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Repeat offender, tempted again.

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TemptedOne posted 1/14/2014 19:30 PM

I've been married over 20 years. Most of those years we have had a sexless marriage. The constant refusal took it's toll and I began to look for acceptance elsewhere. I have never had a physical affair, but certainly emotional ones. Several of them, in fact, over the last 20+ years.

My wife knows nothing of these online affairs. And I feel it is best to keep it that way.

The problem arises from time to time, though, because my circumstances remain the same. I know some would tell me to divorce my wife, but I did make a promise to stick with her no matter what and so here I am.

I don't get what I need emotionally, so it occasionally manifests itself in romantic online affairs.

And it looks like it is heading that way again. I am in contact with my "first love" from high school. Both of us have feelings for each other. But both of us have families that we prioritize, and vows we plan to keep. We live on opposite coasts, so the distance keeps us apart physically, which is a good thing.

I find myself wanting to maintain the relationship, but keep it controlled at a certain level. In my head, I'm saying "we live 3000 miles away. As long as we don't act on our feelings, we are ok."

But, as you can see... I am here, and writing this, so I am obviously concerned that this relationship could turn into something it shouldn't.

I welcome your thoughts, encouragement, admonition, and ideas.

authenticnow posted 1/14/2014 19:36 PM

Hi Tempted One,

Welcome to SI. It's good that you're seeking help to end this destructive behavior.

Why a sexless marriage? Have you attempted to work on the issues between you and your wife in MC? Why are you seeking fulfillment on the internet? You need to figure out why you are seeking external validation instead of fixing what is going on inside of you.

The relationship already has turned into something that it shouldn't. You need to go NC. Get off the internet and focus on your M. Go to IC, start digging in and get to the real issues.

TemptedOne posted 1/14/2014 20:05 PM

Thanks for your response, authenticnow.

While yes, it is a destructive behavior, it is also a coping mechanism.

Wife is not interesting in MC. Says everything is fine. We have had many big blowouts over this issue early in our marriage, with the biggest at year 6. She was and is unwilling to seek help.

At that point, I really just resolved myself to the situation not changing.

Why a sexless marriage? From the beginning it was uncomfortable for her. No amount of lubrication or different technique seemed to help. There seems to be too great a difference in the size of her vs. me. But I was hoping with practice things would stretch a bit and we could lessen the problem. But she wouldn't invite me to practice very often, so that didn't happen.

Why do I seek validation? Pretty simple. I don't get it in my own home. As far as what's wrong inside of me... that's called pain. It hurts to be rejected repeatedly and messes with one's noggin.

pastthelies posted 1/14/2014 20:07 PM

Please, Don't start it - people and families will get very hurt! My AP lived that far and we made frequent trips. Eventually the ea wont be enough, especially in a sexless marriage. My advice would be to stop now. See of you can solve the issues at home.

If you cant, you have to determine if staying unhappy is worth those vows. Cheating is breaking the promise also.

Sorry- I know it is easier said than done but harder with an EA that leads to a PA. It creates many more feelings.

[This message edited by pastthelies at 8:15 PM, January 14th (Tuesday)]

authenticnow posted 1/14/2014 20:09 PM

Yes, a coping mechanism, a destructive one, IMO.

There is always a choice whether or not to cheat. There are other options.

What is the emotional connection like between you and your BW? There are other ways to be intimate.

[This message edited by SI Staff at 8:10 PM, January 14th (Tuesday)]

TemptedOne posted 1/14/2014 20:16 PM

"you have to determine if staying unhappy is worth those vows. Cheating is breaking the promise also."

Very well stated, PasttheLies. And precisely the reason I am here.

My decision 15 years ago was to deal with a certain level of unhappiness over this matter because there is more at stake than just my happiness.

[This message edited by TemptedOne at 9:46 PM, January 14th (Tuesday)]

TemptedOne posted 1/14/2014 20:23 PM

"What is the emotional connection like between you and your BW? There are other ways to be intimate."

Good question, authenticnow.

We are good friends who "do life" together. We both think highly of each other, there is mutual respect and trust. Admittedly, I don't deserve all the trust she gives.

As I stated earlier, I chose to stay in this because of the 90% that is good.

I would like to find other, less destructive ways to deal with this. Hoping that someone here has some ideas.

"Break off the relationship" is good advice for now, but what about 6 months from now? I need something else to take the place of this behavior.

[This message edited by TemptedOne at 9:46 PM, January 14th (Tuesday)]

authenticnow posted 1/14/2014 20:30 PM

I need something else to take the place of this behavior.
Creating more emotional intimacy with your wife, finding things you and your wife like to do together, hiking, walking, reading, volunteering...

TemptedOne posted 1/14/2014 20:45 PM

Creating more emotional intimacy with your wife, finding things you and your wife like to do together, hiking, walking, reading, volunteering...

Can't find anything wrong with this advice. But we already do most everything together when we aren't at work. We really do spend most of our free time together. And we really are good friends.

Sometimes I feel guilty for wanting more, that last 10%, because she's a good woman and has stood by me in some tough times.

But I love her enough to be here, airing out my dirty laundry for the first time ever.

authenticnow posted 1/14/2014 20:48 PM

Do you love yourself enough to figure out why you're searching for more outside your M and acting this way? That's when you'll find the answer.

IC can help.

TemptedOne posted 1/14/2014 20:59 PM

I believe I do. I believe that is part of the reason I am here now.

Sorry I don't know what all the initials mean... IC? help me out.

As far as why I act out... it's pain that manifests itself in an unhealthy behavior. How can I eliminate pain that has such deep roots? In a situation that will not change? How can I feel desirable when I am not desired at home? My self worth doesn't come from others... what other people think of me generally isn't a factor, but there is a handful of people I "let in", and their opinion does matter. My wife is at the top of that list. After repeated refusals, over years, it begins to affect even the most resilient.

[This message edited by TemptedOne at 9:05 PM, January 14th (Tuesday)]

pastthelies posted 1/14/2014 21:59 PM

Everyone has a sex drive, everyone has needs! Sex can be just that- sex, it can be intimate and loving, and sometimes it can be a quickie if you have a few minutes without kids. It is many things! Hiking wont replace it- it is a need a release and is natural! That is a huge need for some that has to be met somehow! Maybe you can find other ways with her to have your needs met!

I know a lot of people will not like this and thats ok! I agree An A is never the BS fault! The ws chose this instead of talking or leaving first so that part is wrong! I also think withholding sex is wrong- what man would be okay with that? what person would? There is a sexless marriage thread and i thought Id see a lot more Bs saying their Ws was lying and they were having all kinds of fun crazy sex. Not the case. It was pretty close so there are a lot of sexless marriages with unhappy people!

If you are not having sex you have to know something is wrong, even more so when it has been discussed. If nothing is done to change it a lot of times the spouse will stray! It is wrong, D should happen first but can you honestly blame them? Who wants to be rejected or neglected- even for vows. As I see it the other person is also breaking theirs by not loving, honoring, and respecting their spouse or their needs. Sex is an expression of love.

I dont always feel like it but instead of rejection all the time, why not take one for the team once in a while? Sometimes I am very glad I did!

Unless there is a medical reason i dont think most marriages can survive sexless for long! Someone will be miserable and D will happen or an A will start! I think A start a lot because needs are not being met at home! It may be selfish but it is true!

I know the bs is not the cause of the A but if you are the one always refusing sex and turning down your partner you are part of a problem in the marriage! Talk and fix it.

authenticnow posted 1/15/2014 05:19 AM

IC= individual counseling

You can read what all the abbreviations mean in the Healing Library FAQs.

[This message edited by SI Staff at 2:11 PM, January 15th (Wednesday)]

Jovie posted 1/15/2014 08:26 AM

It sounds like she has a medical problem if it hurts the way you are describing it. I know you've said you've talked about it and she is not willing to get help, but I think you may want to approach it again with her and really emphasize the severity of it. Sex is a part of marriage and it's important for your intimacy and mental connection! IMO you CANNOT have a healthy marriage when one person's needs are not being met.

I think you need to discuss how hurt you are that she rejects you not only by withholding sex, but by dismissing your feelings and refusing to seek help (through MC or a medical doctor!) She's basically saying that how you feel doesn't matter to her. If she's not willing to work with you on it, I'd have to think she's not really fully invested in the M.

TemptedOne posted 1/15/2014 10:17 AM

Thanks for your comments. It's not strictly a medical issue. There is a dryness issue, but there is lubrication for that. It's more that she's tiny and I am not.

I understand from her side, too, that if it hurts, why would she want to repeat it. Makes total sense. So I have brought up other ways, (oral stim, vibrator, blowjobs, handjobs) to achieve some sort of sexual life again. She is very conservative sexually, and those things are "dirty" in her mind.

As far as conversations with her... we finally were able to have some conversations about the emotional side of the sex. It's not an easy issue to bring up, at least in our marriage, so I felt we really accomplished something. After that, we made a couple attempts at lovemaking, and she shut things down after that.

The thing is, she's happy to have things just as they are. When she's happy, she assumes everyone else is too. In the marriage, I'm the one who thinks of the other person generally. She forgets anniversaries, but I am good about remembering. I'm not saying that makes her a bad person, but just that she's a bit more self-focused than I am.

MissesJai posted 1/15/2014 10:19 AM

Was she like this before you married her?

TemptedOne posted 1/15/2014 11:29 AM

Was she like this before you married her?

Good question. Our dating/engagement was pretty short, 6 months total. We only had sex a couple times prior to marriage. We tried to wait til the vows, but hormones were raging and it happened. I am her first and only sexual partner.

She did say I was "big" on those earlier occasions, but didn't complain of the pain. Maybe she was afraid to complain about it prior to getting married. Not sure.

On her personality... I'm sure she was always like that, but with such a short dating/engagement, you don't always see the whole picture.

At 22 years old (when I got married)if someone would have said "guess what, sex is over for you now." I would have had to rethink that commitment. But these are things you discover later.

[This message edited by TemptedOne at 11:40 AM, January 15th (Wednesday)]

smez posted 1/15/2014 12:53 PM

I am the poster of the sexless marriage. Your story sounds very close to mine. My A lives very, very far away. That distance was not enough and when we were in the same city, all bets were off.

It is hard being in a sexless marriage. It is hard being rejected by your partner. It is even HARDER knowing what you are missing. You do NOT want to cross that line. I have no advice but I do have empathy. My partner also refuses IC. We have a good marriage. We have talked about our sex issues. He isn't willing to fix them. I'm not sure how it will play out in the future but we remain friends, just not lovers.

TemptedOne posted 1/15/2014 13:49 PM

Thanks for chiming in, smez.

I can definitely empathize with you. Sometimes it gets very lonely. And you can be in a room full of people and still feel lonely. It's about that missing emotional connection that goes along with the sex. It's about feeling wanted, desired, accepted. We can self-satisfy a sexual urge, but this is beyond the physical needs.

My AP did come into town to visit family this last summer and we did meet for about 5 minutes in a "safe" and public environment where she was staying with relatives. It wasn't really odd for her family to see me there, as I knew these people from 25 years ago.

We kept everything very non-romantic because we had eyes on us the whole time. But wow, in those 5 minutes, fireworks were definitely going off for both of us. She has said we can't meet again, as crossing the line would be far too tempting and she's not sure she can trust herself through another meet. I know this to be true. No one is strong enough to avoid repeated temptation combined with opportunity. She comes to town for 2 weeks every summer, so opportunity would/will arise again.

I always said she was the "one who got away" and she always felt the same way, but we both know better than to let the A get any more traction. We both love our families and don't want to be the creators of pain.

[This message edited by TemptedOne at 1:54 PM, January 15th (Wednesday)]

smez posted 1/15/2014 14:00 PM

I can relate to everything you said. It is also 20 plus years for me and A as well. He isn't the one that got away...more like the one who couldn't figure out what he wanted when we were younger.

We both aren't looking to leave our partners but we had unresolved feelings and unbelievable sexual chemistry. We had a sexual relationship when we were younger and both unattached so it was very, very easy for us to cross the line.

I wish my husband wanted to explore with me. He has no idea how much fun it would be and how much it would make our marriage stronger. I'm hoping for a middle life crisis that makes him a sex machine.

In the meantime, I work on me. Work on maintaining my NC. Accepting that I am losing that sexual part of my life. Tending to my hurt heart and trying to be a better wife and mother.

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