I am a horrible, evil woman undeserving of the titles "Wife" and "Mother". I am so ashamed of how I threw my daughter under the bus in order to save myself, and I want to make things right, but I don't know how. Here is my problem:
I love my husband - and I am still in love with him - but I am no longer sexually attracted to him. After almost 20 years of marriage, the spark has slowly faded. We continue to have sex; and my husband has no idea that there are problems between us because for the past several years I have been using Internet porn to get myself riled up before bed, in order to enjoy sex with him.
I usually erase my browsing history after one of my "prep sessions", so my husband is none the wiser; and up until now, it has been a win-win situation. A few weeks ago, I was interrupted by an important phone call about my mother's health just as I was finishing my Internet browsing, and I forgot to erase my history. The next morning, my husband went to check his email and saw some of the addresses I had visited stored in our address history. When he called the racy sites into question, I panicked and told him our teenaged daughter, "Jillian", must have been exploring the sites after we had gone to bed.
I told my husband I would speak to Jillian "woman to woman" about such natural teenaged curiosities, but my husband insisted on being a part of the conversation. Jillian of course denied visiting the sites, and my husband decided to ground her for lying. She had to miss a Halloween party that she was looking forward to attending, as well as a Homecoming dance at school. Jillian is rightfully devastated, and very angry with both me and her father for not believing her.
Tazi-Kat, I want to come clean about the whole debacle; but I fear that if I do my marriage will never be the same. If I continue to keep my secret, I fear it will do irreparable damage to the relationship between my husband and daughter. My anxiety has been showing, but my husband has chalked it up to my mother's continued health issues. In the meantime, I have sworn off Internet porn and am searching for a better way to reignite my passion for my husband. I just don't know which way to turn - for either of my problems! HELP!
Hot Mama In Hot Water
Dear Hot Mama:
It appears that you have been living a lie for much longer than the past few weeks. By pretending to feel sexual passion for your husband (while secretly stoking the fires through Internet porn) you have been avoiding the opportunity to explore the reasons why your passion has faded, and denying your husband the opportunity to partner with you in working through this issue. You have multiple issues here, more than can be solved with some quick advice in this column, so I will briefly address each one and suggest further steps to take on your own.
All long-term romantic relationships go through periods of passion and platitude; it is those who find a way to balance the down periods with the ups that are able to go the distance. Open communication with your husband is an absolute must at this point. You do not have to crush your husband's ego by admitting that you have been surfing for porn for "the past several years", but you do have to admit to him that it was your browsing history, not your daughter's, that he found on the Internet. Tell him the truth: That you had not been feeling up to performing, but did not want him to suffer from your lack of libido and were trying to find a quick fix to the problem. Apologize for to lying to him, but understand that there may be a lot of work ahead of you to rebuild his trust in you.
The next step should be for you to discuss your feelings with a licensed therapist, who can help you discover why your passion for your husband has faded. You say you still love him - and that you are still in love with him - so your loss of sexual attraction could be hormonal; although this is doubtful, considering the fact that pornography works for you. It is possible that you feel "safe" with porn because you do not have to do anything to feel like you are still desirable to your husband; or it could also be a case of familiarity breeding contempt, in which case you might benefit from exploring the issue with your husband by your side. You do not say for how long your mother has had "health issues", but stress - the day-to-day kind, as well as the catastrophic kind - can sap a person's sex drive and make them want to "phone it in", so to speak.
You also owe your daughter a heart-felt apology. You need not go into detail - she may have already figured out on her own that it was your browsing history that she was blamed for - but you do need to apologize for your terrible lapse in judgment, even if it is to simply say that you realize it was not her browsing history, and that you are sorry that she got blamed for it. Since you are her Mother, I will leave it up to you as to whether or not to make up for the loss of privileges she has suffered - such a gesture would be nice, but often times a guilty conscience can make one go overboard when making reparations.