By: Katie Lersch: I sometimes hear from women who are wondering why the cheating husband is still having sex with his wife while he is actively having an affair. Sometimes, this question comes from the wife herself. And, other times, it comes from the other woman.
So, from the other woman, you might hear a comment like: “when I began having an affair with one of my married co workers, he gave me the distinct impression that his marriage was on its last legs. He would always insinuate that he and his wife weren’t connecting anymore. I got the impression that there wasn’t a great physical relationship between them. He never came out and said this. Nor did he ever promise me that he was getting a divorce. But that was the impression that I got. And we seemed to get along so well, I just assumed that he would eventually leave her for me. Well, the other day, I was standing outside of his office door and I heard him taking to one of his male coworkers who is also a good friend. The coworker asked why he was late for their racquetball game and his reply was: ‘my wife attacked me when I got out of the shower and one thing lead to another.’ He then went on to talk about good sex with his wife. I was shocked and upset. Why would a man who is cheating on his wife and still having an affair still be having sex with her?”
I have to admit that this question makes me feel a bit defensive. As a wife who has been cheated on, I very much resent the implication that there is a problem with the wife when a husband cheats. But I concede that this is what most people believe. And people also tend to believe that when someone has an affair, the marriage is in real trouble and intimacy is non existent. This is not always the case.
In fact, you sometimes find infidelity in happy and steamy marriages. Why? Because the affair doesn’t always have to do with sex. It sometimes has to do with a man’s need to feel good about himself or to exhibit risky or destructive behaviors that stem from some personal issue with which he is struggling.
Another aspect of this that makes me defensive is that when the “other woman” asks this question or gets angry when the husband is still sleeping with this wife. It makes you wonder how in the world she thinks a man who is committed to someone else is going to be completely faithful to her. They are having an affair. They are not married. In fact, he is married to someone else. And married people have sex. To believe otherwise is just being naive or in denial.
On the flip side of the coin, I sometimes hear from the wife who has found out about the affair and who doesn’t understand why she and her husband were having some pretty decent sex during the whole time. She might say something like: “I found out that my husband has been having an affair for the last three months. The great irony of this is that our marriage actually seemed very good to me during this time. Our sex life has been great. I just can’t believe that while things were going so well with me, he was cheating. How is this possible?”
Again, this is based on the assumption that the husband was having the affair as a reaction to something being wrong with his wife or with his marriage. This is just a faulty assumption. Many husbands comment on my blog about how they never stopped loving their wife and how their affair had absolutely nothing to do with their love for and commitment to their wife. Many will outline stressors in their lives – a job loss, a parental difficulty, or some personal fears that were much more of a contributing factor to the affair than the marriage.
He may well have been continuing to sleep with you because he still loved you and was still committed to you, as crazy as that might sound. Many men have no intention whatsoever of ending their marriage when they begin an affair. Their assumption is that nothing is going to change and that it is just a short term band aid for whatever it is that they are going through.
I do realize that it is a common perception that affairs only happen in loveless or sexless marriages, but this isn’t even close to reality. Many good, healthy and steamy marriages deal with affairs where the couple has always enjoyed a healthy sex life (and still is.) And women who are having affairs with married men are usually disappointed if they assume that he’s not still sleeping with his wife because in my experience and observation, he often is.
Regardless of the details surrounding the affair, eventually every one involved is going to have to heal and move on. If it helps, you can read more about how I did this on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com
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