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Ask E. Jean For DearSugar: Should I Have an Affair?

Dear E. Jean,

I’m married to a man who works 14 hours a day. When he finally gets home he doesn’t talk to me, doesn’t ask how our 7-year-old son is, he only grunts, gets a bottle of water out of the fridge, sits down in front of his computer and does more work. He hasn’t thrown a baseball with our son once! When he’s home he’s either in front of his computer in his den or watching golf on TV. He’s so closed off and self-involved that when I suggest we actually play nine holes of golf together, he says his back hurts. He pays more attention to our Labrador than to me and his son.

We don’t eat dinner together (he usually eats with “important” clients), we don’t sleep together (he sleeps in the den), we haven’t gone to a movie or a restaurant in a year, and have not had sex in three years.

On the other hand, he’s a great provider and my life is rather pleasant. I have closets full of clothes, a new car, a personal trainer, and my son is going to the best country day school in the county. But my husband does not talk to me. Every day I try to be cheerful, upbeat, try to suggest fun “dates,” interest him in the neighborhood gossip, but nothing. I cook great meals, invite people over — he leaves our guests and goes and sits at his computer!

I knew my husband was a loner when I married him, I also knew our sex life was not the hottest thing going — but what do I do with no sex and no social life? Recently I met a very nice man at the dog groomer’s and we’ve been meeting for coffee. I love our deep conversation — I’m starting to feel human again! He makes me feel appreciated and like I have something to contribute to the world. I’m writing because a couple of days ago he kissed me and my world exploded. I’ve never wanted anything or anybody like I want this man. But I also don’t want to divorce my husband. What do I do? Nobody’s even listened to me in years, let alone kissed me! — Feeling Like New

To see E. Jean's answer

Feeling, My Poor Flamtag,

Nine out of 10 people on DearSugar will disagree with me, but here’s my advice: Have an affair. It will give joy to your life, pleasure to your body, and spirit to your mind. You must, of course, inform your husband first, by walking into his den, turning off his computer and saying: “Darling, I’ve noticed we’ve not slept together since 2005. I’d like a good boffing. Are you up for it?”

When he replies that his “back hurts,” or gibbers some other excuse, smile and say: “I’m sorry to hear that, sweetheart. I hope you feel better. But I can’t be expected to go the rest of my life without one of the greatest pleasures known to womankind.”

When he grunts and asks what that is, reply: “Well, darling, I’m going to put on my prettiest dress, run away to meet the handsomest man, and when I arrive, I’m going to grab him and suck . . . down every word that comes out of his mouth. I’m going to hold . . . a conversation. We’ll exchange ideas, learn more about the world, and perhaps even laugh. Afterwards, of course, I’ll probably hump the daylights out of him.” And with that, leave the room, call your friend, and make a date.

This is not a threat. This is your life. You must create it!

Many DearSugars will advise you to end your marriage and then have the affair — and, indeed, this is an excellent suggestion. You will get more money in a divorce if you stay inside your prison. But I’m going to pay you the compliment of actually believing you possess the mental strength and moral vigor to rebel against a conventional code, stay married, tell your husband you’re going to have an affair, and then make your own happiness by taking what you want. Because if you are not free to love whom you love — what is your worth as a human being?

To see more advice from E. Jean, visit Elle Magazine and

Join The Conversation
mcockram mcockram 8 years
I think you have to be careful about who you have an affair with. Some men are more than happy to use married women. I guess, in a way, married women use them, too. But I agree that when love comes along and you've never known it, it will blow you away no matter what your situation.
datesformedotnet datesformedotnet 8 years
Wow -- unconventional advice for sure. I agree with the advice, but the only reason I agree with it is because she includes a "warning shot" to her husband stating that she is feeling deprived of sex, and then after mentioning she is feeling deprived tells him specifically what she is going to do (have an affair) if he doesn't change his ways. Unless there are some key details missing, chances are that he's already having an affair of his own -- so maybe it works for him. If he's not having an affair, and is just too busy providing for the family ... you better start looking for public school options for the son, because he's not going to be paying for your lifestyle and Sparky's country day school for much longer ... DatesForMeDotNet
bpdawson bpdawson 8 years
That is terrible advice. This woman married her husband knowing full well who he was/wasn't, had a child with him and now is complaining that he has remained the exact man she married? Did she expect a miracle? How dare she contemplate an affair that will ruin her child's life?! She made her bed, now she has to lie in it. It is unfortunate she married a man who is not attentive, affectionate and loving but nobody put a gun to her head! He is not physically abusing her or their child. She needs to focus all her energy on caring for her child and keeping their family as happy as possible, for her son. Of course it will be hard but at least she won't take selfish actions and tear her innocent son's life apart. Stay with your husband until your son is grown and then do what's right for you after that. Do not punish your son because you made a bad choice for a mate.
justanerd1975 justanerd1975 8 years
caterpillar girl, I agree. At least try this route first, especially the back rub for his pain and his favorite treats -- this will pour hot coals on his head and win him over with her kindness
rossinaross rossinaross 8 years
YEA. I don't want to be mean but I DO NOT agree. YOU married the dude, if you don't like living with him [and yeaa I'm sorry you havent had sex in three years blah blah] divorce him and sleep with whoever you want. I don't like the fact that you want to cheat on him and not divorce him just because you don't want to loose what you have, and by that I dont mean loose your husband, but loose your closet full of clothes, car, personal trainer, etc. He doesnt give you sex, he doesnt treat you like a human, but you LOVE everything he gives you. So you have to decide, it's either feeling human again or having all you have. Plus, if he knows you cheated on him, and wants to divorce you, you won't get anything. In my opinion, you should talk about it, divorce it if you doesnt care, take whats yours, and go and have sex with the other man.
Happy2bhere Happy2bhere 8 years
I agree with, talking to your husband and letting him know how you feel. He should be aware that you are having feelings for another person. Communication is so important in a relationship. You deserve to be happy, in most cases like this it has nothing to do with you, but with your husband. Sound like he has issues. I am assuming he doesn't share much with you. Tell him how you are feeling and hopefully this will open him up to converse his feeling to you. I know it has to be hard for you and especially your son, who will be a father one day. Just remember what YOU said in your vows to this man before pursuing other outlets. Live life like its your last holiday!
Autumns_Elegy Autumns_Elegy 8 years
I don't say have an affair. Make it an open relationship where you're free to have a good nomp and a fantastic relationship with this other guy but still come home to your husband and be your childs mother. Don't hide this from your family but try to discuss it with your husband first, if he respects and loves you he should either give you the things you need or let you find your own happiness.
lizzie_ttu lizzie_ttu 8 years
I keep getting surprised by E. Jean's comments! From the one where the girl admired a doctor from afar and she basically called her stupid to saying that having an affair is OK! These are rash opinions that should not be given over a public forum, rather over cocktails with the girls. I understand this is an advice column, but what's being given is a far more cynical thought that is on the complete other end of the social norm!
chynnachanel chynnachanel 8 years
gurl i'd say not to worry things happen and jus go along with it your having fun with this one your not fallin in love or anything cause if you are then thats another story i'd say divorce your husband he's treating you and your kid badly a husband is suppose to take care of you and talk to you and have fun with you and spend time like a family with you and your kid and your sex life whoa whoa gurl go to a fancy store and get something nice and then lay in the bed and if he dont see you then somthin is wrong with him !!!!!!!! sincerly: ~ miss tell it how it is
tlsgirl tlsgirl 8 years
Honestly, this pretty much invalidates any respect that I ever had for her advice.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 8 years
Oh my god, this is the worst advice ever. I'm kind of speechless, actually. Get a freakin' divorce. If you're so damn interested in your lifestyle, get a job. Two wrongs don't actually make a right, despite what E. Jean seems to say. Ridiculous.
foxie foxie 8 years
Leave the guy, stop wasting his time and yours. Have you ever considered that maybe he wouldn't mind finding someone new but maybe just has too much integrity to do so while still married?
soleetiud soleetiud 8 years
There are so many advice and suggestions, I know it would be hard to make decision out of these...after reading them all, what do you feel about it? divorce or affair? I'm pretty sure nothing works after all efforts done...u are actually trapped...GOOD Luck with whatever ur decision made...hope ur doing fine..
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
you know, i have to agree with this advice - if you bring the situation to his attention, that you'd like to feel loved and you'd like the electricity of a sexual relationship and if he's not the one to give it to you then you have to be clear to him that you're more than happy to find someone else who can do that. it won't come between your marriage but you're going to do it. see what that does. i wonder what his reaction would be - and whether he'll reveal that something's going on in his life outside of your marriage. granted you might not want to hear it but i hope that you find out that things could get better if he realizes that you're just looking to feel like a woman.
mmgt2012 mmgt2012 8 years
Also, I'm so sorry that was so long, really! It's hard to gauge how long these things are.
mmgt2012 mmgt2012 8 years
First of all, I am not going to give advice as such, because I have never been married or had children and my parents are still happily married. What I do want to say is that, in a way, nobody can give you advice, I'm afraid. However, one thing that has shocked me is how much uproar this post has caused (of course I'm aware that I'm participating...). How can we possibly know about somebody's life from a couple of paragraphs, and paint a picture of them complete enough to judge? For example, has anyone here ever said something that comes out sounding completely wrong, sent an email that has been misenterpereted or taken something as offense when it wasn't meant that way? Well it seems that there's a lot of that happening here. I can't get the full picture on this woman's life from this tiny snippet, and I can't tell from what she has written whether she cares about her son, whether she has tried to speak to her husband about this and whether the comment about a comfortable lifestyle was intended to be taken the way it has been by most. Some people aren't as articulate as others. I am aware that the format of E Jean on DearSugar is always this way, where people are invited to comment and give advice based on a short message, but I don't think the reactions to it are well thought out. People don't even seem to be reading what the lady has written - first of all, she met the man at her dog groomer's. From what I understand, he is not the dog groomer. So I think people are just guilty of doing that thing that blogs and messageboards seem to illicit: a knee-jerk reaction. I think it is rather rude that people are calling this woman all sorts of names, when in fact some people might just be jealous of her lifestyle, and others might have been hurt before and are projecting these feelings on a stranger. We all live different lives but the least we can do when we advise someone is to be polite about it and explain our opinions. Perhaps I will give you some advice after all: don't let these comments make you feel bad about yourself. The only people involved in these decisions are you and your family, however you may have ended up in the situation you are in, and that's who you need to focus on. As long as you think and talk things through long and hard and are comfortable with your decisions, taking into account the people you love, don't concern yourself about what other people think of you. And good luck, whatever you choose to do.
geebers geebers 8 years
I have to agree with E.Jean. You should TELL her husband that you are thinking of having an affair - that leaves it open to HIM if he wants to divorce you or deal with it. But let me tell you, if you are staying in this marriage do not mistakenly think you are doing it for your son. Your son will grow up and see what a loveless marriage his parents have. How his mother is staying for security and wealth and his father loves his mother so little that he doesn't even care when she is blatantly having affairs left and right. He will likely grow up thinking this type of relationship is the norm. Whatever you do -remember that kids are not blind nor are they stupid.
brown_eyed_grrl brown_eyed_grrl 8 years
@Dukesup--Yeah, some people break their vows, but that doesn't mean that the other person should sink to their level, or lower, in this case. If it was me, I would wait until I was divorced or legally separated to sleep with another man, but maybe that's because I don't take relationships lightly, and I'd want to settle things with one man before whoring around with another. Marriage is still sacred to many people. Some enter into it without thinking, and that is unfortunate, but it's no reason to dismiss the entire instituition as simply a "piece of paper." My marriage means much more to me than that. The paper is just a formality.
brown_eyed_grrl brown_eyed_grrl 8 years
Affairs are wrong. But I agree with E. Jean's approach in that if you tell him you have felt neglected to the point where you've thought of having an affair, and he is unmoved by that, it will be a clear sign that divorce might be the best solution. I still don't believe the reader should actually have the affair, but I hold myself to high moral standards and I was sincere in my wedding vows. I think telling her husband that she's felt so neglected that the thought has crossed her mind should be a big wake-up call if he's still interested in being married to her.
shannon_xo shannon_xo 8 years
Don't do it. My mother did that to my father. And it is messy, disgusting and shameful for the whole family. I'll say to you what I'm saying to my mother: If you're unhappy, leave. Simple as that. Go get a real job and make that lifestyle that is so important to you happen for yourself.
Janine22 Janine22 8 years
I just wanted to comment that cheating may or may not hurt your husband but it will most certainly hurt your child. Your child will bear the brunt of the pain resulting from this affair. I speak from experience, my dad cheated on my mom. It was an incredibly painful thing to have to go through. If you are done in this marriage, then consider your son's feelings first and foremost, and end the marriage before getting involved with anyone else. Please consider my advice, I agree that you deserve to be happy, but just not at your son's expense. Be mature and responsible here, and you will not regret it later.
kayleigh83 kayleigh83 8 years
Three cheers for E.Jean! I couldn't agree more with what you said. This guy has completely checked out and made no effort, she meanwhile, is busting her butt. I say go for it too.
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