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Dear Mark,

I’m at a cross road in my life and not sure where to turn. I saw your column online and thought you might be a safe person to ask. I’ve been with my partner for 22 years. We moved down from New York together a number of years ago to start the next chapter of our lives. We both loved Florida and thought it was a good choice. My partner is really my best friend. We do everything together and even own a business together. It’s all been good.

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Dear Mark,

I’m at a cross road in my life and not sure where to turn. I saw your column online and thought you might be a safe person to ask. I’ve been with my partner for 22 years. We moved down from New York together a number of years ago to start the next chapter of our lives. We both loved Florida and thought it was a good choice. My partner is really my best friend. We do everything together and even own a business together. It’s all been good.


But, over the years, our sex life has gradually diminished. We started only having sex once in a while. This started years ago. When we moved to Florida, we decided to open it up a bit more because there was so much temptation. We’ve had a number of threesomes together and it’s been fine.


About three years ago I met this guy at Starbucks. Hot…just my type. I knew it wasn’t in our agreement, but he invited me to his place and I went. This started a three year secret affair. I don’t think my lover has any idea…until recently. The guy I’ve been having the affair with has been pressuring me to leave my lover and begin a relationship with him. He says he’s tired of waiting and if I can’t make up my mind, he needs to move on. He’s considerably younger than me but we really click sexually and I think I could be happy with him.


I’m not sure what to do. If I don’t decide I’ll lose this guy. But my partner recently found out through some text messages I left on my phone. He’s been generally understanding. I wouldn’t be as agreeable if I were in his position. But he says that even though he’s hurt, he’s willing to move beyond this for the sake of our relationship. I really do love my partner but just am not sexually attracted to him anymore. It’s been too long. I’m not sure what to do. Go with the guy who I love having sex with but not sure I’m truly in love with? Or go with the guy who I know I love but am not attracted to anymore?

Confused,


Wilton Manors

 

Dear Confused,

 

You have to finish what you started. No matter how much you are attracted to this new guy, he is not your partner. If he really wants to be with you, he must wait until you have made up your mind about what to do with your current relationship. My advice would be to get yourselves to a good couples therapist. You need to hear his feelings about the predicament you have found yourselves in. I would suggest talking about what happened along the way that allowed you to begin to pull away from each other sexually. Begin talking again about your feelings…your frustrations with each other. This conversation is crucial for helping you figure out how you are truly feeling and if there is a chance for you to recover.

 

I would suggest you tell the new guy that you understand he is impatient, but you must take some directed time with your current partner to resolve your issues and see if “moving on” is your best choice. You can ask him to give you a specific amount of time…my suggestion is 30-60 days. Take this time to refocus on your partner and therapy. Don’t see the new guy during this time. Tell him you will give him an answer at the end of this time period. If he can’t give you this time, he may not be the person you need in your life. This may sound like a drastic decision but it is the only way you can honor your relationship and your feelings.

 

At the time progresses in therapy, one of two things will happen. You will begin to remember and appreciate your current partner and, perhaps, begin to reconnect emotionally and sexually. Or you will have confirmation that leaving is your best choice. But remember, sexual attraction is not the same thing as true love. True love is very rare and should be cherished. If your partner is willing to work with you, and you are willing to be honest with him again, all things are possible.

I hope this helps.

Best,

Mark Rutherford LCSW

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