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QUESTION: My husband has never been that interested in sex and after 23 years our love life had petered out. In a desperate moment I had a fling last summer. But I couldn’t live with the deception and guilt, and confessed all to my husband. Imagine my shock when he said he had been conducting an affair, too. How could he push me away for so long and then make love to someone else?
ANSWER: Your tale shows the old adage that you can never completely know another human being, not even when you’ve been married to them for decades.
A central strand of your marital narrative has revolved around the fact your husband is not bothered about sex and suddenly you find that’s not the case.
I understand why you feel shattered, despite your infidelity. It must feel as if your spouse pushed you into the arms of a lover with his rejection, while he carried on an identical betrayal.
You must feel that he wanted your emotions engaged elsewhere, so he could carry on his own liaison. It would be easy — and understandable — to let anger and blame take over.
However, I urge you to examine the underlying trends in your marriage. Perhaps your husband felt as desperate as you, but for different reasons. Is it possible you want different things from sex and this created the impasse?
You, for example, sound as though you long to be desired and want something urgent and physical in bed. Meanwhile, he wants emotional reassurance above all else.
Many people get into a vicious cycle when they feel their libido isn’t equal to their partner’s. It’s demoralising to leave the person you love feeling short-changed and this saps sexual confidence even further — to the point where some people may feel unable to make love to their spouse.
Sometimes a spouse may appear lukewarm about sex because they feel unable to express their real needs: this is particularly true of people whose tastes might be regarded as unusual.
The fact is something is wrong in your marriage if both of you have sought affairs. The obvious area to tackle is communication.
It seems neither of you signalled your frustration clearly enough for the other to understand the consequences.
Is it not possible you could yet meet each other’s needs if you express them clearly?
The key thing is not to waste time on recrimination. If you can summon the willpower and listening skills to fire up the emotional core of your marriage, then almost anything can be achieved.
However, if you slip back to a sexless stalemate or become fixated about one another’s infidelities, separation beckons. - Daily Mail