Monday 20 November 2017

Dear Mary: I'm having sex with our neighbour, and my wife gives us her blessing

Illustration: Tom Halliday
Illustration: Tom Halliday

We have been friends with our neighbours for over 15 years. About four years ago the husband died suddenly. The children were all at college then but by now they have all left home. My wife and I supported the family in every way possible and were very glad to have been able to do so. I would cut the grass, tidy up and clean around the outside of the house etc. for the wife and she was very grateful. In return we were invited in for drinks, teas and dinners and we would invite her back.

Then one evening we were having some dinner and wine in our house, and in the course of the conversation the subject of loneliness and missing the company of men came up. Then out of the blue, my wife spoke up and said, 'You can have mine anytime you want', and confirmed it without consulting me. I was totally gobsmacked. She really meant it, and on reflection I think they were plotting it and used the opportunity of the meal to say it. So, from that night on, I gained a new partner and my wife said she was gone off sex anyway. It's not what I wanted or intended.

My real concern going forward is where will I end up. My relationship with my wife is still very good, but no sex. My concern with my neighbour is that she has a huge sex drive. When I'm in cutting the grass and doing other small jobs for her, she even comes down to the shed for kisses and cuddles etc. She gets so much pleasure out of what we do together.

We have been away at weddings and other functions and stayed overnight. I'll have to say it doesn't bother my wife as she encourages us to go.

My mother always said between two stools you come to the ground. Can I have your thinking please. I hope you can advise me as to what direction to go in.

Mary replies: This is a little different to the usual menage-a-trois, in that your wife is not taking any part sexually. So far, both women appear to be happy. Your neighbour is probably delighted to have a sex life again, and your wife said that she was 'gone off it anyway', so she is happy not to do something she doesn't want to do. Had you any indication prior to this that she had lost interest in sex? If not, then she should have discussed it with you to try to find a solution.

But what about you? Apart from saying this situation is not one that you wanted, I get no sense from your email that you are unhappy. You could have always said no to their suggestion, but you didn't, and you continue to have sex with your neighbour.

On the other hand, I don't get any feeling of joy from you either, although I'm sure some people reading this will consider you very lucky because they will see you as having it all.

As it stands at the moment, things are neatly divided - you have your wife for your emotional satisfaction and your neighbour to fill your sexual needs, and you give back in return what they give you.

But we have to look forward. As you know, nothing stays the same for very long; so what might happen is that your neighbour may start to develop strong feelings for you. She would then want more and more from you in terms of time together, emotional involvement and wanting you to share in other aspects of her life.

Your wife must not have a jealous bone in her body, as everything so far has her blessing, but things would surely change if you became more and more emotionally involved with your neighbour.

Another danger is that somebody outside of the three of you, for instance a neighbour, may somehow get to know what is going on. You have to be very sure that you would be prepared to face the consequences if your situation were to become public knowledge.

My girlfriend is great and I love her: but she is glued to her mobile phone

Question: I have a great girlfriend. I am in my early 30s, had short-term relationships often, but never anything long until I met Saoirse (not her real name). We met about 18 months ago. I was smitten immediately but she was already going out with another guy, so I had to be patient. But she realised that I was mad about her and eventually, just over a year ago, she finished with the other guy and we have been steady ever since. She is gorgeous, has a wonderful smile, great figure, a sense of humour and we have loads of interests in common. Life should be perfect - right?

But she has one habit that is driving me crazy. She seems almost glued to her mobile phone at times. She is always checking her texts, her emails, looking up Facebook, browsing, playing games - the list is endless. She was even doing it when we were out having dinner, but I managed to get her to agree that that was downright rude and she doesn't do that any more.

But going for a walk, driving in the car, meeting friends in the pub, at the races, etc., she is always at it and it is so difficult not to keep complaining all the time. I don't want to lose her. That would break my heart. But I can't put up with this much longer without exploding at her.

Have you any advice for me? I really am at the stage of wanting to propose to her but whenever I am about to speak about something important she is distracted by something on her phone. I would love to just throw it out the window but I think that's a bit drastic.

A: I'm delighted you have found such a lovely partner and I do hope that she accepts if and when you propose.

You are beyond the initial stage, when falling in love, of thinking that everything is perfect and you are now beginning to see faults. This is perfectly normal as we all have faults, and one of Saoirse's seems to be her overuse of her mobile phone.

Mobile phones are such a part of our lives now that we cannot imagine being without them. They are quite amazing and almost an essential. Yet I cannot be the only one who has been driven crazy on trains, planes and buses when people share the often quite boring events of their lives - usually very loudly - with the person at the other end. Saoirse already knows that it very rightly upsets you in a restaurant as you let her know how you felt and that worked well.

However, there is something quite discourteous to the company one is in to choose the phone over them and as it seems to pervade all aspects of your times together it is time that you convey to her just how upset it makes you. Suggest a compromise whereby if she is going to use her phone she either does it in the ladies room if you are in company, or in another room if you are indoors. She has, of course, every right to do whatever she wishes, but surely some form of compromise can be reached so that it doesn't become a deal-breaker for you.

Be sure to ask if you have an annoying habit that drives her mad - you may be very surprised at her answer!

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