When my husband, Bob, started working late, going in on weekends, and staying in Manhattan overnight to avoid his 90-minute commute, I became frustrated with how little time we had together. He was always too tired to do things with me, or to have sex. But since he'd recently switched careers and was making a new start, I tried not to complain too much—not even when Bob uncharacteristically started having a few drinks every night to relieve his tension. Instead, I filled my life with grad school and other interests.
But when I realized it had been more than two months since we'd had sex, I finally spoke up.
"Your life is out of control," I told him. "You need to spend more time at home. I can't take second place to your work any more." In reality, second place would have been a step up—I was barely on his map.
Stress made Bob angry much of the time. He often became defensive, used profanity, stormed out, and even threatened to leave our marriage. "Why bother coming home at all," he'd say, "when all I hear is your complaints and criticism?"
What had happened to the affectionate, jovial guy who'd led a Bible study early in our marriage?
I didn't see how things could get much worse, but one evening, after a nasty argument, Bob admitted he'd been "getting massages" to help him relax. He said he got them on nights he stayed in the city, after long days at work.
"Where?" I asked.
"At a massage place," Bob said.
"Without an appointment?"
"Yeah. I just walk in."
I knew legitimate establishments for sports or healing massage weren't generally open at night. And you needed an appointment.1