Advice to a reader dealing with the fallout from an affair
Welcome back to another edition of Dear Dating Bitch, where I dive into the murky waters of relationship qualms. Let’s get to the advice, shall we!
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Advice Column Questions
Q: My girlfriend and I have been together for nearly a year. So far, we have not done anything physical aside from kiss. I have talked to her about this before but nothing has changed. Should I be worried? What do I do?
– Never Been (More Than) Kissed
Dear Never Been (More Than) Kissed:
Talk with her about it again. Physical intimacy is very important in most relationships and for most people. For others, however, it’s not something they really desire. Maybe your girlfriend is asexual. Or maybe something about being physical feels uncomfortable for her (she could have trauma in her past that she hasn’t healed from, for example.)
Regardless of her reason, it’s clearly important to you. It may be that you two are incompatible in the long run. Or it may be that this is something that you can work through together once you get a better picture of what’s going on with her. You won’t know until you have a conversation with her, though, so bring it up!
You say you’ve talked to her about it before, but you don’t say what the outcome of that conversation was. Was she receptive to what you were saying? Did you tell her specifically what was bothering you, or were you vague about what you wanted?
You also don’t say how long ago that conversation happened. So, try again. It will be important going forward for you to have a meaningful conversation about this. If you weren’t specific before, now’s the time to do it. No use beating around the bush here. If she tries to brush it off or give you halfhearted answers, emphasize the importance of it for you:
“This is really important to me and I don’t want to pressure you or make you uncomfortable, but I also don’t want to be in a relationship where my needs aren’t being considered.”
Then listen to what she has to say and decide if it’s something you can deal with or not.
Q: I cheated on my husband, but we decided to work through it. However, he told his family about my affair. I don’t know when I’ll be able to show my face around them again. Advice?
– Ashamed of Affair
Dear Ashamed of Affair:
This is a rough situation and I feel for both you and your husband.
It’s understandable that you feel embarrassed by the fact that your husband disclosed such a personal thing to his family. But you also betrayed his trust by cheating. He may have told his family because he wanted some emotional support during a difficult time. Or he may have told his family because he was angry at you. Or both. Either way, they’re aware that it happened and there’s nothing you can do about that now.
What you can and should do, though, is talk to your husband.
It won’t be possible (or advisable) to continuously avoid his family, so instead, you’ll need to have a conversation with him. Tell him how you feel about the fact that his family knows you cheated – embarrassed? nervous? guilty? And tell him that seeing them again is nerve-wracking for you. Then listen to what he says.
You can of course ask him to explain his reasons for telling his family if that’s important to you, but only if you can ask him in a non-argumentative way. Remember, you can’t control who he talks to or what he tells them. So, the goal here is to understand, not reprimand.
That being said, it is also important that your husband recognize and acknowledge the difficult position he has put you in now. Make it clear that you’re not blaming or criticizing him for his choices, but that rather, you’re seeking some guidance about where to go from here.
Maybe you need a little more time before you’re ready to see his family again. Maybe you need to know that he’ll have your back if they judge you or act cold towards you. Maybe you two will need to navigate this with the help of a counselor (personally, I would consider doing that one anyway).
Finally, when you do see his family again, you should be polite and friendly and treat them the same as you always have. If someone brings it up, you can tell them, “I’m very ashamed of my actions and I do regret what happened, but we are working through it and I really don’t want to talk about it with anyone else.”
Hopefully they’ll respect that. Good luck to you both!
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Conclusion: Intimacy and Infidelity Advice
That’s it for this week everyone!
Happy dating out there. See you again next time.