I recently heard from a wife who wanted to know the guidelines for marital sex after an affair. Her husband had a short term affair and the two of them had been trying to work on their marriage. The husband had done everything that she had asked, but she needed time to process all of this and to heal. Understandably, she was still dealing with a lot of anger and confusion, although she acknowledged and appreciated all of the effort her husband was putting in.
And, while the couple were trying very hard and making some progress, they certainly weren’t home free yet. But, there was some physical contact and affection. And so the wife was wondering when was the appropriate time was to resume their sex life. Because it had become the big elephant in the room. She said in part “it’s as if neither of us wants to make the first move. I’m not sure I’m ready to have sex again but I know that he wants to. I don’t want him to feel as though I’m rejecting him, but I don’t want it to be a disaster either. I’m so afraid that it will be really bad or he won’t be turned on or I’ll just feel so awkward. How do I handle this?”
Sex can be a huge sticking point after an affair. Because it’s a natural thing between two people who love another. But it can feel so tainted in this situation when you know that your partner has recently been doing it with someone else. It can be very difficult to separate the emotion feelings from the physical ones. And the timing can be so very important. I will discuss this more in the following article.
You Shouldn’t Rush Sex After An Affair: It’s very tempting to want to have sex in the hopes that doing so will make this all better sooner rather than later. The problem with this strategy though is that if it goes wrong or feels strange, people will sometimes take this to mean that the relationship can’t be saved or that the problems or insurmountable when this just may not be true.
Sometimes, the partner who had the affair will pressure the other to have sex because they believe that this physical connection will mean that they are on the road to being forgiven. Other times, the faithful spouse feels compelled to have sex because they want their spouse to know that they really are trying. But, neither of these are valid reasons to rush into something which might hurt more than it helps. The real key is being as honest about it as you can so that there are no misunderstandings. If you still aren’t ready, you can make it clear that you want to show your affection and your efforts in other ways, but this doesn’t mean that you’re rejecting, punishing, or holding out on your spouse.
When You Are Ready To Resume Sex After An Affair, You’ll Generally Know It: I often tell people that there’s really no set time to begin being intimate again. This really does depend upon the couple. Generally speaking, sexual desire and activity resumes once the faithful spouse begins to believe that the cheating spouse truly is remorseful about the affair and that the couple is well on their way back to being happy again.
The emotional usually comes first and the physical then follows. There’s no set time line for this process and you shouldn’t feel badly if you’re just not ready yet. Because generally speaking, you will know when the time is right. And it’s worth waiting until this point. It’s better to be sure and get a good result than to go ahead even when you have doubts and have it turn out to be disappointing.
Restoring Your Sexual Confidence After Your Spouse Has An Affair: I believe that one thing that makes this issue such a loaded one is that the affair can really harm the faithful spouse’s self esteem. The faithful spouse will generally imagine almost unrealistic sex between their spouse and the other person and they will wonder how they can possibly compete. And, they’ll wonder if their spouse still finds them attractive or has fallen out of love with them.
So, with all of these doubts, it can be very difficult to pretend to be confident sexually. That’s why I really do believe it’s important to address your sexual confidence if this is an issue for you. You deserve to feel confident and desired. Your spouses affair wasn’t your decision and it certainly wasn’t your fault. It’s not fair for you to continue to be hurt and harmed. So it only makes sense to do whatever is necessary to restore what has been lost. Make no apologies for getting what you need to live your best life without continuing to look back.
by Katie Lersch