What a compelling thread. My story: my wife got a job at a fancy school and basically became a workaholic. Sex decreased, of course, but still existed. After a few years, the lead up to a big promotion killed it off entirely--and I mean a lead up of over a year! I brought it up then and told her it was an important issue that needed solving, maybe through counseling if necessary. She replied that she didn't think it was that big of an issue to her, more of a distraction. After the promotion, things didn't improve and I seriously started to consider leaving. Then she got fired from her job in an extraordinarily devastating fashion that left her absolutely destroyed and I didn't have the heart to leave. A year later, she got sued by one of her ex-coworkers--it was a naked bid for money from someone else who got fired. Back to square one with her nerves shattered.
That's been a few years now since, but nothing has changed, despite making playful attempts at initiating that were always brushed off. I have miraculously managed to avoid cheating--so far.
While she's out of town for a month, I decided to do my best to change that, feeling justified. So I merely hung out a few times with my extremely attractive neighbor (I know, bad idea, right?), but nothing happened. Long story short, nonetheless, people saw us hanging/having drinks at the local pub, and bingo that was enough to create gossip about her sleeping with married men (she told me).
So now I feel devastated that I let my frustration with my situation allow me to act so carelessly--I knew that there was a chance my wife would hear about it, and I didn't care or in fact would have welcomed an opportunity to lay it all out there. But I was so selfish as to not consider the blowback on the other woman, who now feels paranoid yet we've done nothing beyond have drinks in public.
Knowing that I can't risk this happening again, and hating the sordid, slinky aspect of cheating, it's given me an epiphany--I've got to have it out with her and lay some things on the line. The resentment I feel towards her for this has been growing now for at least 7 years, and I'm going to tell her that I've wasted these years on her with no return. Going forward, I plan to tell her that if our marriage is going to have a chance, it's going to become open--I'm going to look for sex elsewhere, and she can either accept that or leave me. It seems so stark when I lay it out like that, but now I see that's how it has to be.
I've been trying to convince myself for years that I'm happy nonetheless in a celibate marriage--like the Onion T-shirt says, "I'm getting pretty good at masturbating!--but I'm just lying to myself.
And I'm tired of it.