Many wives ask me what the next steps are to recover sex after an affair, rebuild their marriage, sex life and Intimacy in marriage once infidelity has happened? “how can I ever trust again?” While asking that question seems logical at first, it is the wrong place to start. If you are the victim of infidelity, I feel for you and the pain you are experiencing can be immobilizing and all-consuming. Everything that you built your life on has been pulled out from underneath you. My Prayer is that these tips will help you make an informed decision on what you want, and how to move forward in your marriage.
How to Recover Sex After an Affair
Moving from being emotionally and sexually disconnected after an affair may seem impossible, especially if you are still in intense pain. But if you choose to stay together, for now, working on your sex life will be vital to your healing process.
Maximizing the moments: Sex with your spouse after confessing an affair is likely to be more about emotional and spiritual re-bonding than about the quality of an orgasm. Use this time, nonetheless, to cement your reconnection by focusing on your spouse’s pleasure. The vulnerability that occurs, because everything is out in the open, can actually increase the intensity of passion. Most infidels, after confession, cannot believe how they “messed up” and almost ruined it all; this awareness and sensitivity to what was almost completely lost can actually strengthen the emotional bond between the couple, which can then result in a dynamic sexual connection.
Tips on Reconnecting If Your Spouse Has Cheated
So you’ve been cheated on and it’s finally in the open. You have not, however, walked out on the marriage or sought revenge in the arms of another. You’ve decided to make your marriage work. How can you navigate this ultra-vulnerable time? You may be wondering whether you will ever enjoy sex again with the person who has caused you so much pain. The following ideas might help you through this difficult time.
- Admit your pain: There is no greater disservice you can do to your marriage then to attempt to trivialize the impact of an affair or to downplay it. It is imperative that you articulate your disappointment and hurt. This may involve screaming, crying, journaling, talking to a counselor or even moving out of the bedroom for a while. (Yes, this also applies to husbands). Admittedly, because men are often socialized to hide emotion, this can be particularly challenging for a man who may just choose to clam up. If you are to experience great sex again without feeling victimized, sharing the depth of your pain with your spouse is critical.
- Focus on you: There is a huge temptation after being cheated on to blame yourself—your lack of attractiveness, lack of sexiness and the like. This is particularly true of women. It will take a Herculean effort at this time to reach inside yourself to find the worthwhile, sensual woman who deserves to be loved despite your spouse’s act of indiscretion. For husbands, as well, images of your wife making love to another man can be disconcerting, to say the least. It is critical, therefore, to disassociate yourself sexually from what your spouse did and to refuse to accept blame. It is not your fault that your wife was or is weak and lacked discipline. This will mean deliberately not dwelling on the images that will come to your mind.
- Resist the temptation to compare: Wondering if you are better in bed than your spouse’s lover is likely to be an obsessive thought, but it is actually counter-productive. Studies consistently show that many have affairs while still having great or adequate sex at home. The motivation for an affair usually has little to do with dissatisfaction with married sex and tends more to be linked to life challenges, transitions, depression, a weak moment or feelings of inadequacy. When these thoughts come, as they will, focus on how you can make your love life even better. Dwell on the fact that since you and your spouse have decided to stay together, this must mean something in terms of how you feel about one another.
- Redefine to reconnect: The emotions experienced after your spouse has confessed an affair can be described in terms of grief and loss. You are likely to feel an overwhelming sadness because your relationship is not what you thought it was. There is admittedly a sense in which your relationship can never be the same again. This is expected and must be embraced as inevitable. If you, your marriage and your sex life are to survive this juncture, it is critical that you seek to redefine your marriage. This involves acceptance of the affair (not approval) as an event of the past which cannot be altered. This process is, of course, a lot easier if your spouse cooperates in these efforts. Your spouse’s cooperation should involve total openness and honesty as well as accountability with respect to whereabouts and friendships. There must now be no more secrets, no lies and absolutely no attempts at deceit. When these conditions are met, the process of charting a new course for your relationship will be a whole lot easier. These factors are also necessary for the process of healing and mutual forgiveness to begin. The result is likely to be improved communication and greater levels of intimacy, which are often precursors to greater sexual passion and intensity.
Intimacy issues should never be put into cookie cutter solutions. They can be as complex as we are as people.
It’s important for any couple dealing with intimacy issues after an affair to realize, and never say, “he has an issue” (of the husband), or “she has an issue” (of the wife). When it comes to intimacy, say “we have an issue.” Because intimacy in marriage is a “we” thing.
It’s important to understand some of the purposes of sex and intimacy. They include:
- To Heal
- To Comfort
- To Reconcile after an argument
- To Build self-esteem (and a sense of masculinity in the husband)
- To Express love in a profound way, when words simply are not enough
- To Connect on a deeper level
- To Relax
- To Please one’s partner
- To Feel sexual or attractive
Many professionals believe it’s important for couples not to reunite sexually after an affair too soon. I disagree. I could not think of a time in a couple’s life when the above list is more crucial than after an affair. The goal, then, is to reconnect sexually as soon as the couple can do so without either party feeling forced or violated.