Passionless and Unfulfilled Asks:
Hi - I'm involved in what can charitably be called a passionless marriage. My wife doesn't sleep in the same room as me. She has certain personal habits, specifically heavy drinking, which turn me off. It's a cliche, but by now, I stay in it for the kids. On the plus side they're 17 and 20, and will soon be on their own. Yet if I divorce, my wife will have no means of support and would probably wind up on the street. Despite my frustration, I don't want to leave her to fate for what I consider an addiction, but one she refuses to even acknowledge.
In terms of my owns needs and desires, I do have a sex drive which is very unfulfilled My question to you is, do you think it would be cheating for me to find sex outside of marriage? I'm attracted to many women I see, but I can't get myself to follow up with them. I appreciate any advice you have.
Ask Abbie Answers:
There are 3 factors here, you, your wife and the marriage. You can't have a healthy relationship if both parties involved aren't healthy, so that's that. It sounds as though your wife is an addict and although you're turned off by it, by staying and being passive you're enabling her in a way. Many addicts have to reach rock bottom before they seek help. Some never come to terms that they have a problem and some addicts never get help. That is a possibility you have to consider.
If you're staying simply because you don't want to leave her high and dry, then it may be time to admit her into an in-patient program or get her family involved (if that's a possibility). You don't have to shoulder all the responsibility. What happens if she drinks through all your resources? You have to start setting yourself up for life after the marriage.
It doesn't sound like a situation where you can ask for an open relationship, even in one of her lucid moments. She may hit you with "I don't want you but I don't want anyone else to have you either". It's not fair or rational but it's possible. So yes, it would be considered cheating if there's no consent. However, if she is still a reasonable person and you can come to an agreement that you can get sex outside of the marriage then it's fine.
Consider that a divorce can be granted on grounds of withholding sex (abandonment or desertion). Check the divorce laws in your state. I understand you're staying for the children but they're at an age where I'm sure they know their parents aren't happy. You don't have to be married to their mother to help her. Legal separation or divorce may be the only way to be completely fulfilled, including sexually. It is something to consider. Set an example for your children and build a better life for yourself.
Hope that helps.
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