A year ago, I developed an unhealthy and obsessive attraction to a man half my age at work (I've been married for 25 years). After suffering silently with my feelings for a couple of months, I finally approached him to see if he felt at all the same. We ended up having a couple of secretive "encounters" that just whetted my appetite for more and I felt more alive than I had in years, rediscovering passion I thought was long gone. But he decided it was "better for both of us" if we just returned to being friends. My heart shattered, and my chronic depression put me on the road to a complete physical and mental breakdown. I'm still struggling to get him out of my head, though he is out of my life at this point. What happened to me? Why is it so hard for me to stop fantasizing about him? Why do I feel as though when he walked away from me as a lover that he took my sexuality with him? I seem to be still grieving over the loss, as unhealthy and unrealistic as it was. I feel despondent about my marriage as a result, unmotivated to revive my old, familiar relationship when it can't compare to the excitement of the other...I just don't know how to get unstuck.



this is a difficult question for me to answer because I don't do well with people who cheat. I think there are more questions here than just you and the younger guy. I think you were unhappy with the boredom and routine of your own marriage, so you were looking to feel that spark again. I suspect you're struggling with accepting your age, so you looked for validation in this younger man. The fact that you didn't get to explore those feelings fully is why you were let down and subsequently fell into a depression. You were trying to recapture those exciting passionate feelings that you no longer feel with your own husband.

I think you should see a doctor and consult with a therapist. You need to explore the reason you chose to hook up with this man in the first place. I think you have to question what's going on in your marriage, that made you look outside for excitement. Do you want to stay in your marriage and if so, are you and your husband willing to get marriage couselling.

You plainly weren't happy, so when you started having intense feelings for this guy, you felt like you found feelings that were lost (passion,vitality,hope). With any new relationship there are strong passions but with time, they fade. The excitement with the other guy would have faded. I think cheating is dead wrong. I think you should take a look at your moral integrity and you should decide if you should stay in your marriage. Good luck.

It's not uncommon for a marriage to succumb to repetition and boredom and even to depression. This guy came along and was new and arousing. Instead of putting up a wall, you slipped and engaged him, which is not something I would advise, but it happens and everyone fucks up. You IDENTIFIED him with sexual arousal, and now that he is gone, you think the arousal is forever lost. The mistake is almost a logical one. Just because this man became associated with arousal and passion and relief from your sadness doesn't mean that he's the ONLY solution to your disconent.

What I would suggest is that you try and look at your marriage to see what's happening and how you can fix it. Do you feel connected to your husband? I'm guessing you don't. Is there a way you can reconnect, in a quiet, genuine way, even if you just have to sit in silence at first? I think it's possible for couples to do that. You can also try to do some things to revive some of the passion in your marriage. Physical activity, new experiences (food, camping, arts), and flirting are some good ways. I just answered a post where I suggested a guy in the same situation channel his "inner pervert" a little and try some new things in the bedroom that feel stimulating. I'd suggest the same for you. Exercise and a haircut and color would also be a great idea.

I know this is hard right now for you. If you try to solve this immediately, I'm afraid you'll lose hope. Try, instead of rushing to fix this, to try and slow down, find your center and your inner confidence, and make these changes slowly but steadily.

You can do it.

Thank you, Edahn. It seems I've been working on this marriage for so long that I'm just burned out on the effort. I am planning, once we're back on the same continent (my husband travels a lot for work), that we'll do some counseling starting this summer. I'm in therapy and on medication for long-term chronic depression, so am trying to get myself centered before beginning again with the necessary work on our relationship. Our girls are almost all out of the nest, and I hope I can begin to think of my future with my husband with joy rather than dread. Maybe that will come in time as I move ahead rather than looking back at what I feel I've lost.

Hi cjazynka,

thank you for taking the time to offer suggestions to my difficult situation - you are very kind. Our situations are similar in some ways. Like I said your question was a little difficult for me, but I tried to answer it fairly. I'm glad you didn't take offense where I was straight forward.

I really hope that you can find new ways to inspire your marriage. Try to think back when you first met and what attracted you to each other. Edahn gave a good suggestion for spicing things up. Hopefully you can both discover new ways to light each others fire again. I saw Oprah the other day and they were talking about how important it is for women to feel like they are desired. I know after years of marriage, that desire fades sometimes.

You were very fair, and I appreciate straightforward advice. I hope my husband and I can rekindle our passion. We've known each other 35 years and have been married for 24. You are right on about the need to feel desired. I seem to need that more than ever these days, but it will take both of us to make this marriage work. Thanks again.

I think it is true that you realized that this guy was a different thing from your marriage, something you may of craved. However, he honestly has done the right thing in stopping the relationship in that manner.

While you are married, you shouldnt be cheating. Try and find out why you felt you had to cheat and see if you can work on that with your husband, and make some new spice in your marriage, like Edahn stated.