On several occasions over the last year I have woken up to find my husband touching me sexually. Please don’t misunderstand and think that he is trying to wake me up. In fact, I have pretended to be asleep and noticed that if I stir or show any signs of waking up he will stop what he is doing.

I have confronted him about this a few times now. I explained to him that its not appropriate, that it makes me feel terrible, and that it changes my dreams. In fact, once I was suddenly raped in my dream my a friend of mine because my body was responding to what my husband was really doing (I’m a pretty heavy sleeper). He keeps promising me it will never happen again. He has used several ‘reasons’ (ie. he thought I was having a sex dream the time that I was raped in my dream) but I don’t really buy that and never have. The last two times I have moved into our guest room for a few nights but eventually I forgive him and stupidly think he will change.

What should I do? Is there a reason that he would be doing this? I feel guilty and ashamed. I could never admit this to family or friends, but yet I know its straining my marriage. Is there a term or something for what he’s doing? I’m so confused and hurt.

A: You don’t like what your husand is doing, you’ve asked him to stop, he promises he will, and then he goes ahead and does it anyway. Even moving out of the bedroom hasn’t had impact! It doesn’t matter what this is called. What matters is that he is repeatedly betraying your trust for some “thrill” of trying to get away with something. This marriage can’t last on these terms. If the two of you want to try to save it, my best suggestion is that you get yourselves to a marriage counselor and see if you can figure this out. Clearly you’re not getting to a mutually satisfying agreement on your own.
I wish you well.
Dr. Marie