toby green & associates
relationship solutions

go to about us
go to need advice
go to my books
go to my articles
go to FAQ
go to Body & Soul Q
Submit "Q&A" Question
go to home go to contact us

Toby Green publishes articles in the Body and Soul segment of major National Metropolitan Newspapers each Sunday. Read her latest articles here.

Professional infidelity - June 1 2008

Childhood sweethearts, Donna and Mark married at 21 and 22, had three children and knew they’d grow old together.

Donna and Mark attributed their success to their vow to never stop sharing what was on their minds. Lots of their friend’s marriage failures were attributable to infidelity. Donna checked regularly with Mark about his level of satisfaction with their sex life. He assured her she was all he ever wanted. She assured him that was good because she’d walk away if he ever decided otherwise. If he was even thinking of straying he should have the courage to be honest and respect her right to make her own decision. That was agreed.

Except Mark didn’t think massage parlors and brothels were ‘cheating’ or acts of infidelity. Donna’s discovery catapulted them into my office.

I’m not sure what was worse, Donna’s pain or Marks pain about Donna’s pain. Donna’s sobs were about how disappointed she was in herself. She swore she wouldn’t be one of those ‘head in the sand’ wives who lacked enough self respect to walk away from bad treatment. ‘What was the matter with her?’ The matter with her was how much she loved Mark. And also how obviously Mark loved her.

Mark said he had no defense. Children and his job had absorbed his energy and he began to feel empty. When he felt horny, the anonymity of faceless, nameless sex fulfilled a laziness he’d fallen into. It was done to him. He didn’t have to do anything.

I asked if he could stop. He said he knew he could. It was like he’d fallen into a bad habit. I asked if Donna fulfilled him. He said more than anyone ever had. I asked if the women he paid were fulfilling something Donna couldn’t. He said no it was better with Donna because there were feelings involved. Crazily enough it was the opposite, the attraction of no feeling, no exertion, that had been the allure of distant, remote, feelingless sex. Now having realized he’d betrayed and hurt Donna he wanted nothing more than to re-connect with her and love her more intimately than ever. The fact that she was so hurt put him back in touch with how much she loved him.

Donna realized Mark had stepped over her boundaries. She had to forgive herself for wanting to stay committed to Mark rather than a commitment she made to herself that she now couldn’t act on. However Mark trusted himself he’d never do it again. She and Mark had an opportunity for a new start. But there wouldn’t be any second chances.

Q. Do massage parlors and brothels count as infidelity?

A. Yes. Even passive sex with another partner without the knowledge or consent from a spouse is infidelity. Here’s my hierarchy of infidelity and the levels of difficulty for the partner.

  1. Some women categorize perving on other women and porn, infidelity. Least difficult to depersonalize and get over.
  2. Brothels and massage parlors. Still removed from having an emotional attachment. Often makes a partner feel sexually inadequate.
  3. One night stands. This sexual partner is real, not a piece of tabloid or paid professional. It’s more personal and harder to accept.
  4. An affair, sex with another person more than once. This is a clear choice of one specific person. It’s personal and there’s an assumed emotional attachment.
  5. She’s the love/passion of his life but he wants to stay married. If he and his wife want to salvage the marriage, she’s going to have to settle for her husband making two commitments. One, that he’ll commit to her and second, he breaks all ties with the other woman. For a while she’ll be living with her husband who will still be in love with and pining for another woman. She’ll have to wait until the two commitments bring back his love for her. This is extremely difficult. However, a surprising number of couples master this with completely successful outcomes. Their marriages going forward bare no resemblance to the one they had previously.

In any infidelity the outcome has to do with the betrayed person’s ability to integrate and include what happened. With therapy all of the above relationships are salvageable.

The golden rule of relationships:

how to snap out of it

Ever had trouble with



your partner,

Forgiving your parents,

Living the life you
have always dreamt of?

Then you will enjoy Toby Green's NEW book a collection of profound insights to life that Toby has drawn on from her own experiences.
find out more...

go to

Truth & consequences, Sunday, July 20, 2008.

Stan had an affair. Alice had always said if she ever found out her husband was cheating there’d be nothing to talk about, he’d be out. But that isn’t what happened. First of all Stan wasn’t through with the affair and wasn’t sure he wanted his marriage. ‘Out’ meant he was free to move in with the other woman. So it was Stan who made the decision and left.
go to full article

  top of page