Can Your Sex Life Ever Be Redeemed

If I had to pinpoint one issue of our recovery that was the most difficult to overcome, it would have to have been our sex life. My affair was highly emotional and highly sexual from the start and sharing the details with Samantha was gut wrenching for her. She was the type of spouse that didn't want to know all the intricate details of it all, but wanted to know the general truths about what went on, what we did, what we didn't do, and for how long. My situation was extremely unique as I had to give up specifics to the situation with absolute clarity as there were some individuals coming to corroborate my story the next day.

My affair had been very public, with an unfortunately large audience, and it only added to the shame and embarrassment for both Samantha and myself. If I'm being honest, I would tell you that in many ways my biggest unmet need (which helped to allow the affair) was in fact a lack of affection and attention to my needs and desires as a man and husband. That in no way justifies my affair, but I say that to paint a picture of what a hot button of chaos, anger and resentment sex had become to us during the affair and after.

Time after time, during foreplay or during the initial stages of sexual interaction, Samantha would have a terrible reminder. A reminder to the point of having to get up, go to another room and cry. Initially she didn't want to be held. She didn't want to talk about it and early on, couldn't. All she could do was cry, and we would hold off on sex till another night later in the week. Or, alternatively, she would have the same overwhelming emotional triggers, and then want to have sex just to fight back and attempt to regain our intimacy. A more challenging task in recovery with your spouse, I'm unaware of.

Samantha's journey was even more difficult due to the fact that my affair partner was very voluptuous and the (what I call) 'comparison factor' was immense. She was constantly comparing herself and her body to the affair partner and we had what seemed like hours of conversation about how she didn't need to compare herself to her and that I wanted what I had, not what I didn't have right now in my life. It was difficult for her to understand that my affair was not about her.

It was a monumental task of affirmation and support that was vital to the health of our recovery. I have no problem sharing with you that it was no easy journey through the darkness of the reminders and triggers. But, there was a process and the power many times IS in fact IN the process. We hate that and we don't like it, but there is great truth that what needs to be brought up, is going to be brought up and dealt with: if it fact, you want to heal as a couple and save your sex life.

It is more than merely possible to regain your sex life. Later this week I'll share the tools we used to get through it and get to 'the other side' if you will. For now, I'm honored and humbled to share with you our sex life is in fact, several years later, better than it was BEFORE the affair, and has been for at the very least, four years. Samantha would echo my thoughts and let you know we are more than merely fulfilled, and that our intimacy factor is off the chart both in and out of the bedroom. Our sex life has been transformed by the process we used from Rick, and several other sources, and one of the biggest insight's I've gained is that I had all I ever wanted with me as a spouse, I just had no clue how to unlock it in Samantha. Now, I do and it has changed our lives.

It won't come easy, and it won't be without some emotional carnage at times and it will most certainly not come without a cost of openness on the betrayed spouse, and humility on the unfaithful spouse. But friends, in no uncertain terms, it is well worth the struggle.

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Weeping...

Weeping...

Can't wait

Our sex life doesn't exist. I cannot wait to read the follow-up.

Painful

I can't express the pain... I am right where your wife was...you did exactly what my husband did ...vuluptous women(several). Self image is crippling at best. Not a day goes by several times during the day that i face triggers that remind me i am not attractive on many levels. Lots od people tell em i am pretty but not my husband... Valentines Day is today... This is a painful day... I am going through the healing process alone. Spouse doesnt want to... He just wants to move on and hope we forget and all is over and well.....

Muddy Waters

Once again what a great posting.   I am the betrayed person that is 2 months post D-Day and I grapple with desperately wanting to be intimate with my husband to feeling repulsed to the point of crying quietly alone in the bathroom. I feel as if all of the sanctity is gone from our sexual relationship and that there is nothing special between us. I feel that he willing gave it away to his AP.  I wonder if this will ever change?

His fantasy world demolished my reality

My husband went through a lot of trouble to hide his affair, even when it was plainly obvious. He even went as far as to lie and say he'd been with a hooker when we had an STD scare! His real affair, though...As far as I know it was short-lived... two or three months. And of the two of us (AP and I), I am the better-looking one, smarter (a medical student), and well respected... I was often told I am striking and elegant, even when I was overweight. My husband's AP is very fat, very vapid, quite idiotic despite her formal training in music, and is a vulgar fall-down drunk... in light of her position at our former church, it is rather embarrassing behavior. And yet, I feel thoroughly humiliated by their involvement. As I learned the superficial timeline of their affair, she initiated contact and relentlessly bombarded him with sexual innuendo via phone, e-mail, texting, and chat... knowing her vulgar nature, I don't even wish to imagine what filth she would say to him. He told me that "she was demanding"... and that he was hard pressed to meet those demands, often wishing to make up excuses to not see her. Naturally, with the demands of my own field, I was hardly able to meet my husband's needs, and as I look back on the past few months I could see her influence on his behavior in our couplings. It makes me sick. I recognized that these new things he was doing he had learned with her. Even after D-day, during our reconnection, he was doing these things... I asked him to never do with me what he'd done with her, and he got defensive, saying that was all in a fantasy world, that what is between us is real, and what he does comes from him. Hearing that makes me angry, humiliates me, fills me with despair, and a million other emotions that bring me to nearly break down right then and there. He has been the only man I've known. Whatever experience (or lack thereof) I have is through him... I can never hope to compare to her. He says in their little fantasy world, he told her he loved her, and that he found her beautiful... all the while, as I confronted him during pre-revelation, he looked at me with hate and contempt. Now he says he never loved her, and that he had always loved me and thought me beautiful. I can't accept any of it... it doesn't want to fit into my brain or my heart at all. I feel like a fake, going along with lovemaking for his sake. All the while, I can't help but wonder if I am touching him like she did, or if he wished I would... does he miss her? Is he honest? Was it really just a fantasy? Am I enough? Will I ever break free from the doubt and resentment?

Thank you for your post

NMG, Thank you for your post and for reading my blog. I can only tell you what I’ve learned from talking to so many who have walked down this road before, as well as what I’ve learned in my own journey and from Rick. Much of what you’ve described is totally normal. Though you may clearly be the better fit and right woman for him, it’s the feeling of being pursued that we, the selfish and self-absorbed absolutely LOVE. Some would say we are addicted to the feeling of being wanted and pursued and it’s just not real life to always be pursued. From mortgages, to kids, to sickness, braces to life in general, affairs are a fantasy based world that we get to try and play God in. In marriage, it’s real life and an awareness that neither of us is in total control. We become absolutely blinded to the incredible women we have by the illusion that we’re missing out, or that this woman wants us and so we’d rather be wanted than tolerated. Hence, real life happens and ruins the fantasy we thought we were going to live forever. It really depends on how long ago the affair was if he’s missing her. I’d believe him that he realizes he really didn’t love her, and that it was all a fantasy and not real life as that’s the way it was with my affair partner. I did love her and care for her, but realize now the passion and the intensity of the affair and our sexual activity was based upon lust, immediate pleasure, an escape and the adrenaline attached to the fantasy we were living. It is possible to heal. It is possible to see your sex life redeemed and wonderful. Sadly though, I’d have to say that unless you get the right kind of help and specialized care, I do not think you’ll be able to gain much ground over the reminders, triggers, visions and bitterness. It’s the right kind of help from an infidelity specific medium that I truly believe will help redeem even the worst of situations. You’d be hard pressed to beat out our dysfunction for sure. I would highly suggest the harboring hope course here on the site, as well as perhaps the ems online course or the ems weekend. I believe with all my heart it’s more than possible to see joy and pleasure return to the bedroom, even post affair. Thank you for reading and for posting.

Comparison factor

Hi Samuel,
I could not find the follow up post to this one, as it has been awhile since you originally posted it. I have a few questions. How did Samantha get to the point where she stopped comparing herself to your AP? What made her feel like it was safe to do so, as it seems you liked what your AP looked like? How long did it take her? How long did it take for her to not be triggered during intimate moments? What got her past comparing herself? Did she go through a period when she didn't believe you when you tried to reassure her? If so, what got her to the place where she could believe you? I know it's different for different people based on a lot of other factors that can be in play, but I'd love to hear about those things. I am quite stuck. It has been a little over a year since the full truth came out...15 months since the initial disclosure which was followed by a lot of lies & half truths that really set me back further than if the lies had not been told, I think.
Since you describe your AP as voluptuous, I'm guessing that you wife isn't. I truly hate that word honestly. It comes with a connotation of more desirable. Our culture so applauds women who are voluptuous...and men seem to prefer that...which leaves the rest of us with the message that we come in somewhere farther behind. I come from a background where, from early childhood, I was heavily criticized (and abused in many ways) and my body and outward appearance were always up for negative commentary. Meanwhile, my father had magazines with cars and bikini clad girls and pornography in the house. Based on what I saw and what I was told, I grew up knowing that men prefer voluptuous women, and if they can't get one, they settle for the rest of us, meanwhile fantasizing about ones who are. So, if a man has the opportunity to have a sexual experience with a younger, more voluptuous woman, then he'll enjoy that over the non-voluptous woman, who isn't as young.
My husband looked at pornography since day one of our marriage (to which I was completely clueless), began going to strip clubs 3 years into our marriage (equally as clueless) (at the time of D-Day, we were married 15 yrs), and then had an affair with a girl who was a barely legal teenager 1/2 his age. Of course, all this just reinforces what I've known since I was young. Curvy = more desirable. Younger = more desirable. To make matters worse, in childhood, I was told that to be truly beautiful, a woman needed to have a certain skin color, eye color, and hair color. And of course, the AP had those skin/hair/eye color combo. The trauma from his affair coupled with all of the memories from childhood has set me into PTSD. I constantly compare myself to everyone now. I hate being at home without makeup. I hate showering or being in the bathroom not being fully clothed. Some days I can handle it decently, other days I feel buried about pain and inadequacy. Today is one of the latter. I feel like I am too old, not the right skin/hair type, and certainly not voluptuous. He tells me that none of this matters. He tells me that he likes what I look like. I know he loves me, but I have a really hard time believing him. Yes, he has stayed with me, and I do know he loves me, but I feel like my outward appearance isn't what he really wants. Some days I just want to go dig a hole in the backyard and crawl into it. I really want to talk to a woman who has had this struggle, but then I wonder if we (women) are all just lying to ourselves if we believe that our husbands didn’t physically enjoy/desire voluptuous (gag) women more. At some point in my adult life, I had grown confident in my appearance and who I was. Now, all of that is gone. I seriously wonder if I am ever going to get over this, because I am definitely not getting any younger.

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