Dear E. Jean: I’m married, I’m in my thirties, and I don’t like my husband. We hardly ever kiss, and we never cuddle. I was willing to suffer through long nights because of our two kids, but this meant I was living a very lonely life.
Then, two months ago at an office banquet, I met Mr. X, my husband’s new project director. I love to dance, and my husband doesn’t, so I danced five songs with Mr. X. We fell in love that night. Since then, he’s come to dinner with my husband and praised my cooking and decorating. We began texting about design and furniture (he’s a bachelor buying for his new apartment), and the texts turned romantic. I’ve confessed my love for him, and he’s said he loves me too. Mr. X is very young (10 years younger than me), is ambitious, and wants a family (I can’t have any more children), and we cry and laugh together over our predicament. We have not slept together yet—only hugged. Please help! —What’s Happened to Me?
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What’s, My Dear: My God! You married women really know how to dance! Hardly any dudes have fallen for Auntie Eeee in five songs. (No. It takes at least six, plus a 12-pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon.) So I’m not going to hurl any moral protests.
However, unless you possess the nerves of Tammy Wynette (who tore nearly half a dozen husbands limb from limb) and are brave enough, and honest enough, to announce to your own personal spouse that you want to be free to love whom you love, then, alas, I’m afraid you must break it off before the lad loses his job and your family is split like Hank Williams’ royalties. (His wives fought for years over who had legal claim to the money.)
You mentioned at the beginning of your letter that you were living a “lonely life.” Is it too late to cease thinking of your husband as Mr. Grim-and-Dim and imagine he may be lonesome too? Can you put on an amusing frock, meet him for cocktails, and—I understand this is a gong-kicker—confess you’d like to…cuddle? Or take line-dancing lessons together? Or escape for a weekend in the country? Is there no hope of having fun together?
If not (and, really, enjoying each other and the children is the only sane reason to be married), then perhaps it’s best to try a couples renewal retreat and see if a little therapy might help. If it doesn’t, meet with a lawyer and consider the steps you should take to exit the marriage. I’m not certain women with the goddess-like power to make men fall in love in five songs should ever enter wedlock.
This letter is from the E. Jean archive.