Savage Love Letter of the Day: Sexlessish Marriage Less Sexless During Affair

Comments

1
"I want to have sex with people who aren't my husband. He hasn't done anything wrong and it's for no particular reason except, eh, while I like him I don't like like him anymore. I don't want to talk about it with him or give him options or anything, this is a strictly unilateral plan to be a CPOS. That's fine, right?"
"Sure is!"
2
@Ankylosaurus,
that's it, basically.
I hope LW's husband is cheating on her and also planning on leaving for the new mistress, that way everything gets even and they can both move on without having to feel like shit.
3
I'm sorry but option 1, is decidedly NOT ok!
This is not a "do what you have to, to stay sane" in a marriage situation.... Not even close.
She just isn't feeling attracted to him... She is still for whatever reason, even if only occasionally, having sex with him... Getting sex outside their relationship also puts him at risk for STDs that he decidedly did not consent to...

She has option 2. Ask to open the marriage or 3. Leave.
But option 1 is just being a CPOS end of story, giving her husband a little nookie does not in any way negate that fact.
4
She didn't even ask for permission to cheat- she was asking a whole different question about whether Dan thought the marriage was doomed for lack of sexual attraction, or if it could get the mojo back. Dan is just so focused on bashing monogamy that he basically told her she HAD to cheat. He straight up tells her "monogamy is going to destroy your marriage." Totally unsolicited. Then he offers her two choices - firstly, keep deceiving your spouse and cheat again. Secondly, open your marriage, by unilateral decree. Absolutely no options that involve honesty, discussion, caring for your partner's feelings or trying to solicit their point of view. No option that shows any respect for the relationship at all, or that makes an attempt to repair it, which is what the lady was ASKING for. Dan, you are off the rails about cheating. We get it, you hate monogamy with a bitter deathless passion. We get it, anyone who values sexual fidelity is a troglodyte who is asking to be cheated on. You should disqualify yourself from answering any questions from monogamous people, or those who aspire to monogamy. Just bill yourself as an advice columnist for poly people and leave it at that.
5
Seriously Dan's more recent advice - say, for the last year and a half or so - has evolved so far in the direction of cheating as the answer to all relationship
problems that I can't help wondering - has Dan recently become a CPOS and now all his advice is thinly disguised self-justification?
6
wtf is wrong with you, Dan? This staying sane line has to only be used under certain conditions.
1) the spouse is terminally ill, or similar.
2) the spouse unilaterally with holds any sexual intimacy.
LW, you have already broken your family by your lies and deceitful behaviour. I'm too pissed off with your off hand energy towards your partner, the father of your children, to offer much more at the moment.
7
I'm gonna pile on here too. LOST, you cannot justify your complete lack of morals and compassion for your husband by whining, after 16 years and three children, "But I'm just not attracted to my husband anymore!" Hey! Remember that little line, "'til death do us part?" Time to look in the mirror and accept HALF the blame for the state of your marriage. Having kids means sacrifice, so suck it up and stop being a mewling little brat and do everything you can to fix your marriage! THEN, if after you give it your best shot, you just can't make things work, get your divorce, and try your best to make it amicable. Keep your kids happiness first & foremost, and make it as easy on them as possible. Don't start dragging every swinging dick on the planet into your bedroom.

I'm of the opinion that "open marriage" sounds good in Danland, but in the real world, "Hey, I want to fuck other guys! You don't mind do you?" is gonna be met with a swift kick in the ass about 97% of the time.
8
Yeah, I'm with everybody above. The LW specifically states that there are all these "I don't know" questions. LW states: "I know this can be improved but there is part of the relationship that I am not sure can be fixed. Specifically, I have zero sexual attraction to him. But I don't know if this is related to us not making enough effort to maintain a good relationship and the attraction can come back with effort or if it gone forever."

I'm not sure. I don't know.

Has LW made an effort to really address these "I'm not sures"-- like counseling, for example, if LW is serious about saving the marriage-- or was cheating the first step on the "gosh, I dunno, hubby's not so hot to me anymore" trail? It sure doesn't sound from the description like LW tried any serious communication before launching into a "brief affair." Isn't it seriously risky that Dan's immediate mind-reading jump here is that the attraction is gone forever, that it's not worth any effort by LW to pursue other options besides cheating or demanding the relationship be open?

Like others have said, Dan's getting awfully quick on the trigger with that "go ahead and cheat" advice. Why have Dan's columns gone from DTMFA to HGAABAMF (hey, go ahead and be a motherfucker) styles of advice? I'm all for consensual choice of non-monogamy, but it used to be that Dan had some standards about what was ethical behavior and what was just being a selfish asshole. If non-monogamy is becoming a crusade rather than as a possible-- but specifically consensual-- choice, then maybe its time to get out of the advice column business, because that shit can do some real damage.

LW has three kids and has been married for 16 years. There are some huge responsibilities built up here, and rather than just assume the only two choices are 1) cheat or 2) demand your husband open your marriage, how about we take LW at LW's word: if LW has all these questions and seriously wants to save the marriage, get some actual real-life counseling. And try exploring some less narrow options than some simplistic "have an affair or demand your spouse capitulate" binary bullshit.
9
LW: I recommend you watch this really good TED talk that is precisely about your situation: Esther Perel - The secret to desire in a long-term relationship (https://www.ted.com/talks/esther_perel_t…). It doesn't have a magical solution, but it will help you understand it better.

10
...and, while you're at it, also watch this other really good TED talk by the same author:
Esther Perel: Rethinking infidelity ... a talk for anyone who has ever loved (https://www.ted.com/talks/esther_perel_r…). Good luck!
11
I really feel for her husband. Dan doesn't seem remotely concerned about him and how this is affecting him. Do Dan and the LW think the husband is utterly dense and undeserving of someone who actually wants to fuck him?
12
Ms Guera - Alternate theory: perhaps it's Mr Miller (either for real or possibly it's all erroneous suspicion), and Mr Savage is doing all he can to keep the ship afloat.

*****

Even if we take it that Husband's sex life was improved (I think there's reasonable doubt on that point given the evidence currently before us), is improving someone's sex life sufficient justification for negating one's agency? Even Mr Savage doesn't seem to think it full exculpation.

I must look up The Duchess of Padua.
13
+1 to "what the hell, Dan"

LW, since Dan skipped past your actual question: I don't know if you can save your marriage, but sexual attraction has a lot of habit in it (and that's not a bad thing). Some questions if you read this and you want the amateurs to give the advice business a try.

You said "grown apart" more broadly than sex. In what ways, like you don't have intimate conversations? Do you miss this other stuff, and do you want it with him? Assuming you do, tell him, and I know it sounds dorky, but schedule it. Rebuilding intimacy really can bring sex back. Cliché but true.

On the other hand if you *don't* really want that back with him, then be clear to yourself, and don't drag both of you through what would be a hellish 'healing'slog that would probably make you hate each other. You can have a healthy companionable child-raising marriage if that's what you both want. Of course, one or both of you may not.

Did things work for a while into it, or it never really worked post-infatuation? Did having kids knock things off course, or something else?

What conversations have you had with your husband about sex or intimacy? What did he say, and what happened?

Is he happy? Do you know what he wants?

Do you like him?
14
While I think the above commenters have a good collective point...

LW isn't really asking for advice, she's asking for permission to have sex with other people (or permission to leave).

She's not going to work on it. She's not going to communicate with her husband. She's not going to suck it up and stop complaining.

She's already made her decision that she's going to eventually have sex with other people... she only really asked Dan if that's ok. And Dan saw that exactly for what it was. He gave her the only advice she'll ultimately accept.
15
Add me to the chorus of those disgusted with Dan and his all-too-frequent advice to become a CPOS for no reason other than that it's convenient.
I really take issue with his phrase "do what you need to do to stay married and stay sane." Really? So not getting to fuck whoever you want to drives you insane? It's a tidy little excuse that doesn't hold up and is wearing pretty damn thin. Maybe your cheated-on-so-you-could-stay-sane spouse has an opinion on how much your "sanity" is worth, and it's not at the expense of their ability to make an informed choice about staying in that marriage.
Not to mention that I don't think that cheating on one's spouse always preserves either the cheater's sanity or the marriage.
16
@14: You're right in that the lw isn't going to try to work on making things work with her husband, and what she wants is Dan's blessing to do what she's been doing and wants to do anyway.
I think that's the case with 98% of the people who write in.

But it doesn't mean Dan needs to validate her behavior and rationalization. I kind of liked how in the exchange between them Dan tried again and again to get her to say that cheating on her husband actually revitalized her marital sex life so she could justify the cheating even more than she already had. Unfortunately, she wouldn't play along.

Dan has choices about which letters he responds to and it seems like he used this one to push his non-monogamy agenda, even though the lw refused to be the poster-child for polyamory that he tried to turn her into. I kind of wonder why he ran this.
17
Dan's attitude: cheating on your spouse is actually good for your marriage, in that it leads to having more sex with your spouse--even if you still aren't attracted to your spouse and are fucking out of guilt or shame or with your eyes screwed tightly shut. But hey, the bottom line is that if you have an affair you temporarily or initially have a bit more sex with your spouse than you were having before you had the affair. So that affair is a good thing! It might even be able to take the credit for saving your marriage. I mean, who really cares about honesty, trust, attraction, sex motivated by anything other than guilt, anyway? Bottom line is sex is sex and obviously more sex, even if temporarily and founded on something other than attraction, is clearly the most desirable outcome in any troubled marriage where the spouses have drifted apart and one is no longer attracted to the other. Screw that mutual connection and all parties being informed and getting to make decisions for themselves, amirite?
18
Yes, nocute.. You are right.
LW. Talk to your husband about how you feel. Start the conversation. Listen to his response. Show him respect
and care, you two have 16 yrs up, and three children.
If you are serious about keeping your family together( your deceitful behaviour points to this just being lip service, but that is in the past), then make the effort to make that happen.
Go to therapy together. Insist on it.
You are still young, I assume he is also still young. Give the marriage a chance to have mutual desire rekindled.
Do not cheat again. Working with a good, sex positive therapist, may surprise you in how it can change
perceptions.
19
Terry had a funny instagram post yesterday that showed him and Dan side by side at separate restaurant tables, Dan on his laptop and Terry looking (mock?) resigned. Wonder if Dan was answering this question right then...
20
@15: seems like you are going after Dan's whole program, while other commenters ("the chorus") are just objecting to this instance. The stay-married-stay-sane rule, in most of Dan's writing, usually applies to a spouse whose partner refuses to have sex with him/her, and that seems somewhat ethical to me. The reason Dan is getting shredded in the comments here is that this woman has the option of sex within her marriage, and does not for any obvious reason, qualify for "stay-married-stay sane" -- and thus is a CPOS. So you might be a "chorus" of one, having, perhaps, micharacterized the views expressed by other commenters here. (Per the rest of your comments, I think you make some compelling points.)
21
I know the writer probably asked the advice columnist who'd give her what she wanted, probably isn't really asking "how could I make this marriage work", but you never know. Could be she wrote this in one frame of mind and didn't like how it read in another frame of mind.
22
Hey Dan. What would be the line up to which you'd give advice to cheat in a relationship, and past which you'd say no, just break up? The line in the sense of the least extreme 'cheating-licensing' situation. Or where would your own line be, I ask hypothetically not personally.

Because there are always extreme examples with, like, cancer plus insurance plus visa issues or whatever. Sometimes I'd say cheat. But it sure seems like you've been lowering your line for how much it takes to make cheating the answer. It's corgi height now.

p.s. And about these relationships you advise to save, by someone cheating to meet their needs. About what % do you guess are better long term options for the people than breaking up? Even purely selfishly for the prospective cheater, most of them look to me like I'd be much happier in three years if I got out.
23
You sloggers sure talk a good game. So how did all you stalwart citizens handle your marital challenges when they arose, hmm? With forthrightness and honesty at all times? Stuck to your moral guns, stayed true to yourselves and everything fell into place, amirite? Oh, the outrage.

Therapy too, that's another one. The sure fix for a dying libido. Because nothing will make you hotter for your spouse than sitting next to them for fifty minutes in a neutral room on strategically chosen furniture near strategically placed boxes of kleenex talking about feelings with some placid therapist. I get hard just thinking about it.
24
Yes LateBloomer, that's exactly what I've always done for 21 years and things have pretty much fallen into place - thanks for asking!
25
. Late, it depends on the therapist.
So you'd be fine if your wife did this to you? Closed her eyes while fucking you and just thought of her secret lover. While you, in good faith, did your best to keep a family of five chugging along.
Has the LW told her guy that she feels like this? Yes, it's a difficult thing to say.. That's why these sorts of truths are better spoken of in therapy.
Maybe she doesn't say straight up, that she no longer desires him. Maybe something like her desire button isn't pressed as strongly for him now, as it used to be. That she'd like to explore it with a good therapist.
Cheating is not a fair option.
As Busy said above, he deserves to be fucked by someone who wants to fuck him.
There may be reasons he's become less attractive to her. He may be on automatic re family life. And after 16 yrs, it can get a little predictable, which can be desire killing.
Trying to rekindle her desire for him has got to be worth a try. There's no point in having an open marriage under these circumstances, she'd just be off desiring someone else, not him, and he'd know about it this time.
I think it's therapy or living together as co parents, which is hard to do, or break the fuck up. Children are loved under all sorts of circumstances. Living in an environment with cheating as its base, is poisonous for all.
Dan got lazy answering this.
26
Following Plural @9&10, I'm going to suggest someone the LW could check out.
Polly Young-Eisendrath, is an American psychotherapist. She and he late husband developed couples therapy where two therapists are involved. I came across a book they wrote on it, and she is still working. I think I've read from her newsletters, that she still trains therapists in her methods.
To answer your questions, I tried to keep speaking my truths during my 30 year marriage, Late. I never lost feeling sexually attracted to him, I lost respect for him, though.
27
LW. The book is called;
Hags and Heroes
A Feminist Approach to Jungian Therapy with Couples.
It was originally published in 1984, it is still available on her website. Yes, an old book. She, as I said, is still actively developing her insights with couples therapy.
28
I shouldn't be surprised. As I remember it, the advice used to be: After you've tried everything, if you're truly in an untenable sexless situation, then consider opening up the marriage as a last resort. Now it's turned into: Have sex with other people at the first sign of something wrong.

This isn't an untenable situation where one partner has a terminal illness or is on life-saving meds that kill all sex drive.

This couple hasn't tried everything. For one thing, her husband still makes sexual overtures. He knows what she likes. They haven't tried (from what I can tell in the letter) therapy, porn, role play, fantasy, waiting out the lean period to see if some of her desire returns. This is just a rich old guy who wants to throw over his willing wife for a younger model because she's done nothing worse than wrinkle and sag in a few places.

(Ankylosaurus-- Is that you? Is the old Ankylosaurus back, or did someone else choose that name? Many of us changed screen names when The Stranger switched to a new server. I used to be Crinoline.)
29
Dan. Remember when you only advised cheating when it was the least-worst option, i.e. when it was in some way justified?

"I wanna fuck other people and don't wanna fuck you" justifies breaking up, not cheating. If you don't want to fuck your partner, the solution is divorce, not endless rejection and betrayal. That's abuse.

Would you advise the LW's husband to start hitting her when she says "no?" Why not? After all, if not getting to fuck whoever you want makes you insane, then maybe that's what he's gotta do to stay sane. See any ethical problems there?
30
LateBloomer@23 Yes, that's exactly how I (we) handled it. Although I eventually ended up divorced, we gave it our best shot, going through counseling and when it became clear that we just couldn't make it work, we divorced amicably. The judge even said how nice it was to not have people bitching at each other the whole time. Still friends with the ex, still trying to co-parent as best we can. Neither one of us ever even considered cheating as an answer, not for a single second, so that helped keep the animosity way down. Want a bitter, nasty divorce? Cheat as your first option.
31
What the hell, Dan? People listen to you! Could you try not to give advice that will tear their lives apart?
How much sex you are having is not the only measure of the quality of your relationship. I feel ridiculous even typing something so obvious.
32
@29, thank you for challenging the idea that not having all the sex you want makes you insane. It used to be that was just hyperbole, now it seems like we are supposed to take it literally.

People don't go insane from lack of sex. That doesn't happen. They get frustrated, they get unhappy, but they don't go insane.
33
Mr Bloomer - Therapy for an ethical ending, perhaps.

There may have been a letter or two revealing that the cheated party was so much better off being cheated that the case for justification could be made - with the cheater assuming full responsibility for potential damages in exchange for agency negation. This letter doesn't read like it.
34
@LateBloomer,
Hahaha! I am with you. I am always amazed how the commenters here seem to be of Perfect Moral Character. I guess you and I are the only ones here who aren't devoid of flaw, who have sometimes acted selfishly, who have occasionally made a mess of things despite our best intentions, who have even sometimes misunderstood our own motivations and realized later that we had not behaved virtuously. People have a great capacity for denial, rationalization, and self justification... which is why 90% of the time, people think of their own actions as justified. I'd be willing to bet some of the ex-partners of some of these PMCs (perfect moral characters) could name some instances in which THEY felt the PMC's acted dishonestly, lazily, or selfishly.

I admit I have been watching with a giggle as the "stay married stay sane" bar has gotten lower and lower over the last few years. I feel like Dan just sees so many letters, and has been doing this for so damn long, that he just doesn't have the energy for moral outrage about cheating anymore. I feel much the same way; I just can't seem to get my feathers ruffled up over it and I'm not sure whether it makes me cynical or I just have a more "European sensibility" about it. FWIW, I very much believe in love and commitment. I just don't think cheating is that big of a deal. That's not to say that it's the right thing to do - there's no doubt that it's "wrong". If this were a test, I think we'd all know what the correct answer is - cheating is bad. It's only bad because it's dishonest though, not because it's inherently bad. And when you (as a society, or as an individual in a relationship) place an ENORMOUS amount of importance on something that is A) challenging, or at least holds some temptation, for most people and B) doesn't have a lot of inherent value, you're bound to have a high failure rate. Expect it. And I just don't think monogamy has to be a Pass/Fail undertaking... maybe it needs to be more like those independent schools that don't give kids grades at all, but just have conversations about "strengths" and "growth opportunities". Sure, if the kid is frequently bad and unrepentant, they will eventually get kicked out. But until then, expect some success and some failures and keep working on it.
All that being said... yeah, Dan's answer was pretty lazy. He didn't really address her question about whether she can rekindle desire. And I wanted to know more about the rest of the state of the relationship to know whether it's worth saving.
35
Also, w/r/t "insanity from lack of sex", actually it's kinda sorta true. Not clinically speaking, of course, but in the figurative sense. For people who are living every day with the internal tug-of-war between their strong desires and their ethics, that struggle can drive you pretty nuts. And it can lead you to do things that some might call irrational, or an objectively bad decision. Like ending an otherwise good relationship because you're so torn by a temptation.
36
@34. is that what Late was on about?
I thought he was just doing his contrary mode look. Cause he never much seems to ever have an opinion. Just a reaction to others' opinions.
37
What a bullshit comment@34.
You want a list of my selfish actions or moral flaws before I respond to a letter and/ or Dan's take on it?
38
@37, why so angry? I'm merely pointing out that a lot of people are really judgmental. Perhaps I skew too far towards the other end.
39
LavaGirl, you responded almost as though I had made a personal attack against you. I didn't. Nothing I said was mean or condemning or suggested that anyone needed to be somehow qualified to comment. Quite the opposite in fact.

And I wasn't even referring to anyone or any comment in particular, although a few people did chime in the thread to say something like "Yes, I have always behaved honestly and it worked out well for me". Not sure whether that's genuine or sarcastic, but I'm going to assume its both genuine and true. Good for them for being PMCs, but not all of us are. I'm not sure what exactly is such bullshit about my comment.
40
I'm about as nonjudgmental as you can get when it comes to cheating, but come on, cheating as a long term solution to not loving your spouse is just selfish and cruel.
41
@ 38 By commenting on people here being really judgmental, you are being judgmental yourself. All of us sloggers skew towards the same end.

42
Comments @1-@8 say about all there is to say on this subject, so concur in their opinions as follows:

"Option 1, is decidedly NOT ok!" -- Agreed. LW your right to chose Option 1 has been formally revoked.

"She has option 2. Ask to open the marriage or 3. Leave." -- Agreed, LW you may chose either Option 2 or Option 3.

"WTF is wrong with you, Dan?" -- Yes, WFT Dan?

"In the real world, 'Hey, I want to fuck other guys! You don't mind do you?' is gonna be met with a swift kick in the ass about 97% of the time." -- Reasonable estimate your mileage my vary.

"If you don't want to fuck your partner, the solution is divorce, not endless rejection and betrayal. That's abuse." -- Yes, don't be a CPOS LW, get a divorce.
43
Option 2 (open it) or Option 3 (GTFO). Seriously. Nothing in that letter says that you can't or shouldn't leave, so freakin' leave.

@34. Sure people are flawed and you are welcome to consider cheating "not a big deal." But your husband (and LW's husband) are also free to think differently.

I know Dan says we don't "hear" about the marriages saved by cheating. I think that those marriages are saved by cheating until it blows apart.... and then in blows apart spectacularly.

I feel LW's pain. Been there, done that. And know what happens when the situation goes boom. It's ugly. So I speak from a position of experience. LW, your husband deserves to be with someone who wants to ride his salami and, you, loves him (you don't appear to). And BTW, you too deserve to be in a relationship where you want to ride the salami of the person you are with. Sex is important to both of you. You haven't explained why your marriage can't be blown apart. Go on with your life.

Using your husband as a convenient life preserver is ugly. People f- up, sure, but that doesn't mean (ahum Pretty), we can't work toward being a better person tomorrow.
44
"Hahaha! I am with you. I am always amazed how the commenters here seem to be of Perfect Moral Character. I guess you and I are the only ones here who aren't devoid of flaw, who have sometimes acted selfishly, who have occasionally made a mess of things despite our best intentions, who have even sometimes misunderstood our own motivations and realized later that we had not behaved virtuously"

Gee, I just accused everyone here of being hypocritical POS's. I don't know why they'd take it as a personal attack.

/sarcasm off.
45
I have also become incredibly disappointed with Dan's standards for what constitutes ethical cheating, and my husband and I have been happily "monogamish" for about ten years. This LW appears to be a perfect example of a CPOS. Her husband is a good guy who wants sex with her, knows what she likes and tries to give it to her. She is just bored with him. She hasn't actually talked to him about it or made any effort yet to try to make their marriage better. She had an affair and maybe, for a little while, they had slightly more sex because her husband could tell something was wrong and was desperately trying to regain intimacy with her, and she was guilty, so she closed her eyes and thought of her lover. How is more of that going to make anyone's life better?

My husband is not really cut out to be monogamous but, in part because of Dan's advice, he talked to me about his difficulties, he sucked it up and didn't get everything he wanted when I wasn't comfortable, and knowing that he was being honest and faithful to the rules I set, over time things got easier and better for us. Had Dan been writing this advice years ago, I suspect he would have just cheated on me or told me half-truths and we'd probably be divorced now.
46
Nope, I don't have PMC but I do value my character and strive to better it through my daily interactions, and certainly in my intimate family relationships. That makes me a hypocrite? What, pray tell, is the more honest alternative? "I have a shitty moral character and I don't give a rat's ass about it?" Hardly seems like a superior position.

Perfection is not required to give an opinion. Anyone who reads Dan ought to agree with that! My opinion is that it is no way justifiable to treat your spouse with utter contempt - to lie, to cheat, to break vows, or to withhold intimacy - for the sake of more sex or - and this is more relevant- for the sake of avoiding difficult conversations. I think the latter motivation is at least as strong as the former.

These people have a family. She doesn't say how old her children are but obviously they still live at home. It is in no way justifiable to break up their family without first having the stones to sit down and have those difficult conversations, with or without a therapist present. If you're going to do something as drastic as divorce or as drastic as live a double life through prolonged cheating, you better damn well have tried all the alternatives first.

Dan basically is advocating DADT cheating for this and myriad other situations as a FIRSTLINE solution. That's cowardly. It's risky and cruel. It's dishonest. And everyone involved deserves better.

47
She didn't even ask for permission to cheat- she was asking a whole different question about whether Dan thought the marriage was doomed for lack of sexual attraction, or if it could get the mojo back. Dan is just so focused on bashing monogamy that he basically told her she HAD to cheat. He straight up tells her "monogamy is going to destroy your marriage." Totally unsolicited. Then he offers her two choices - firstly, keep deceiving your spouse and cheat again. Secondly, open your marriage, by unilateral decree. Absolutely no options that involve honesty, discussion, caring for your partner's feelings or trying to solicit their point of view. No option that shows any respect for the relationship at all, or that makes an attempt to repair it, which is what the lady was ASKING for. Dan, you are off the rails about cheating. We get it, you hate monogamy with a bitter deathless passion. We get it, anyone who values sexual fidelity is a troglodyte who is asking to be cheated on. You should disqualify yourself from answering any questions from monogamous people, or those who aspire to monogamy. Just bill yourself as an advice columnist for poly people and leave it at that.
48
Sorry - I have no idea how my comment which originally posted yesterday at #4 got repeated and stuck down here. I didn't do it on purpose.
49
@LateBloomer: Because nothing will make you hotter for your spouse than sitting next to them for fifty minutes in a neutral room on strategically chosen furniture near strategically placed boxes of kleenex talking about feelings with some placid therapist.

Oh man, this gave me a chuckle.

I can tell you there's at least one woman out there who gets turned on by marital therapy and would often leave the therapist's office in the mood to fuck.
50
@23 - thank you for injecting a little sanity.

For all you people who think "no sweat, have an ethical conversation and split up" - sure, yeah, 3 kids and an otherwise functional marriage. It's easy to be a mystical holy man on a mountain - much harder down on the street among the everyday people.

@25 No, I wouldn't be overjoyed or "fine" to learn that my DW was doing this to me, particularly because our sexual relationship is pretty much dead in the water right now. On the other hand, not knowing about it, I'd be a whole lot less hurt. I thought option 2b was a pretty decent compromise - if my DW told me that our dead sex life wasn't coming back but that she didn't want a divorce and I had permission...not great, but not soul crushing. You all really underestimate the power of ignorance is bliss. This is why I don't snoop.
51
It is making me insane that I can't have sex with Alison Brie and Zoe Kavitz at the same time. Is it okay for me to do whatever I have to do to stay sane?
52
Pretty sure someone in this relationship has a blank check from the Bank of Dan, but it's not the wife.
53
Here's that "R" I left out of Kravitz.

@50 No one said divorce was easy. No one said having an honest conversation about the state of things would be easy. But surely years-long massive dishonesty and disregard is worse (even if sometimes it's not, those cases are dwarfed by the ones where it is). Her husband deserves to know that things aren't working (I'm sure he suspects), he deserves a chance to fix it, and failing that he deserves the opportunity to find someone who *is* willing to be honest with him and have sex with him (whether in a new relationship, or in the context of an ethical platonic-parenting-partnership). Depriving him of that is supremely selfish.

I'm sorry your relationship with your wife is sexless, and I hope things improve. But you yourself would prefer discreet permission over complete dishonesty. If she's going to marry him and have kids with him, she owes it to him to show him more consideration than Dan does.
54
@44 DarkHorse,
Wow, I think you and LavaGirl both really misinterpreted me. I wasn't even slightly accusing anyone of being a hypocritical POS! Those are your words and they are not based in what I actually said. On the contrary, I was actually feeling both humble and sympathetic, not accusatory and condescending. Weird.
My point was that I believe most people act with good intentions - LW and SLOG commenters included - but that they can still really screw things up. (Road to hell...) So while most people probably think they did the best thing in a certain situation, someone else could interpret your actions as self serving, unethical, etc. Sometimes the "right" thing to do is very obvious, but most ethical situations have room for quite a bit of debate. And sometimes even if most people would agree on the right thing to do, the person affected by it may disagree. So, I am not calling anyone a hypocrite. I offered myself up as an example of someone who has screwed things up and owned my part in it, later, when I realized that despite thinking my intentions were good, I had actually behaved badly. Learning from your mistakes and then dispensing advice does not make one a hypocrite.

Nor, as someone else mentioned, was I saying you have to be perfect to comment. That's ridiculous, and I was saying almost exactly the opposite.

seandr @40 - I agree completely. I don't think (and wasn't suggesting) that cheating is an ideal or tenable solution to this or any marriage, nor is it fair to the husband. I didn't think Dan's advice was very good in this situation. I just don't think the LW is necessarily a CPOS because she cheated; that's all.
55
I've said it before and I'll say it again regarding the 'stay married and stay sane' message, are these relationships worth preserving? I mean yes there are cases where the sex dying is the fault of serious medical conditions, or the kids might be special needs so a divorce would hit them really hard. But that's not the case here. We're talking about a person just doesn't find her husband sexy anymore. Not someone who doesn't want to divorce their spouse because without their health insurance they'll die.

And a lot of time where someone has cut off sex to be punitive or controlling why do we want this relationship to continue? Why would you want to stay with someone who has no respect for you, no affection, no care? Yes divorce can tough, but what can be even tougher is living with parents who HATE each other and aren't afraid to show it.
56
It's so cute how you guys get all indignant and shouty every damn time Dan talks about how over monogamy he is. Pretty sure he's just trolling you at this point.
57
The general lowering of Dan's "Stay Sane" bar has lately been begging a broader question for me:

Which commitment has more value - the Til Death part or the sexual fidelity part?

Most of the commenters seem to think it is better to divorce than cheat. I admit I don't have a fully formed opinion yet on this, and will have to mull it over more, but I feel that (to me) the commitment of the marriage is more inherently valuable than the commitment of sexual fidelity, and if it comes down to one or the other, better to stay married as you promised to do. But overwhelmingly it feels like I am in the minority here; others are pretty trigger happy on divorce in the case of any cheating. I don't think there's an objective right or wrong answer to this bigger question.
58
You'd think by the overall general complaint that her husband was stopping her from having sex, but in fact when she got her mojo back she "turned him down less often". Fuck you. You don't get to emergency-cheat on a person who you're rejecting all the time. That's not how it works.
59
busy_quilting @24--Congratulations! I'm glad that's working for you. But others have pursued the path of open, honest discussion and had different outcomes. Discussion is only one tool, and only suits certain jobs. Some things should never be said, and some things that may no longer be true can't be unsaid, and many things can't be talked through to a solution anyway--they just damage and lacerate until someone says uncle. And in something like marriage, sometimes the very process of stolidly reasoning your way through to a solution deflates the passion that made you want to find a solution in the first place.

DonnyKlicious' successful approach to life involves standing in front of a judge, I couldn't help noticing, which would have actually been proof of failure not that long ago, and brought him universal condemnation--the same kind of condemnation everyone here heaps on cheating because...because? Because it has replaced divorce as the Unforgivable Option of the day, I guess. Attach moral outrage here. "Cheating!? Well, I never!" Ha! Except that so many do. And it's funny how so many can justify it, or forgive themselves after the fact, yet so strongly condemn it in others. An evolving moral outlook ain't worth much if it's not tempered with compassion.

But if you tell yourself that fidelity is the most important thing, well I guess that makes it so. It's the most important thing along with emotional support, financial support, undying passion, magic in bed, awesome parenting, romance and shared interests. All of those are the most important thing. I mean, come on. After sixteen, eighteen, twenty-one years, something's got to give. It's up to you to decide which hill you're going to take a stand on. I guess you can say to yourself, when you're receiving your alimony check (or writing it), "Well, at least I never cheated, not like that bitch/bastard of a husband/wife." Success!

If you want an opinion Lava, I'm of the opinion that, all other things being equal, risking your spouse's happiness is slightly less shameful (once good faith efforts have run their course) than guaranteeing your kids' unhappiness with a divorce that puts your needs ahead of theirs. That's selfishness too. Neither option is very nice. I don't understand why people freak the fuck out about cheating but divorce is so lah-de-dah, maybe people don't have kids who love their home and their family as much as mine do. I think it is up to the people in each situation to size up the dynamics of their marriage and decide which option has the potential for least harm (if you're going to constantly bicker, get the divorce for the kids' sake--if you can get your needs met discreetly and stay happy, maybe that's the best way to go). But I do happen to believe that you go insane by not having good sex--the slow-moving, self-esteem crushing, depressive kind of insane. So at some point cheat or divorce may be your only two options, and I'm not going to get on my high horse about which one is automatically the best choice.

To half-answer your question @25, I would rather have the passionate interest of someone I love than their disinterested fidelity. And if having affairs is what they need to bring that, then so be it. Neither option is my first choice, but I think a lot of marriages force such a dilemma after awhile, despite everyone's best efforts.

If you think I'm defending the LW, you're wrong. I'm not saying she's any prize--her husband is in a position I wouldn't wish on any decent man and he's probably miserable. Maaaaybe he's miserable enough to have already cheated on her a couple of times himself, who knows? But Dan is fully aware of his predicament--he told the LW that her husband is just as likely to leave her as vice versa, because of what she's doing to him. I just think Dan is as sceptical as I am about a woman's ability to re-ignite a dead passion, and gave the only realistic advice you can give her, assuming divorce is the least desirable option.

Sorry about the fucking novel.
60
@54.

Seriously? Read what I quoted and tell how sympathetic you are being.

I am always amazed how the commenters here seem to be of Perfect Moral Character.

Please....

Guess what Ms. Pretty. I too was a CPOS. Not that far from LW in many respects, so yes, I did, do and continue to have clay feet. It also means I can tell LW that in this case, taking the high road now - no matter what she did before - is also the road that won't explode in her face.

That doesn't make me a "Perfect Moral Character" that makes me experienced.
61
prettyprettyprettygood: I just don't think the LW is necessarily a CPOS because she cheated; that's all.

If cheating is the first step on her personal path towards ending this relationship, then I think she should cheat.

And then take the next step.
62
My comments on divorce and the child of divorce.

(1) My parents divorced. It sucked. In was brought on by - BTW - cheating, but here's the kicker, it was a sh**tty terrible marriage and I thank my lucky stars they divorced. That saved me a modicum of pain and some of the physical abuse my siblings enjoyed.

So what hurts children? Stupid immature adults, not divorce, not cheating, not marriage. Stupid, immature adults who don't take the high road. Yup, the high road, you heard me.

(2) Ah the high road, what is that? Taking the path of least pain for yourself and the people around you. Sometimes that means, in terrible situations we've discussed here, a DADT or cheating. It would severely damage your spouse to divorce them if they were disabled as an example. But that does require honesty, one that LW doesn't much demonstrate here.

This husband isn't disabled or cancer ridden or unable to live independently. For him in the long term it might be far better to have a divorce so that he has the opportunity of marrying someone far better.

I am the living embodiment of that. I do not regret my divorce one little bit. It stunk when I went through it, but that short term period of pain lead to ten years of better than average and often really great sex and love with my now husband. Had I stayed married to my first husband.... oh bad.

It also means considering the kids, but an intact marriage is "de facto" better. Divorce is often the better choice for the kids too. With my dad's philandering, lol, we all knew. It was a friend of the family. Again, terrible marriage.

(3) Is cheating an antiquated notion for the less evolved of us? For me and my marriage, cheating is not necessarily a marriage ending event. I went through a scare two years ago over an STI. I hadn't cheated in my ten year relationship with my husband. As I drove home to speak with him, I considered what I would do or say if he'd stepped out once. And decided nothing. Unless it was some kind of emotional long time affair, I'd be unhappy, annoyed, but would forgive him and move on. Clay feet and all.

He didn't cheat. BTW.

(4) What is getting under my skin in all this discussion of "what is best," is that it's comparing LW's current situation - a little something something on the side - but an otherwise facially happy marriage with divorce. And that's not accurate. Maybe she keeps it hidden, sure, but if it comes to light.... oh hell hath no fury .... Shakespeare got that one right. And it will make the inevitable divorce that much worse.

Consequently, I tend to think that the high road entails honesty. Sure, that really stinks to say, "I think our marriage is over," or "I don't love you." But, often, in the end, is the less painful road for everyone involved. They go through the short term pain of today, but have a chance of a much better long term life tomorrow.

Hey, maybe he wants some on the side too!
63
Gar! An intact marriage is not de facto better.
64
@28 Fichu née Crinoline: I don't think I'm the old Ankylosaurus, I chose the name in November and I've only posted 3 comments since then. Unless my previous 2 comments were powerful and memorable, I'm probably somebody new using somebody else's old name, I'm sorry.
65
This young woman is in her 30s, yes. So, I'm assuming their children, the three of them, are young. I also assume, given she doesn't want to break up her family, that she has a man who does good by his family. A situation to be prized, to be taken care of. Here, a good man,
( is hard to find) needs to be respected,
and this girl is just talking of him like he's the gardener.
You tell me Late, how this dynamic could ever create a family home the kids would love over ones where both their mom and their dad were fully honest? Your kids love their home because you guys haven't shat all over the marital bed. It may not be on fire, but it's not a toilet.
And I dissagree. I thing sexual desire can be rekindled. I think couples dynamics can start to restrict parts of one's dynamic qualities; hence therapy. Or other ways to see each other in a different light.
Sorry to hear things a bit dry your way Finch. The baby is how old?
Be patient. If she is still breast feeding, waking up ten times a night.. with a first child this is all such a shock.
This going mad because you don't have sex , cmon.
HHDalai Lama doesnt have sex. He ain't crazy. In fact the opposite.



66
"I enjoyed [sex] because, physically speaking, my husband knows what I like. But I closed my eyes and pretended he was my lover. I wasn't more attracted to my husband but I found myself turning him down less during the time I was having an affair. "

so, she's insane from the lack of actually physically speaking good sex that husband wants frequently?

i mean, this answer of hers says it all. she's not going insane for lack of sex. she can have it if she wants it. she doesn't have to cheat, she's choosing to, and she doesn't give a very good reason. she'd going insane cause she's not attracted to him. so... why is she not sexually attracted to him? because it doesn't seem to be lack of decent sex being the problem. without more details, i'd say it's a pretty lame reason for an excuse to cheat.
67
>> do it honestly and directly ("Let's have sex with other people, okay?") or less honestly and less directly ("I don't want out of our marriage, I love him and I love our family, but the sex has broken and I wouldn't blame you—and I wouldn't divorce you—if you sought sex elsewhere.") >>

What's less honest and less direct about the second version? In neither version does she say the truth outright ("I never want to fuck my husband.") But saying she loves him doesn't seem dishonest to me. After all, she writes that she's "committed to trying to make things work with my husband." Isn't that close enough to love after 16 years to make the second version count as an honest statement?
68
Correcting myself @67: Oh, wait, even in the second version she isn't actually saying she loves her husband. Dan's having her say that she loves her lover. Yeah, I might be a little more diplomatic than that, actually. I think I would tell the husband that I loved him, if I had any hope of rebuilding the marriage.
69
Dan has lost all perspective. I used to really like his ethical stance; quoted him endlessly to friends. But no more.

Many of you are charging that Dan is now in open war with monogamy. I'd say he's actually in open war with decency. Where he used to have a moral framework, I can't square his recent drift with any set of recognizable standards.

Sad, really.
70
Sorry, Dan. You flubbed this one.

Option #2 is reasonable, but not #1. If an open relationship isn't possible, then split up, seek truly meaningful counciling, or change your priorities.

Wonder if the lover from work will actually work out in the long run.
71
For those thinking these comments are coming from a place of moral superiority, I'm with Dark Horse.. It's a place of experience.
Many of us have shared our moral lapses, just not on this thread.
And yes, I was hard on this young woman.
My motivation is not to shame her..
I know married with children life, well.
I know the times of total dislocation from my co parent......
it's to wake her the fuck up.
Give her a good hard kick up the arse, from an older woman.
If she wants to keep her family, then cut out the attitudes and behaviours that are taking her in the opposite direction.
72
Ms Lava - Maybe she's trying too hard to remain "young". Thank you for giving me a new idea. Maybe longterm monogamy has a different effect on people who marry in the 18-22 range than on people who marry in the 26-30 range; 35 could be a more dangerous time than 43 for experiencing such flatness in the partnership. Hmm.
73
I cheated on the husband to whom I was no longer attracted, and with whom the sex had always been not fulfilling and had become excruciatingly awful. I tried for years--five of them--to change the sexual dynamic in that marriage. I begged him to explore avenues with me in which I could try to find sexual satisfaction. He steadfastly and explicitly refused. I told him my intention to seek satisfaction for myself and he told me that that would be a marriage-ending move. We had young children; we were compatible in all ways but sexually; his family had long ago become my family; we were financially intertwined, and even though I worked and he wasn't my sole means of financial support, I knew that we were having a hard enough time making it as a dual-income family and that neither of us would be able to really make it on a single income. I became a CPOS. I did and can justify what I did, but I also knew and still know that it was dishonest and unethical.
And yet, I could never have found the strength to end that marriage, which I ultimately did and which, despite all that it has cost me, I still think was the right thing to have done had I not discovered through my affair what was so completely lacking in my marriage.

So believe me when I say that if I sound judgmental and holier-than-thou that I don't mean to, and that I have sympathy for this wife--and for her husband. I feel bad about the really crappy situation that she has outlined, for which I see no happy ending or good solution. Someone--probably everyone--is going to hurt somehow for at least some time no matter what the lw does and what this couple decides to do. Hopefully, down the road, whatever course they took will reveal itself to have been the right one, but I think that road is going to be filled with potholes and littered with roadkill.

My issue is less with this lw than with Dan. It's clear that Dan sees monogamy as the root of most marital unhappiness and with the zeal of a convert has decided that we'd all be better off if we didn't cling to it. This may or may not be true. But he seems to me to overestimate how easy it is for many people to open their marriages, or even to open themselves to the idea that fidelity doesn't define marriage. He underestimates possessiveness, insecurity, and jealousy.
He advocates cheating at the slightest provocation. CHEATING, as in lying and breaking promises to the person who expects to trust you as you expect to be able to trust him/her. He dismisses the seriousness of it. He justifies it so lightly. Because he no longer believes in monogamy, he brushes off the concerns of anyone who does.
That's what I'm annoyed at.
I don't think any of us are morally superior to anyone else.
74
Oh nocute. Thanks for sharing that.
Of course Venn. I didn't hitch up with my partner till I was 29 yrs old. I had some great years falling in love with a multiple array of men. Having adventures that would go well in some of these erotic stories that pass for erotic literature for intelligent women.
Hmm, that gives me an idea.
Still Venn, she wants This family, and it's good she's got that much together.
She has three children, a hard job as a sharing parent. Believe me, my daughter is on with a guy who has three children, who visit six out of fourteen at the moment. The mother's wishes, as the youngest is just three.
It's like a whirlwind rushing into my daughter's family home.
This young woman has to think with her head as well as her pussy.
To make it thru thirty years of marriage and multiple children, I read so many psychology books. Their insights helped me do the jobs Id signed up for.
It's a tough gig.
To keep it going, with some vitality to it, one must be imaginative. Play, within the parameters. Cheating makes a hole in the parameter and air starts to leak out.
75
Is Dan even writing these columns anymore? Or is it an assistant? They need more training.
76
I had to go and re-read the questions and answers just to make sure I was comprehending what I was seeing.
So LW just doesn't dig her husband anymore, banged a dude in an affair filled with that sexy-ass new relationship energy, then pretends it's him while she's having BETTER sex with her husband because he's actually good in bed and knows what she likes.
And Dan says she should keep cheating or try for an open marriage.
So what will LW do when her husband, after hypothetically opening the marriage, finds a woman who enthusiastically wants to have sex with him, and he decides that he'd rather be with her? Suck it up and realize that's what she was asking for? I doubt it.
But it doesn't seem like she's thinking with the right organs right now. I feel like this is a "grass is greener" scenario waiting to blow up in her face, and then she'll still not realize how good she had it.
77
@73: Well put. The LW isn't in the same place you were, though - her husband *is* good at giving her physically pleasurable sex, he's just not the person she wants. She doesn't mention making any specific effort to address that, so it's hard to know if she could. Dan clearly doesn't think she should bother.

And BTW:

nocutename isn't even allowed to have "nocutename" anymore? That's not right. Bring back the name that has no cute!
78
Nocute. Write to the tech mob, on Monday.
I lost contact months ago, and I found their email address some where/ how thru the website.
They responded straight away and helped me.
79
LOST has a third choice, which she came up with herself:
"I enjoyed it because, physically speaking, my husband knows what I like. But I closed my eyes and pretended he was my lover."
Fantasise about other men while fucking your husband. Isn't that going to be a much lower-impact way of solving LOST's problem than cheating or demanding an open relationship? Who knows, maybe with Brad Pitt or Hot Colleague in her head, she'll learn to enjoy sex with her husband again.
80
I have been trying to figure out why, as a non-monogamous person, this advice still made my head completely explode. I think it's because, while I don't personally think sexual exclusivity is a requirement in a marriage, I do think that honesty, respect and commitment are. When I talk with people about the fact that I am not monogamous, they often assume that means being ok with cheating and having no rules. I always held Dan Savage up as a guy who laid out a philosophy of ethical non-monogamy and who was hard on CPOS. Not any more, apparently. The VERY FIRST option given to a person who is feeling bored with their innocent spouse (lw has no complaints about his behavior, says he wants and gives her good sex) should never be to just do what is convenient and easy and cheat on them, while lying and becoming less emotionally intimate. Dan seems to be saying that you can skip all of the hard work and negotiation required in a marriage and do what feels good in the moment, and as long as you stay technically married, even if you bleed all of the trust and love from your marriage, that's just fine. She says she thinks he could tell something was wrong the last time she cheated, so how long before a new affair blows up her marriage in a storm of recrimination?

I think she needs to start by being more honest with him about how they have not been focused on one another and go from there. Maybe more fun times that aren't about parenting will do the trick - raising three young children together likely means that they haven't had much time to focus on one another sexually and romantically in awhile. Or maybe just fantasizing together about other people could be fun and bring them closer. Or maybe they would like to try swinging or threesomes - being non-monogamous but still in the context of putting one another first. It may turn out that he is interested in being polyamorous himself - is she ready for that? If she has made a major effort over time and still nothing works, I could see option 2 (unilaterally, but with honesty, opening the relationship and trying to just stay co-parents while giving both the chance to find attraction elsewhere) as being an ethical choice. It might still mean divorce at that point but at least she could say she had really tried to make it work.
81
EricaP @67: "What's less honest and less direct about the second version?"
What's less honest and less direct is that she is proposing "fucking other people" as something she thinks HE might want to do, not something SHE wants to do and, in fact, is already doing.
82
BiDanFan @81
Dan proposed: >> do it honestly and directly ("Let's have sex with other people, okay?") or less honestly and less directly ("I don't want out of our marriage, I love him and I love our family, but the sex has broken and I wouldn't blame you—and I wouldn't divorce you—if you sought sex elsewhere.") >>

If "I love him" means "I love my new guy," which I think it has to, then the second version is apparently after she has told her husband she's having an affair with someone she loves.

If Dan meant to write instead: "I love you and I love our family," then, yes, she should also admit that she has already started finding sex elsewhere.
83
@80: Tamar, that's exactly how I feel.
Also, I was really irritated that Dan tried to make his point that having extra-marital sex (especially maybe illicit extra-marital sex) makes the sex in one's marriage better. He kept pushing for the lw to say that, so he could justify the cheating as something that made the marriage better.
One thing I think Dan's doing is conflating better or more sex with a stronger marriage. While good sex is certainly part of what can make a marriage strong, so are trust and being emotionally honest, present, and intimate. And in the cases of cheating (I exempt ethical non-monogamy), the benefit to the marriage of temporarily better sex might be undermined by the erosion of real intimacy signaled by the affair.
84
EricaP @82: Interesting, yes, I did read it as "I love you and I love our family," rather than "I'm having an affair and I encourage you to do so as well."
85
Weird nocute, the tech mob didn't get back to you, at all.
86
Hi Fan, hope your time away was fun.
87
An interesting set of responses. I guess I'm falling more on LateBloomer's side this time.

I don't mean to direct this at any one comment, and I'll say right off I didn't read all of them as thoroughly as I often do, so I may have missed subtleties. But I find it odd that a group of people who would be the first to say you should never have to have sex with someone when you don't want to (e.g. when you aren't attracted to them) are now saying that this woman should do exactly that--because marriage. Now, I'm a big fan of maintenance sex! But the point of that is to keep the juice going all the way along. It's not a retroactive fix. I am not sure everyone can create attraction once it's gone. No matter how many dishes he does ;) Some people are saying they have, but I think many more would say they haven't. I think that's why Dan didn't answer the original question--because the answer is probably "no," and then you might as well answer the follow-up, namely, "What can I do?"

I *do* think sexual frustration can make you insane, or close enough for government work. Personally, I think what this woman owes her husband isn't fidelity but honesty. Have the conversation, and try to open the marriage. Try repeatedly. If that fails, well, I don't think cheating is a great option. But I also don't think divorce is a great option. Along with LateBloomer, it's not obvious to me that divorce is preferable.

But I'm wrong a lot of the time.
88
@ciods: I'm not anti LateBloomer's position and I agree with you about a lot.
But just as Dan uses Deborah Cavendish, the (late) Duchess of Devonshire as a poster child for not divorcing, but no longer cohabitation because divorce is such a "bore," and I think she's a poor role model for the message (aristocrat, enormous wealth plus title is what she'd have to lose by divorcing, plenty of money to keep separate households, the whole English "it's all such a *yawn* bore, to go through those emotional things the plebs do"), he's trying to make this marriage and this letter writer the poster child for non-monogamy, and I would rather see him choose a better model--one who practiced non-monogamy ethically, for example.
89
@5: "has Dan recently become a CPOS"

Dan and his husband can talk about these things like adults, so likely no.
90
No ciods, I never said that.
My suggestion and others suggestions were for her to make some sort of an effort to try and rekindle her desire for her husband.
And no, because marriage. This is way past just a marriage. There are three children here as well. It's a family.
91
To clarify my opinions; she should try thru therapy, shared activities, talking would be good.. To rekindle her sexual attraction to her husband. What specifically has changed, in him, and can she talk to him about this. Give him a chance to be more desirable for her.
Tries to live with him as co
parents/ non sexual.
Hard one, possible though. Both would have to be careful going this way. Good for the children if the parents stay living together, and they both have lovers.
No point in opening a marriage where the primary relationship is so unstable.
Last option; Break Up.
And don't cheat again. Sort the marriage or end it.
92
LavaGirl, you seem to have boundless faith in therapy.
You also appear never to have lost attraction to your ex-husband. I think therapy can only do so much; and I think sexual attraction, once lost, unless lost for some very specific, correctible condition, can't really be regained.
93
Fair enough, nocute. We have different opinions on this.
Couples get stuck in patterns with each other. spontaneous actions, start to be blocked, by habitual patterns that are developed over time. These patterns are compounded by the arrival of children.
Therapy, good therapy, is where a couple can start to loosen the behavioural binds that have developed. Their vitality, their individual vitality, can be rekindled.
Thru this experience, the two in a couple will change. They will each speak their looser truths, to each other, in front of a witness or two.
Therapy saved my life after my father died. In my mid twenties, I was relating to men like they were my father. I had to heal that.
The Whitlam Govtrnment had just come into power. Our version of Bernie.
Medibank came in, I had several years of very good psychotherapy. Transference, counter transference; the bedrock of good psychotherapy, was dealt with pretty well.
And I've done therapy groups. All good. Just because when people come together, to open usually closed doors..
energy is released and anything can happen.
In the 70s, I was a volunteer in a community centre, in Sydney. That tried to heal mental illness, in all its forms, without drugs. Wild time.

To complete my last comment. Of course a married couple is a family, too. It's just s family that is much easier to end, than one where children abide.
94
Nocute, you tried with your husband.
Maybe even on some level, he knew what you were doing. Four years and you never got caught? He wanted to stay with you, anyway.
95
@94: I think you're right, LavaGirl. Also, I want to clarify that I think therapy can do wonderful things, especially for individuals. Even couples can benefit, if their problem is poor communication. But I have real doubts about what can be done therapy-wise to bring back attraction once it's gone.
96
ciods no one here said the LW had to fuck her husband, what we're saying is that Dan is turning this into yet another 'monogamy is bad' platform and offering some bad advice. That the LW should go on cheating and offering 'guilt-sex' to her husband. And man who has done anything wrong and deserves someone who WANTS to be with him.

My question would be 'why did the attraction fade?' Is the LW bored? Did her husband gain 50 pounds and stop bathing? Is there some crisis they're dealing with? I think answering this question will be more helpful than fucking her coworker behind her husband's back.
97
This LW said she wanted to keep her family together. My responses were geared to her wished for outcome.
If her question had been;
should I leave this marriage, break up my family.. My answers would have been different.
98
Advocate for marital therapy here - when my husband and I were about five years into marriage (8 years into the relationship) we had serious issues that we could not resolve alone. To be fair to the discussion, it wasn't about sex or attraction; that had always been good between us. It was more about fundamental issues of trust and about work/life balance. It was very difficult to convince him to try counseling with me (he's an old school man from a fairly macho culture) but when he did, it worked very well for us. We saw a counselor from the Gottman school of marriage counseling, and within about six sessions were communicating much better. That was almost ten years ago. I believe that if both partners are willing and if there is real affection and liking between them, almost any marital problem can be improved. Totally solved? Maybe not. But improved, yes. Thank God we have not yet had to face any serious sexual problems, but I'm sure that if we live long enough they will crop up. I like to think that we will be able to handle whatever come our way because we both have a rock-solid commitment to the relationship and we both want the other to be happy and safe inside of it. Maybe in the event I would be proved wrong, maybe I've just been really lucky so far. But I know one thing - our marriage would not have survived without idealism and a stubborn optimism (some might say irrational delusion) about what we can be to each other. What's that old joke - "I will always cherish the initial
Misconceptions I had about you?" Well we both have to practice, at times, a bit of deliberate myopia when looking at each other. For my part, I choose to be grateful that he is so willing to squint and and remember when I come to bed naked, for example. That's generosity, right there. And I love him for it.
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Ms Lava -

[Good for the children if the parents stay living together, and they both have lovers.]

A quarter point for being so Bloomsbury, but a bit One Size Fits All. That approach may have worked for Quentin Bell, but, for his sister Angelica, not so much. Some children have souls that thrive best given parents with official side partners, and some in anti-sex atmospheres with Bible study twice daily.

*****

Ms Cute - As the member of the assembled company closest to LW's situation, you seem the best authority for another new idea of mine, the Sincere-o-Meter, which I have been tempted to inaugurate on LW's statement of being committed to trying to make things work with her husband. Your guess should be the best of all of ours; how sincere would you rate that statement?
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Funny you should mention Bloomsberry Venn.
Had to move a couple of bookcases around in my studio and one of the books that recaught my attention
was on Dora Carrington.
Yes agree, Angelica could have done without that psycho- sexual mess.
I never said anything about one size fits all. Good parents, and not hippies from the middle of last century ones, can take care if living in the same home as non sexual partners, in order to continue raising their children together, well. Not many could do it.