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Dublin: 4 °C Monday 10 December, 2018
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Dear Fifi: I cheated on my husband - and honestly? I'm not sorry

Her name is Foofers and she dances on the sand.

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Another week, another self-indulgent intro from your favourite advice columnist, or at least certainly the one you’re reading right now. Speaking of self-indulgence (when am I not?), over the weekend I wrote something about keeping a diary and having your heart broken

If you keep a heart and have a broken diary, you can tell me all about it anonymously and I am guaranteed to read it, so that’s something. 

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I’m a married person who recently cheated on her husband. I cheated with an old friend, it was premeditated, planned meticulously and was fantastic sex. Afterwards I did feel guilty but I also have no regrets. My sex life with my husband has always been one-sided, he is only interested in what he wants and has very little interest in pleasing me or in what I want which leaves me frustrated and uninterested. He knows this but doesn’t care. 

The cheating was a once off and is not going to be repeated. However my problem now is that I don’t want to have sex with my husband at all. In the past I would hand gone along with things and put in a big effort myself to make sure that I got what I needed out of it but now I can’t be bothered. I can’t stop thinking about the amazing experience I had when I cheated. How can I get past this and back to some sort of normality?

I don’t think you can. Whether or not you find yourself struggling with regrets over the affair you’ve had, it’s undeniable that it’s changed things in your marriage. That change has to be dealt with – I’m afraid once we cross the Rubicon, especially with such intention and purpose, then it’s futile to pretend nothing happened and go back to the way things were. The way things were is over. 

I’m not going to berate you over this affair or tell you that you should feel regrets if you don’t already or suggest you confess to him. You asked me for advice, not a lecture.

But, look: it’s not good. I think you need to examine why you don’t feel more guilt – how has your relationship with your husband, who should be the most trusted person in your life, become something expendable worth risking?

Your answer to that, I’d guess, would be that he has been so selfish and insensitive for so long that you were left with little option. Resentment has festered from years of feeling neglected sexually and on some level you saw this affair as your due, right? That’s your problem right there. This affair isn’t the root issue to be solved and gotten over: it’s just a symptom, a side show of the big main event you’re ignoring.

Your marriage was clearly in a very bad way for you to have done this. Can you see that?

Hurting one another should not become a tit-for-tat exercise. “He is selfish sexually, so I may have an affair in return.” It seems like cosmic balance at first glance, but actually it’s a tried and trusted recipe for messy disaster – because it indicates an increasing lack of respect for one another, and that’s the most serious rot in a relationship of all. 

Maybe there are reasons you have to stay – logistically, financially, emotionally, something to do with a house or the kids. But you have some decisions to make. Can the marriage be made “open”? Could this even be broached as a subject? Can you live with no sex life with him? Can he? Would breaking up be better? Is there a relationship worth salvaging in this, with communication, commitment and counselling? Do you love him? Can you get over this affair? Could he, if he knew? Could you tell him? Why doesn’t he care that you are not sexually satisfied? Is he happy? Are you?

No matter what you decide, it’s time to start asking the really hard questions. But the first step is accepting there are really hard questions to be asked! Stop ignoring the elephant in the room – your marriage is sick and you need to help it or else let it go. Sweeping this affair under the carpet in an attempt to march on regardless will only cause further woe down the road. 

Be honest with yourself and be fair to your husband. What happens next?

  Want to talk?

Confess a story, ask for help or just shout into the void for a bit and see if that helps. All welcome. Anonymity totally guaranteed always. 

Check out previous advice>

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