Q: I recently ran into an old lover who is now a widower. I was once very much in love with this man and after seeing him again, I find that I am still strongly attracted to him. I am married, my spouse is impotent and I am a very sexual person who needs touching and affection to feel wanted and loved. My spouse won’t even hold my hand when I beg! I am torn.
I still respect my spouse, but there’s another twist: I caught him online sending a love letter to another man long before I met up with this past lover. It hurt then and it still hurts now, and it’s really hard knowing he’ll never show affection. What should I do?
Dr. Pepper Schwartz: I don’t want to give you advice based on shallow knowledge of your situation when it’s this serious. But if your husband was having an affair with another man, it might explain his lack of sexual affection for you.
You sound starved for affection and sexual appreciation and I don’t blame you! Especially when you have tried hard to engage your guy and he’s just not able to oblige. Instead of falling into your would-be lover’s arms, what about seeing a therapist and finding out if you should leave your relationship? Even if your former lover is not the man of your future, your present might not be sustainable forever. You need to be serious about this and see if your relationship is something you want to protect or leave. If you need to leave, wouldn’t it be more respectful to do that without being involved with someone else? If the someone else is just a pit stop for some affection, you need to think long and hard about the consequences it could bring – even inside your own emotions and conscience, not to mention if your husband found out.
I am not one to give moral platitudes; everyone has to make his or her own choices. But I really think you’d make better ones by talking this out with a professional counselor so that you can explain all the details and dig deeper emotionally.