar-age women friends.
“After experiencing menopause and the kids have left home, women get feistier.
“They’ve spent their younger years keeping a family going and deferring to a husband for harmony’s sake.
“Many women then decide that’s enough.
“They start speaking out instead of sticking with expected demure behaviour.
“Maybe there’s a health issue, but it could also just be a woman coming into her own.”
Ellie - I wrote: “My initial go-to for sudden changes in what’s formerly been a partner’s reliable behaviour and reactions, is concern for her/his well-being.”
This isn’t specifically about menopause. It’s about seeking an answer that’s helpful to the couple, and essential if there’s a lurking health issue.
FEEDBACK Regarding readers’ accounts of the why’s/how’s of their smoking cessation efforts (November 11):
Reader – “I quit my two-packs-daily habit 28 years ago with the help of a Smokers’ Treatment program.
“I learned that all day long smokers are craving and getting our fix. We believe that the nicotine is helping our emotions, but the only thing that’s happening is that we’re getting our fix.
“We reinforce this belief every day. I've heard, "it calms me down,” “gives me energy." But it’s really just about getting a fix.”
FEEDBACK Regarding the husband who wanted his wife to contribute to their finances (Oct.19; Nov.11):
Reader – “I was a working mother until working outside the home was too much. I started a small home daycare.
“I always contributed to the household finances.
“This woman has time for volunteer work so she could be looking at paid work.
“It's not realistic today to have just one income. They’re living paycheck-to-paycheck and need to save for the future.
“Provided proper daycare can be found, the mother should look for at least a part-time job.
“It's time she helps her own family.”
Ellie - She is helping financially and saving costs, as other readers wrote in response e.g., providing day care, tutoring, meals, and hand-made items.
The husband worried about their children’s future higher education costs. I responded, “There’s a time and need for either or both choices for women, and for men too.”
Tip of the day:
Using sex to bargain, your girlfriend insists you separate from your wife before she’ll trust you.