Dear John: I am the other woman, although not in the usual sense of the word. By that, I mean that "Herman," the married man I've been seeing for nearly a year now, has introduced me to his wife and told her all about me. It doesn't bother her because they have an "open" relationship. However, this does bother me! I really enjoy being with him, and we see each other a couple times a week, but the relationship doesn't seem to be going anywhere. Since his wife doesn't mind that we're together, why do I mind so much? I've come to realize that I'm jealous of his wife, and this is hurting what I have with him. So what do I do now? — Back Alley Barbie, in Chicago, Ill.
Dear Back Alley Barbie: It seems to me that you've made everyone happy but yourself: Herman is happy, because he has no reason to feel guilty about having an affair. His wife seems satisfied, otherwise both you and Herman would know otherwise. As long as she is accepting of the situation, why should he leave it? If anything, he may find you, an upset mistress, easier to replace than a wife who is accepting of this behavior. In fact, you are probably not the first girlfriend that Herman has introduced to her.
Mistresses never get what they want: They see what this guy is capable of doing, and intuitively they know that a wandering eye is always on the move, unless the underlying cause — his inability to respect his partner — is addressed. Do yourself a favor: Dump Herman and start looking for a guy who understands the term "passionate monogamy" — and wants to apply it to you as badly as you want to apply it to him.
Dear John: I am 46 years young and my husband is 66 years old. When I married him 15 years ago, sex was not a problem. Inevitably, he is getting older faster than I had anticipated. He does not get an erection anymore. He refuses to admit there is a problem. Do I stay married to this man? Do I sacrifice my life in order to keep this marriage going? — Reality Bites, in Kennesaw, Ga.
Dear Reality Bites: Passion is an integral part of a successful marriage at any age. In fact, recent studies have shown that sex over the age of 60 is important in keeping us physically and emotionally vital — and prolonging our lives. While it is natural that there is a drop in the testosterone levels of older men, some men — perhaps as many as 10-15 million in this age group — have a dramatic drop in their testosterone level, and may require testosterone therapy.
Your husband's denial in recognizing the importance of this issue to you and to your marriage may stem from his personal pain that this is happening to him. What he may not realize is that there are ways in which he can address this condition and perhaps reverse its effect. Knowledge is power. Encourage him to see his personal physician as soon as possible and share this issue with the doctor. While at the doctor's office, he should request that a bioavailable testosterone test be run. With your love and support, he will see that he need not fear the loss of this very important part of his life — and yours.
John Gray is the author of "Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus."
Copyright 2009 John Gray's Mars Venus Advice. Distributed By Creators Syndicate, Inc.