[Two Pronged] After an affair
Rappler's Life and Style section runs an advice column by couple Jeremy Baer and clinical psychologist Dr Margarita Holmes.
Jeremy has a master's degree in law from Oxford University. A banker of 37 years who worked in 3 continents, he has been training with Dr Holmes for the last 10 years as co-lecturer and, occasionally, as co-therapist, especially with clients whose financial concerns intrude into their daily lives
Together, they have written two books: Love Triangles: Understanding the Macho-Mistress Mentality and Imported Love: Filipino-Foreign Liaisons.
Dear Dr Holmes and Mr Baer,
Right after we celebrated our silver wedding anniversary, I discovered my husband was cheating. He admitted to getting addicted to sex with his affair partner! I have been trying to get over this, but the affair partner was also the one who told me about their affair, after she was dropping my husband for another American coming to Manila.
Please help us. He loses his hard-on during sex with me and I feel rejected
He could have sex with his affair partner but not for me! He has a hard-on all throughout, but for me he loses his hard on!
I just want to give up trying. Give up on the marriage all together! It is just so insulting because she was the one who told me. She sent me photos and numerous text exchanges of how he desired her and wanted her! He could not stop!!! He watched porn and did all the porn things! He says I am a better lover yet he gets soft on me!
Thank you for your email.
So after 25 years your husband (let’s call him Luis), has turned into a sex addicted philanderer who to your disgust no longer finds you attractive enough to maintain an erection. Your reaction is to waver between trying to save your marriage through therapy or leaving him.
Before reaching a possibly hasty decision, there are a number of issues worth considering.
In the light of professional mental health doubts as to the very existence of sex addiction, you may wish to establish in your own mind whether Luis is simply an ordinary philanderer with no addiction or whether he is genuinely an addict (for the record, sex addiction includes: pornography, prostitution, masturbation or fantasy, sadistic or masochistic behavior, exhibition/voyeurism and "other" excessive sexual pursuits).
Frankly, from your email Luis does not fall into any of these categories; instead he comes across as a man who simply had a lot of sex with one woman, who has now dumped him. If this is the case, his addiction plea seems more of a desperate attempt to avoid responsibility for his actions by hiding behind a supposed mental disorder rather than face up to the fact that he fell rather badly for one woman while married to another.
Now that the ‘other woman’ has revealed your husband’s perfidy, you want to know what the future holds for you. You have decided to test Luis and have chosen the bedroom as your battlefield. All is not going well, however, as he cannot perform with you.
With the admitted benefit of hindsight, perhaps asking Luis to perform sexual calisthenics with you so soon after his infidelity became known may have given him the message that he was in some sort of sexual competition. Of course, by saying that you are a better lover Luis increased the pressure on himself and even innocent men might have difficulty performing under such a spotlight.
You seem inclined to give up on your marriage with little hope of returning to the status quo ante, your relationship before his infidelity. However, if therapy were your route to finding a new happiness together, then you have to integrate the sexual with the other components of your marriage. All of this is predicated on you taking a rather less aggressive approach to his ability to perform, which will require you to reach some sort of accommodation regarding his philandering and your joint prospects for the future.
All the best,
Thank you very much for your letter. I am so sorry about all you both are going through. Please consider going for therapy and among the many issues you might discuss, are the ones Mr Baer mentioned and one other from me.
But before that, let me add to what Mr Baer said about your “choosing the bedroom bedroom as your battlefield.”
This would increase most men’s performance anxiety, which is a sure fire way to lose their erection.
And now, for my observation: His ex mistress seems very angry at him, and she has decided to wreak her vengeance through you.
Think of her “perfect timing,” telling you of their affair right after your silver wedding anniversary. By telling you she is dropping him for another man, she is also telling you that all you have are her leftovers.
She also sent you photos and their numerous text exchanges. Who does that sort of thing?!? What sort of ex mistress twists the knife even more in the wife’s heart for a man they have purportedly left? Many mistresses would prefer to have nothing to do with their lovers’ wives… especially when the affair is over. I mean, why bother?
In my clinical experience ex-mistresses bother only if they feel wrongly done by, and certainly not if they left their husbands for other men. Ex mistresses do this sort of thing perhaps because they feel they have been lied to by husbands who promised them the moon and the stars (as men are wont to do when trying to get into a woman’s pants) and then decide they want to go back to their wives after all.
In other words, dearest Amy, I would take everything his ex mistress told you with a grain of salt. She is definitely angry and the things she told were chosen to hurt you, perhaps hoping this would lead to your ending your marriage with Luis.
Should you? I don’t really know. I just hope you put into perspective the few months/years he had with this now very bitter woman and the 25 years of loving, sharing and caring you have had with Luis.
All the best,
Need advice from our Two Pronged duo? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with subject heading TWO PRONGED. Unfortunately, the volume of correspondence precludes a personal response.