I am bored, sexually frustrated and I don’t know how much more of this I can take. I’m not attracted to my partner any more. I know that having an affair is wrong but we don’t have sex anymore. Please help me before I make a mistake.
Thank you for your question. I can imagine that this is not necessarily the easiest thing to admit. And now I want to make an admission of my own; it’s actually not that unusual to feel bored, lonely and tempted to get your needs met elsewhere.
That being said, the fact that it’s not uncommon does not mean you are helpless against those feelings. You can still choose what to do so you don’t end up meeting some needs while creating even bigger needs and losses in the process. Here are a few steps to help you along the way.
If you’re like most people, you are already beating yourself about this. However, I’m also willing to bet that this self-flagellation has neither eased the temptation nor made you feel any better so I want to suggest that you do the opposite; be compassionate with yourself. You’re only human; a good person who - for whatever reason - is going through something that you probably never really imagined.
It’s simplistic to say “I want to have an affair” or “so-and-so cheated” because that doesn’t really offer any new information. The bigger question to ask is, “if this was a solution, what would the problem be?” In other words, the temptation to have an affair is offering itself as an answer to something. What is that ‘something’?
In your case, you mention that you are “bored” and “sexually frustrated”. Other readers might be feeling a wide range of other emotions including loneliness, sexually neglected, anger or even hurt. Whatever the case, it is important that you understand it so that you can respond to it in a way that makes sense to you and actually resolves it, or at least comes close.
Part of this understanding includes understanding your role in this situation because as ‘they’ say, “it takes two to tango”. When it comes to this part, I like to point out that sometimes it’s what we do, and other times it’s what we don’t do; sometimes it’s what we allow while other times it’s what we disallow.
Act on it
Here is where it gets tricky. I encourage you to act on the information that you now have, and not on the temptation to cheat. Yes, I know it can be easier to start over with someone new instead of actually facing whatever is threatening your marriage and your joy BUT remember this: affairs are almost always temporary fixes that cause permanent problems.
Yes, there are always exceptions but you are statistically unlikely to be that exception.
Just as important to remember is that while the work of reconnecting with your partner might feel like ‘too much WORK’, it is hardly as difficult as it appears in the beginning and all the dividends that it pays go directly into your permanent choices instead of your temporary pleasures.
While we’re on the subject
Let’s talk about the ‘action’ or in this case, lack thereof. Dear reader, what happened to it? You know your marriage better than I do so really think about that question and answer it.
Next question: remember a time when you felt alive and sexually satisfied. When was that? What was going on in your life and that of your partner in that time period? This is an important question to ask because the answers can act as a beacon of light that will lead you back to where you want to go.
The information from this happier season of your marriage can act as a guide for you because it proves that in as much as you may have been a co-creator of your current misery, it also acts as irrefutable proof that you were also a co-creator of happier seasons of your marriage.
Think about how powerful this is, the knowledge that you did it once, twice or more, before and so therefore you can contribute to the improvement of your current situation.
Pick apart your happier times, identify your contributions and begin to act on them in this current season; did you cook special foods then? Were you more overtly loving, kind, supportive or even flirtatious? Great! Begin to do all those things again.
I believe that your efforts will pay off, so act and ACT NOW. If you need the support of an outsider, seek out the services of a qualified, professional couple’s therapist.
Dear reader, after all the advice and ideas that I have offered, I would like to offer you one more piece of advice; in marriage as in life, there are seasons and each season brings with it unique challenges as well as unique benefits.
You have already identified some of the key challenges but now, by thinking about this current season through this lens can allow you to identify the latent benefits as well.
Perhaps you now have the chance to listen to other parts of yourself - some hopes, some dreams, maybe even some fantasies - instead of muting or ignoring them like you may have been doing for too long. In other words, what gifts could this difficult season be bringing to your attention.
I hope these suggestions connect with you and that you use them to propel you into a happier, more exciting season - in and out of bed!
Maggie Gitu is a Marriage, Family & Sex Therapist.
She can be reached at [email protected]
The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Evewoman.co.ke