cheating on my husbandAnonymous Mom is a weekly column of motherhood confessions, indiscretions, and parental shortcomings selected by Mommyish editors. Under this unanimous byline, readers can share their own stories, secrets, and moments of weakness with complete anonymity.

When we were dating, my husband once shared with me that he wanted to be a priest. I laughed it off in the same way that when I was eight I wanted to be a circus clown. I brushed it off as just one of those passing childhood fancies. How could my tough, good-looking boyfriend ever consider something so chaste? Not that I have any disrespect for the priesthood; it just seem a thousand miles away from who he was. Little did I know that his tough, manly exterior was hiding a deep-seated shame about sex.  When we were dating he never pressured me for sex. I thought he was a gentleman. I had mistaken my husband’s lack of a sex drive as gentlemanliness.

And that is where my secret comes from. I am having an affair. I have been having one for nearly three years.  After nearly 20 years of marriage my husband has completely cut me off from sex. Because he thinks it is a shameful act.

In the beginning of our marriage, we had sex maybe twice a week. There were times when I wanted more sex, but I understood he worked hard and felt tired at the end of the day. But he didn’t act tired. He just acted uninterested in sex. But he really wanted to be a father.  That was why we were having sex: he wanted children.

Once we had two children the sex went from once or twice a week, to once or twice a month, to once every three months, then once or twice a year. Now it has been about five years since we have had sex.

At first I asked him to talk about it with me. Was I too fat? Was I not doing something he needed me to do?

I got him to go to marriage counseling when I threatened to leave him. After months of counseling it came out — he disliked sex, always had. And furthermore, he did not want to change and was unwilling to change. Even for me.

I had two choices: stay in a sexless marriage or leave him. I wanted to leave him and was making plans to do so when one of our children came down with a life-threatening disease.  And then the economy tanked. I lost my good paying job. (Even now, we have not financially recovered from that double whammy.)