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Thread: Flirting with married woman - Confusion

  1. #1

    Flirting with married woman - Confusion

    A pre-emptive apology for the long post. I guess it's therapeutic to write stuff down.

    My wife and I are both mid-thirties and have been together for 10 years, married for 3. We've both had a few relationships before we met. It's been a fairly solid relationship (we have a house and two dogs, but neither of us want kids) but, like most I guess, not without its faults. She has a stressful job, so I provide a lot of the emotional support for that and pull most of the weight looking after the domestic stuff. Iím certain that Iím not perfect either.

    Our diminishing sex life has been a big issue for me for years, once a month is probably the reality. I know we both enjoy it, there is always the response 'that was great, why don't we do that more often?!', but it just doesn't happen unless I instigate it. And believe me I try; sensitively, regularly, variedly, romantically, impulsively, in fact any way I can to add spice back in, but nearly always to no avail. Following advice from different sources I have raised the subject on a few occasions and had calm rational discussions about it, but whilst she fully agrees with me and wants to work on it, it just never changes. Neither of us wants to give up on the relationship, as the mutual love and respect is still there. Reading other posts this is a familiar tale.

    My wife is very attractive and unquestionably loves me sincerely and deeply, but I just don't feel that she has a strong physical attraction to me. I'm sure it wasn't always this way, but maybe time has just put a rose tint on things. I hadn't realised the insidious effect that this was having on my self-esteem, which in turn was impacting on my health (why bother to keep fit?) and social life (who would be interested in me anyway?). It had become a comfort to believe these things, when perhaps rationally I know that they arenít true.

    It isnít just the big things either, but I feel that my wife finds a large part of my identity fairly uninteresting. Iím active, Iím sociable, I like to travel, Iím tattooed, I restore old vehicles, I ride a motorbike, I drive a classic car Ė I know that I should feel lucky that my wife loves me for me, not for anything so shallow, but common interest is a turn on. She always supports my passions but does not share them; I know that she would always rather a night in cuddling the dogs than anything more adventurous.

    Fast forward to last weekend. My wife was at home working and I went out with some joint friends of ours for drinks. I can drink quite a bit without feeling too much the worse for wear, others apparently couldnít. The husband of one of our friends retired early, his wife stayed out. Much to my surprise she came on to me, explicitly, telling me all sorts of flattering things - how attractive, sexy, fascinating, genuine and funny I was. More than this, she loves the things that Iím into; tracing my tattoos with her fingers. All the clichťs. It blindsided me, not just because here was a close, married friend telling me these things, but because Iíd long ago stopped believing them about myself. She is delicious to look at and, despite the pressure from my boxers telling me otherwise, I didnít want an affair, I didnít want a kiss, I just wanted to keep hearing nice things about me as it made me feel alive. How very depressing. Like a five year old feeling pleased with a gold star from the teacher.

    A week later and Iím still reeling from it all. Porn has done nothing to quell these feelings. My married friend has got the Ďalcohol amnesiaí, which is fine by me as Iíd hate to ruin a good friendship with the two of them. However I canít shake the intense emotions that this has surfaced. It has created a gaping void in my chest now; knowing that Iím not too old / too unfit / too boring - and wanting change, wanting to feel desirable again. I have a new zest for life, picking up old exercise habits, eating healthier, being more sociable, simply living life more. I think all of the things that people in an affair do and feel, if TV is to be believed, just without the fun bits.

    If Iím honest this is not the first time this has happened in our relationship. People have flirted with me before (mostly unsolicited); I enjoyed it and then hated the guilt afterwards. But I was younger then and I still had that unshakable belief in myself that youth gives you. I had also thought that our sex life would eventually improve; now, not so much. Is it wrong to want more from life when everything else is going so well?

    So what are your experiences? Am I to become some mad serial flirter searching to continually top up my flagging self-esteem? That seems both miserable and risky, one too many drinks and flirting becomes infidelity and I couldnít do that to my wife and it would be a knock to my identity that I couldnít take. That said, I have fleetingly considered making myself the villain as it would make a break up easier, how selfish is that? I feel like Dorian Gray about to break the heart of Sybil Vane.

    Writing this I wonder what advice I would offer if asked the same question. Iíd probably say that the romance has died and you are looking for an escape. Flirting is a desperate cry for help that no one can hear. If you canít fix the relationship you should move on. I hope Iím not right, thatís why Iím here.

  2. #2
    Platinum Member ThatwasThen's Avatar
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    You were flattered, who wouldn't be so don't be so hard on yourself. Now, the thing to do is never be alone with that particular "friend" again. Keep it real, *Wegotdodgson*

    I think you should tell your wife that she came onto you and how flattered you were with that attention, tell her that you miss that shot of adrenalin that she raised up in you and that you miss getting that kind of attention from her (your wife). Suggest going to a marriage counselor or a sex counselor to get back the passion you've BOTH let dwindle. You are taking each other for granted now and that is what is leading to the lack of passion in your bond.

    You love and respect one another so this can certainly be saved and I am going to assume that you have enough integrity not to let that adrenalin rush lead you down the wrong path. If you feel guilty over simple flirting then you will devastate yourself if cave to your lust over said flirting.

    I won't advise you to leave her until you've done everything you can to get back the passion and a professional therapist (sex or marital) will give you some tools to get you back where you once were with each other.

    Good luck.

  3. #3
    Platinum Member DancingFool's Avatar
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    First thing is you do need to distance yourself from these so called friends. This friend's wife just basically showed you that she is a w.... and that's not pretty, not attractive, not actually flattering to you. Cheating is a line you do not want to cross because it won't be just your own guilt, but all kinds of harsh consequences and society at large looking at you and judging as less than human. If your self esteem is low now, it will sink further complete with self loathing.

    That said, it is a wake up call for you just how far your marriage has gone down the drain. So what is my advice on that? I think you need to show your wife this post and wake her up out of her complacency. It sounds like you've become comfortable roommates and she is taking your passivity for granted. Like sure, you'll try and complain a bit here and there, but in the end, you'll just shut up and put up and tip toe around her. She needs to get shaken out of that with a brutally honest and blunt message from you that her marriage is actually on the line and put in those words. I also think you two need to find some mutual hobbies. It's good to have separate interests, but it's important to have at least one or two things in common that is "your thing" as a couple. Work on that.

    If the above doesn't work, then I'm sorry but you need to file for a divorce before you get branded as a cheating low life. Yes, there is life after divorce. That said, nobody is responsible for your self esteem but you. Your wife isn't actually making you feel insecure. Undesired and hungry for human contact, sure, but insecure and feeling low about yourself, that part is purely on you. If you feel insecure, you need to fix that without relying on other people to make you feel good about you.

  4. #4
    Platinum Member reinventmyself's Avatar
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    I agree with the others advise. Share this with your wife.

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  6. #5

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    Agree with other posters. Speak to your wife. Marriage is tough. It takes open communication and a willingness to work on it when things aren't going so well.

    10 years is a long time together, it's normal to get a bit bored of each other/sex life diminishing.

    Best of luck.

  7. #6
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    I agree with Dancing Fool. Something stuck out to me from the beginning of your post - you write "She has a stressful job, so I provide a lot of the emotional support for that". I'm really surprised that you would evaluate who provides "more" emotional support -as if it's a known quantity, as if there's some sort of keeping score. Are you referring to actions you do to provide support that take time -like does she ask you for an hour long massage every day while she vents - are you supposed to be on call to take calls/texts from her venting about work? I really don't get it. I would think that in a serious friendship, romantic relationship or marriage that both people involved would have times they need more support from the other and that if it's so imbalanced so that it's all one sided -- all the time --- that would clearly not be a healthful relationship. But the way you put it - it's as if you're analyzing your interactions and quantifying it in what comes across as odd and concerning. And she is an adult. So if her job is really stressful AND she wants to keep the job then as an adult she has to behave in a reasonably mature way, not subject you to all her venting -either find others to vent to or other outlets like cardio or angry cleaning.

    At some point you two had enough in common to fall in love and get married. Was she interested in your interests and no longer or is it now just bothering you.

    I do wish you the best and I think you have some great input here on the "affair" related issues from the other posters.

  8. #7
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    Unfortunately it sounds like one of your tattoo ticking drinking buddies will end up in an affair with you. You are setting the table rather well for that. She will tell you her husband is boring like roommates, etc and you will tell her your wife is cold and doesn't share your passion, etc. and soon you'll be at the front desk of the local hourly motel. That's how it happens and you already know this. Stop blaming your wife. If you wanted to improve your marriage you would be in marital therapy, not bars.

  9. #8
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    You very much need to talk to your wife. This was the cold wake-up call that your marriage is not in a good place and it's a slippery slope from this to full-blown cheating one of these days.

    Would she (and you) be open to marriage couselling?

  10. #9
    Platinum Member Clio's Avatar
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    Time to seek couple's therapy. What you have been doing isn't working and the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result. Blaming her for letting yourself go and for your middle age crisis isn't fair imo. It does sound like your sex drives may be incompatible but letting yourself go is your own fault no matter how you cut it.

    Plus, there is nothing respectful about thinking of cheating as a way out of your marriage. You have every right to ask for a divorce but the moment you cheat you loose all rights to talking about "respect" and "love". If you ever loved her and if you want to call yourself a decent man, you should seek couple's therapy as a last effort and if it fails then ask for a divorce. Anything else is lazy and a coward's way out. Your marriage is in serious trouble. Either try one last time to fix it or get out.

    P.S. It is unfair to compare your wife to that woman. Rest assured that she told you what you wanted to hear in order to get in your pants. Yet, her lack of integrity is what you would end up with at the end of the day if you were ever to get with her or anyone willing to get with a married man. Actions speak louder that words. She may have told you what you wanted to hear but the words of a cheater mean squat.

  11. #10
    Platinum Member DancingFool's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Clio
    Time to seek couple's therapy. What you have been doing isn't working and the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result. Blaming her for letting yourself go and for your middle age crisis isn't fair imo. It does sound like your sex drives may be incompatible but letting yourself go is your own fault no matter how you cut it.

    Plus, there is nothing respectful about thinking of cheating as a way out of your marriage. You have every right to ask for a divorce but the moment you cheat you loose all rights to talking about "respect" and "love". If you ever loved her and if you want to call yourself a decent man, you should seek couple's therapy as a last effort and if it fails then ask for a divorce. Anything else is lazy and a coward's way out. Your marriage is in serious trouble. Either try one last time to fix it or get out.

    P.S. It is unfair to compare your wife to that woman. Rest assured that she told you what you wanted to hear in order to get in your pants. Yet, her lack of integrity is what you would end up with at the end of the day if you were ever to get with her or anyone willing to get with a married man. Actions speak louder that words. She may have told you what you wanted to hear but the words of a cheater mean squat.
    Emphasis added and amen to that.

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