Mid-life crisis?

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Original Visitor's Question from a 41-50 year old Male
I am glad I discovered your web site. I needed it. I admit that my letter to you is a pretty desperate and pathetic move. Mostly because I hope you’ll tell me something that will help fix the situation, while in my mind I understand the chances are very slim.

I’ve been married for a long time. We married at 20, had a kid, completed two degrees, found good jobs, had a second child, etc. While not ideal, we’ve had a very good and successful life as a couple so far, kind of an example to many of our friends.

But in the last two-three months, we have had very serious issues. The thing is that we both married very young, without having had many relationship experiences, including sexual. In fact, we are the one and only sexual experience to each other. While I am content with that, my wife is unhappy. She says it is not the sex, that we have satisfying sex life. The issue for her is the desire to be free and able to experience other relationships, without thinking of the responsibilities of the family, without being committed. She admitted to cheating once – not sexually, long time ago. I forgave her, although it still hurts.

She maintains she loves me, and that I am the only person she wants to live with, but can not get used to and be happy with being committed. Not in terms of love, but in terms of the chance to flirt, to have an affair, to feel the passion of the first touches, kisses, etc. … And still have me, since she has never met anyone whom she likes better than me.

Now she has an affair with someone I know. She admitted to it and we have discussed it. Part of what made her do this is that she believed I am up for some “swinging”. When she realized I am not, she had really tough time letting this go.

After a serious conversation, and some time with a family therapist, we decided that our feelings to each other, and the children are much more important and real, and that we should not separate. Soon after this conversation, my wife told me that the affair is gone, that she does not have any feelings for the other guy, that she loves me. We had a few nice weeks -great sex, warm and open to each other, really feeling that we beat this.

However, just a week ago, I had the (mis)fortune to see her kissing with the other guy. I confronted her, and she said that she is again into this. Again, swearing I am the only person she loves, that the other guy is never going to be anything important for her, but it is the freedom, the passion, the novelty that she enjoys., and needs. She actually said she was surprised she failed this test; she was looking forward to proving to herself she can be trusted.

She does not regret it; she is very open and honest. She says she loves me, but she needs the affair (and likely others in the future). She does not want to separate, she wants to have sex with me, and says that she would not have sex in the affair. She said that even when she kissed him, she thought of me. She can not promise to not do it again, but promises to work to find the root of the problem and try to resolve it.

What shall I do? I know that after more that 15 years of living together, it can not be the same as it was when we were 20. The sex is not the problem, we have it good. The problem is that in the end of the day, we are a husband and a wife; we do go through the mundane matters of the day, the errands, the kids ... We are not “lovers” for most of the time. Could this behavior be simply a sign that my wife has a fear of commitment , although it is tough to believe after all these years?

Is it a lost battle? Is it better to separate? Is her admitted love to me real? Is it that she just does not know, and is afraid to loose me without having met someone to replace me? What is the right thing to do – to forgive; to give her the freedom – she will be happier wife and mother – or to get the out of there and try to be a good father in absence, before she starts going “deeper” in her affairs?

I seem to be falling into what (on your web site) you call “fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me”. I feel very hurt, but I want to give everything I could to give a chance to my children to have a father at home.

She says that most women (and men) do have affairs and that this may actually help. I do not think I can have an affair – am I that odd? Or probably just scared to see and accept the obvious answer to this?

What do you think?

User Submitted Advice from a 13-20 year old Female
Give It a Go

Firstly encourge her to be honest- ask her who she fancies now , what they look like. How she feels, enjoy it with her.

Ask what type of men she is looking for and whether she likes girls.

She is going trhough a mid life crisis- and is throwing caution to the wind to explore as much as possible.

If you want to saty together- wchich i believe you should give her the freedom to ecplore- and encourage the exploration by providing support- she can move throguh her exploration much more faster and enjoyablly. To her your unwillingness to swing is spoiling her exploration.

Discuss with her why you are not wanting to swing- be more self exploratory about why you feel this way.

Give it a go- try it you may just love it as much as she does- and both of you will enter a new level of intimacy.

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