Dear Dr. Romance

My husband of almost 9 years just told me about 2 months ago that he is in love with someone else. About 5 years ago I caught him cheating on me with this girl and he told me that it was over and it was just for the sex. Then 2 years later I found out that he was still with her. Then in June (after the birth of our third child) he told me that he was not just leaving me because he didn't love me anymore but also because he had been in love with someone else. We talked about everything and he has decided to cut her out and try to see if he can fall back into love with me.

Our relationship has had a lot of ups and downs. It started because I got pregnant and he decided that staying with me was the right thing to do. So at first he was not in love with me but he did fall in love with me. Our sex life has been very bad because I have no sex drive (even before he was cheating). When we do have sex I have always enjoyed it.

What I guess I would like advice on is how to help him fall back in love with me. He says that he has no desires to be with me in a sexual way and right now he just feels like we are friends and roommates. So how do you go about trying to reform feelings if you do not act like husband and wife. Is it possible for him to fall back in love with me if he cuts complete ties with the other woman and really wants to stay with me. Do we just try to be friends and enjoy time together and hope that it leads to love again???

Dear Reader:

I'm sorry you're going through this, it must be painful. I'm guessing your husband has resented you from the beginning because you got pregnant and he felt "trapped" into marriage. He's probably had one foot out the door the whole time. Like many men, he feels entitled to sexual gratification, and thinks you didn't live up to your part of the bargain, so he has an excuse for cheating.

You have been pretty naïve throughout your relationship, and now you're getting a painful education. You've fallen for the myth that says that you have to have a sex drive to have sex. In long term relationships you have sex because it feels good and it's good for your marriage, not because you're driven to have it.

The other woman is not your problem. If you want to get your relationship back, you have to get your sexual relationship back. A man like your husband is not going to hang around if sex isn't working. You need to show him he's important to you as more than a dad and a meal ticket.

It could be too late, if he's bonded with this other woman, but it's worth a try if you really want him back.

"Couples Can Cooperate for Success"  will show you how to have a more mutually gratifying relationship. "Better Intimacy, Better Sex" will give you steps to repair your sexual connection.  Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting about the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Relationship gives you the tools and techniques to improve every part of your marriage.

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Author's Bio: 

Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. is a licensed psychotherapist in S. California since 1978 with over 30 years experience in counseling individuals and couples and author of 13 books in 17 languages, including It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction; The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again; Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage, The Commuter Marriage, and her newest, Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences. She writes the “Dr. Romance” blog, and the “Happiness Tips from Tina” email newsletter.