Your Call: Is She Justified in Cheating on Her Boyfriend?

We get a lot of advice questions coming in at EMandLO.com, but sadly, we just can’t answer them all. Which is why, once a week, we turn to you to decide how best to advise a reader. Make your call by leaving your advice in the comments section below:

Dear Em & Lo,

The guy I started dating 8 years ago was (and is) an awesome guy.  He was basically everything I ever wanted out of a guy, and more.  The problem always has been that we almost never have sex.  We have sex 4 times a year if I’m lucky… let’s just say I got laid more when I was single.  There’s nothing wrong with the equipment, he just has a low sex drive.

Moreover, he’s not the same guy I started dating.  He’s become like a 10 year old boy.  He never wants to go anywhere, he just wants to play video games.  He’s become a massive workaholic, we never do anything fun together.  And, quite honestly, I think that he would have sex with me if he had to do it for work.

I stopped initiating sex as of about 2 years ago, because I didn’t want to be rejected any more. We’ve tried everything that we can think of.  The few times a year he does feel like having sex, it’s boring.  Worse, he doesn’t even shower, or brush his teeth during the weekend so we can’t do anything spontaneous.

Clearly, I’m going to break up with him, but not until I get disability (I really can’t work)… and this makes me a terrible person.  Also, I really want to have sex with other people, which definitely makes me a terrible person.  But doesn’t withholding sex kind of make him selfish and shitty, too?  I know 2 wrongs don’t make a right, but I HAVE to get laid.  I’d love to hear what you guys & The Peanut Gallery have to say…

— Blue Box

What should BB do?


  1. Wait. Just wait it out. If you cheat on him, no matter how justified you may feel or possibly are, you’ll never be able to remove that taint of having cheated from your self-image and reputation. Sex just isn’t worth that kind of damage.
    Also, get out that relationship as soon as possible. It’s not working, and continuing to ‘kick the dead horse’ is only going to leave you with a broken foot.

  2. personally i think that if you really love someone, you wont cheat on them no matter what. maybe you should try going to a therapist or try something to increase his sex drive. if you no longer want to be with him the break up with him but dont stay with him to cheat on him.

  3. Maybe in his mind he is doing the noble thing by taking care of you even though he is no longer sexually attracted to you anymore. Be an adult about it and tell him all of your thoughts and feelings and let the cards fall where they may. Honesty is always the best policy. Maybe he will be into it and could be the start of a new adventure. You’ll never know until your up front and honest. If you go have sex with someone else you will be adding to your problem.

  4. I feel as though he is resenting you. All of the specifics are not here, but…how long have you not been bringing an income into the house? Have you never and him becoming a workaholic to pay massive bills that you help accrue? Perhaps his escape is the video games? Perhaps he wants to disgust you into not wanting him and leaving him yourself because he would feel massive guilt for making a disabled person with no income have to make it on their own?
    Cheating is never an option. And you want him to pay your way until you get your own money just to drop him after he has worked so hard? I honestly think it is his guilt of resenting you, and him feeling as though you are putting forth no effort making him how he is. I am sorry, but if you are able to date/go find someone else to sleep with, then I think you can go get a job through the many, many programs out there for the disabled. If it is a physical ailment that you just can’t work with, then you should have had disability a long time ago, then mabey he would be so dragged down with the misery of working all the time. I could be wrong, but I don’t feel this is all his fault.

  5. OMG. Are you kidding? It is never okay to cheat. EVER. And the fact that you are contemplating it just shows you have no respect for yourself or him. So what if he doesn’t want to have sex. There is so much more to a relationship than sex. And from reading your post, you come across as a selfish and self centered person anyway and quite honestly, that’s not a turn on. Maybe he doesn’t have a low sex drive, maybe he’s just not turned on by you. Your shifting all the blame to him when your responsible for the relationship as well. Your one of those people who can’t admit fault without casting blame elsewhere. i.e, yes I cheated but HE made me do it. Get over yourself, get a job and take care of yourself.

  6. Cheating is never okay. Never. Its not (just) about what you would be doing to him, its what you would be doing to yourself. Cheating is compromising your moral self so deeply. This guy will hopefully be your past soon, and the last thing you want to take with you into your new-found freedom is always having to justify a sleazy exit strategy. And when you love and trust someone else in the future, don’t you want to be able to say that you’ve never cheated? That you were strong and held onto yourself when your partner ceased to respect you? Even if only you ever know, this relationship does not seem worth losing a piece of yourself over. Sexual fasting might be unpleasant but its not the end of the world. Maybe the frustration will help motivate you to escape!

  7. Is he by chance under or overweight? Diabetes can cause lose of sex drive and so could thyroid disorders. They could also explain the personality change. This probably sounds mundane but I would try to bring it up one last time.

  8. I think he needs more help than you do. He sounds depressed and I’m guessing the other behaviours are stress-related. His overworking could be the cause of this and so is there any way he can cut his hours so have some down-time? Then he would be more likely to want to do stuff with you on his days off. Just an idea.
    Alternatively, his over-working could be a symptom of bigger underlying issues in your relationship and he’s unconsciously using work/videogames etc as an ‘escape’ to avoid confronting the problem.
    Maybe there’s hope for your relationship if you still love one another. Couples counselling is an option but you both have to be invested in making the effort.
    Sleeping with other people is your choice but I can only see how that would tear you further away from him rather than making things tolerable.
    I wish you both luck and hope you can cone to some resolution.

  9. I can’t speak about the other qualities you’ve talked about, but as someone with a low sex drive and who doesn’t get physical pleasure from any type of sex (masturbation, oral, intercourse), this is something I worry about all the time. Will I one day start telling him I don’t want to have sex? I worry that he will cheat because I don’t particularly care for it, so reading this was terrible.

    I don’t really thing there is a justification for cheating. It’s not like you’re never going to find someone after him, so you should be able to wait.

  10. Stop asking what other people think of you and do some thinking about what you think of yourself (metathinking?).

    I’ve been in position similar to yours except that while unable to work (permanent disability), I found myself staying in a relationship with someone I actually respected but with whom I was no longer in love. I stayed longer than I should have because of the financial security. When the love is gone, there’s a huge power imbalance in such a relationship and it was taking a toll on both of us.

    She was shocked (and relieved) the day I told her that I didn’t deserve to be a second class partner and that she deserved to be free to look for someone with whom she was more compatible.

    Physical disability, “financially handicapped,” it did not matter – I was selling myself short and giving away my power.

    Yeah it was rough for a while but I found that the biggest change was that not only did I regain her respect, I regained my self-respect. Apparently I was so busy feeling trapped that I didn’t notice that I was losing sight of my own worth.

    Good luck.

  11. I second what Johnny says and you might start questioning if your man is even straight at all. I have never heard of a straight guy this uninterested even with “low sex drive”.

  12. You don’t have sex or do anything coupley together. He is not your boyfriend and your are not his girlfriend. He is your slob room mate. Therefore, sleeping with someone else is not cheating. Have at it. That doesn’t make you a terrible person.

    However, mooching off him until you get disability does make you a terrible person. And sleeping with someone else while you do makes you an extra terrible person.

    Yeah, he sounds selfish and shitty, but he’s not holding you prisoner. You could walk whenever you want. Rather than blame him – which won’t help your much-overdue, post-breakup personal growth – accept the fact that you have no one to blame but yourself here. You haven’t been satisfied in YEARS, if ever. What are you still doing there? Waiting for your disability check to come in?

  13. Um.. Anon, she said workaholic, not alcoholic. Nonetheless, this guy obviously doesn’t give a crap about your relationship or you. He seems to have issues that aren’t going to get better unless he gets help and that’s not likely. If he’s been unwilling to even try to bring some level of satisfaction to your relationship then I would move out immediately. You’ve spent way too much time with him already.

    Can you not stay with a family member until you get disability?

    Misery isn’t worth it. I say it’s worth a good riddence speech too if he has the gall to ask why you’re breaking up with him.

  14. Low sex drive doesn’t *really* sound like the problem here. If it were, I would say talk to him about an open relationship (and thus get his permission, sidestepping the cheating issue). But that’s not really the problem – the problem is that he’s immature, disgusting, alcoholic and is clearly demonstrating that he doesn’t care about you.

    How long until you get disability?
    -If it’s a long time, then I would say dump him now. Money will be shit, but honestly, he doesn’t seem worth another second of your time.
    -If it’s soon, I’d say wait it out – and then celebrate getting your first disability check with an angry ‘fuck you’ speech followed by a massive orgy. (well, really I’d say fuck the money and DTMFA now, the money just doesn’t seem worth it).

    He sounds like a piece of shit, and even though I can’t morally condone cheating, if anyone deserves it it’s this guy…

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