Q. Denise, I’ve just discovered that my fiance has been flirting with another woman on a social network site. When I confronted him he broke down and it turns out that he has been having cyber sex with other women too. They are all older than us and look their age so why does he want to marry me if this is his “type”?
He has apologised to me loads of times but says it’s not cheating as he’s never touched another woman since being with me. I think it is cheating Denise. What do you think? And how do I get past this because at the moment I can barely look at him. We’re both 28.
A. I've lost count of the times I've heard this story in the last year or so. I've talked with both women hurt as you are and the men who are doing it. They are astonished that their partners consider this cheating or that it, in any way, resembles what they have with their partner. They see it as 'fooling around', a bit of daft 'behind the bike sheds' stuff so what the women is or looks like doesn't matter because it's only 'fun'. They don't seem to realise that women see it differently. From my point of view, he is doing something that makes you unhappy. That's what counts. If he really loves you he'll stop. If he doesn't then you can do better elsewhere.
Q. Dear Denise, my husband has been conducting an affair for many years and I have turned a blind eye to it. I am from a generation where I still feel divorce possesses a stigma and at least I have still had his companionship. I say companionship because we never have sex. No intimacy at all really. But I have lived in this house for many years and so it’s attached to many memories, brought our children up here, love my life with my grandchildren and we do socialise as a couple still. But, as I say, it’s a sexless marriage. He’s just like a friend who I get on well with.
I can’t explain why but recently I feel that, before it’s too late, I also deserve to be held in someone’s arms and feel desired. I still look good for my age, always kept myself well so I have a chance to be attractive to the right man. My husband has had the best of both worlds for far too long: the respectability being married to me has brought him and the excitement of his mistress. I feel a fool and I think enough is enough now. Do you think I am right to feel this way Denise?
A. Yes. You have weighed up what you are getting out of your marriage and it isn't enough. If you can't restore some of the love and, yes, sex that once was there I think you'd be better off finding it elsewhere. But only you can make this decision because only you have to live with it. A much-betrayed wife once said to me 'Life with him is hell but life without him would be a wasteland.' She'd thought it through and made her decision. It wouldn't have been my decision but it wasn't my life. Weigh up what you'd lose and gain by going and then, if he can't offer you something more, go.