He is a guy too tired for sex and not even interested in sex with me, and I find he is flirting online with a woman who has a picture of herself with her breasts popping out of her dress. I feel he is insulting my intelligence by pleading his innocence to the whole ordeal.
As a psychologist many people come to me with marital problems such as communication issues, parenting problems, financial strain, addiction and the biggest one, infidelity (whether it be emotional or physical). Now with Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Tango, etc., these marital problems have escalated. Recently I had a client who stood out for me with this story:
For years, I felt undesired and unattractive in the eyes of my husband. Not once did I receive any erotic text, emails or intimate remarks. Many nights I would be looking at his back, and even early in the evening after our kids have gone to sleep, he would be yawning, rubbing his eyes. His whole non-verbal communication would say “leave me alone, I want to go to sleep.”
When he gets home, he says he is tired from the demands of a busy day at work and a job where he has to travel. According to him, that doesn't leave much time for sex with me. I've tried to understand.
I wanted him to desire me so I bought pretty lingerie, made sure that I looked and smelled nice but got disappointed day after day, night after night. When I questioned him about it, he said that he was “just tired for sex.” I began questioning myself, my attractiveness, my worthiness as a woman and sexual being. In a short time, I realized that complaining about the lack of his sexual desire did not get either of us in the mood. It actually created more tension and verbal aggression. He said "it's not you" and that he likes me.
He never said anything else to validate me as an attractive, desirable, sexual woman. I feel that on the few occasions we have sex, he just physically needs sex and does it just to fulfill that need. He, of course, denies that this is the case. He says that he loves our children and me and acts like he has no idea about what I’m talking about.
When we first met, he couldn’t keep his hands off me. He wanted to have sex with me every day. I was very happy with his sexual desire for me. This lasted for one year. Then, six months before our wedding, I remember having my first meltdown and feeling rejected by him.
In my opinion, there was no reason to reject me sexually; we were on vacation, no kids yet, and he just wanted to go to sleep. This rejection happened on a regular basis. He used the excuse that he is tired from work, travel and having a lot on his mind. He would promise me that things would get better, but they didn’t. I encouraged him to see a doctor and the doctor encouraged him to go to the gym more often. He didn’t go. He used the same excuses of being tired and busy.
In a recent verbal conflict, I gave him an ultimatum to go with me for counseling. He started counseling by himself, which gave me a sense that finally he is going to work on the marriage, and this relaxed me a bit. We even had one spontaneous sexual encounter without any negative feelings from either side. In the past couple of months, things seemed to get a little better. We talked more about how we feel and he opened up about his life experiences. However, my women’s intuition said something is happening behind my back.
When he talks about his work associations, they are always men. He makes sure to call the names out loud of whomever he is with for lunch, dinner or breakfast meetings to make sure I know they are men. The absence of female names is profoundly glittering. This makes me suspicious. When questioned, he says, “Oh yeah, there are some women but it's mostly men.” When he admits to working with a woman he makes sure to say she is an older woman or engaged, committed or married.
I suspected he wasn't being honest, was keeping a secret. I started checking his search history on the computer. I recently found evidence that confirmed my worst fear. He had been corresponding in a flirtatious way with a woman who found him on an online network site, which actually led him to ask her out for a drink while he was traveling in another state.
I confronted him right away. First, he denied it adamantly. He did not even remember her name. Yeah right after exchanging at least 7 emails. He encouraged me to check the date to show me how this was “old news” from months ago, and that “nothing happened.” He then became angry with me for checking his online account in the first place.
I feel betrayed. I feel like an idiot lying next to him while he was having this conversation behind my back; I feel I could never trust him again when he travels. Even though he said nothing happened and he never met her, he crossed the line. He finally admitted he was curious, but that it was just flirting, and he never followed through with meeting her.
At this point, I don’t know what to believe anymore. This is a guy too tired for sex and not even interested in sex with me, and I find he is flirting online with a woman who has a picture of herself with her breasts popping out of her dress. I feel he is insulting my intelligence by pleading his innocence to the whole ordeal. This shows me that he does have sexual desires but maybe not with me. This realization really sucks. It is so challenging on my self-esteem. How can I ever trust him again?
I helped her understand that when you feel betrayed; you might think of getting revenge, think or act in destructive ways (i.e. have random sex, binge eating, drinking, not eating, or taking drugs), or use negative self-statements (i.e. “I’m not attractive enough”). These thoughts and actions are usually irrational and impulsive and will not benefit you in a positive way.
I suggested she work through the book To Stay or Not to Stay? This book helped her learn effective strategies for coping with infidelity. Whether she stays or not, this book offers her a path to clarity, guidance, validation of feelings, and support.
I wrote this article because I believe many women can relate to this story in some way. Reading this story can help others to heal and feel validated. Women’s intuition is very powerful. However, women have a tendency to endure and internalize anger, hurt, resentment, and sadness, which can lead to feelings of depression and anxiety, like this client presented with.
Feelings of betrayal should not be ignored. Learning to appropriately assert yourself rather than keeping your painful feelings inside is crucial. Although this client came to me feeling vulnerable, hurt, full of self-doubt, I view her as a strong woman who took a step to help herself and her marriage by addressing the issue. If you find yourself in the same or similar situation, it would be helpful to work through the book To Stay or Not To Stay, or consult with a mental health professional.