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Suzanne, Therapist, LCSW
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 919
Experience:  Experienced in treating trauma, relationship issues, co-dependency
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Should I live my husband

Customer Question

I've been married for 6 years to a guy who used to be very loving and has turned sort of distant. I'm sure he still loves me, but I feel he's feeling sort of inadequate as he's a 34-year-old artist who hasn't managed to succeed yet and is getting frustrated. He does not feel satisfied with his work and after a lot of thinking I thought that might be the reason he doesn't feel like sleeping with me anymore. I tried to help him as much as I could to find a way for his work. Also, I'm the provider at home (my carrier is doing very good) and I didn't mind, but he's southamerican and I guess that could be an issue for him.

8 months ago I felt attracted to a friend who was an ex lover and ended up kissing him. That came as a complete surprise to myself. What was I doing? Thing is i really liked my friend and the thing didn't go any further because HE didn't want to - not me that I'm in a relationship.

Since then, I've done a lot of thinking and realized that my marriage was in a worse situation than I thought. I tried to work it out, talked to my husband about things we could try to fix (didn't talk about the cheating), he seemed to agree. Not much changed though, as I guess he's all focused on his job and this hasn't improved. I guess professional success is important to a man selfesteem.

To make this short: I'm afraid I'm out of love. Doubts turned into something else when I met a friend on a short trip I was taking with my friends (my husband was working) and ended up sleeping with him with a spontaneity I wouldn't expect from myself... I didn't even use a condom and had to take the pill the next day not to get pregnant... (And I never ever let my husband come inside me) It was complete madness, and an amazing connection - intellectually and phisically. It made feel like more and made me realize how far away me and my husband have been in the last years.

Rationalizing, I realize that I've not been happy for a bit of a while. His lack of selfdrive made me feel ugly, then rejected and unloved - even if I know it's not the case. Now that years have passed, I'm sort of getting tired of being like a mother to a 30-year-old: I want kids and I want a man who I can count on. Still, I don't think this justifies my behaviour and my lack of any protection with this other guy.

Why am I behaving like this? I'm scared of myself and I need you to help me undestand what is going on with me. What is the most sensible thing to do?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Suzanne replied 7 years ago.

Thanks for writing to Just Answer.


You seem to have a fairly high degree of self-awareness, as you note that you know at times you're rationalizing, but you are indulging in some very risky behavior.


The situation of sleeping with a man without protection when you don't allow your husband the same freedom with you suggests that you may have some unacknowledged rage against your husband. This can happen when a present situation reminds us of something from earlier in our life.


For example, while you make a good living and intellectually don't mind supporting him and his art, this may remind you ---subconsciously---of a time earlier in your life, usually childhood, when someone who was supposed to take care of you didn't, and you had to "make do" with what you could do for yourself.


You have, in a way, developed a relationship with your husband that keeps him in the role of adolescent. You pay for what he needs, like a parent. You also don't allow him to come inside you--which is the way teenagers try to deal with the pregnancy issue. Why not use a form of birth control so that you can have adult sex with him? (Since you took the morning-after pill, it would seem that you don't have any religious or other restrictions against birth control.)


You have him under very tight control in two main areas of life--money & sex--and while you may on one hand enjoy the control, it sounds as if it also led to you feeling disdain for your husband for needing/allowing you to have all the control.


I think it would be a great idea for you to find a therapist to work on these issues with. The fact that your behavior is becoming more risky (no protection) says that these issues are starting to affect your life and need attention. This goes deeper than anything that a correspondence online would be able to solve.


The most sensible things to do is are:

1. Get a therapist

2. Stop sleeping with other men until you have resolved the issues that I mentioned earlier.

3. Tell your husband he has to contribute to the household. Very few artists can live on their art alone, and it is not unreasonable to expect him to work, at least part-time.

4. Get on a form of birth control so you don't have to make your husband pull out.

5. Don't put yourself in situations where you can end up having illicit sex --pregnancy is not the only danger--how will you explain to your husband if you get an STD?

6. The time to think about whether to leave or not is after you have dealt with the issues in your marriage--otherwise, they will more than likely repeat themselves in your next relationship in one form or another.


I wish you all the best as you work through these issues in your marriage,


Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Dear Suzanne,
Thanks for your reply. You're so right, especially when you speak about repeating behaviours... You made me remember about common patterns with old boyfriends (they fell completely in love and after a while, I either cheated or broke up). Also, the guy I slept with is my husband age when we got married and is giving up his job to pursue a carrier in music.
Just to make things clearer and help you understand better, I used to be on the pill, I took it up when I met my husband. Over the last years, sex's been rare (once a month), not fulfilling and is ALWAYS my iniciative - which eventually turned me down. I'm very active sexually and months ago I began masturbating. The other embarassing thing is that when I masturbate I think of girls kissing... (so maybe my rage is against all men, not just my husband??). Anyway, I told my husband about the masturbating (not the girl thing) as I thought he should know because to me it felt a bit like betraying him. Also I thought this might arouse his sexual interest, but he simply kept quiet. Anyway, I gave up the pill a year ago basically due to lack of sex...
The thing about what you said of my early life, I can only think that I very rarely came to see my dad who was always working or too tired, but could this be affecting me like that?
Also, my husband works (even if very little) with a couple of friends, but the whole money (which is not much and is communistically split among the three of them - even if he's the head of what they do) is invested in expensive tools for his job. We went over this many times, I told him that he's my husband, that I want to have kids, that I don't think it's fair that they split what they make (little as it could be) when he's the one responsible, but so far nothing has changed.

If all this makes sense to you, could you give more advice? I'm starting to think my behaviour says I'm crazy
Expert:  Suzanne replied 7 years ago.

Hi again,


I had to smile when I read how the guy you slept with is giving up his job to be a musician...isn't is amazing how the patterns repeat?


You have so many concurrent issues going on -- lack of real communication and differing goals with your husband, money disagreements, risky sexual behavior, and now perhaps questions about your sexual orientation--that it would be impossible to work on all of them online.


There does seem to be a pattern of ambivalence about men--dumping them after they fall in love with you-- and your father being there but not paying attention to you could have played a role in why you developed this pattern, but that's way past the level we can do online. And it's very interesting that you felt that masturbating was like betraying him, but you have been interested in two other men and acted on those impulses. There is so much going on underneath the surface that needs to be worked on.


Seriously--you need a therapist. NOT because you're "crazy" but because you are going to need a lot of support to figure things out so the repeating patterns stop. I did a search online and only came up with one, in Rio DeJaneiro I'm hoping you can find more in your local telephone directory.


I've enjoyed working with you, and if you have specific questions in the future, please put "For Suzanne" as the first two words in your post, and we can continue the conversation. But I would be doing you a disservice to try to tackle such complex issues via email.


Best regards,






Suzanne and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
thank you again.. I know it's complex to deal with it via email, but I guess is I'm too embarassed to talk freely about these things with someone and this is why I'm searching help online... I've never done therapy as I'm a sort of rational type, I guess I thought I didn't need it.
Anyway, what you say is basically that the issue is mine, and it'll keep repeating until I sort it out, right? Anything I can do apart from therapy? any book? The last thing I want to ask you is: should I tell my husband?
Expert:  Suzanne replied 7 years ago.



Yes, you interpreted what I said correctly...the issue is 99% yours.


You might be surprised how freeing it is to have a "professional stranger" to talk with about things. There's even a therapy for you "rational types" ;-) --it's called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).


I have books I like for personal growth, but not to sound like a broken record (or CD with a scratch on it...) you have several issues going on at once, so there isn't one particular book that will help.


That said, I'll give you some links to a few of my favorites:

Melody Beattie

Jon Kabat-Zinn



But I don't think a person can change life patterns by reading books. Gain insight, yes. Change, no.


If the person with the problem attempts to fix the problem without feedback from an impartial person, the same distorted thinking is not going to come up with a new answer. In other words, there's a reason people have long sought out clergy and therapists...we all need someone to bounce things off of....sometimes hearing ourselves say something out loud helps us realize the error in thinking.


Should you tell your husband? I think this is internal work, and am not sure what there is to tell. Once you have done the work, there will be lots to talk about, but opening it up too soon will make it an intellectual conversation rather than the deep work you need to do.