why would he do this?
March 4, 2022 10:38 AM   Subscribe

Awkward Viagra question.

My husband bought some generic Viagra from Ro, the online pharmacy, back in December. He does not suffer from ED, he just had too much money in his FSA and needed to spend it on something so he bought contacts and this stuff.

It was a bone of contention (no pun intended) between us for a while. I was worried at first that he was no longer attracted to me and needed the pills to have sex. But the evidence didn't beat that out, we have sex 1-2 times a week without help. He's about ten years older than me (mid 50s I'm mid 40s) and sometimes he has issues with stamina due to age, arthritis, etc, so he thought they might help for that, or that they would be fun to have for "special occasions". I thought this was weird. We had some fights about it. He said that it was none of my business when he chose to take one and that they were for me and me alone.

He keeps them in the bathroom cabinet and I started obsessively counting the pill packs in the mornings after he left for work, convinced he was cheating. But, I started to notice a pattern: every time a pill was missing it lined up with us having sex the night before. So, they WERE for me. I was relieved.

I still kept counting the packs, but not every day.

I realize how crazy and unhinged this is, trust me.

We had a bad fight this weekend that lasted two days (about something dumb that escalated into generic petty run of the mill grievances about division of household duties etc). We resolved the fight. But it was a bad fight and I got paranoid again. I hadn't counted the pills in a while and I did yesterday and found that there were a couple less packs than the last time I checked, but of course, we had been having sex at our usual frequency, so that would explain it. In fact, during a brief detante in our fight this weekend, we had sex. Ok, makes sense.

This morning I counted them again. There are now only 11 packs. We did not have PIV sex last night but I did perform oral sex on him. Notice that even after he came, he was still hard. I've read that that can be a side effect of Viagra.

But now I'm spinning out. I counted several times, looked in a few places in the bathroom where he could have moved them, checked his bedside table. Can't find the missing pack. I checked his coat pockets while he was in the shower. Checked his wallet.

We were cracking each other up yesterday because I wanted to have sex but I have a yoga class at an awkward time in the evening on Wednesdays that kind of demolishes our normal dinner time and evening routine. I was sweaty from class and was hungry and didn't have time to shower so decided to wait till this morning to shower. Felt too grody to have sex though I had initially planned to do so before going to class. He said "don't worry, tomorrow is another day!"

Didn't check the pill packs last night after class. Did give him that blow job.

This mornin there are only 11 packs.

Three explanations I can think of:

1) He took some yesterday before I went to Pilates assuming we'd be having sex last night. That would explain the fact that he was still hard after ejaculating.

2) He took a pack to work today so he could take some at the end of the day and "be ready" for me.

3) He took a pack to work because he's fucking someone else. But given that up till now the disappearing packs have lined up with my sexual activity with him, did he just find someone to fuck yesterday? Or has this been going on for a while and I've just been assuming our sex at home lines up with the disappearing packs? Did our bad fight contribute to this?

We have been together for 12 years. He cheated on his first wife a lot but they were in an unhappy marriage, she was emotionally abusive, and she was cheating too (she's now married to one of her affair partners). I always worried that once a cheater always a cheater but he's never given me reason to worry before and I chalked the infidelity in his first marriage up to them being deeply unhappy.

What the hell do I do? I don't want to confront him because there are two innocuous explanations for the missing pill pack and also in January when I was furious about him even buying the Viagra when he doesn't have ED he finally got to a point where he said if I kept policing him about it we'd have to have a serious talk about my trust issues because they were affecting our marriage. If I bring it up I'll have to confess I've been counting the packs.

I just wish he hadn't bought the damn pills to begin with. FSA be damned.

Help, I feel completely unhinged. I even texted a work colleague of his who I am friends with to ask her if she had noticed anything to suggest he is cheating and she assured me she doesn't think that is the case at all as he rarely leaves his office. (Before you jump to the thought that she might be the one sleeping with him - she's gay and has been married to her wife for nearly a decade.). She offered to go out for drinks with me on Monday for a girls' night bc she could tell how distraught I was. She also said she'd keep an eye on anything suspicious at work and swore she wouldn't tell him I reached out. She's been cheated on too in the past and she knows how discombobulating this suspicion can be.

Just... help. Am I overreacting? Am I being paranoid (YES, OBVS). Should I confront him even though it could result in learning that he is NOT cheating but I'd have to reveal my snooping in his meds which I promised to stop doing?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (41 answers total)
He may have given some to a friend.
posted by Iteki at 10:46 AM on March 4, 2022 [8 favorites]

Hey there, I am really sorry you're feeling like this, but the pills aren't the problem you're trying to get to the bottom of, it's communication and trust with your partner. You're not being paranoid because there is a trust gap, and he's not being unreasonable. He's trying to understand how you're expressing how you feel about trust in the relationship.

You need to resolve this, and confrontation isn't going to do it. It's ok to talk to him and tell him how you are feeling, that you don't like feeling this way, and you'd like his help and understanding of how you're feeling.

At the end of this, there is a big honest conversation that's going to be bi-directional, and it's probably going to take both of you some thinking about it that will be tough.

I wish you the best of luck.
posted by iamabot at 10:47 AM on March 4, 2022 [42 favorites]

I’m not really qualified to answer what might be going on in your relationship (which seems as though it’s about much more than Viagra), but please please don’t discuss this with his work colleagues. It’s a gross breach of privacy, and jeopardising his work situation surely isn’t in anyone’s interests.
posted by JJZByBffqU at 10:48 AM on March 4, 2022 [78 favorites]

I think you know the answer to the question "am I paranoid", you've even said that you know it is.

I suspect that maybe you should be asking yourself a different question - which is "why am I REALLY paranoid".

You say that you were worried when he bought this stuff at first - but I was wondering why that bothered you until you said "he was unfaithful with his first wife" and I realized "ohhhhhh". So - I'm wondering if maybe you've all this time been uneasy about "will he ever cheat on me," and this is just the thing that finally kicked up that fear up enough for it to become a Whole Big Thing for you.

So I would not confront him about this - instead, I would have a good long think about what you really, really feel about him having cheated on his first wife, and ask yourself whether you have ever been worried that he would do the same to you. You may realize that "actually, yeah, that's always been something I've been nervous about," then I would have a long talk with him about that - "so, I know I was weird about the pills, but I've realized that that's because I still have some stuff to work through on my own about your last wife and stuff."

And then you do need to work through that. Maybe with his help, maybe with a therapist - but this is not really about the pills, I don't think. This is about you feeling insecure about the relationship, and your job now is to try to figure out why you feel that way.

Good luck.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:50 AM on March 4, 2022 [17 favorites]

I'm sorry, was this prescribed to him? If he doesn't have ED and it wasn't prescribed to him it is wild to me that he's just going around taking dick pills with side effects and contraindications unmonitored for...fun? Recreational Viagra?

I think it's a reasonable question from a wife to her partner to ask why are you taking prescription drugs you don't need.

*Illicitly sneaking into my edit window to say I honestly don't know if people take recreational dick pills, maybe they do, you do you, but in my world medication is something you share with the person you're married to. For emergency information if nothing else. Completely aside from the cheating/other concerns.
posted by phunniemee at 10:50 AM on March 4, 2022 [4 favorites]

Ok, this is a lot. You are spinning out a whole story with nothing to support it and surveiling your spouse to boot.

You need a therapist for yourself right away. Someone who can help you understand what is triggering this fear. Are there real problems with him? With you both? Or is it about something unaddressed that you need help with? A third party, not one of your friends, is the best person to help you see things more clearly.

Stop monitoring your husband, it's not helping you and it's a gross thing to do to him.
posted by emjaybee at 10:56 AM on March 4, 2022 [75 favorites]

This is a much bigger issue that you need to find healthier ways to obtain some chill about, but from the people I know who have actually discussed their recreational viagra use (yes, it's a thing, people who own them often love their dingdangs and dingdang playtime) with me, they also used it for masturbation.

He may also be using it whenever he thinks sex with you is a possibility. Chances are there are sometimes lost opportunities.

Not that it's a great idea to take blood pressure meds randomly without a doctor's supervision, but it's worth noting that some people who enjoy using viagra also report enjoying the full-body sensations that come from messing with your blood pressure. He may just like the way it feels.

I think you need to come clean about your surveillance, ask him to explain the situation to you, then have him hide the pills so you stop monitoring them, and then talk to your therapist about it.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:59 AM on March 4, 2022 [10 favorites]

This seems like it has a very straightforward explanation - your husband enjoys taking viagra before having sex. He may prefer how it feels, or it may eliminate performance anxiety, or it may be tied to some kind of kink. Counting the pills is not likely to get you useful info for many reasons that other answers have outlined. Confronting him about this will communicate to him that you do not respect his bodily autonomy and privacy.

You're smart and you know him well - any information about the external world you need, you already have. Now is the time to gather information about your internal world. What kind of tools do you usually rely on for that? This is a good opportunity to get to know your subconscious. If you have a therapist, this is a great thing to talk to them about, but I find that things that come with this level of emotional intensity can be easiest to learn more about by being alone with myself. Here are two techniques you might consider:

* Existential kink: This works shockingly well, it's pretty "woo" but I think it's quite appropriate for your current situation. Skip to the chapter with the actual meditation and try it out.
* Gendlin focusing: Less woo, I find it a little less effective but still a solid framework.

Once you understand what is driving you to perceive the world in this way, you will be able to decide your course of action with ease.
posted by nevernines at 11:12 AM on March 4, 2022 [2 favorites]

So far I seem to have a different take on this from some others and from you.

Society pushes toxic masculinity such that he may have been embarrassed to admit that he was having trouble keeping an erection. There’s also a lot of doctor fear and doctor avoidance among men, especially older men. Or, as there is an age gap and you said he was having at least some trouble with aging and pain. Or that it’s exactly as he said: he enjoys sex with you and wants to please you and keep up (pun included) and thought it may be fun.

So far, beyond cheating in entirely different circumstances with a different partner, he’s given no indication of a problem. I can understand how this may be uncomfortable, but it’s something you need to resolve with yourself and him, likely through therapy. For example, would you feel this way with any other sex object he wanted to include to help him or you? Would he worry if you wanted to include more lube for dryness and aging? Yes, it’s an Rx, that should go through a doctor. But it’s also a personal and sometimes embarrassing topic. (However I think the Rx was done through telehealth on the website? So unless I’m wrong, a medical professional did prescribe it.)

It’s also extremely invasive and concerning the level of moderation you’re doing here. Maybe he has used it when you thought you would have sex, or for solo time. Like, if my spouse were checking something like that of mine it would be a serious breach. Plus he has asked you to stop.

Then you have involved a coworker of HIS in your anxiety and marriage/sexual problem. You’ve gone behind his back to someone in his professional life and asked her to spy. That’s really not okay. It could affect the friendship AND his career. Honestly, if my spouse did something like that I don’t know if it could be repaired.

This is all to say, while I’m not in your relationship, I don’t see evidence that he has done anything related to cheating. On the other hand, whatever issues you are having together or with yourself had pushed boundaries.

You really need to speak to a therapist ASAP. You need to figure out how to control the damage with his co worker, figure out this issues with your spouse, and figure out if this relationship can recover.
posted by Crystalinne at 11:14 AM on March 4, 2022 [53 favorites]

I realize how crazy and unhinged this is, trust me.

DO YOU THOUGH. I know people are saying therapist ASAP and yes, absolutely, but also: Medical doctor. If this all is coming up in a relatively short time frame and is out of character for you, you gotta go rule out some serious physical shit with your own self. You're in your mid-40s which is a prime time for a lot of hormonal/thyroid shit to go haywire and that shit, if unchecked, can make you essentially a stranger to yourself.

In general it is unhelpful to swap genders on questions, but imagine a woman coming on here to say her husband was counting her birth control pills (or diaphragms) or monitoring her periods because he suspected she was trying to get pregnant (or trying not to be) -- we would be telling her to flee in the night with her pets and critical documents, that is the caliber of controlling and abusive fuckery you are employing here.

You have GOT to stop it.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 11:24 AM on March 4, 2022 [92 favorites]

I'm sorry you are experiencing this but you crossed a BIG line by contacting his work colleague. Like HUGE.

He is going to find out. You need to come clean with it all and apologize to his colleague for asking her to monitor your husband.

He may never know about your pill counting but I promise you he will find out from his colleague what you have done. It might be tomorrow or in 5 years or when she decides she's quitting and names names on her way out.

Instead of stopping this behavior you have escalated it to his place of employment. What's next?

Please come clean about this -- maybe in the presence of a therapist. You are living an entirely different reality from your husband.
posted by archimago at 11:33 AM on March 4, 2022 [10 favorites]

It was mentioned above by Iteki but it probably bears repeating. he may have just given it to a friend. When I was 18-ish I bought a bunch of Viagra over the counter in Juarez, Mexico. I ended up giving all of it away bit by bit to various people over the following years. People pass around the Pharmies, it just happens.
posted by Dr. Twist at 11:36 AM on March 4, 2022

You should confront him, either 1. he'll admit he's been cheating (very unlikely in my estimation but who knows) and your relationship will be over or 2. he'll feel betrayed that you've been snooping on him and your relationship will be over.

Either way, your heavy suspicion without much actual evidence suggests that you want to be done with this relationship, just in a way that involves him being at fault. So go ahead and get it over with.
posted by kingdead at 11:46 AM on March 4, 2022 [2 favorites]

I think it's pretty clear the pills aren't the problem. Lots of people take them for recreational purposes. If that's something you really object to, bring it up and talk about it. If not. . . why are you concerned?

If you're counting your partner's pills, the relationship is in serious trouble and you need both couples councling and personal therapy. Your response is not in any way normal or healthy. I'd seriously consider leaving a partner for behaving in the way you have. It's so far out of line it's kind of astonishing you'd tell us about it.
posted by eotvos at 11:59 AM on March 4, 2022 [2 favorites]

Lots of women have the impression--you have the impression from your own wording--that men are a walking hard-on and if they're not, then you're not attractive anymore or they don't find you attractive. As men age, sometimes the fighter doesn't answer the bell for a variety of reasons that have nothing to do with physical attraction. Let's draw out the thread: he's obviously picking up some vibes that you're worried he's not attracted to you because his dick isn't hard, he gets some dick pills to help with that, instead of resolving that, you get even more upset and worried he's cheating on you.

It's not about the dick not working.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 12:22 PM on March 4, 2022 [27 favorites]

I honestly don't know if people take recreational dick pills

I actually did have a friend who took viagara recreationaly, so it is a thing that some people do. He also got it without a prescription and he and his ladyfriend would make a party weekend of it. Sounds exhausting to me, but they definitely found it fun.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 12:30 PM on March 4, 2022 [5 favorites]

People absolutely, absolutely take recreational dick pills, but also, what people commonly don’t understand about Viagra is it’s not just for people who cannot get an erection at all. It’s for people who have some trouble - either staying hard, or not as hard as they want to be, etc. It has nothing to do with his attraction to you, it’s about aging bodies.

Men are ashamed of this. He’s not going to tell you if he has issues.

Viagra also needs to be taken hours in advance. He is likely taking it when he thinks you might have sex. This will not always be accurate.

Stop freaking out.
posted by corb at 12:41 PM on March 4, 2022 [48 favorites]

+1 to the previous post & from an internet rando's perspective, "FSA money is use it or lose it and I was just like, you know...whatever!!!" is the most obvious "I'm a little embarrassed about this" cover of all time
posted by katiec at 12:51 PM on March 4, 2022 [31 favorites]

+1 to everyone saying they know people who use Viagra recreationally - I once heard (sorry, forget source) that most prescriptions are to people *under 40* - no way all of those people have full-on ED. And I agree with the suggestion above that it's quite possible your husband has noticed a physical change recently in how his body is aging, and is perhaps embarrassed about it.

what people commonly don’t understand about Viagra is it’s not just for people who cannot get an erection at all. It’s for people who have some trouble - either staying hard, or not as hard as they want to be, etc. It has nothing to do with his attraction to you, it’s about aging bodies.

Yes, and to add, it's not like Viagra produces magical erections - your husband still has to get aroused (by you!) in order for it to work, the difference is just that this makes it easier for his mental arousal to translate into a physical response, and maintain that response.

So yeah, I am another person who thinks this is a wildly inappropriate response on your part, and if your relationship is otherwise good, you're finding a problem where none exists.
posted by coffeecat at 2:51 PM on March 4, 2022 [5 favorites]

Help, I feel completely unhinged.

Yeah, you do come off that way.

I can't help you with the paranoia, but I do want to make sure one fact doesn't get lost: no matter how hot you are for each other sooner or later he will develop ED. It's a fact of being an aging male.

One way or another you're going to have to accept ED medication as part of your life.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 3:30 PM on March 4, 2022 [4 favorites]

Would it help to reframe what you've labeled "paranoia" as, instead, anxiety?
posted by tivalasvegas at 3:36 PM on March 4, 2022 [1 favorite]

He does not suffer from ED
But it’s very likely he does, though. Men his age tend to and they tend to dislike discussing it. And calling it weird and accusing him of not being attracted to you and fighting with him about it for two days are just some of the reasons men don’t admit this. I have no idea what “only 11 packs” means or why it’s so dire—are you saying it’s one less pill than the times you’ve had sex? And you for some reason assume he only takes it for penetrative sex but not oral sex, or sex that was expected but doesn’t pan out? That doesn’t really make sense to me.

Separate that issue from this one:
I started obsessively counting the pill packs in the mornings after he left for work, convinced he was cheating.
I think this is the real problem. What, aside from the pills, has convinced you of this?
posted by kapers at 5:03 PM on March 4, 2022 [9 favorites]

I think the better question is: why would you do this? You are going about to destroy your marriage. You really are. You seem to have essentially no insight at all, despite throwing around the word "paranoid." I'm sorry to be so blunt, but I would leave you just based on your enlisting my colleague to surveil me or counting my medication to see if I was using it in the manner you thought appropriate. This is the kind of behavior that's barely tolerable in someone in their mid-20s who doesn't get all the implications and lacks perspective on emotional drama; someone with the life experience of being in their mid-40s doing this, especially based on no other evidence, is astounding. Have you ever been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder or something similar?

You need to get help before you end up separated. Unless that's what you actually want, which takes me back to my initial question.
posted by praemunire at 5:09 PM on March 4, 2022 [12 favorites]

I don’t understand why you have connected Viagra with cheating at all. So, maybe this is all really a misunderstanding?

If you weren’t having any sex or you don’t use condoms and he suddenly starting carrying around condoms, I could see where you might be coming from. But Viagra is to assist in erections. You know he was having them with you before and after he got the medication. Why do you think he’d get this in order to go out and have sex elsewhere?

I think some additional education on your part about what it is, as well as potential side effects, is a good plan. And maybe you both have a conversation with his or your doctor to make sure it is safe or things to watch out for. And consider apologizing and calling off the coworker. That’s so inappropriate! Just say, “OMG, I’m so sorry. There was a misunderstanding and please don’t tell him but you don’t need to watch him at all. I’m so embarrassed.”

I hope you’re able to pull back from all this. It sounds like you have really put yourself through something. I agree with those above who suggested that you might have some thinking to do about why you don’t feel secure in this relationship. That feels like something you can work on. And honestly, the viagra thing could totally be a “fun thing” for you guys if you are secure in your connection to each other and feel you understand any risks.
posted by amanda at 5:29 PM on March 4, 2022 [2 favorites]

You are destroying your marriage. If my husband counted something and then texted one of my coworkers to ask if I was cheating (WHAT) we would be very, very close to divorce. This has zero to do with Viagara.
posted by warriorqueen at 5:38 PM on March 4, 2022 [26 favorites]

What makes you think this was the first time he'd bought Viagra? It's perfectly possible he's been taking it for years without you knowing (and that's why you didn't think he suffered from ED). I know guys who have been taking it for many years but their partners aren't aware. Anyway, that's somewhat irrelevant.

For his sake, you should tell him all of the stuff in your message. He may want to leave right now, I know I would.
posted by tillsbury at 6:06 PM on March 4, 2022

If I kept policing him about it we'd have to have a serious talk about my trust issues because they were affecting our marriage. If I bring it up I'll have to confess I've been counting the packs.

Yes. He’s right, it’s time for this conversation. Not saying you’re wrong to be worried or he was wrong to be doing what he did, but it’s time to have the conversation. As a starting point.
posted by Miko at 6:20 PM on March 4, 2022 [1 favorite]


he thought they might help for that, or that they would be fun to have for "special occasions". I thought this was weird.

You're wrong. That's not weird at all.

Plus what everybody else said.
posted by JimN2TAW at 7:13 PM on March 4, 2022 [4 favorites]

I hope you continue reading till here.
I would like to echo the comment earlier about the fact that you should consider that your age is where many women start experiencing peri menopause. It's worth talking to your doctor about this.
Big behaviour change, feeling angry, and feeling anxious. It can feel like you are inhabited by someone else and the urge to do something, anything, to get away from the anxiety and anger can be overwhelming.
The thing is, if you are experiencing this, (not diagnosing you! I have no idea of course ) it's very treatable and may be part of helping you deal with this situation.
So see it as part of the advice to try understand yourself better so that you know what to do next.
posted by Zumbador at 7:21 PM on March 4, 2022 [1 favorite]

I was worried at first that he was no longer attracted to me and needed the pills to have sex. But the evidence didn't beat that out, we have sex 1-2 times a week without help.

You do understand that lots of people who are totally attracted to their partners still sometimes have erectile dysfunction, right? And it's more common with older men? And maybe this is a kind of assurance thing for him, this way he knows he won't have trouble not waits to see if he has trouble (and since it can take a little bit of time to work sometimes that can wreck the mood).

You need to come clean with him, stop counting his pills (encourage him to keep them somewhere you can't access them if you're both on the same team about this) and apologize to his coworker for putting her in the middle of this drama. You two need to have a conversation about your sex life where you can be honest with each other and you could maybe use someone to talk with about this who is appropriate for those kinds of conversations and maybe to help you manage this anxiety.
posted by jessamyn at 7:21 PM on March 4, 2022 [6 favorites]

Echoing on the paranoia and the pill counting, this has to stop.
Also it does sound like you need a bit of sex education. Viagra is commonly prescribed. ED is a very real condition with biological reasons, and is incredibly common in men over 50 . In addition a erection is not a reflection of attraction. Since people can be really attracted and not have one at all, or not have one that achieves goals that person may have in mind. In addition people can sometimes get erections just because with no rhyme or reason because biological processes are just biological processes. Bodies get old. It's very possible something is going on but you just didn't notice.

Recreational use is absolutely done. Not recommended, but people do it. But also these days are plenty of privacy oriented telehealth services to address people being shy about these issues. A quick Google of do I have Erectile Disfunction will inundate with a variety ways to access the medication via phone/zoom/telehealth.

I really don't think having pills for erectile dysfunction is an indication of anything other than your partner doesn't believe that the erections he achieves on his own are good enough in some way or other. It could be that he had gotten so focused on keeping himself erect that he had stopped enjoying being with you because he more focused on keeping himself up. That's not fun, and not the point of sex with another person. It could simply allow him to be more present with you because the medicine works! It would also not be something a someone would just tell their partner (especially their anxious partner).

Absent of other information that may indicate cheating, you really need to focus on you, and your relationship as a whole because people who trust their partners would never engage in this type of behavior, and would likely never question the acquiring of these meds in the first place.
posted by AlexiaSky at 7:41 PM on March 4, 2022 [6 favorites]

Your train of thought here sounds like what happens to me when I'm experiencing intense generalized anxiety about the world: I latch on to one specific familiar worry, and I worry that shit into the ground. I only learned this about myself in the past two years (surprise!), when I found myself absolutely obsessing over the possibility of one specific thing happening for which there was literally no evidence. I KNEW the worry meant nothing, but I would not allow myself to believe it. Sometimes it feels safer to worry. It feels like you're accomplishing something, readying yourself for some terrible potential future.

I think you need to let your partner know what's going on. Not because he needs to prove he isn't cheating. but because he needs to know that you need help. And then you should, as others have suggested, find a therapist and start working to find out why you feel the way you do. I also agree with jessamyn that you need to ask him to put those pills where you can't find them.

If you genuinely feel the above steps aren't enough - that you do need proof he isn't cheating because you truly believe he is, or that he can't be trusted to have Viagra in the house without your constant monitoring - I would wonder why you're in the relationship in the first place. If you don't trust him at that most basic level, what's the point of being married? From what you've written here, though, I think deep-down you know your thinking is irrational.
posted by something something at 8:20 PM on March 4, 2022 [5 favorites]

Do you have a therapist for yourself?

Some of the thought patterns you’re describing sound like one of my friends who’s bipolar when she starts to get manic. She gets really hung up on trust and suspicion and suspects others of elaborate deception and starts looking for clues and proof.
posted by nouvelle-personne at 8:49 PM on March 4, 2022 [1 favorite]

You are having full blown panic meltdowns about this. You are having panic attacks or anxiety attacks or however you want to phrase it. You REALLY need to address this. Like maybe even with pills for yourself. Because it sounds like you went from happy marriage with satisfying sex life to full on thinking he’s cheating on you with zero evidence. Unhinged is often code for “panic attack.” If you don’t have a therapist but do have a doctor please make an appointment and tell them you are having uncontrollable anxiety that is getting very close to ruining your life and you need help managing it ASAP. Because that is true. And communication and trust are hard when anxiety/panic are in the driver’s seat. Which they are.
posted by Bottlecap at 9:24 PM on March 4, 2022 [8 favorites]

I am also a little confused that you think he would want Viagra for cheating but not for you. This doesn't make any sense. If he has no trouble having sex with you, why would he have trouble having sex with someone else? You don't cheat with people you aren't attracted to. Your brain is trying to bullshit you, it's doing word association where everything he does that you don't understand must mean "cheating on me".

As for why he would be doing something you don't understand, his relationship to his body is not the same as your relationship to his body, and you being satisfied doesn't mean he's not self conscious and worried. Maybe he gets it up just fine for you to be happy but not the way he wants to, maybe it takes longer or he's noticing sex is not as comfortable or maybe he's softer than he used to be, maybe those times he's been getting it up "just fine" for the last X months have been in part because he's taking pills. Maybe he heard from a friend that his ED caused a bunch of stress with his wife and he's petrified of how personally you will take it if he has a problem, and so he takes them preventatively to help himself not worry about it. Or maybe it's a "high" like folks are describing and you should talk to him about his blood pressure but nothing else.
posted by Lady Li at 12:05 AM on March 5, 2022 [5 favorites]

"why would he do this?"
He would do this because he's in his fifties, he's beginning to notice some trouble maintaining, and he wants the sex to stay good. Why would you wonder, is the real question.
posted by Don Pepino at 5:01 AM on March 5, 2022 [3 favorites]

You mention a lot of fights (anyway it seems like a lot, especially for middle-aged people.) I wonder if it’s possible you’re really unhappy in the relationship but you can’t accept that and so your mind is manufacturing a bulletproof reason to leave.
posted by kapers at 6:57 AM on March 5, 2022 [3 favorites]

As others have said, your thinking about male sexuality is kind of ignorant. An erection does not equate attraction. I mean, what about a dude who is paralyzed? He can't be attracted to his partner because he can't get a hard on? Makes zero sense. And, for most men, it is a very sensitive and personal issue, not something they would want to share, particularly when your response around the topic is so negative. You seem to want to control him--he can only have sex they way you think he should have sex. If he treated you this way (my wife wants to use lube, and it is insulting to me! If she really wanted me, she wouldn't need it! She should be dripping wet!!!), does it seem any clearer? Aging is almost certainly an issue here, making it all about you is selfish and unkind.

As far as his previous cheating, it doesn't seem like you had trust issues prior to the Viagra episode. In fact, it seems like you are using this as a justification for your controlling and paranoid behavior. But, maybe it is the underlying issue here, only you could know.

I have no idea if you should tell him the extent of what you have done. The texting the co-worker is beyond the pale, and I hope you can repair this situation.

Some people do create impossible situations and catastrophes because it allows them to exit the scene in a hurricane of emotion and distress. This might not be you, but if you want to stay married, I hope you gain some self knowledge to understand why you are behaving in such a damaging way. That you asked the question means something...

Good luck.
posted by rhonzo at 7:45 AM on March 5, 2022 [2 favorites]

He's using up the Viagra without you? He's jerking off with it.

Why is he jerking off? He's giving you space when you are upset.
posted by Jane the Brown at 8:33 AM on March 5, 2022 [3 favorites]

In case a critical mass will help, I'll add my voice to the chorus here: you are wildly out of line, and you need individual therapy immediately.
posted by Ragged Richard at 7:19 AM on March 7, 2022

You mention age in your question. Needing a little assistance by using viagra sometimes happens when someone isn't as young as they used to be - it's normal. Perhaps your concern isn't really about the viagra use itself, but about what it might represent: aging. Maybe consider bringing up in counseling the possibility of anxiety about aging.
posted by SageTrail at 8:12 AM on March 10, 2022

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