He Wants Her Sister
Q: One day, while my husband and I were talking, I asked him if he had any sexual fantasies. He told me he fantasized about my sister while we made love. I am hurt. Why not someone on TV, not my sister? Now I never want her around. I just don't know if I can get past this now when we make love. I always wonder whom he's really with. -- Julia, 40
Dr. Susan: I have a rule of thumb: I never ask questions I can't handle the answers to. On the one hand, your husband deserves credit for responding honestly to a your question, but on the other hand, this is one of those cases where he ought to have kept his mouth shut and answered in generalities. Part of your hurt feelings may be a result of some pre-existing sisterly rivalry, but you need to learn the difference between fantasy and reality. He's not with her, he's with you. I'll bet he doesn't even want to be with her in the flesh. If he were with her, he'd probably be fantasizing about you after a while. Men are funny and infuriating that way. They always like to imagine what they don't have. Such fantasies help satisfy a married man's craving for variety. And the fact that he didn't try to hide the fact that he finds her attractive is a good sign that he's not planning to jump her bones.
So how do you get past this and allow her back in your lives without discomfort? First of all, you needn't tell her that you're jealous of her role in your hubby's imagination. We don't want her going there in her own imagination! Second, arrange things so that they don't spend time alone together until you're confident you can trust both of them to behave properly in reality. And third, give yourself permission to fantasize the wildest scenarios with your husband's family and friends. You'll see how little that stuff means in real life. Finally, do what you can to freshen up your sex life with your husband, but don't expect even that to clear his head of fantasies. Accept that as a given.
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.