Tell Me About It

I think my husband wants me to cheat on him

Tell Me About It: He is turned on when talking about his former partners’ affairs

PROBLEM: My relationship with my husband has always been very honest. We tell each other everything, life goals, joys and fears. I was single and he was in the midst of a divorce when we met. We got to know each other and we clicked and married after about a year of dating.

After a couple of years, finally more of our previous love life came up. I told him I had three previous relationships and they were all passing fancies. It was actually about 12, I just thought three would make him feel better. Then I asked him.

He was shy at first but he told me that he had five previous girlfriends and, of course, his ex-wife. He told me everything. His honesty just poured out. He said that all his previous girlfriends and his first wife cheated relatively openly. I was shocked. He seemed to need to tell me more so I asked him to be specific.

He told me every detail of his cheating girlfriends and ex-wife, a very hot large-breasted redhead, who I knew before I married him. I saw her with other men in bars and at a private house party with, as they say, a tall, dark and handsome man who was a bass player in a very popular local jazz band.

I was really amazed and really curious. So I asked more about them and how they accomplished their escapades. He went into every specific detail including the fact that he secretly watched a few times when he caught them at home. I even asked him to tell me how he felt about it. I really did not need to ask. It was obvious, considering how turned on he got relating it all.

Is this normal? I’ve read about cuckolds. Is it possible he doesn’t realise he is a cuckold? Funny thing is that his story really got to me too. Does he want me to be like them and cheat too? The thing is, I would never leave him. I now believe it would be great if he willingly gave me permission or, even better, willingly asked me to explore and approve of my complete sexual independence.

ADVICE: Developing a relationship is an ongoing process: it makes us think and act beyond our own selves and it requires that we put another’s needs on a par with our own. The one main need, that is very obvious, is for your partner to experience honesty and loyalty and yet you find yourself withholding the truth for fear of causing him hurt.

You see him as vulnerable, as someone unable to hear the extent of your past sexual experience, and the possibility is that his previous partners all treated him as someone to be cared for rather than someone capable of managing conflict or difficulties.

It is possible that your partner created a pleasure fantasy out of his actual experience of being hurt and rejected

You describe him as a cuckold and I assume you are using this in the fetish sense where it describes wife watching: a couple can come to an agreement where being cuckolded in reality does not damage the relationship. However, the primary proponent of the fantasy is almost always of one being humiliated.

The psyche has wonderful and creative ways of creating power in situations where there is none, and it is possible that your partner created a pleasure fantasy out of his actual experience of being hurt and rejected.

However, to take a sexual fantasy of yours, or his, and act it out in reality has the possibility of recreating trauma for him unless it is done in a situation where he is in charge and there is no possibility of humiliation – see Brett Kahr’s book, Sex and the Psyche, for deeper understanding.

You have a wish to be able to explore, and have approval for, your complete sexual independence and if this is to be part of your relationship, deep trust, loyalty and commitment needs to be fostered so that your relationship can withstand the possibilities of a power imbalance.

Those in the kink community have long cultivated a culture of safety, consent and humour in their sexual engagements and you can learn from this by setting the boundaries and rules for what you and your partner desire in your sex lives.

This will require many conversations and an ongoing rolling agreement where both of you can voice your concerns or needs.

What will give you both permission to explore sex outside your relationship is the solid and un-moving base that says if ever there is a doubt, your partner’s needs will always come first, ie that you will always choose their wellbeing over any other desire or fantasy.

As the couple is at the core of all decisions, if one person decides that this type of relationship is not one they can cope with, the other has to honour their commitment and not manipulate or coerce the other into continuing something with which they are no longer comfortable.

If you two are able to have these discussions and are able to continuously check with the other’s welfare, you have a possibility of creating a strong and enduring relationship.

If your partner needs to explore and understand his past rejections or indeed if you both need someone to help navigate your desired future, seeing a psychotherapist or psychologist might be a useful step. See the Psychological Society or Ireland or the Irish Council for Psychotherapy for lists of registered practitioners.