Infidelity

Know this has been done before, but not for a while:

My m8 Dave confided to me that a relationship seems to be developing between him and a lady he has met recently. He is married and has a child. Apparently his marriage has evolved into just a way of life and he and his wife haven't been intimate for over 4 years (they had to have fertility treatment to have their child which can't have helped). Oddly enough, he said that this wasn't bothering him too much and he had more or less accepted that this is the way life was going to be - he had given up initiating things because he became tired of being rebuffed. But then this lady started to pay him rather a lot of attention and he had forgotten what it was like to have someone interested in him and (apparently) attracted to him. 

He doesn't intend to let it get physical (and said that he would end his marriage before that happened), but was wondering whether what he is already doing (going for a drink and meeting her regularly - they walk their dogs in the same place) is a bit far. And he thinks he won't end his marriage as he doesn't want to "do that" to his child, although I question how healthy it is to grow up in a loveless household myself.

4 years. I find that really sad and have mixed feelings about whether fooling around with someone else can really be condemned in the circumstances.

In the end what matters is honesty and kindness. Whatever arrangement 2 (or more...) adults can work out within those boundaries is probably ok.

4 years. FOUR YEARS !!!!! I wonder what his wife's version of it all is, though ?

And you wonder why I say I don't believe in the traditional relationship model any more.

"Dave" is kidding himself if he pretends he won't be balls deep in dog walking woman (or whoever gives him a crumb of attention) within a fortnight 

not that I blame him at all. FOUR YEARS?

and at least one of him and dog walking woman will "catch feels" as they say. Gonna get messy. I'd do it anyway FAOD 

He was pretty adamant that wouldn't happen as he thinks it would be khuntish linda, but yes - 4 years!!

what relationship model do you believe in sails? particularly interested in relationship models for the raising of offspring. 

I'm sorry I know sex isn't everything but I genuinely question how happy and loving a relationship can be if there has been no sex for four years 

does not apply if one or other has significant health issues, but it sounds like they just co exist. Sounds awful 

I can't believe it is unusual to have sexless relationships in later life

I think the expectation of regular sex is probably a bit unhelpful in terms of life contentment

I love sex now but will I when I'm 55? dunno.

What Linda says. The mist will be starting to descend at this point, and fairly soon he "just won't be able to help it".

Maybe he and his wife should split, maybe they shouldn't. But she deserves an honest conversation about what he wants/needs and whether continuing the marriage can be compatible with that.

Sounds like an emotional affair which is even more dangerous than a one off shag affair with a rando for the marriage.

Like linda says, if one or both catch "the feels" it can easily lead to the marriage being over. If Ms Dog Walker falls in love and is rebuffed, we've all seen Fatal Attraction.

4 years without being intimate should result in seeing a couples therapist if it bothers one or both people in the marriage and they can't resolve the issue themselves imo.

just tell your mate to ask the dog walking companion to be his friend with benefit. 

Dave's story isn't uncommon.  I know a lot of people whose wives have all but withdrawn sex.  It seems to be a combination of low sex drive, tiredness, stress and anxiety (work/home), hormonal issues including early stage menopause, low self esteem/body image (especially post kids), boredom/lack of attraction for the partner.

It leaves blokes frustrated because their natural cycle is to f*ck anything at least a few times a week, but they get relegated to money-earning wankers who rank behind the kids and the dogs for affection.

Sad for all really.  I don't blame either party.  Sails has a point.

Tbf I do blame women for continuing in marriages in this way, at least without an open and honest conversation about it. If you've no intention of fvcking your husband anymore, be honest about it and don't be upset if he wants to fvck someone else. It's not ok to hold someone else's sex life hostage 

why would the woman rock the boat when she has the safe cradle of home and family. Just etch it long enough and soon he will be 80 or whenever he won't be interested in sex. 

I wasn't the best person to confide in really as I share linda's view that, in the absence of medical reasons for it, a sexless relationship is pretty unhealthy and I seriously question whether it could be a loving one.

I think that his situation is the inevitable consequence of a sexless marriage. He actually seems to be more moral about infidelity than I am, so I told him that my attempt at a rule is to ask myself whether Mrs TB would be OK with the way I am acting in any given situation. The answer is often "no", but it does help as a check. 

And if it's menopause / tiredness / depression / body image she (or he) owes it to their partner to try and fix those things. "Shrug I'm 50 so life is over" is sad max 

"he had given up initiating things because he became tired of being rebuffed"

 

What is missing from this bit is what happens after he is rebuffed.  What conversations are being had and what is his wife saying?

If she is literally getting up and walking into another room and it is never spoken about, that is a whole different situation than if they try to discuss it (even if badly) but no solution which both can live with has been reached.

as others have said, "Dave" owes it to his wife to have a constructive conversation about why they haven't had sex for 4 years and what they are going to do about it

after all, she might be wondering the same thing

if Dave doesn't want to split up with his wife he shouldn't be starting a relationship with the dog walker 

A good rule of thumb as to whether it is a bit far already is how honestly Dave would describe the current relationship with the dog walker.

If he has mentioned the 4 years thing (and she is still around) they are clearly going to get down to it like a pair of filthy gibbons.

I agree with you in principle Linda.  I think one of the issues is that the one who doesn’t want sex rationalises it as either “that’s just how I feel about them / sex right now” or, worse, “it’s their fault I don’t want to sleep with them”.  And as Coffers says they don’t want to rock the boat or split the family up.  And maybe they think things will change.  But time drags on, and it never does.  The person getting less sex than they want is dissatisfied but has effectively consented to that set up.  And there’s no urgency from the one who doesn’t want sex because they’re, oddly, getting what they want.

It’s why men are more prone to fcking around in my view.

I don't know that bit bubbles but it didn't seem like they have talked about it. I know her reasonably well and I don't think she is the talking type. He isn't really. Seeing him again at the end of the week and we are going to get properly drunk, so imagine it will come up again. 

This is another of those "couple that fails to communicate properly doesn't communicate about ishoo and wonders why they are drifting apart non shocka" things then 

Yeah, wot all said about desperately needed convo with Mrs about what’s up or not up before emotionally or physically playing away 

The drifting into it shoite does neither any favours and certainly doesn’t bode well for kids home life in future 

Probably. Although Mrs TB and I have had similar issues and talk about it (not 4 years mind) but things don't change much. Think that's why his situation strikes a chord.

Not sure "talking about it" is the complete answer though.  What if the outcome of talking about it is that he says "Well I'd like sex once a week" and she says "Well I know you would but I have no sex drive so I don't want it ever"?  

It's not that easy to just up sticks and leave when you love someone and the there's kid in the middle of it.

 

it is q upsetting to think that a person might have to have sex that disgusts them or split up and be alone for the rest of their life with a broken home for their kids

I do not agree that the party who doesn't want sex should "make the effort"

(again, personally I like sex, I can just empathise with a person who can't face it any more)

Well the outcome to that is either they work on why she doesn't want sex ever, he discreetly plays away, or they divorce. It's not ok to just do and say nothing. 

and yeah talking about it won't help

she doesn't want to

she isn't going to say "oh babe I had no idea this was bothering you let's do it"

why isn't it ok? people have done it for generations

sex is just one small part of a relationship and most of us will end up physically incapable of doing it at some point

*for generations = for as long as humankind has existed

I don't think people should have sex that disgusts them. I don't think people should quietly live a lie tho 

amd people who divorce don't have "broken homes" (this is such a pejorative phrase). The home sounds broken now 

it isn't living a lie necessarily - it's a loving relationship in which one person has an animalistic physical need that they COULD just see as a non-essential

I think it is naive to imagine that most people have sex later in life anyway

men get penis issues, women get dryness issues, the whole thing just becomes less appealing

one way to address one person having no sex drive is sometimes for his or her partner to make a bit more of an effort, or perhaps a different sort of effort 

these things are best talked about even if it seems like it'll be awkward

 

We don't actually know that Dave and his wife have an otherwise loving relationship. They may do, but a loving relationship would to me be one in which you are attuned and communicating 

what is this "later life" anyway? Presume they are 40/50s? That's not old 

no, v true, it might be terrible overall and perhaps they panickingly settled 

50+ is old for bodies (especially for women, who lose 30% of their collagen in the 5 years after their last period)

obvs I am not saying no old people have sex (look at all the creepy old dudes knocking up models in their 70s) 

but I reckon most people over, say, 55 don't have much if any

one way to address one person having no sex drive is sometimes for his or her partner to make a bit more of an effort, or perhaps a different sort of effort 

these things are best talked about even if it seems like it'll be awkward

This is just another element ROFs neverending sex clinic continuum, isn't it.

If you're married and you don't fancy each other, or one doesn't fancy the other, than "making more of an effort" or "working it out" doesn't help. More so if one of the partners expects that the result of "working it out" is that they'll get to shag their spouse, yet the other partner is disgusted by the very thought of being pawed/groped/kissed/fùcked by their spouse. You either coexist because you feel that you couldn't cope with your sprogs on your own, or you end it.

The Kinsey Institute has done lots of research on this, clergs

it tends to indicate that older people have more sex than you think, including into their 70s/80s

I just struggle to see that any relationship is loving and nurturing if one partner disgusts the other. It can't be. 
 

people may choose to tolerate that, up to them, but it sounds awful to me 

but, realistically, when you are old very few people are going to fancy you

what if Dave leaves the wife for dogwalker, they have a brief passion and then revert to normal long term dynamics in which they rarely have sex because, frankly, they old (and maybe Dave likes gross stuff, we just dont know)

would it be worth leaving the current relationship in those circs? Personally, I think that hypothetical is the real test.

 

Frankfarian, usually married couples got married in part because they fancied each other

if that has ceased over time it might be possible to re-start it

obv that's not always the case, but neither is it never the case

Tangent Boy noted.

it is really tricky for both parties.

I take issue with this bit:

" I think one of the issues is that the one who doesn’t want sex rationalises it as either “that’s just how I feel about them / sex right now” or, worse, “it’s their fault I don’t want to sleep with them”. 

because I think that argument can work both ways - namely the person who wants sex but does not get it rationalises it (eventually) as "Well I cheated on you because you were not putting out, oh and you did not put out for 4 years which anyone would say is unbearable..." etc

From my own experience I would say this:

- if he goes ahead and starts shagging the doggie woman he should do it only after he has tried all avenues of verbal communication with his wife. 

So he is absolutely sure she is saying "i never ever want to get naked with you ever again" and not "I am constantly knackered" "our kid has special needs i am overwhelmed" "i have this physical issue (linked to childbirth etc) which is a mental deterrant for me sexually" (if it is in some way linked with childbirth she needs help with it, if it not linked to childbirth that is more complicated and possibly less understandable).   He has also done all the usual helping with stuff and giving her time to destress blahblahblah and she is still the same.

- if he has done the above and still no improvement, the right way to do it is:

have a totally honest conversation saying sex essential to him first (she probably knows this already but it still needs to be said),

offer to leave and if sex is not forthcoming shortly thereafter - follow through and leave,

first think in detail what kind of relationship he thinks he is going to end up having with doggie woman (one would hope  more than a few occurrences of dogging with the doggie woman and ideally that doggie woman is not herself currently married  etc)

then and only then do the shagging

and most importantly

after the divorce he must make sure he steps up to not less than 50% of the co parenting of the kid for the rest of his life.

The end.

 

What Linda and Frank said.  There are lots of ways you can still bring up kids together that don't involve the kids being stuck in a house with two adults who are not happy to be there and who barely communicate.  It's bad enough dealing with that as an adult with parents who often communicate with each other by snapping at each other.

It's also just another reason as I see it for not having kids.

why are you confident Dave will be able to have regular sex after leaving his wife?

Who knows whether he will or not 

the thing is sex is usually about intimacy. And he's currently getting that from dog walking chat lady, not his wife with whom apparently he does not communicate 

4 years is mad - me and mrs PNG have a lot less of it than we used to (just usual issue of too much other stuff going on - kids, work, tiredness, stress, stuff to do around the house, our eldest staying up late etc...), but nothing like Dave's situation. I do scoff at these lifestyle articles that  say you need to schedule it once a week. 

 

As with most of these things talking to his wife is the most important thing - why she has completely withdrawn sex (yes things change post kids but unless Dave signed up to a sexless marriage or they have agreed one then this isn't OK). but going behind his wife's back is (a) a bit crappy and (b) gives her the moral high ground. 

I find it quite sad the amount of husbands and wives and long term couples that are in administrative relationships only, and who clearly can’t stand each other .

I have friends and family members who fall into this category, most of which are childless.one couple who had been together for 7 years decided to have a child “ to see if they can make the relationship work “ WTAF, this is madness . They hated each other then and they hate each other now .

 

I do wonder how many long term couples are mostly happy across the piece . Not that many I suppose . So what is the point of you both being miserable ?

lindaradlett14 Oct 21 11:52

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Who knows whether he will or not 

the thing is sex is usually about intimacy. And he's currently getting that from dog walking chat lady, not his wife with whom apparently he does not communicate 

 

yes and by not communicating (and to be fair I don't blame Dave as getting rebuffed time and again is demoralising) the chances of intimacy diminish further. Vicious circle. 

The OP is literally a copy/paste of me, and what ended my marriage of 12 years. I resisted for all of about 10 minutes in the face of being wanted. From there it was just a one way street to separation.

These things are total clichés, because... It's so common.

On balance I'm glad we're divorced, but... I always did and still do love my ex wife. It was simply that she/we changed, and I'm one of those dudes who needs certain things. 

why are you confident Dave will be able to have regular sex after leaving his wife?

well he seems to be fit enough to attract random dog walkers, so even it that peters out, he'd be able find somebody else to DTD (hello Mumsnet!) more often than every 4 years one would think.

ebitda14 Oct 21 11:53

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I find it quite sad the amount of husbands and wives and long term couples that are in administrative relationships only, and who clearly can’t stand each other .

I have friends and family members who fall into this category, most of which are childless.one couple who had been together for 7 years decided to have a child “ to see if they can make the relationship work “ WTAF, this is madness . They hated each other then and they hate each other now .

 

I do wonder how many long term couples are mostly happy across the piece . Not that many I suppose . So what is the point of you both being miserable ?

 

I think a lot of couples are ok with having less sex because their libido may have decreased with age (thank God as it was very distracting when i was in teens and early 20s) and also because their relationship may have evolved more into friendship / partnership. 

ebitda - I think the thing is, most people are a bit rubbish. There aren't that many folk you could have a good relationship with by all the important measures.

Personally I think sexy and fun is the best kind of relationship but I also think that becomes prorgessively harder to pull off

Trombone: if your missus had said “I’m quite happy with you having a mistress..” subject to certain rules e.g. discrete, no more than one night a month away, don’t get her pregnant etc. would you have stayed married?

 

"Who knows whether he will or not 

the thing is sex is usually about intimacy. And he's currently getting that from dog walking chat lady, not his wife with whom apparently he does not communicate"

 

Spot on.

Shagging dog walking lady will, of itself, solve nothing in the medium to long term.

 

OP - how warm emotionally is the relationship with the wife ? Is there physical touch ? Same bed ? Do they have much good will towards each other ?

Clergs seems to be spending the whole of this thread simply projecting her own fears about growing old.

SOME PEOPLE OVER 50 STILL HAVE SEX, STILL LOVE EACH OTHER AND ARE COMFORTABLE WITH THE AGEING OF THEIR BODIES !!!! 

He doesn't intend to let it get physical (and said that he would end his marriage before that happened), but was wondering whether what he is already doing (going for a drink and meeting her regularly - they walk their dogs in the same place) is a bit far

 

isn't the answer to whether that's letting it get too far is whether (i) he'd mind if his wife did same and (ii) would he mind his wife finding out.

 

 

Bullace... 

Honest answer would be... maybe. Not bothered about nights away as such. But in my head a 'normal' sex life is generally once a day minimum, so my side piece would have had to be pretty local, accessible, understanding and perma horny.

The answer was I courted several at a time, openly, for the first year or two of being single.

i also think that there is a high probability that his going for drinks / chatting with / dog walking with this woman is significantly diluting his motivation to try to talk to his wife about the lack of sex because he is so invested in fantasising about shagging someone else.

I have a number of couple friends that are in open relationships. They're all gay men though....

once a day! chapeau tipped. 
maybe you could have had a “mistress annex”? but that would be difficult to explain to kids/neighbours. 
I’m rubbing along in a sexless marriage- not ideal and not the end of the world (so far….) lust levels creeping up (objects of said lust usually completely inappropriate not to say unobtainable) but if lust object appropriate, receptive, and available- dunno. so much to lose but those moments are brief in life and really essential to what makes life living. the flesh is weak….

You may be right bubbles. It has all come as a bit of a surprise to him and I think he's enjoying the attention. He's a nice looking guy, but very far from being "fit" so the whole thing has confused him as he has got used to not being wanted physically. Might just ask him what he actually wants (eg, I have no desire to go elsewhere and would like a healthier sex life with wife whereas it may not be the same for him and he may just "not want" a divorce) as I don't know whether he has thought about it in these terms. It was very much put to me as "this confusing thing is happening and I think I'm doing something wrong but I like this".

Bullace I know I'm weak which is why I don't think I'm ever destined for the traditional settle down and live happily ever after.  I need someone who is understanding that my occasional giving into temptation is just my weakness and not the result of anything wrong in our relationship.  There are people out there who can understand such a view.

eeyore14 Oct 21 12:05

OP - how warm emotionally is the relationship with the wife ? Is there physical touch ? Same bed ? Do they have much good will towards each other ?

 

I have known them both for years (don't know her anything like as well) and I didn't think there was a problem, so on the surface they must have seemed affectionate enough. She has always seemed quite brusque, but that's just her way. She's an affectionate person though - always hugs and kisses hello. 

When I married in 1983 you couldn't in law rape your wife and there was almost an underlying principle that both would provide sex to the other.

That part of the bargain seems to have gone now, for better or for worse.

 

He should talk to his wife about lack of sex. That is the main issue here and ignore dog woman for now.

I just struggle to see that any relationship is loving and nurturing if one partner disgusts the other. It can't be. 
 

You can be turned off by/can't be arsed with the idea of sex itself without being disgusted by your partner, though.  There's obviously an issue where there is a mismatch in expectations, as with many other aspects of relationships, but you might be perfectly happy with how you spend the rest of your time together such that sex or otherwise is a non-issue.

Situation in the OP sounds like an imbalance in those expectations and (more problematically) the pair of them not being otherwise happy...

By the way all this advice is wrong.  He should obviously get jiggy with dog woman and then work it out afterwards.

HEH at this gem from TB:

”so I told him that my attempt at a rule is to ask myself whether Mrs TB would be OK with the way I am acting in any given situation. The answer is often "no", but it does help as a check”

Rather than using the word “intimacy”, I’d say this is about being desired and wanted and knowing that some woman wants him. That’s why going the escort route won’t solve his problems. 
 

One of the saddest things I saw on the tube was sitting next to a guy on the tube who basically appeared to be in the same situation as TB’s m8, and was typing out a long WhatsApp about how it made him feel that “you can’t bear me touching you anymore”

Pug and clergham I’m not talking about the shagging stuff. but the fact they avoid each other, get home from work as late as possible, holiday separately , and when they go out to say the pub they barely exchange a word , sat there drinking in near silence. Looking utterly miserable . What is the point ?

He doesn't intend to let it get physical (and said that he would end his marriage before that happened), but was wondering whether what he is already doing (going for a drink and meeting her regularly - they walk their dogs in the same place) is a bit far.

If he's wondering whether what he is doing is a bit far, then [for him] it is. He's obviously thinking about this woman in a sexual way and is flattered by the attention.  He does need to talk to his wife, though.  Leaving her to have sex with the other woman would be the worst thing he could do (other than having a good shag, maybe a few times, but then what?).   

struandirk14 Oct 21 12:50

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HEH at this gem from TB:

”so I told him that my attempt at a rule is to ask myself whether Mrs TB would be OK with the way I am acting in any given situation. The answer is often "no", but it does help as a check”

 

Well, no one's perfect.

" Leaving her to have sex with the other woman would be the worst thing he could do (other than having a good shag, maybe a few times, but then what?)"

well they might fall in love and live happily ever after. It does happen 

ebitda14 Oct 21 12:59

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Pug and clergham I’m not talking about the shagging stuff. but the fact they avoid each other, get home from work as late as possible, holiday separately , and when they go out to say the pub they barely exchange a word , sat there drinking in near silence. Looking utterly miserable . What is the point ?

well that sounds miserable and beyond the mismatched sexual appetites. sounds like marriage counselling is needed.

yes, they might.  

TB, what do you know about the dog walker woman? Is she single and a genuine prospect for Dave? 

Incidentally I’m not in favour of “talking things through”. Emotional issues are not and cannot be addressed by logical discussions. He can’t talk her into shagging him or worse, guilt her into it. He needs to address the underlying emotional reasons why she’s no longer interested and fix those. Or accept that it ain’t gonna change. 

lindaradlett14 Oct 21 13:04

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" Leaving her to have sex with the other woman would be the worst thing he could do (other than having a good shag, maybe a few times, but then what?)"

well they might fall in love and live happily ever after. It does happen 

might do, but will probably have a v negative impact on relationship with his child, unless the wife can be v grown up about it (and let's face it even considering the lack of sex she's unlikely to look kindly on being left for the other woman). 

I mean - this isn’t a disagreement about the family budget you know?

Indeed. Dog walker woman may be a genuinely lovely person with whom he is more compatible than his wife, as well as banging like a barn door in a hurricane, but he needs to approach things in the right order. For the sake of his relationship with his child and for his own self esteem he needs to act honourably.

Well his wife isn't the custodian of his relationship with his child. That's up to him 

I don't think it's gonna matter to a four year old whether daddy banged someone else before or after leaving mummy, and indeed no sane adult should allow them to know 

Anyone having a child in an attempt to save their marriage should be severely punished.

Think of the child ffs. They are not a tool to save your marriage.

"struandirk14 Oct 21 13:06

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Incidentally I’m not in favour of “talking things through”. Emotional issues are not and cannot be addressed by logical discussions. He can’t talk her into shagging him or worse, guilt her into it. He needs to address the underlying emotional reasons why she’s no longer interested and fix those. Or accept that it ain’t gonna change. "

I can't make head or tail of this. "Talking things through" doesn't have to be a dry logical discussion. Talking - and listening - is an essential part of any marriage counselling/therapy.

In my experience, most people do not have the self awareness to know the true reasons for their feelings. Unless it’s something really obvious like “he got fat”, it is likely that his wife simply doesn’t feel like shagging him anymore but doesn’t understand the reasons herself. In that situation, talking about it achieves nothing except making her feel (more) guilty and stressed and putting even more pressure on the relationship 

Kimmy, she's single and seems very viable until she realises that he doesn't make much money. She's in a good job so maybe that won't matter.

I don't want to flog a dead horse here, but this would never have happened in the UAE.

You date someone who is attractive who likes sex. Loyalty is important. And that's it.

Unfortunately everyone cheats these days, and especially for men it's important to have an outlet. As long as you're discreet and not in your face about it, it's generally accepted and no longer taboo.

My ex girlfriend asked me about a threesome with another girl; the idea of my girlfriend of some years being comfortable with me having sex with someone else in front of her demonstrated the point: women don't really care.

To put up with this for 4 years without having the issue  out suggests to me that in reality sex isn’t that important to him either - not all men are the same

" it's generally accepted and no longer taboo."

 

I can't imagine this would fly with the other half.

I agree with stru

There will be no resolution in discussing it

I feel sad for wives when this sort of thing happens because it's much harder to be a single middle aged woman 

It really is a matter of how much you are willing to hurt people in order to ejaculate a few extra times

I know I know a deep seated human need etc

(And once again personally I do think sex is important I'm just aware that it's a very summer grasshopper thing to base your life on - better off being a stolid and faithful ant)

Not to do with ejaculating a few more times. You don't need any help with that.

There's an assumption that she'd be hurt tho clergs. She may not actually care much. We don't know what the relationship is like apart from the lack of sex

Well indeed

But that's what it boils down to, don't try to romanticise it

Her pain for your pleasure

She would care, otherwise she'd have left him herself

It will be a trauma and she won't end up better off, financially or emotionally

She may of course have been uninterested in him because she's been banging someone else all along, and he's just convenient. It's always the quiet ones 😶

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