I am 33 years old and have been with my wife for 11 years and married for almost 8. We have one son who is 5. Our marriage has been failing since our son was born, and he has become the only thing holding us together … our sex life has become nonexistent, “once a month” if I’m lucky. We have very little in common anymore, and our home feels more like a roommate situation, not a loving family. About a year ago I met someone at work who I have no doubt is my true soul-mate, we connect on every level. She makes me feel and see beauty in life that i haven’t felt or seen in years, if ever. I’ve never truly felt this way with my wife. We have been on dates and spend as much time together as possible, we have however not been intimate, out of respect for my situation. But the sexual energy is absolutely there. I don’t know what to do from here … we could try counseling, but even if we did I wouldn’t have the connection I have with the person from work!!! Please help me, any advice would be GREATLY appreciated.

A: Your question addresses a fairly common situation these days. I’m sure you are aware that the majority of marriages end in divorce and a high percentage of those involve some form of infidelity, whether it is emotional or physical. Many marriages that fail do so after a major life change, such as having children, going through a significant loss or some other crisis. It is difficult to keep the excitement and romance in a relationship when we are busy and stressed in other areas of our life.

However, falling into the trap of chasing what is “out there” rather than fixing what is “right here” happens too often in my opinion. I have worked with lots of folks who thought they had found their soulmate outside of their marriage, only to find out later that it was the excitement and chase that created the magic. Affairs keep you in the almost addictive state of infatuation that we all crave, but, more often than not, that feeling fades once you are doing laundry and taking out the trash with the new love.

My advice is to try counseling before you really decide to leave your marriage. You owe that to your wife, your son and yourself. Even if the counseling becomes more about how to leave the marriage creating the least amount of damage, it will be worth it. If in the end you still decide to leave, you will have a free conscience knowing that you tried everything. I feel this is especially important when children are involved. Not to mention, that therapists can help navigate shared parenting issues and offer suggestions to help your son through the transitions.

I hope you find happiness and wish you the best of luck.

Dr. Holly Counts