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Ask David Akiva Your Own Question
David Akiva
David Akiva, BA, MA,
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 167
Experience:  Counselor; Behavioral Consultant
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I love my husband very much. We have been together 28 years

Resolved Question:

I love my husband very much. We have been together 28 years and I have never been unfaithful. I am attracted to another man and don't really understand why besides the fact that it feels really exciting. What should I focus on to help me through this?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  David Akiva replied 5 years ago.

Duddy :

Welcome, I am a professional counselor, Behavioral-Consultant and relationship expert.

Duddy :

Do you mind if I ask a few questions to better understand your situation and your question?

Customer:

go ahead

Duddy :

Thank you.

Duddy :

So when you say:

Duddy :

"What should I focus on to help me through this" do you mean you want to strengthen your marriage and avoid an emotional and/or physical transgression?

Customer:

I feel my marriage is really strong already, but yes, I don not want to have an emotional affair/physical affair with a married man and hurt my family and his as well as ourselves in the process

Duddy :

Well first you should know that what you are feeling and going through here is very common. For example, 80% of married partners end up having a sexual affair (50% of men and 30% of women).

Customer:

I understand that

Duddy :

The marital therapy research says that what's needed here are very clear boundaries that protect the marriage.

Duddy :

Do you mind sharing a bit about your relationship to this other gentleman? Is he a work colleague?

Customer:

Online friend

Duddy :

Have you communicated your interest/attraction to/with him directly or indirectly?

Customer:

It's direct and reciprocal

Duddy :

I have to let you know here that I am biased to save and help improve and protect healthy marriages. This is because of the tremendous benefits they provide us as human beings over the long run. If every you feel uncomfortable with this bias of mine, please let me know.

Customer:

Not at all. I feel the same way

Duddy :

Let me ask you how you would rate your marriage on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 representing an strong, healthy and emotionally satisfying marriage and 1 being "we are in danger of separation."

Customer:

10

Duddy :

That is so wonderful to hear.

Duddy :

What I would suggest then, again, in keeping with the strong evidence-base in marital therapy, is to discontinue the online relationship, and to identify any "high risk" situations where the natural tendency (without boundaries) is often to form an attraction with another man online or in person.

Duddy :

It may be difficult at first. You may go through some "withdrawal" from the excitement factor, but you can easily get over this in time.

Duddy :

I've found with couples I've worked with to think of how it would so deeply hurt your husband. How do you think it would affect him if he found out?

Customer:

He doesn't deserve it. He is a strong man and understands me better than anyone. He has helped me through another phase like this earlier in our marriage when he suspected that I needed to do something with my life besides taking care of the kids. He never expressed any jealousy. Just an extremely clear understanding of what I needed to do. It was a swtich of focus. A major one.

Customer:

Rather than have an affair, I packed the kids and went and fot myself a university degree.

Duddy :

Would you mind clarifying the meaning of that last sentence?

Duddy :

I'm not sure what packed the kids or fot means..

Duddy :

I think you meant got..in the second part

Customer:

My husband stayed where we lived, and the children (who were 4 and 5 back then) and I left for 3 years of University so I could get the degree I wanted and have a career that suited my talent, abilities, and aspirations. My husband and I remained strongly united during this physical separation.

Duddy :

That is an incredibly strong marriage and a wonderful husband! Good for you getting a degree.

Duddy :

Sound to me that all you need to do here is set up some boundaries "windows and doors" to affair proof your marriage.....

Duddy :

Have you considered mentioning this current online relationship and your feelings about not wanting hurt him to your husband? He may really appreciate that you are taking the pro-active steps a affair proof your marriage. A highly recommended ongoing affair proofing strategy is for both of you to alert one and other if you sense any high risk situation so that you can immediately set up boundaries and support each other in the process.

Duddy :

For example, if you weren't online, you never would have communicated with the other man.

Duddy :

A lesson for the future here may be that If you would have identified your "excitement feelings" early on and used those to alert you to the need for an immediate boundary and perhaps communication with your husband right away would not have had the chance to progress to the current level of exchange online.

Customer:

I suppose. I do think I might need my husband to step up his game a little too. I've told him that it would be preferable for him to play a different role in the bedroom once in a while as oppose to having me get distracted and being tempted to have an affair. He just kind os shrugs it off. He tells me 'fly my little buttrfly, fly away!"

Duddy :

Well you may wish to express unmet sexual needs more clearly to him, and let him know that they are core-relationship needs for you. If you were to re-scale the marriage in light of unmet sexual needs but taking them into account with the rest of the marriage what score would you give on that 1 to 10 scale?

Customer:

I don't know. I am a highly sexual person. So by comparison to others, I think our sex life is a 10. Twice a day on weekend, multiple times a week. We both get off, everytime. I try to keep things varried. But I would say that is mostly because of me. He is happily in for the ride, and why not? But I definitely play a very large role and I would like him to also varry things at his end. I told him it is preferable to get out of our comfort zone a little and have fun with it but he mostly lets me lead.

Duddy :

By the way, are you experiencing a typing delay on this screen? I ask because we have been having some technical problems over the last day, and because you appear to be typing and are university trained (so fast typist)?

Customer:

He builds houses by himself all day, so he I think he is maxed out on getting his alpha out. so to speak.

Customer:

No on the technical.

Customer:

But my first language is French, so sometimes I go back to edit a little.

Duddy :

Ok, thanks.

Duddy :

Sounds to me like the boundary setting issue and the sexual communication issues are to separate questions. What are you asking specifically at this point in your justanswer.com question?

Customer:

There might be a link. I may be seeking another male because my husband has left his alpha side at the job site, where as the other guy is telling me he wants to do things to me.

Duddy :

Well, my final answer to you hear is to restate the needs for setting up boundaries to protect your marriage as stated above. I think you should also express clearly to your husband your realistic sexual needs so that he understands how important they are to you. Beyond that you may also consider seeing a clinical sexologist or registered sex therapist together...

Customer:

Thanks for your help. I know you are right.

Duddy :

Have I satisfactorily answered your question or would you like me to opt out so that your question is re-listed for other mental health experts to consider for answer?

Customer:

Yes you've anwered satisfactorily . Thanks again

Duddy :

Your very welcome! Take care. And please don't forget to press the "Accept" button on sign out so I am recognized and paid for my time here with you today.

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