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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.

Cabrinha Wed 19-Feb-14 21:44:40

And I'll just add... Because my STBXH was almost certainly sleeping with prostitutes (now confirms he was, hence dumping him!) I didn't sleep with him.
1. Why would I want to?
2. Fear of catching something
3. Frankly he was shit at sex anyway

This meant I went FIVE YEARS without sex. Five flipping years. Did I have an affair? NO.
Did I become close to it and was that one reason why I was gearing up to ending it when I found the evidence anyway? Yes.
But I didn't have an affair, when frankly if you want justification then I think your husband cheating on you with prostitutes for your entire 9 year relationship is up there on the forgiveable list!!

But sex is a want, not a need. I am proud that I didn't cheat. His actions were appalling, but having an affair would have been MY decision and MY responsibility. It is possible not to have an affair.

Charley50 Wed 19-Feb-14 22:04:00

Hi don't think your friend was blaming you in any way or that you should blame yourself.
But I do agree that sex can lead to a feeling of closeness with a partner that can help you both to reconnect with each other. I think chemicals are released that promote this closeness. I also think that sometimes it's good to have sex even if you don't feel like it as who knows where it might lead? Obviously it's difficult if there is a lot of resentment etc but it can help you to feel closer.

feelingvunerable Wed 19-Feb-14 22:18:53

My Styx mil told me my stbxh had had an affair because I didn't give him enough sex.
I soon put her right by telling her that I had his cock in my mouth the night before he left and strangely enough he didn't seem to be complaining!

Seriously lack of sex is a symptom of other problems.

I would put money on you being the primary carer of your dc, doing the majority of the mundane chores, cooking, cleaning,nannying, all of which are not synonymous with feeling sexy.

My ex told me I had a low sex drive and didn't seem to enjoy sex with him anymore. He wouldn't do things for me to turn me on. It was all about his needs.

Sex with my Newman is fantastic. He makes me want it all the time. Just the thought of what he does to me turns me on.
The difference-is amazing.

Whilst my ex made me feel like a nanny, cook and cleaner, my current partner cooks cleans and takes me out.
I could quite happily do without sexwithmy ex, not so now that I have found someone who love sand respects me.

Your h needs to make you feel loved, cherished and wanted.

superstarheartbreaker Wed 19-Feb-14 22:22:23

I do think that if you are only having sex twice a year then something is badly wrong and the connection has fizzled. No excuse for an affair but I would feel very rejected if this was the case.

rainbowsmiles Wed 19-Feb-14 22:25:04

I wouldn't worry if anyone is thinking that because it's such a shallow way of looking at the issue. You should have said "think you'll find its a bit more complicated than that".

I think the lack of sex in a relationship(if no physical issues) is usually a symptom of something else. Couple of times a year is not mismatched libidos, it is something else.
It's the "why" you weren't having sex that's relevant.

It is a big indicator that trust/intimacy/closeness has gone.

If that had been ignored and not addressed for years then your relationship was probably in a bad way.

Your husband chose to deal with it by having an affair. That's his thing. He has to work that out and then share it with you.

You will have played your part in the relationship breakdown but that does not equal you were the reason he cheated. He was the reason he cheated.

It is not your fault.

Hakky Wed 19-Feb-14 22:45:01

Not having sex is never an excuse for anything, ever!
I cannot stress enough OP, your partner's behaviour is his responsibility not yours. This is male propaganda dressed up to leave the blame at your door and your friend has swallowed this cr*p whole. You do not need this. I appreciate she may be a good friend in other ways so don't dump her (unless you feel you can't get past this) but definitely take a break from her. Focus on yourself/your relationship, your partner is very lucky to have you, don't doubt yourself. Good luck x

Puddles1234 Wed 19-Feb-14 23:31:54

This will be completely against what most people think, however I agree with your friend.

Contrary to what some previous posters have said sex is important to men otherwise why would they cheat, granted I'm not speaking for all of cheating men and in no way am I excusing his behaviour but twice a year is shocking really no wonder he looked elsewhere. Relationships are about give and take and if your husband has a high sex drive you can't expect him to be happy with sex twice a year. I think you are partially to blame however your husband should have addressed these issues with you before he looked for affirmation elsewhere.

I agree with previous poster in that something else may be missing from your marriage therefore counselling hopefully will help and address these issues.

Apologies if my opinion is not to your liking but I wish you and your husband the very best if luck.

LeadingToGadeBank Thu 20-Feb-14 00:35:43

In all fairness, sex is a form of communication after all, and a marriage with little or no sex where one partner is unhappy with the quota, requires some deep consideration and resolve.

That should not take the form of infidelity - paid for or otherwise.

If the cause can't be identified between yourselves or with professional counselling, then in my opinion if it was my marriage, I would consider it grounds for divorce.
No point sacrificing such a fundamental element of a partnership and no point hurting either yourself or the other person in the process by ignoring it.

ChapterThree Thu 20-Feb-14 02:56:48

Your husband chose to cheat. The responsibility for that choice is 100% his.

A sexless marriage, unless both people are happy with that, is a marriage in crisis. This crisis 'led' both of you to a fork in the road.

Path 1: Face the lack of intimacy in your relationship and work hard to solve your issues as a couple

Path 2: Cheat

Path 3: End the marriage

Path 4: Keep going straight ahead, continuing on in a sexless marriage.

Your husband chose to cheat, and it sounds like you may have chosen to go straight ahead.

You are not to blame for the choice he made. You didn't stand behind him and push him down that path. But you are both responsible for getting yourselves to that fork in the road.

It always seems such a massive shame that it takes a bomb going off in a marriage before both partners commit to Path 1.

AdoraBell Thu 20-Feb-14 03:20:51

By your "friend's" logic my DH was to blame for his first wife's affairs because she only had sex with her own husband once each month, because her religion doesn't allow contraception, regardless of all the other reasons for her affairs.

He was obviously stupid/useless/non human because he was trying to make their marriage work.

I hope you can work through this and create a stronger marriage if that is what you want for your future.

You need different friends though, or maybe just not that one.

AICM Thu 20-Feb-14 07:16:20

Many people have commented on your DP not talking about the issues and they are of course right. However communication is a two way process. When you first withdrew sex did you have an open discussion with him? Surely he would have been entitled to this?

PTFsWife Thu 20-Feb-14 09:44:16

Thanks for all the comments. Just so you understand, the lack of sex in our marriage wasn't entirely down to me. Yes, I was definitely a big part of the problem. I wasn't 'withholding' sex. He doesn't have a massive sex drive - but he obviously needs sex more than I do. Our marriage had just reached a point where we existed - both working hard, young kids, knackered. I realised that there was a problem and took us both off to see a counsellor three years before his affair - so it wasn't that I just accepted it and was happy to continue that way. We both tried for a bit, but for whatever reason, we never really managed to get the sex bit right. It became embarrassing to discuss or attempt to make right, which is really stupid.

I do think it is why I have managed to 'forgive' his affair. What I don't accept is that I have tried for years to communicate with him and to fix the failings in our marriage. He was as incapable of communicating as I was to find the motivation to have sex. Instead of addressing it honestly and frankly with me, he chose to look elsewhere.

We are now talking about it and trying to work through it.

Jan45 Thu 20-Feb-14 11:13:15

I think your OH had an affair because he wanted to and I don't think it has anything to do with lack of sex, it's to do with disconnecting from your partner and choosing to look elsewhere.

Men do not need sex, women do not need sex, we like it and want it, not the same thing.

I think most people have affairs because they actually feel entitled and it's really a flawed characteristic of them rather than a reflection of a dissatisfied relationship. Surely, if you loved your partner and wanted a good relationship with them, you'd work at making things better, not look elsewhere. You can't trust him anymore, he's broken that, you now know what he is capable of, I wish you all the luck to putting things good again.

dadandproud Thu 20-Feb-14 13:39:33


Offred Thu 20-Feb-14 13:52:37

'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.'

No-one needs sex. I am speaking as someone with a really high sex drive btw. Bf has a really high sex drive too and I can wear him out and still be up for more. There have been long weekends when all we have done is have sex, where we've done it three times in the evening, I've woken him in the night and done it a few times more in the morning only coming up for air to eat and have a bath. I still think no-one needs sex.

When people make statements like 'men need sex' they really are saying they believe men have a right to use women's bodies for sex on their terms no matter how the woman feels. Her further explanation really explains that.

There have been times in my life when I didn't want sex, after babies, healing from abuse and when the relationship was wrong but I didn't realise it. I have a right to determine when I want sex and when I don't.

Your husband didn't have an affair because you weren't allowing him to have sex on you against how you feel, if you do that it is likely your sex drive will diminish even further until you are only having sex you don't want. I'm not sure why your friend is trying to encourage you to do this but it is likely because of her issues not issues in your marriage.

I can see why you are upset. It is a common but toxic, woman blaming and misogynistic view.

Your husband may have felt sad about the lack of sex. He may even have felt desperate and rejected but it is not why he had an affair. He chose to have an affair, it may have been in response to the lack of sex, but if it was that was an unacceptable response which he is wholly to blame for.

Offred Thu 20-Feb-14 13:55:09

What does your h say about it? Does he feel that lack of sex is an excuse or reason for the affair or does he accept it was simply his weakness as a person?

feelingvunerable Thu 20-Feb-14 13:57:40

Just to add I would suggest it is now your dh responsibility to make you feel loved, desired and wanted.
You have done nothing wrong.

It' hard to feel sexual when mundane chores drag the guts out of you.

You friends relationship sounds dire btw.

Jan45 Thu 20-Feb-14 14:03:54

So if men need sex then women must too cos they're up there with the affairs also.

It's got fuck all to do with the act of sex, yes your OH felt neglected, unloved, whatever, but so did you, it wasn't you turning him down, you both got in a rut where neither of you were instigating it.

Again, he choose to have an affair, he never choose to try hard and making things good between the two of you.

I would actually find that more difficult to forgive but I couldn't forgive a cheater no matter what the circumstances.

Offred Thu 20-Feb-14 14:08:05

What would your friend say I wonder if you explained that the lack of sex was fairly mutual and your h has quite a low sex drive?

Seems she has some truly dodgy views about men and women and what sex is. It sounds very much along the lines of the traditional patriarchical view of women being frigid and needing to endure rather than enjoy sex on a man's terms so that they don't lose financial security for them and their children.

LadyofSpain Thu 20-Feb-14 14:16:13

Your husband didn`t have an affair because of lack of sex. He had an affair because of lack of communication. Probably the biggest single reason for the breakdown of most relationships.

MonsieurReynard Thu 20-Feb-14 14:30:18

Lack of sex is probably a dead herring - had 9 years in a relationship without sex, or pretty much any intimacy - didn't consider cheating as I valued not hurting my partner over experiencing sex/intimacy. If someone cheats (goes for either gender, I think) it's because they felt that hurting their partner was at best a risk worth taking, or at worst, irrelevant to them.

stalepalemale Thu 20-Feb-14 14:40:16

Offred, What would your friend say I wonder if you explained that the lack of sex was fairly mutual and your h has quite a low sex drive? I think her friend already knows quite a lot (perhaps too much) about their sex life – and he clearly doesn’t have ‘quite a low sex drive’, hence the affair.

OP, does your DH know that you chat to friends about your irregular sex life? What does he think about that? Nothing you’ve written about what she said to you suggests she thinks you’re to blame, so if you got that feeling from her, it probably comes from somewhere else.

BeeInYourBonnet Thu 20-Feb-14 14:44:54

Totally agree with Ladyofspain

There are many threads from men AND women about lack of sex and general emotional connection. Many women have said they had considered affairs.

No one should feel like they have to have sex, but there is a lot to be said for putting as great amount of effort into exploring the reasons why sex has become so infrequent. I think lack of sex is a symptom of wider problems.

Jan45 Thu 20-Feb-14 14:49:27

I think when it comes to cheating, you're either a cheat or you're not, what I mean is, it's in your character or, it isn't.

I was in a crap relationship for a long time, not once did I consider cheating. Having an affair is an entitlement someone feels and uses lack of sex as an excuse.

ItIsAnIdeasGame Thu 20-Feb-14 14:54:38

My marriage is largely sexless but we seem to be a happy family. My shocked friend told me that i had to have sex with my husband or he would leave me. This is from a woman who had an affair for 3 years despite shagging her husband 3 x a week.

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