I’ve lost interest in sex – should I let my husband have an affair?

A white male and female couple in their 50s lying in bed but very apart, looking distanced and unhappy
9:00am, Thu 31 Dec 2020
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The problem…

“I’m 58 and since I’ve been through menopause, my interest in sexual activity has simply plummeted. It’s not that I don’t love my husband – I really do – but the thought of sex just seem like a chore rather than a pleasure. It’s now something I do for his sake, but I really don’t find it particularly pleasurable.

“My husband is two years younger than me and to compensate for my lack of interest, he’s taken to looking at internet porn sites. I can’t say I like the idea of this, but it seems only fair if it keeps him happy. He’s suggested that perhaps he should have an affair, but that’s something I’m really not sure about – it seems like a step too far for me.

TODO: define component type factbox

“He says he loves me and wouldn’t want the affair to mean anything, but that it would just help to keep us together. Is this the right way forward for us, do you think?”

Fiona says…

“I think there are some serious emotional and relationship issues at work here. You say that you love and care for each other, yet your husband’s behaviour sounds like it may be at odds with this. Frankly, the idea of your husband having an affair just to satisfy his frustration horrifies me.

Frankly, the idea of an affair horrifies me...

“The idea of using a third person – who has feelings of her own too – as a substitute to a relationship with you sounds like something out of a dystopian novel! How very cruel of him – not just to you but to this unknown woman too.

“I suspect it’s his growing interest in porn that has fuelled this idea – perhaps it’s distancing him from real relationships with living, breathing, loving women. These are not the actions of a caring and loving man who should be doing a lot more to support and help his wife. You both need to understand that what he is doing is part of the problem and NOT the solution.

“Many women experience a loss of libido after menopause, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to be done. I’d really encourage you to talk to your doctor before giving up altogether on the physical side of your relationship. When suitable, hormone treatments can be very helpful, as well as things like treatments for vaginal dryness. You may decide these things aren’t what you want, but it’s certainly worth have a good chat with your doctor and being fully informed of your options and what’s going on.

“Your feelings are only part of the problems here though, and I’d really encourage you to talk, with your husband, to a counsellor. If he can be encouraged to work with you to put some zip and romance back into your relationship, it might help to bring back the loving, caring husband you seem to have lost.

“To do this, you will probably need the services of a counsellor or a qualified sex therapist and the College of Sexual and Relationship Therapists (cosrt.org.uk) can help. Please don’t just accept the continued porn and the idea of a substitute as your husband seems to be suggesting – you need your husband back!”

If you have a problem you need help with, email Fiona by writing to [email protected] for advice. All letters are treated in complete confidence and, to protect this privacy, Fiona is unable to pass on your messages to other readers. Fiona regrets that she cannot enter into personal correspondence.

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