Sex ad­vice with Mrs Sal­is­bury

Sunday Star-Times - Sunday Magazine - - PERSPECTIVES - Robyn Sal­is­bury is a clin­i­cal psy­chol­o­gist. Email ques­tions to MrsSal­is­bury@sex­ther­apy.co.nz

A cou­ple of years ago I had a re­la­tion­ship with an older mar­ried man I worked with. It started as a friend­ship be­tween col­leagues talk­ing at Fri­day work drinks and about six months later he started tex­ting me on my work cell­phone and we be­came closer.

He told me that he and his wife (who was preg­nant with their se­cond child at the time) had sep­a­rated, but were keep­ing up ap­pear­ances as they both worked for same com­pany. He also said they were just good friends who had also mar­ried as a con­ve­nience thing so they could have kids.

I be­lieved him – he used to wear a wed­ding ring and sud­denly he wasn’t, even in the pres­ence of his wife, so I never thought to ask (though she con­tin­ued to wear hers). And even if I wanted to check with her I prob­a­bly wouldn’t have be­cause they were try­ing to keep up “ap­pear­ances” and it would have cre­ated a lot of ten­sion. Very slowly, and partly be­cause his sup­posed ex-wife ques­tioned me, it dawned on me that he hadn’t been hon­est and I was a mis­tress, so I ended the re­la­tion­ship.

Now, two years on, I’m hap­pily mar­ried with a lit­tle one of my own but some­times I look back and won­der if I did the right thing by not telling his wife the real story. It eats away at me but I didn’t want to be seen as a home wrecker. It sounds like you wish you’d been wise and coura­geous enough to have been hon­est with your lover’s wife. I un­der­stand that wish and also why you weren’t. The right thing now is to take your learn­ing from this ex­pe­ri­ence and to leave some of the re­spon­si­bil­ity with the man who drove it. The ex­cite­ment of an af­fair with its se­crecy and de­sire is pow­er­ful and of­ten leads to putting on blink­ers with great re­gret af­ter­wards.

You can’t undo any of it now and, if this man has grown up some­what and the cou­ple have cre­ated a sound re­la­tion­ship, you could do sig­nif­i­cant harm by fes­s­ing up at this point. I’m sure you’ve thought about how you would feel if you were in her shoes. You clearly have an op­er­at­ing con­science and your own in­ner wis­dom from that will in­form you how to act in fu­ture should you ever find temp­ta­tion beck­on­ing.

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