On the other hand, if he is having personal contact through text, emails or phone calls with women he’s met online, there may be a problem. If these women are merely sex workers (women who use fake names and descriptions of themselves and charge money to have sex-chat with men), then again, this remains in fantasy land, and probably does not greatly threaten your marriage. I’m not saying I approve of it or that you should, but there is very little likelihood that your husband will ever actually meet any of these women in person. If, however, he is “chatting” with non-pros, the potential for disaster is greatly increased. And this is true whether it’s an old girlfriend or someone he just met today. In this case, talking usually leads to action – and that can put your relationship in major jeopardy.
So what should you do? Although he may hate it, talk to him and see if you can get to the bottom of things. While men generally aren’t fond of this kind of discussion, let him know it is very important to you to understand what’s going on with him. For the best result, you should approach him in the least accusatory way possible. If he does tell you he is continuing to talk to his old girlfriend or flirting with lonely, female strangers online, you should tell him how much that hurts you and that you would appreciate it if he would discontinue this immediately. If he is unwilling to do so, suggest that you both speak to a marriage counselor – either a licensed therapist or a clergyperson, whichever best suits your situation and budget.
From your description of your relationship with your husband, it does sound like he is honestly in love with you. Men who continue to be affectionate with their spouses after many years of marriage generally do so because they feel that affection. Guys aren’t particularly good at faking that kind of thing on a daily basis. It’s just too hard…and why bother, if we truly just want out of the relationship? No, I think your husband is still attracted to you, but there are other issues (feelings of inadequacy, worries about his sexual performance, etc.) that are just getting in the way. It is very possible that he is going through some sort of mid-life crisis and is reaching out to other women to reaffirm his masculinity and attractiveness to the opposite sex. The good news is: this has absolutely nothing to do with how deeply he cares for you. It has to do with his feelings of mortality and his worries that he is growing old and unappealing. The bad news is: satisfying his need to feel attractive to other women can alienate the one woman who actually does find him attractive – you.
© 2010 David M. Matthews. All Rights Reserved.