DEAR DEIDRE: MY wife and I haven’t had sex for 30 years, after she took intimacy completely off the menu soon after our youngest child was born.
I really miss the affection so I’ve got a secret lover. She refuses to discuss her decision and gets upset if I try to. I’m 62 and my wife is 60.
We’ve been married for 36 years and have three grown-up children and several grandchildren.
We have a good relationship, a nice home and a happy life but for the fact our relationship is celibate.
We were in our early thirties when my wife announced, without discussion or warning that she didn’t want sex any more. I respected her wish, though it wasn’t what I wanted.
Over the years, my wife drew away further from affection. Now we don’t even kiss or cuddle.
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If I go to give her a peck on the cheek, she pulls away. I think it must have something to do with her past. I wonder if her uncle, who she has mentioned as being horrible, abused her when she was young.
Two years ago, I met another woman, who’s 53. She makes me feel loved and gives me the sex life I’ve lacked for so long. It’s been hard to see her during lockdown, and I’ve realised how much I need affection and sex.
My mistress wants me to leave my wife, but I care for her and don’t want to hurt her.
I can’t walk away from 36 years of my life. My children would be gutted too. But without this other woman, I will die inside.
Mix it up
Same old routine?
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DEIDRE SAYS: This is a really sad and difficult situation. Like you, I’m wondering if your wife experienced abuse.
You have let her wishes go unchallenged for so long, it will be hard for her to explain her distant approach, but the key to your decision is addressing why she withdrew from you.
Explain you want her to be happy and how this has a huge effect on you too. Suggest you visit Relate (relate.org.uk) to explore what’s gone wrong.
My support pack on Counselling explains more about how it works. If your wife refuses, do consider talking to a counsellor alone.
My support pack, Torn Between Two Women, might also help you to make a decision about your affair.
It sounds like your mistress is likely to put more pressure on you to make a decision. Take your time and tread carefully. From what you say, if you can get your wife to confide in you, you would want to stay.
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