Steve and Mia: Hubby asks: Why can't he keep female friend secret?

Posted: October 01, 2010

Q: Please help me with a difficult decision. A childhood friend re-entered my life within the past year quite by accident. I so thoroughly enjoyed the conversation with her and the memories it brought back that we have been visiting by phone weekly. I do not want to hurt my wife, nor do I want to give up this special relationship; it's like therapy for me. As long as it's nonphysical, what's wrong with continuing our relationship in private? My closest friend feels I am betraying my wife, but I don't see it that way. He insists I'm having an affair of some sort that will end in disaster for everyone.

Mia: Dude, you're in denial. Emotional affairs like the one you're having can be even more damaging than a one-night stand.

If this woman were really just a friend, you wouldn't conceal the relationship or worry about it hurting your wife. Even though you haven't done the horizontal boogie, what you are doing is far from innocent. Shadow relationships are dangerous because you wind up sharing things with an outsider that you should be sharing with your partner.

Your friend is right about nothing good coming from your little dalliance. But I feel for your situation. Maybe you've been married a long time, and this new person provides you with something that's been missing in your primary relationship. But that's no excuse to commit emotional adultery.

To save your marriage, you need to stop those weekly phone dates. Instead of thinking about your friend, try injecting passion back into your marriage. Have fun with your wife again. Go bicycling in Tuscany. Do whatever it is that you used to do that made you feel connected. You were madly in love with your wife once. Fall madly in love with her again, and let your childhood friend return to being someone from your distant past.

Steve: I'm not sure the death penalty is in order here. These chats can only end in disaster if you don't tell your wife. Tell her exactly what's going on and assure her that it's no threat to your marriage.

It isn't, right?

Platonic friendships are possible between men and women. There ought to be more of them. But if you start having romantic feelings toward your friend, you must cut it off. A man who looks for trouble never finds it far off.

Q: I'm a woman in my 20s with an active dating life and I am a bit frustrated by the men I've been involved with. They all act as if they know everything about how to make love to a woman and just barge right ahead without regard to whether it's something I'm enjoying or not. I think men sometimes assume "every woman loves such and such," but that's not really true. There are things I like in bed and things I don't like at all. Maybe other women like them, but I don't. How do I get around this?

Steve: Men hate to ask for directions. And popular culture helps us make assumptions about various ways of lovemaking that are not right in all cases.

Good sex starts with communication. There are gentle and positive ways to let your partner know what you like and what you don't like. Sex is like ice cream. Some people love mint chocolate chip and some people hate it. No two women - and no two men - are alike. So if you really want to please your partner and he to please you, talk about it first.

Mia: Men in their 20s don't think with their big heads. They think with their little heads, and the sex suffers. It's too bad, because that's when they're at their sexual peak. They have all this energy and vigor but not the experience and expertise to take full advantage of it.

You need to slow those hot boys down. Guide them. They'll wise up eventually. If they don't, give an older guy with skills a chance.

Steve is a 50-something married man who's been around the block. Mia is a younger, recently married woman with an altogether different attitude. They may not agree, but they have plenty of answers. For answers e-mail S&M@phillynews.com or write: S&M c/o Daily News, 400 N. Broad St., Philadelphia, PA 19130.

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