In the first post with my current guest, Nancy, she talks about how she discovered her husband’s sexual fetish, something he had kept hidden from her during their long marriage. It was a startling discovery for Nancy who was left feeling it was her fault. She knew the standard advice for saving your marriage but if they were going to try counseling, she would have to confront him. Here’s Nancy:
I watched for a month and I became depressed, I was obsessed about it, I couldn’t believe it, I lost quite a lot of weight, I couldn’t eat. I think, judging by how much he was wearing women’s clothes, it had become a kind of addiction for him. It seemed he was doing it whenever he could, and he was always happy for me to go out with my friends. Now I think, of course he was, he was happy to get rid of me.
I told one friend of mine. She actually was my savior because she picked me up, we’d go back to the apartment we’d rented and just lie there on the floor…I couldn’t eat, I became clinically, severely depressed.
Later on, one day, I confronted him and he explained,
“It’s not like I want to be a woman or anything like that. I just wanted the fantasy of watching the ladies wearing this or that and tights or stockings and this or that miniskirt. It was just a little fantasy.”
Then I suggested we do some counseling. I told him it was affecting me a lot. I wanted to try to understand and to be able to cope with the situation.
He went once and didn’t want to go anymore because he was very embarrassed about it, so he said it was just a little fantasy. After that I realized why he didn’t have that sexual interest in me.
“Aah, that’s why. There’s nothing wrong with me, there’s something wrong with him.”
Even so I was really upset because I didn’t know this man who I trusted, who was my everything, and as a woman, of course, you feel jealous.
“He has pleasure looking at other women, what’s wrong with me?”
I had always looked after myself, my diet, after I had my second child I had breast implants, everything, always. I wouldn’t spend a day without creaming my whole body, this and that, always exercising, and I said,
“I’m going to try to teach him a lesson,”
because I was angry.
The Divorce Coach Says
Clearly this was a difficult and sensitive issue for both Nancy and her husband to deal with. Since they are in the divorce process (and have been for three years now) you know that they were not able to save their marriage.
In response to one of the comments on the last post, I asked at what point does a sexual fetish become harmful. I don’t know the clinical answer to that but from Nancy’s retelling here, her husband kept his fetish a secret and it developed into an addiction. It wasn’t soemthing they could share. Their relationship was suffering. Like any other addiction that is damaging a marriage, you can’t work on the marriage until the addiction has been treated and if the person with the addiction isn’t willing to seek treatment, then you have a choice: stay in your marriage knowing that this is how it is or leave.
I suspect Nancy’s devastation is similar to that felt by women who discover their long-term spouse is gay – something about their spouse that they never suspected. Kay was a guest who thought she was going to Vegas to renew her vows with her husband of twenty-five years only to have him come out to her on their last evening. That shook her to her core – she never saw it coming.
While Kay said, in some ways her spouse being gay made divorce easier to accept because she wasn’t competing with another woman, for Nancy, she was competing with other women, but women in photographs and online not in real life and that was where her hurt and pain was coming from. Next, how she tried to win her husband back.
What would you do in this situation?
Photo credit: Ko_An