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The reason your DH had an affair was because you didn't have sex enough

(181 Posts)
PTFsWife Wed 19-Feb-14 18:19:59

I just need to write this down to get it off my chest more than anything because if not, it will fester and not end well.

So my husband had an affair last year, which I have written about on here. We are working together to get though it and make our marriage stronger. We have had counselling individually and jointly and basically it is all moving in the right direction. He is trying very hard and if there can ever be a 'good' outcome of an affair, I think we have it in that our marriage is better than it was before because we are both more committed to fixing it.

Several of my friends (and family) knows about the affair. One friend also knows (as I confided to her drunkenly last year) that my husband and I had only had sex twice in the last year. As it turns out, our sex life had been an issue for years (since the arrival of kids) but it had been improving just about the same time that he started his affair ironically.

So I was chatting to my friend today about our marriage and mentioned that although things were better and we were working hard to work through issues - and have even managed to have sex a few times which was a big deal for me given what he had done - sex was still irregular in our house and I wasn't sure if that was due to the affair or more of a continuation of our previous sexless marriage.

And my friend then said: 'The reason he had the affair is because you didn't have sex often enough. Men need sex. Do not underestimate that. You have to have sex more often, even if you don't feel like it, you just have to. The more you have it, the more you will want to and the better it will be.' This was meant as well meaning advice - not to be hurtful.

I understand her thinking because that is exactly the reason I believe he had an affair - he got attention from someone and got to have sex. He knows it was a monumental mistake and is immensely sorry.

The reason this has upset me is that my friend's attitude - and it's probably an attitude shared by many people - is that I am partly to blame for my husband's affair because I wasn't having sex with him enough. Even if they don't say it, it's what they think.

I know that it probably helped contribute to it, but I have always refused to accept responsibility for him having an affair. He doesn't expect me to either. He blames himself for his actions entirely. But I know that there are others out there who think like my friend i.e. that I obviously wasn't keeping my man satisfied so he had to look elsewhere. And that pisses me off and makes me deeply sad at the same time.

Thank you for reading this diatribe. I'm not really looking for answers - I just needed get it down and out of me.

MildDrPepperAddiction Wed 19-Feb-14 18:28:24

I think your friend is misguided. You do not 'have to have sex' just so our husband doesn't cheat on you.

If you find for whatever reason that this issue arises in a relationship then you need to communicate to solve the problem.

Good luck getting things back on track.

StarSwirl92 Wed 19-Feb-14 18:28:28

I agree with you, lack of sex does not cause a failure in a man's brain. To think so belittles men and women. You did not control his actions and while the situation at home was probably less than ideal, nothing forced him into it.

I wish you all the happiness in the future, whatever happens.

Logg1e Wed 19-Feb-14 18:29:17

Good to hear that things between you and your husband are working out PTFswife (I must admit, I didn't think they would). And you know that that's the important thing, relations between you and your husband, not what your friends think.

chateauferret Wed 19-Feb-14 18:30:32

Men do not need sex. Where would he be if a dog ate his nadgers? Some men think they're entitled to it. The technical term for these us "twat".

secretkeepersssh Wed 19-Feb-14 18:33:35

Just because you weren't having enough sex doesn't mean you were to blame for his affair at all. If there were other factors that led to his affair, I.e you treated him badly, I could then understand you blaming yourself.
Why was their lack of sex, was it down to you not wanting it at all and turning him down or was it a problem you both shared.
Either way, lack if sex can be resolved, he could of helped get you in the mood more instead of going somewhere else.
I can't believe your friend out rightly said that to you either. I would be hurt if I was on the receiving end of that comment.

ateddybearfromdelaware1 Wed 19-Feb-14 18:34:07

Bullshit. It's because he was a twat and made a mistake. It's not your fault.

pausingforbreath Wed 19-Feb-14 18:37:22

Hi PTSwife,
Lack of communication and self entitlement on his part led
to it.
Lack of sex on your part did not - FFS.

Also , people like your friend and her views possibly contribute to the minimising of men when they get 'caught out'.
Wouldn't it be a simplistic world if all wives just put out more often- then no husbands would have affairs.
How self entitled would that make them then .....

Stupid thing to say .

morethanpotatoprints Wed 19-Feb-14 18:40:06

I can see where your friend is coming from tbh and think it works the other way too.
However, he could have worked through it with you rather than having an affair. So yes your lack of sex life probably did contribute to the affair, but he could have done lots of things to encourage a sexual relationship with him.
It certainly isn't your fault, but moreover a factor that you both should be working through. IMO

DrJeanGrey Wed 19-Feb-14 18:40:38

I will go against the grain here and agree that most men need sex (many women do too) and if it is being withheld, it creates a "lack" of something in the relationship that can be a danger zone if there's no communication.

I'm not saying people should lay back and think of England to keep things quiet on the home front, but I do think married people should put in an effort to provide for the needs of each other - emotional, sexual or otherwise.

It's no different to if you needed affection or someone to listen to you and your partner was not doing it..You'd be more likely to get those needs filled elsewhere because it leaves a void and it makes you feel rejected.

I think a healthy relationship in most cases has to include a sex life that is satisfying to both parties and although there might be a compromise on what that entails the important thing is to talk about it and genuinely make the effort to do what's required to make time for each other.

That said, it's most certainly not your fault he had an affair. This is never anyone's fault but the person who had it. If you're married and one of your needs isn't being fulfilled you talk about it and work on it. That's his failing, not yours.

I applaud you for your courage to work on your marriage after such a blow and he sounds like a lucky man. I really hope your relationship does grow. I do think sometimes marriages can grow into something deeper and richer after going through such an experience.

And for whatever I said up there...after kids come, it's not bloody easy to find time / energy or otherwise for sex. It's more about accepting this is a need for most people and finding ways to include it as part of the relationship.

Phalenopsis Wed 19-Feb-14 18:43:13

I'd be confiding in better friends than her. Men aren't animals. They are capable of controlling themselves and conversely, women are sexual beings with lots of desire coursing through their veins.

It's depressing to read this pseudo-psychotherapy from the 50s shit.

AmberSpyglass Wed 19-Feb-14 18:46:40

You have to have sex even if you don't want to?

So, that's rape, then, essentially?

Sounds like an awesome way to fix a marriage <intense sarcasm> your husband had an affair because of choices HE made. He didn't have to. No-one forced him. It was not your fault.

Kundry Wed 19-Feb-14 18:59:33

I think the sex thing is a grey area. We've had loads of threads where the man is badgering and groping his partner for sex every 2 minutes saying he has needs - clearly that's abusive.

But we've also had threads from men and women who have higher libidos than their partners and are really struggling with the lack of sex. Most people when they get married are expecting some sex so finding there is no sex at all could be a healthy reason to leave a marriage.

I think a lot of people have also had the experience of having sex when they aren't into it and finding they got into it as they went along - calling that rape is just stupid.

So I can see where your friend is coming from and that her advice is well-meaning. It also doesn't mean that your partner wasn't a monumental twat by having an affair. If your relationship had minimal sex then an adult approach would have been to talk to you, suggest counselling, tell you what it meant to him and ultimately decide whether it was a deal breaker to him or not.

What he actually did was have an affair. Which is twatty. And not your fault.

You should be having sex with each other because you both want to and you both feel it is an important part of your marriage. Not because you're scared he'll run off with someone else. However if it emerges during your counselling that sex is something he needs from the relationship, you will have to address your feelings about this if you want to continue.

Onepactupac Wed 19-Feb-14 19:04:51

The reason he had an affair is because he disconnected from you almost completely. He sounds like a sentient human being, capable of thought. He just stopped thinking. Had he thought, he would have tried to reconnect with you and not gone outside the marriage in search for what he was missing. One of the ways a couple connects is through sex, but that is all.

I too would refuse to accept any responsibility for my husband's affair (if he had one). Women don't have a monopoly on doing the right thing.

Capitola Wed 19-Feb-14 19:50:38

My mate is a sex therapist and would disagree.

Almost all the couples (with infidelity issues) she sees are having sex, but have shit relationships.

Regular sex does not automatically equal a good relationship, but I agree that no sex in a relationship means something crucial is lacking.

PasswordProtected Wed 19-Feb-14 19:55:51

Toyboy and I were discussing this recently. His ex-wife had several affairs, because he worked too hard!
The conclusion was that men are happy when their tummies are full and their balls are empty.

Lazyjaney Wed 19-Feb-14 20:37:38

Most people in relationships do need sex, its a large part of why they are in them. Its just bollocks to suggest they don't, there are enough threads on here testifying to the devastating effect when sex stops.

It's not the only cause of problems but if there isn't sex in a relationship and one person isn't happy about that, the probability of things going awry will go up significantly.

Fairylea Wed 19-Feb-14 20:47:19

I think lack of sex where one person wants more sex can lead to very deep problems in a marriage - and I've been married 3 times and been both the one not wanting sex in one of my marriages and then on the receiving end of a dh that didn't want sex in another marriage - and now dh and I are evenly matched. Mismatched sex drives is awful and leads to resentment from both sides.

However, that being an excuse to have an affair is a very cheap get out clause as a way of avoiding dealing with the problems or simply ending the relationship.

Most people who loved their partner but were unhappy about the sex wouldn't go on to cheat on them.

Having said that a marriage without sex is very much like two roommates or best friends living together. Most people, men and women, want passion and romance. If you don't at least have some of that in your relationship then I believe you do create a vacancy... not necessarily for a lover but an emotional affair or a sexual fantasy that may lead to a lot of soul searching.

You are braver than me. I couldn't forgive someone who cheated on me, ever. My trust in them would be broken.

MissScatterbrain Wed 19-Feb-14 20:47:20

You are only responsible for 50% of the relationship.

If sex was a real issue, what did he do to address your sex life? did the chores so that you are less tired? organised dates/weekends away? ensured you both share equal amounts of child free leisure time?

MissScatterbrain Wed 19-Feb-14 20:49:07

*50% of your relationship and certainly not for the affair.

Fairylea Wed 19-Feb-14 20:50:56

Sorry I also meant to add that generally lack of sex is a symptom of things generally going wrong in the relationship. People rarely go off sex just because they're tired or getting older - if I think back to the early days of relationships I'd be having sex at 3am absolutely shattered and surviving on 3 hours sleep. Sex is usually the first thing to go once resentment and breakdown in communication goes.

The reason your DH had an affair is because gave himself permission to do so. That's it.

he gave himself permission to do so

Beccawoo Wed 19-Feb-14 21:38:50

My ex dh had an affair while I was pregnant with dc2, I'm sure part of the thing that pushed him away was my lack of interest in sex, esp while pregnant. Not an excuse though, as everyone has said, they still make the conscious decision to do it, but could be a triggering factor.

Cabrinha Wed 19-Feb-14 21:39:15

The only thing that a lack of sex gives you the right to do is...
Talk to your partner about it.

It doesn't give you the right to have an affair.

But you know that - you rightly don't blame yourself.

I do see where your friend is coming from, but it isn't the sex that is missing, it's the communication about sex.

I feel your annoyance though! When I told my sister my STBXH was using prostitutes, she said he can't have been getting enough! FFS!
(not that it matters, I had the higher sex drive)

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