I've betrayed my husband after 34 years of fidelity

Rowan Pelling


22:22 GMT, 22 April 2012



22:22 GMT, 22 April 2012

I love my husband, but now we’re both in our early 60s it’s almost impossible to persuade him to go out. All my recent holidays have been cruises on my own, and on the last one I felt so lonely that I let an admirer become far too friendly.

We dined and danced together, and on the last night things got out of hand: I was unfaithful for the first time in 34 years.

The sex wasn’t great and I feel terrible, but it’s the first time I’ve felt properly alive in a decade. Should I feel so much guilt when I’ve been abandoned And how can I go abroad again without succumbing to temptation

Regret: One reader let an admirer become far too friendly on a recent holiday and ended up betraying her husband after 34 years of fidelity (stock picture)

Regret: One reader let an admirer become far too friendly on a recent holiday and ended up betraying her husband after 34 years of fidelity (stock picture)

Sometimes there’s nothing lonelier than being in a relationship, especially if your partner refuses to go out with you. It’s one thing to occasionally enjoy a little freedom from your spouse, but quite another to find they’re never at your side. It puts you in a curious no-man’s land where you’re neither a carefree single voyager, nor part of an acknowledged couple.

What’s amazing is that so many unsociable spouses don’t acknowledge the peril of sending their partner out solo until something drastic happens. I think your husband has been criminally careless in waving you off on multiple cruises on your own.

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It’s one thing saying: ‘I trust my wife,’ but it’s quite another to put that position of trust under intolerable strain, which is what he has effectively done. Couples tend to equate holidays with romance and together-time — and most of us see it as a chance to boost our sex lives and rekindle some of the passion from the early stages of our romance.

It’s no wonder you felt so frustrated on this last trip and accepted the attentions of an admirer: you had, after all, been put repeatedly in a vulnerable situation. I’m not applauding what you did and, in any case, it’s clear your guilt outweighs any fleeting pleasure you got from the encounter. But it’s easy to understand the reasons for your tryst.

By your own admission, it was an underwhelming encounter and the sex was embarked upon for the wrong reasons. However, you’re clearly not safe from doing exactly the same thing again. I am sure you wanted your husband to notice that something had changed when you came home — it must have felt almost insulting when he didn’t. But the truth is none of us are psychic.

You might feel that you have told your husband how much you dislike solo holidays, but have you warned him you feel tested to the point of infidelity That would surely change his attitude. If I were you, I would admit to a highly-charged flirtation and tell your spouse that it arose only because you felt desperate and missed the man you loved.

Say that if you keep going away without him, the whole marriage could be threatened. If that doesn’t spur him to change his ways, nothing will. And if he’s unprepared to yield an inch in the matter, he must live with the consequences. No marriages — even those of 34 years’ duration — can survive without compromise.