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Advice from ‘Dr.’ Stanwix – 17 Year Itch

Advice from ‘Dr.’ Stanwix – 17 Year Itch
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Dear Dr. Stanwix,

Let me first start off by saying that I love my wife. I married her for a reason and that reason is that I want to spend the rest of my life with her. We have been married for 17 years and have had some wonderful times together and an active sex life. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be enough, anymore. I thought because I never had these feelings after 7 years that I wouldn’t have to go through this nonsense, but after 17 years, the desire to be with other women is coming on with a vengeance.

I find myself checking out women more and more and am really starting to think seriously about an extra-marital affair. I have gone on dating sites, but have stopped short of registering for fear someone might see my profile and tell my wife. This would absolutely crush her. As far as I can tell, she is happily married, and, although she has probably thought other men attractive, I don’t think that she would pursue anything like a fling.

I, on the other hand, am another story. The opposite sex has become an obsession for me. I can’t look at an attractive woman without imagining what it would be like to have sex with her. I feel that if I don’t indulge myself and get this out of my system, it will haunt me and have a negative impact on my marriage (I think it already has).  However, if I do scratch this itch, it may have an even more drastic impact on my marriage. Although we’ve never discussed this, I have a strong feeling that my wife might never forgive me for cheating on her. I feel that I am basically damned if I do and damned if I don’t in this situation.

Please let me know your thoughts on what I should do.


17 Year Itch


Dear 17 Year Itch,

Your situation is certainly not unique. In fact, you can type in midlife crisis or 7 year itch into a search engine and find all of the same symptoms you are suffering. Whether seven years or seventeen, there will always be temptation and boredom with the routine that people inevitably fall into in a long-term relationship. You must also realize that there are thousands of married couples who suffer from the same problem as yourself. Let’s face it, there are a lot of good-looking people out there and a lot of temptation.

You must also realize that just as many women suffer from this phenomenon as men. This may not be a comforting thought, but perhaps your wife is going through the same situation, and, like you, doesn’t want to tell you about it. Think about how that would make you feel if she were. Would you be willing to let her indulge her desires the way you wish to? If you wouldn’t accept your wife doing what you are thinking of, then you need to reassess whether this is a good idea or not. If you would accept this, then perhaps you need to discuss this with her. (More on that later)

Another thing you need to understand is that those beautiful women that are so tempting are human beings. They are not porn actresses who are willing to let you do anything you want with them. In order to have sexual relations with them you will have to communicate with them and enter into some sort of relationship, whether for one night or longer. Are you really willing to get back into the singles’ game? Even in middle age, there are still a good many hoops you have to jump through in order to win the prize you are looking for. Sometimes, though, there is more frustration than copulation.  A few nights on the singles circuit and you may find that dating other women is not all it’s cracked up to be.

As you interact with other women on whatever level, you may not find them as attractive as you did from a distance. You will find that you simply don’t have anything in common with them. And it’s highly likely that they will not stack up against your wife who is the person that you have decided to spend the rest of your life with. Therefore, please don’t think it is as simple as just hopping into bed with whomever you have a fancy for.

If these bits of advice don’t dissuade you, why not try talking to your wife about this problem? I know it will be difficult, but at least she will understand how you feel and that this is not something you are doing because you’re dissatisfied with her or your relationship. There are a good many people who sincerely love their significant others, but simply need to fulfill this need to prove something to themselves. Once the itch has been scratched, there have been couples who have fallen deeper into love. However, this indulgence has also destroyed a good many relationships.

If you discuss this with your wife, you may find that she also needs to break the monotony of your relationship. You could then plan what’s best for both of you on whatever level you wish. You could look into partner swapping, giving each other a get-out-of-marriage free card or simply new ways of enjoying each other’s company, in the bedroom and out. Best of all, you’d be deciding it together, and that is what a true relationship is about.

Best of luck,

Dr. Michael Stanwix

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