Mary, I truly need your advice and help. Several months ago we had an attempted burglary on our home so I upgraded the alarm and put cameras in the back and side entrance of our house.
I clean these down every week and therein lies my problem.
We had a party recently and when I was checking the recordings for the night of the party I could see my wife having a smoke out the back which is normal as we don't smoke in the house. She was then joined by one of my son's friends and they appeared to be chatting and laughing.
My wife went to the side entrance of the house and he followed her over. Then I could see my wife taking off her panties and they proceeded to make love.
I am in complete shock as my wife is 62 and this lad is about 28.
I know my wife has been with other men and I have forgiven her. We have what is classed as an open marriage. My wife's drinking seems to be getting out of hand lately. But I feel this is well out of order.
I love my wife deeply and don't want to lose her.
I have kind of spoilt her over the years and I am still mad about her, and I feel she has played upon this fact. I just don't know how to approach this issue or should I just let it go?
Your advice would be greatly appreciated.
Mary replies: You say that you have an open marriage, which to me means that you are both free to have sex with other people.
There can be different reasons why couples decide on this way of life, for example, if one has a far higher sex drive than the other, and the one with the lower libido doesn't mind if their partner goes elsewhere for sex.
Or it could be that a couple find the prospect of having sex with just one person for the rest of their lives is too boring.
However, the couple usually agrees on some basic ground rules before they proceed with the open marriage, and also agree that if one partner is unhappy with the way things are going they will discontinue the practice.
On the basis of your email it seems that your wife is the one that feels free to have sex and you then forgive her.
So that isn't strictly an open marriage. But whatever it is, you are not happy and you seem almost afraid to criticise her in case you lose her, which is far from ideal.
In my experience of working with couples it is very rare for both partners to be satisfied with an open marriage - one is always far happier than the other.
Your implication, almost as an excuse for your wife having sex with your son's friend (and I stress they were not making love) was that she had been drinking to excess.
The party that you had was over the Christmas season, where traditionally a lot of alcohol is consumed, but if you feel that generally her drinking is a cause for concern then you should tackle this as a separate issue with her.
I agree with you that her behaviour at the party was way out of order, on all sorts of levels.
Firstly, she was being unfaithful to you, although you seem to countenance that.
Secondly, she was in her own backyard and anybody that was at the party could have seen her which would reflect very badly on both of you. Thirdly, it was with a friend of your son's and what happens when he boasts, if not to your son then to some of his mates, that he had sex with your wife?
How will your son feel if he finds out, and it is highly likely that he will find out, what his mother was up to?
All it needs is for one person to talk and the secret will be out, and it will probably take on a life of its own in the telling.
If and when the story emerges your son will get all sorts of mixed messages about your marriage, as well as probably feeling totally let down by his mother.
It will also alter his relationship with his friend.
I feel it is important that you tell your wife what you saw on the tape. She cannot deny that it happened because you have the proof.
Tell her that this is totally unacceptable to you and that you feel things have gone too far if she feels that she can behave like this.
Then you may want to reassess just what your 'open marriage' entails.
You will also have to talk to her about what she intends doing regarding your son and the possibility that he will discover what happened on the night of your party.
You may well need professional help to get your marriage back on track, if only to help you define what it is you are willing to accept.
To find a qualified counsellor in your area go to www.iacp.ie and I think that you should seek help as soon as possible.
You can contact Mary O’Conor anonymously by visiting www.dearmary.ie or email her at email@example.com or write c/o 27-32 Talbot Street, Dublin 1. All correspondence will be treated in confidence. Mary O’Conor regrets that she is unable to answer any questions privately.
Sunday Indo Living