As we learn every day from our Facebook group, being a woman over 40 brings its own set of complications, from aging parents to health issues to relationship woes. We’re here to help. Welcome to “WTF Do I Do?,” an advice column where our team of wise, witty, and uber-experienced WWVWD moderators each gives their own special spin in answering your most intimate questions.

To submit an anonymous question, follow the link in the pinned post of our Facebook group.

I am 49, married 26 years, with 2 kids, ages 7 & 5. And…I’ve just fallen hard for a woman. She’s an old classmate, and when we recently reconnected, the chemistry was breathtaking. I thought perhaps it was just me, but she (single, gay) told me she feels the same. We’ve been talking a lot, and went out to dinner once. I haven’t felt this kind of connection with someone, maybe ever. Hubs is a great guy: smart, funny, kind, a good father. But we have no intimacy. We’ve gone 5 years at a time without having sex. We sleep in separate rooms. I’m not really sure what the hell I’m doing now…has anyone else experienced this?

Hillary R: Five years without sex? I’d feel chemistry with a fire hydrant. You need to resolve that issue before you can figure out whether you really have a connection with this particular woman. It might be that you’re just starved for intimacy. Time to talk to your husband about where you are in your marriage, and why you have stopped being intimate. You both deserve to be touched and loved by another human being. Find out whether that will be with one another, or whether it is time to branch out, either in an open marriage or post-divorce. At that point you can figure out if the connection with your former classmate is real.

Tulani B: The first part of your question seems to be about the slow death of a marriage. Most married people have experienced some variation of this, and it’s either signaled the end or they’ve pulled out of the tailspin. The moment you both “agreed” to go without sex for five years, you segued into roommates/co-parents. There could be many reasons this was acceptable, but unless you’re both willing to dig deep to uncover and repair the underlying problems and issues, I’d say your marriage is DOA. 

The second issue is about wanting to start a new relationship. It’s easy to be attracted to someone fresh and new. They’re unburdened by the quotidian banality of making decisions about toilet paper and Netflix choices. It’s exciting and exhilarating and sexy. That it’s with another woman is irrelevant, unless that’s somehow a major point of contention. Where I come from (aka Los Angeles) same-sex relationships are wonderfully common. 

Life is messy and complicated. Kids and marriage make it even more so. I’d suggest dealing with your marriage, and either its evolution to an “open” relationship, or its dissolution, before going further. If you and your husband are okay with opening things up, and you can manage it respectfully, responsibly, and with care for your family, by all means. Otherwise, move on cleanly and honestly before embroiling a third party in your current situation. 

Best of luck and hoping for the best…whatever that might be.

I’m seeing a married man. When we first started out, he was in an open marriage. His wife was the one who encouraged him to go out as she was seeing someone on a regular basis. And I was okay with this set-up — I wasn’t looking for commitment/marriage, I was just looking for intimacy. I broke it off with him because I started to develop deep feelings. After a three-month break, we ended up together again. However, this time around, his wife doesn’t know. They’re supposed to be in a “monogamous” phase of their open marriage. How does that even work?
– Anonymous

Dena G:  2 red flags: 
1. Remember why you broke it off with him the first time? 
2. Now his wife doesn’t know about this 2nd round with you during a “monogamous phase”?
Sounds like one big mind fuck. Get out!

Tulani B: The answer is so much easier than your question suggests. You know what to do. You stop. 

This isn’t about being moralistic about open marriages, which are totally fine if both parties are on board. This is about the inevitable havoc and misery you will cause yourself by continuing a relationship with this man. 

He is being dishonest and asking for your consent and complicity. Remember, we lose them how we found them. Anyone who can so callously reengage in a relationship against the explicit wishes of his wife is not someone who will treat you well. 

The deeper questions are why would you want him back? Why would you want a man who could so easily disregard his partner’s wishes? Why would you want to reestablish an emotional and physical attachment to someone who clearly is comfortable satisfying only himself? Don’t you deserve better?

Jenny D: “How does that even work?” This is one of those moments when you need to ask a better question.

Meet the Mods


Tulani B.

Professional Manager, Mother, Negotiator…purveyor of sardonic optimism with a love for gifs and great conversation.


Jenny D.

Rumi-loving real estate investor with passions for curiosity, stillness, surprise and good stories.


Dena G.

Over-the-top, wise-ass, soon-to-be retired schoolteacher who aspires to count beyond two breaths in her meditation practice.

Hillary R.

A recovering lawyer who has an opinion about almost everything.  And she’s usually right.

The Woolfer Newsletter Team
Stephanie Staal and Nina Collins have worked together and adored each other since 1994 when they were both babies in the world of book publishing. Stephanie is a lawyer, journalist, & author of READING WOMEN, and Nina is the founder of "What Would Virginia Woolf Do?" Hillary Richard is also a lawyer and co-host of the Raging Gracefully podcast. Sidney Morss is a recent NYU grad and the youngest member of our team.

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