“DEAR DR EVE,
During lockdown, I discovered that my wife had been cheating. I have
been broken. She had been chatting online with her Ex, very explicit
sexual chatting and sending nudies to each other. Then they met up and
had sex a number of times.
We have spoken a lot and both love each other and don’t want the
marriage to end.
We have decided to explore opening up our marriage. She said she was
bored and longed for some excitement. I don’t feel the same way but if it
will prevent cheating and secrets, I’m prepared to give it a go. We need
guidance as to how to do this.
Wow! Hold your horses! Take a breath. Allow the part of your brain that
is on fire, some time out from extreme distress and trauma. And then,
and only then, can your brain settle into its cognitive part and think
You need guidance on how to manage the infidelity that happened in your
marriage. Jumping from the fire – infidelity – into the frying pan -open
marriage – is never a good idea.
Infidelity happens for a number of reasons and these reasons need to be
explored by the couple. Infidelity is a behavior that a person does to
indicate feelings that might be hard to talk about. And now your wife is
letting you know what she feels: bored and longed for novelty. Such a
pity that she could not vocalize that in the marriage and rather acted it
out with the subsequent pain of infidelity.
Before embarking on an open relationship, I strongly recommend that you
and your wife goes for couple counseling to process the trauma of infidelity.
It is a necessary and creatively positive process in which both your
vulnerabilities that allowed an affair to happen, are explored.
Vulnerabilities include things such as boredom, overwork, feeling
neglected, scared of communicating, sexual dissatisfaction. And then
there are the vulnerabilities of the relationship, such as the tension of covid-
19; financial, health issues, family pressure on the couple.
You are willing to agree to a lifestyle that is not comfortable, just to
rescue your marriage. For sure I can tell you that opening marriage for
that reason will lead to disaster. Infidelity leads to distrust. An open
marriage requires TRUST in massive doses, a feeling of being safe and
secure with yourself, your partner, and the relationship. Infidelity makes
you suspicious, unsure of yourself as your self-esteem plummets and
sexual confidence evaporates… even if you are currently having more
sexual encounters than you have for a long time. The honeymoon phase
does not last #justsaying.
So once you’ve had some couples therapy, come back to me for a
discussion on how to safely open up your marriage.