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Published: Sunday April 13, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Tuesday April 15, 2014 MYT 7:33:34 PM

Dear Thelma: I can't seem to stop having affairs

A married woman, who has had two extra-marital affairs, can't seem to stop cheating on her husband.

I work in sales in a large organisation. Ten years ago, I had an affair with a client who was an ex-colleague at another organisation and who had wooed me even though I was married.

I don’t know what drove me to have the affair – probably a combination of loneliness (neglect from a businessman husband), work pressure or maybe it was just the temptation. On the first date in a hotel, nothing happened other than some kissing and petting. 

He was a gentleman who kept asking me if I really wanted to make love and when I just kept quiet, he didn’t insist. We met up again and since I agreed to go to his hotel room again, he didn’t ask anymore and we had sex.

I must admit it was the most fantastic session I have ever had despite having been married for 14 years then. We carried on with the affair for more than two years before it stopped.

Shortly after that, I started another affair with a colleague whom I treated as mentor. Again, I don’t really know what led to the affair when I had just stopped one. But it started when we were both on a company incentive trip overseas and I went to his hotel room on the last night of the trip. Again, it was a fantastic session, although it was not as good as my first affair. Again, we carried on after that.

On both occasions, I had the opportunity not to do it. All I had to do was not agree to meet at the hotel and nothing would have happened. For the second affair, I was the one who went to his hotel room. I’m still continuing the second affair, and at times, miss the first affair.

I still slept with my husband throughout both affairs. As it is, we don’t really have sex that often anyway, so it would seem everything’s “normal”. I can’t seem to stop the affair – is something wrong with me? — MT

Reply: Despite the moral conundrum that you face because you are a married woman having extra marital affairs, there’s nothing actually “wrong” with you. There are two separate issues here – the first being the extra marital affair itself, and the second being your seeming enjoyment of this.

Firstly, you say that the first person wooed you. It seems his gentleman-like demeanour of not forcing himself on you impressed you. And then, he provided you an experience you never had with your husband.

The common factor that your second affair has with the first one is that sex is different from what you experience with your husband. It appears that the sex in your married life is mundane and perhaps routine.

Perhaps, this is what drives you to have these affairs. They offer you some kind of excitement and thrill, something out of your usual behaviour.

For you, it is totally unexpected and it is definitely not what others would expect of you. And, this forms part of the thrill. Aside from that, it could also be that these affairs are your avenue for some attention. Perhaps, this is how you express yourself “freely”.

Society tells women that they should not enjoy sex outside their marriage. Women are often surprised that they have sexual appetites – needs, desires and fantasies – and are afraid to voice these out to others for fear of shame. There are also other expectations of women – that they should be demure and not be the one to initiate sexual acts – that seem to encourage sexual repression among women. All this is contrary to your experience. It could be what’s driving you to think there’s something is wrong with you.

The question is, why can’t you have these experiences with your husband? Is it because you have both fallen into a comfortable rhythm with each other and that there are no more surprises? Or, that you no longer feel desire for each other and your love-making is something that is expected in a married couple?

Maybe, you are both sexually incompatible and you believe you can’t behave with you husband in the way that you do with the men you have affairs with. Sex is an act by more than one person, and you could be responding to the situation.

So, if you want to stop your affair, ask yourself what is it that you expect from yourself and your husband in your relationship and vice versa. What is the function of your marriage? What did you expect and what is it now?

You may choose to be truthful with your husband and tell him about the infidelity. That is completely up to you. But, if you want to deal with your guilt or apprehensions about this affair, you will have to start with questions about your marriage.

You do have a responsibility to your marriage and your husband. You need to ask yourself where you want to go and how you will manage these different aspects of your life. You also have to deal with the fact that you have to be responsible for your actions and that all actions have consequences – intended and unintended ones.

You have bigger issues to think about. Perhaps, the sooner you do this, the better it will be for all parties involved.

Write to Dear Thelma: Is something bothering you? Do you need a listening ear or a shoulder to lean on? Thelma is here to help. Write to Dear Thelma, c/o Star2, Menara Star, 15, Jalan 16/11, 46350 Petaling Jaya, Selangor or e-mail: star2.thelma@thestar.com.my.

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Tags / Keywords: Lifestyle, Thelma, colleague, affair

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