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Cheryl Lavin: Various ways to handle sexless marriages

Today we continue the discussion about whether it’s ever “right” to have an affair . . .

      NINA: My husband refused to have sex. After years of frustration and loneliness, I realized I couldn’t change my husband, but he was changing me.

I was fortunate because prior to my marriage, 28 years ago, there’d been a man in my life with whom I’d kept in intermittent contact. Eight years ago we began a relationship that continues to this day. While we don’t see each other as often as we’d like, the time we have together is fulfilling. We have no plans to change our relationship because the costs would far outweigh the benefits.

 DAISY: 34 years ago I told my mother I was thinking of divorcing my husband because he never wanted to make love to me. She said, “Why don’t you take a lover?” She was way ahead of her time, but three years too late for me. I had already taken a lover. But I divorced my husband. I didn’t want to continue cheating on him.

      HARRIET: Marriages can be happy without sex, just like some marriages can be happy without kids, without pets, without yachts, a family business, membership in a church congregation and two cars. Two people with low- to non-existent sex drives may well have a happy marriage.

The key factor is both partners being on the same page and honest with one another about wants, needs and expectations. Two people who disagree on the importance of sex in a marriage would probably be happier finding other partners more in line with their thinking. I think it’s a little presumptuous for anyone to say, “No marriage can be happy without sex” when what they mean is “I could never be happy in a marriage without sex.”

Even then, stop and think. What does this mean if your spouse were to somehow be medically unable to have sex again? Should you stay with your spouse or get divorced so you could have sex again or have an affair. I hope I never have to make that decision.

GILLIAN: There’s a big difference between a spouse who is unable to have sex because of a physical problem and one who has simply lost interest and doesn’t feel it necessary to put him or herself out for the sake of the relationship.

In the first case, both parties must find out what is possible for them to give and receive physical pleasure, even if it isn’t in the most conventional missionary position way.

In the second case, the partner who wants sex must realize that he or she is married to an extremely selfish person who really doesn’t care about him or her. That’s the issue, not sex, and I’m guessing that kind of selfishness shows up in other ways.

Why would anyone want to live with someone who cares so little about them and their needs? I know I wouldn’t.

Have you had an affair? Why? How did it work out? Send your tale, along with your questions, problems and rants to cheryllavinrapp@gmail.com.

And check out my new ebook, “Dear Cheryl: Advice from Tales from the Front.” COPYRIGHT 2014 CREATORS.COM