I Feel Like Having An Affair

Reader’s Question

I have been married for 5 years and have a 2-year-old child. I have a very happy married life otherwise. I come from a much protected family where I have an older brother and parents taking care of me all the time, especially emotionally. My family is also very expressive and outspoken, although it’s the exact opposite in the case of my husband, they do not talk about emotions. My husband is not at all expressive in nature. At an early stage in our marriage I realized this, but it did not bother me much.

Now it does a lot, and it is actually hampering my day to day activities. I don’t get emotional support from him. I feel stressed all the time. He does not even touch me, or kiss me or hug me gently during the day except when we are having sex. He is not loving and caring and romantic. He does care for me but keeps a distance from me. He is a gem of a person. He does not force me about anything, gives me my space and freedom, and is great with my child. I did talk to him about this saying ‘I need a hug from you If you see me upset or if I cry’. He temporarily does it and then forgets. He did not even wish me a happy birthday on my last birthday, saying ‘you were not in the mood, you were upset’ I was upset because he did not take me in his arms and wish me. I told him that later and he felt sad. But it was all in vain.

He is just not that protective of me, and I miss that. Lately I feel so vulnerable that I am getting attracted to a guy at work. He followed me everywhere and stared at me. And now I feel I could have a small encounter with him without disturbing my marriage. I don’t want to end my marriage, but there is no excitement or romance left. I told my husband that we live like roommates. Both of us have so much space for each other that we don’t feel like inside. How should I get out of this frustration?

Psychologist’s Reply

Your husband may be emotionally limited or even emotionally uneducated. Our original family often teaches us emotional expression. Some families are emotionally expressive — hugging, kissing, and being very emotionally supportive. Other families are emotionally cold and detached, yet supportive in other ways. Your husband may be emotionally uneducated — having a poor understanding of the need for emotional support, how to identify emotions in others, and how to articulate his own emotions. He may not understand that relationships require emotional maintenance. You may need to educate and train him to be emotionally expressive and involved.

Try Online Counseling: Get Personally Matched
(Please read our important explanation below.)

Another issue may be present in the relationship. The presence of stress increases our normal personality. Under stress, individuals who are emotionally limited become more emotionally detached. Individuals who need emotional expression in their life need more emotional expression. It’s likely that the normal stresses in your marriage, including a two-year-old, may be amplifying both personalities, making the relationship more difficult.

I would suggest marriage counseling. An extramarital affair is a fantasy that only seems like it might be helpful. About 75 percent of extramarital affairs occur during times of increased stress. While they might provide some distraction from our normal stressors, an affair eventually adds to our stresses and can permanently damage our marriage.

You mention that your husband does care about you. He probably has a difficult time showing that care and concern. You can quietly educate him. When we are emotionally uneducated, we don’t know what to do and feel uncomfortable with emotions. In this situation, when your husband shows an emotional reaction that you like, praise him for it. Verbally remind him that you enjoyed that and show him some affection as well. Behaviors that are praised and rewarded are more likely to happen again. Also being forceful with your affection is helpful. The more he is exposed to affection, the more comfortable he will become with emotional expression.

Remember that your attraction to the co-worker is about 98% fantasy — your fantasy. All you really know about him is he stares and follows you. Our fantasies can create real-life trouble for us.

Please read our Important Disclaimer.

All clinical material on this site is peer reviewed by one or more clinical psychologists or other qualified mental health professionals. Originally published by on and last reviewed or updated by Dr Greg Mulhauser, Managing Editor on .

Ask the Psychologist provides direct access to qualified clinical psychologists ready to answer your questions. It is overseen by the same international advisory board of distinguished academic faculty and mental health professionals — with decades of clinical and research experience in the US, UK and Europe — that delivers CounsellingResource.com, providing peer-reviewed mental health information you can trust. Our material is not intended as a substitute for direct consultation with a qualified mental health professional. CounsellingResource.com is accredited by the Health on the Net Foundation.

Copyright © 2021.