I am not interested in having sex with my wife but anytime I meet my neighbour's wife along the corridors, I can't help but imagine us in bed, what's wrong with me?
Thank you for writing to me on such a sensitive issue. I have a few thoughts and questions about your situation.
The first thing I would like to suggest is that there's more to this than sex. In other words, it sounds to me like there is a promise in the possibility of a sexual relationship with your neighbour's wife that is absent to you in your own marriage.
Please note that this is not about blame: blaming you, your wife or anybody else would actually serve no purpose so I'd like to avoid it. Back to your question: What is this desire pegged on? What desire would sex with your neighbour's wife fulfill? What would sex with your neighbour give you that is absent in your own home? As I mentioned, this is more than just sex. If this was just about sex, you would be (thinking about) sleeping with many other women.
Secondly, remember that your wife has her own sexual drive and desires. This means that she could also desire a new partner. Before you make yourself crazy with suppositions and accusations, I would like you to pause and pay attention to how you feel at all these possibilities.
My guess is that you don't like these ideas at all. To be clear, I don't know you or your wife so you can be sure that I'm just offering you these possibilities for the benefit of understanding your hopes, fears, thought processes about your sexual and non-sexual relationship with your wife.
These suggestions are meant to provide you with the opportunity to learn from your reaction to them.
So, how does it feel when I suggest these possibilities? Jealous? Angry? Disconnected? Anxious? Nothing? These responses offer you clues as to how you really feel about your wife and your marriage.
As a marriage therapist, I never assume that a couple wants to stay together -- you must choose what you want for yourself and your marriage, and you have many options, some of which include staying together but unhappily, staying together and working to improve things, to separate, to divorce. Whatever you choose, choose wisely and resist the temptation to jump into a conclusion.
In fact, my advice would be that you resist the urge to decide - for now. Take time instead to explore your needs, hopes, wishes etc so you can reach a decision from a position of strength and understanding instead of a place of hurt or misunderstanding.
Even in the event that a couple wants to separate or divorce, there is a way to do this in a kind and less toxic way, especially where children are concerned. Studies have shown that the effect of divorce on children comes not from the divorce itself but from the conflicts that arise as a result of a divorce. So take your time. If you do choose to stay together, know that your wife has options too to redirect your sexual desire for your neighbour's wife into a sexual desire for her (your wife).
Ask yourself, "What do I wish my sexual relationship with my wife to be?" and also "what gets in the way of having this relationship?" Those two questions will offer you clues on where to begin to find your way back into enjoying your marriage, in and out of bed.
Finally, I'd like to point out something that is obvious to many couples, and yet can sound rather controversial: in the life of any marriage – even the happiest ones – the thought or desire for a different sexual partner can occur.
Does this mean that just because you have the desire then you should satisfy it? No, it does not. Aside from the moral code that married men should not sleep with other women, or that neighbours should not engage in sexual relationships with their neighbour's wives, choosing a different sexual partner denies you the opportunity to deepen your own sexual and marital relationship with your own wife.
I have a feeling that if you could be guaranteed greater sexual and marital satisfaction with your wife, you may not desire your neighbour's wife so much.
Consider the following questions: what is your marital relationship like now? What are you prepared to do or not do in order to strengthen your own marriage? Finally, when you look back at this season of your life, which decision will make you feel most proud of yourself?
These questions are not an end but a beginning into a new marriage with the same woman, if that's what you choose. Remember that life is all about choices so make the choices that you can not only live with but those which you can be proud of.
I wish you the very best!
Maggie Gitu is a Marriage, Family & Sex Therapist. She can be reached at [email protected] and via her Facebook page: Maggie Gitu