I am 55 and my husband is 60. He has started buying expensive gifts for his office secretary and often takes her out for lunch. When confronted, he says these are incentives for the extra work he makes her do beyond office hours. I don’t buy this, as I also see him trying to aggressively get into fitness, buying new clothes and perfumes for himself, which is all so unlike him. Recently, I saw a staycation booking in his credit card statement. He said it was a surprise for me, however it was for the same weekend that I was to be at my parents’ home. He said he forgot the date, but I don’t believe him. Something is fishy but he talks his way out of it. Please advise.
Ans: It is normal to feel neglected in all relationships at some point. Neglect can often lead to feelings of worthlessness too. Your fears of him straying are your own and you’re going to have to take ownership of them if you’d like to alleviate them. If your husband is proven to be having an affair with a younger woman whom he works with and who in all likelihood has a direct incentive to impress him, you’re going to have to decide what hard-lines you’re willing to cross to get him to reconsider his infidelity streak.
Life must be measured and monitored while keeping in mind the consequences of all that we do — be it major tresspasses or tepid experiments. Your husband’s ‘fishy’ behaviour, sudden interest in fitness, fashion etc. could be a part of his renewed interest and agenda in wanting to take care of himself to make a lasting impression on that woman.
Perhaps your husband’s sexual relationship (if any) with the secretary is far more exciting for him at this point in his life. It’s a harsh truth that’s being possibly covered up by a well packaged and well rehearsed lie so he can dart off and spend as much time as he can with that woman by winning her favour. It’s not uncommon for couples to get bored of each other or for couples to no longer want to take the extra effort to try to surprise each other. Has this point been reached in your relationship with your husband?
Many couples feel bereft of ideas on how to inject novelty in what may be seen as the stale pursuit of stability through marriage. It is at such morose junctures that ‘the other man’ or ‘the other woman’ enter the fray to add pizzazz, anticipation and exhilaration to what may be seen as a monotonous relationship.
The extra marital affair is frequently seen as a bit of a vicarious thrill or forbidden fruit only meant for those who dare to venture beyond the conventional. Excitement means different things for different people. Some people claim to have found themselves through an affair. The fact is that an affair is likely to provide a person a dopamine hit and oxytocin rush that the marriage doesn’t provide for them anymore.
Either a marriage is upended or expectations are amended. If you decide to stay with him, you’re going to have to find a way to make yourself heard by him. If you decide to part ways with him, it may come with its own share of social, logistical, emotional and financial challenges.
Either ways, the road to betterment is seldom easy or linear. You’re going to have to see a counsellor to ascertain if both of you are equally invested in improving the quality of the relationship you share.
A keen eye must be placed on what can be further built as a couple so that care and compassion can once again be infused into the relationship you both share — as old habits are expired and new stories get inspired.