Dear Wayne and Wanda,
I have been married to my wife for five years and dated her for four years before that. Our sex life lately hasn't been so hot. We work different hours. A lot of our time is spent with our kids. She's always tired.
I love my wife and think she's a sexy woman, but I miss sex. Lately I have been thinking a lot about other women, especially a couple ex-girlfriends who I talk to online and text with sometimes. The thing is, I don't want out of my marriage, but I don't know if I can go the rest of my life having sex with just one woman, especially if we aren't even really having sex anymore.
I really think I could sleep with another woman -- maybe an ex or maybe someone new -- and I don't think it would change the love I have for my wife. Do I sound crazy?
-- Wandering Eye
Crazy? No. Delusional? Totally. Can people have sex without falling in love? Sure, happens every day. I also submit that it's completely possible to have sex with one person while actually having feelings for someone else. But can a married person have sex with someone other than his spouse without it impacting his marriage? No way.
First off, in a recent column we talked about infidelity and the research that largely shows that while women cheat for emotional reasons, males stray for physical gratification. Most men who step out on their spouses simply want sex -- not a new wife, not romance. So take comfort in knowing your emotions are not uncommon among your male contemporaries.
That said, two people who enter into a traditional marriage have signed on for certain commitments. Fidelity is the biggie. If you can't picture only being with one woman forever, you shouldn't get married. If your once-solid commitment starts to waver, it's time to put all your efforts into reigniting the flame -- not shopping for an affair on former girlfriends' Facebook pages.
Spend some time admiring your hot wife. Hire a sitter, schedule a date night and surprise her with a hotel room and champagne. Above all, communicate. Don't be coy or cagey about this crisis of conscience you're wrestling. Tell her you miss sex with her, and you know it to be essential to your long-term happiness.
Hey, you're a man -- most of us are wired to stare at fried food, football and fine females. But being a real man also means staying true to our commitments, our partners and our families.
Chatting with exes and convincing yourself that cheating is totally harmless? You're lying to yourself, buddy. You're emotionally cheating already, and your momentum is carrying you toward making it official physically too. Here's a shocker: Cheating isn't going to fix your relationship or love life. Never has, never will.
If you're truly as dedicated to your spouse and your family as you claim, you should shift your energies from lurking for lovers online to winning your wife over again and rebuilding your sex life with her. Follow Wanda's wisdom: Make time for her, get away from the kids and the daily routine, and get into the mindset of wooing your wife.
But if you aren't committed to your wife anymore, it's time to man up, tell her and take the next step, whether that's counseling or separation. Don't make an even bigger mess of things by cheating and lying.
• Wanda is a wise woman who has loved, lusted and believes in retail therapy. Wayne is a wise guy who has no use for therapy. Send them your questions and thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org.
After 9 years together, he finds love life a little stale