I am a sad and frustrated wife who is in a marriage that is painfully dysfunctional. I have been married for 15 years and from the onset my husband has shown no interest in sex. When we do it's quite boring and mechanical. He has no idea about lovemaking and is offended when I point out his shortcomings. We were both virgins when we got married. I thought that he was gay, but discovered that he was engaging in pornography when I saw pictures and video clips on his phone of straight people having sex.
My husband and I are Christians and although I am not alone, I am lonely, as it's like I am living with a stranger who does not know me. Recently I met a gentleman who is very caring and warm. We got to talking and I shared with him the challenges I was having with my husband. We eventually got intimate and now have a relationship. I am not happy with what I am doing because as a Christian I know that adultery is wrong, but my husband has forced me to engage in this behaviour. All I wanted was a married life where I would be happy and contented but that is not the case. I now realise that I got married for the wrong reasons. I wanted to please my family and the church, but I was not in love with my husband. I am so unhappy and perplexed. I want to have a child but I'm not sure I want to bring a child up in such a dysfunctional marriage. Please help me.
The latter part of your letter is where I will begin my response. You stated that you got married primarily on the prompting of your parents and the church, which is apparently the crux of the matter. You indicated that you were not in love your husband and so that did not play a deciding factor in your decision to get married to him.
Apart from the countries where arranged marriages are normative, unfortunately, we, too, have stories like yours where everyone else apart from the couple involved play a vital role in arranging the marriage. The parents obviously want the best for their children and go ahead and literally orchestrate the event with little input from the partners involved. In some churches the congregation instigates the meeting and connection of the couple which is supported by the pastor. And so, with the best intentions of all concerned, a wedding is hurriedly arranged and executed and so a marriage that has no foundation in love is launched.
So now 15 years down the road all the wedding planners, well-wishers and those who claimed they received divine revelation are nowhere to be found as they obviously never got this one right.
In relation to your husband's disinterest in having sex with you, it could be that he has a sexual desire disorder where he has no sexual interest in you but is curious about the images he sees on his phone screen. The difference is that whereas he is criticised and judged by you, he enters a no-judgement zone when he goes into cyberworld. Some men, especially if they are sexually inexperienced, experience performance anxiety and so will shy away from engaging with their partners or anyone whom they feel may make them feel intimidated and ridiculed. To avoid such embarrassment and shame they turn to cybersex as another route to sexual release and satisfaction.
It would make sense therefore that you help your husband get over his desire disorder by being considerate of his feelings when he does not deliver. Instead of reprimanding him, lovingly guide and direct him. It is true that some men are opposed to correction as their fragile egos are easily bruised, but in those private moments be as sensitive as you can.
Regarding your act of infidelity, as much as your husband may have contributed to your action you must take responsibility for your behaviour. It can't be a case of “the devil made me do it”. You were vulnerable and you succumbed to the offer of emotional support from the gentleman. And as they say, one thing led to another.
If you are serious about resuscitating your marriage, it is recommended that you terminate the outside relationship and reach out to a marriage counsellor with immediate effect. Continuing in the extramarital affair is a temporary fix that will eventually cause more emotional distress and spiritual turmoil, so it makes sense that you hold strain and make efforts at fixing what you have instead of going out and taking matters in your own hands.
All the best to you.
Wayne Powell is a relationship counsellor. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org. Check his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/MFTCounselor/.