Hi guys, it’s Dr. Liz and I wanted to share with you an interesting dilemma I was recently ask about. Appears Cindy’s husband and father of their 2 young kids was caught with a receipt for $5 condoms. Cindy says it wasn’t the “economical version” …it was the “good stuff”! To add further insult to potential injury, her husband had a vasectomy in the recent past and so birth control was no longer a concern. Additional insult to injury… she never saw the condom, only the receipt.
Now her mind was wrestling with so many aspects and angles…was he having an affair? If so, with whom? If not or even if…how dare he do that…. he knew money was incredibly tight with the 2 kids! Anger and anxiety flew through her veins as she thought of all the coffees, lunches, manicures and girl’s get-togethers she turned down or avoided to help the family save money…and now he was spending $5 on a condom!?
She quietly searched FB sites and the internet…all signs pointed to an affair…or fetish. Close friends generally had the same thought…he’s cheating! Advice found or offered was to start tracking him via her phone, hire a private investigator, consult with the biggest and badest attorney money could buy. Others asked if he had any close male friends, did they think he was bi-sexual…others questioned her/their sex life…was she meeting his needs post-childbirth…did she need to step up her game to keep him interested…did she need surgery to “tighten” things up?! Others shamed and blamed him for breaking the budget, for him not talking with her…basically being a failure of a man, husband, father and provider. Others quoted their spouses who said –“he’s guilty…he’s having an affair”, other men said “Dude, use your sock…it’s clean and then just toss it in the laundry” …others said “no way, no man uses a condom to masturbate, jack off…that’s an affair behavior…he’s lying. Guys use the shower, no fuss, no mess…interruptions.”
Cindy was a deer in the headlights. Did she confront her husband about the $5 condom receipt? Or start tracking him vi the phone? Or pack up and take the kids to her parents…she could not afford to live on her own as she was a stay at home mom. She felt ashamed and betrayed…not knowing what was the truth. Guilty if she wasn’t meeting his needs…pissed off if he justified his behavior because she wasn’t. Just a turmoil of hurt, anger, fear and confusion.
What would you do if you found yourself in this situation? Start throwing his things into a suitcase and putting it outside the door or on the lawn? Pack you and the kids up and head to the closest relative? Text him and tell him you both needed to talk? Quietly hand him the receipt and ask him to explain?
My advice is to slow down…stop the train. Stop the anger, anxiety…fear. Stop the judgement! Get yourself calm…start thinking and giving the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps there is more to the story than affairs and betrayal. More than breaking the budget. Get quiet and get in touch with your gut. In the end, you may be right in doing the math and coming up with affair or…? But what if it isn’t so simple? What if in the process of the fertility and/or vasectomy procedures your hubby found that he liked the feel or containment of the condom? The privacy…versus being walked in on while in the shower. The smooth sensation versus the terry cloth of the sock?! Who’s to judge? Maybe he’s so busy working and ignoring the true finances that he doesn’t get the impact a $5 condom has on the family budget. But you do as you juggle formula, diapers and home expenses. You’re at home and you know you raise the AC to be bearable, but not break the budget…he might not. Dave Ramsey and Suzi Orman, budget and finance gurus, consistently talk about how the little expenses add up…but not everyone is aware of how much $5 might mean to the overall budget.
Step back, take a breath…really breathe. Clear your mind. Remember what you loved about him…why you committed…agreed to be a wife…a couple…have children. Then draw upon a curious and non-judgmental (best as you can as I know this is super tough) place and just ask about the $5 condom receipt. Let him know you are here – no matter what. Keeping in mind our sexual behavior, needs, wants, fantasies can be filled with rights, wrongs, shame, lust, satisfactions…so your hubby may have a struggle being open with whatever…be patient, be open, be smart…listen to your heart and your gut…
This is a very complex topic…so stay tuned to future posts on other angles and dynamics of the $5 condom.
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Hugs- Dr. Liz