Sexual Intimacy After an Affair

sexual intimacyLet’s talk about restoring sexual intimacy in a marriage after there’s been an affair.

It’s quite obvious that an extramarital affair always has a huge impact on a couple’s sex life, and from what we’ve experienced and learned from others is that it can go in either one of two ways…

The first way is when sex is incredible after an affair.   It actually can be better than ever. The problem in this scenario is that typically the sex is motivated by this intense pain, and usually the betrayed spouse – whether the betrayed person is the husband or the wife – is trying to prove their sense of masculinity or their sense of femininity. They’re comparing themselves to the other person. They’re wondering if they’re sexy or desirable.  Obviously sex is a good thing –  unless it’s motivated by pain.

The other, more common way is that the betrayed spouse becomes so repulsed about their spouse’s unfaithfulness that they visualize their spouse having sex with that other person. They get the visual images in their head and those images get stuck in their brain.  And since our thoughts are such powerful things, the betrayed often thinks about whether they feel sexy, whether they feel desirable, whether they feel loved and whether they feel safe.  These mental thoughts and images have a huge impact on a person’s ability to relax and engage. So for many couples, the thought of reengaging sexually is a really big problem.

The Purpose of Sex…

Sex is so much more than just the physical act of making love. Certainly there is the procreation aspect, but sex is also a way to provide comfort and express love. It’s a way to connect on a really deep level, which enhances intimacy for a couple. It’s a way to feel close emotionally. Sex builds self-esteem. It builds a sense of masculinity for the husband and it builds a sense of femininity for the wife. Sex is a way to please your partner. Sex is a way to relax. It’s a way to de-stress. Sex is a way to reconcile. It’s a way to come back together after a fight –  you know…”make-up sex.” Sex is a way to feel sexual and attractive.

We’re all sexual beings, and we all kind of want to know that we’ve got it going on, sexually. And so engaging in a healthy sex life with your spouse satisfies that need. It’s a way to express attraction. It’s a powerful tie that binds, and it promotes closeness.

The bottom line is that it’s hard to imagine a time in a couple’s life when all of these things would be more critical than after the devastation of an affair has hit and the couple wants to try to rebuild.

If ever there was stress, this is the time we need to de-stress. If ever there was a need for comfort, this is the time. If ever there was a time to express love – especially from the one that had the affair to the one that’s been betrayed, because they feel so unloved; if ever there was a time to build up self-esteem, this is the time.

Just to be clear…if you are like the majority of people where the betrayed spouse feels grossed out by the fact that their spouse has been with somebody else and repulsed at the thought of reengaging sexually, well, we’re not saying go out and reengage in that state of mind just for the sake of having sex.  Sexual intimacy should always be an act of love that helps to build the relationship and so neither spouse should ever feel violated when reengaging sexually.  Rather, what we are saying is that you want to consider moving away from a mindset where you feel that you have to be completely healed from the affair before you can even consider sexual intimacy at all.

Sex after an affair doesn’t mean forgiveness…

For those who are having great sex after the affair, one of the things that sometimes holds a couple back is a misconception that if you reengage sexually that means forgiveness has taken place. The misconception that everything is peachy and you’re all good now.  That will obviously hinder a couple from reengaging.

So, it needs to be understood that just because – you’re healing from an affair and that’s your desire and just because you engage sexually with your spouse, that doesn’t mean healing has taken place. That doesn’t mean forgiveness has taken place. That doesn’t mean you’re all good. That doesn’t even mean that you’re staying. You’re married. You’re allowed to have sex if you want to.  It’s okay. That doesn’t exempt you from the healing process and if you think that it does then that’s going to end up not happening.

Now, we’ve heard various other experts on affair recovery recommend that couples don’t reengage sexually too soon, because it can somehow be damaging in the long run.  Our thought is that everyone is different and we don’t think you shouuld pigeonhole couples one way or the other.  The important thing to understand is that you get to make your own decisions.

You’re the only one who’s going to live with the outcome of the choices that you make after the affair.  Not us or your counselor, or somebody who wrote a book; only you. So, we recommend that you get all the information that you can, and at the end of the day, the most important thing is that you make your own decisions about what’s right for you.

We’d be interested to hear your thoughts on reengaging in sexual intimacy after an affair.  What were your experiences and what did you learn from them?

Click here if you want to be more able to embrace a new kind of sexuality with your partner that is based on meeting the deepest desires of the other, authenticity, vulnerability, and, of course, passion.

 

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51 Responses to Sexual Intimacy After an Affair

  1. exercisegrace April 1, 2014 at 11:19 am #

    Sadly, I never got to experience “hysterical bonding”. I fell more squarely into the repulsed category. It made worse by the fact that we both had never been with anyone else. Thirty years together. Happy, faithful and proud of the fact we waited for each other. The loss of this has been devastating for us BOTH.

    He had ended the affair a year and a half before I found out, so in that respect it was a bit easier to resume our sex life quicker than I might have otherwise. There was also never a time we weren’t having regular sex, so I just had to come to terms with that fact. I wasn’t going to give up my sex life along with everything else I felt I had lost. I also instinctively knew that if I withheld sex, it would not be healthy for either of us. Even though it was painful and at times I cried, it did help hold us together.

  2. EyesOpened April 1, 2014 at 4:38 pm #

    As the female CS, reconnecting with my h sexually has been the most difficult part, since a great deal of the problems in our pre-affair marriage were of a sexual nature. I have found it impossible to connect physically, whilst things are not 100% emotionally. It’s a viscous circle. all the while I’m conscious it should be him being turned off by my behaviour – not the other way around !

    • Craigslistloveaffair April 12, 2014 at 1:49 pm #

      EyesOpened,

      I am in the same situation as you. I had an affair. Somehow I am the one not feeling any intimacy towards my husband and I have also become the “victim” when it should be him. I’d love to connect with you and talk, if possible.

  3. Paula April 4, 2014 at 3:25 pm #

    We always had an amazing sex life. Close, totally connected and wild. And we had the hysterical bonding for over two years. It. Was. Incredible. But I think we both knew what was driving it. He did. And I knew I was “competing.” Then, the switch was thrown. I completely lost the urge, any sexual sensation whatsoever. But, conversely, I ache so badly with the loss. I suffer the mind movies something wicked. He is my only sexual partner, I trusted him to do ANYTHING! And that was after I had been violently raped by a friend of a friend that I knew quite well and trusted, around six months before I met him. Because of the diseases we contracted, and the invasive treatments I have endured these past four plus years, there is even more sexual baggage. I ache, physically, with this deep loss. Almost three years since an o, of ANY description. Absolutely agonising. And the worst thing is, he says (and because of their past, I actually believe him) their sex was incredibly disappointing, and I am the only person he has ever had the intensity with.

  4. allayfig222 April 4, 2014 at 10:37 pm #

    My situation is a little different. My H’s 18 month affair with his old girlfriend was by facebook, text, email and, especially, telephone. They never met during that time, but their emails had sexual references. I resumed sexual contact within a week of finding out about their affair. It was clearly motivated by pain and a sense of competition (he was still picturing her in his head as she looked 40 years ago, when they last had sex). My therapist says I was “marking my territory”, which makes sense to me. I truly believe that if I had waited to reconnect sexually until I was certain they were no longer speaking (they continued for another 7 weeks despite his promises), then I might never have resumed relations–and who would that have benefited–certainly not me!

    • Doug April 5, 2014 at 10:47 am #

      Allayfig222, Thanks for sharing…I found your statement to be interesting…“I truly believe that if I had waited to reconnect sexually until I was certain they were no longer speaking (they continued for another 7 weeks despite his promises), then I might never have resumed relations…”

      Why do you think that could possibly have been the case? Just curious. Thanks!

      • allayfig222 April 9, 2014 at 9:19 pm #

        Hi Doug, I think my immediate feelings were hurt, disbelief and a sense of competition with the OW. As the weeks went by and I began to process what happened more rationally, I became increasingly angry. If I had waited beyond the first week or two to resume intimacy, I am sure my anger would have led me to {punish” him by denying sex.

        • Doug April 10, 2014 at 6:57 am #

          I understand…and that makes perfect sense. Thanks for the explanation.

  5. chiffchaff April 5, 2014 at 8:57 am #

    In the immediate aftermath I was desperate to reconnect & tried so hard to interest my h I truly undermined my self esteem as he wasnt there mentally or physically. He would say the most callous things. Eventually we got to a healthier place after he’d finally come out of the fog. Sex is v good now, 2.5yrs later, which is great for both of us but I still struggle with competitive thoughts. The ow was petite, pretty, long hair, made up, a trollope… sorry.. but I still feel inadequate. This centres not on the sex but on the fact that my h still cannot kiss me other thsn in a peck sort of way. No snogging, passionate kissing, he’ll close his mouth and stop. He wont talk about it. I long for a passionate kiss. Means more than the sex to me. I wonder if it’s the last vestige of his guilt or something. It makes me sad more than I think he understands.

    • Doug April 5, 2014 at 10:51 am #

      Good to hear from you Chiff! How’s it going in your new home and job?

      I’m thinking his not wanting to kiss much is guilt related also. I know he won’t talk about it, but is there a chance that perhaps he feels that long, passionate kissing is something that is a trigger for you in some way?

  6. Strengthrequired April 6, 2014 at 7:50 pm #

    Can I just ask, those of you that experienced the hysterical bonding when the ea first came to light, do you look back on it and wonder wth got into you? At times when I look back, I feel sick, I feel like in some way I degraded myself. If you understand what I mean, it’s like even though I was the wife, and I wasn’t doing anything wrong in having relations with my h, but the truth is, I feel like I should not have had to work so hard to win my h affections, like honestly at the beginning I was initiating everything, and it was as if he was just non existent for several weeks, as if it was one sided. I know I was working hard at trying to prove my love for him. It was like it was what we needed to find ourselves again, yet I struggle coming to terms with trying to understand why I just didn’t completely turn off him.
    Maybe deep down I knew that the more we connected, bonded intimately, the ow would eventually be not so significant, and the chance of her actually getting the physical side of him would be even more closer to zero, than if I hadn’t been the pursuer. Maybe it was my way, as it was noted above, of marking my territory. The more I marked what was mine, the less chance she had at taking what didn’t belong to her.
    Yet that’s just it, now I feel like I degraded my worth. For goodness sake, how did I not degrade myself, here he was sneaking around behind my back with this ow, even once he moved back home, declaring I was what he wanted, and I kept on making my presence known, marking my territory. I guess I’m confused at my behaviour, I thought I would have left if he ever cheated, yet I didn’t, instead it felt like when I look back that I rewarded him with extra love and attention, while I suffered.

    Just wondering does anyone else feel something similar in thoughts, when it comes to your experiences with hysterical bonding, do you wonder why you didn’t go the other way and just be just turned off.

    • Andrea August 12, 2017 at 9:02 am #

      My husband had a 4 year affair, and I still don’t trust him, because he still treats me like a sister, and is not intimate. He still avoids any closeness, except for a friendly kiss each day. He got caught after I hired a PI. We are both 70 years old, in a 49 year marriage, and I feel very alone. We never do anything together, he’s busy all day, golf, gym,mow ect..Have discussed this at least 20x with him, and I get no love connection.

      • Shifting Impressions August 12, 2017 at 2:26 pm #

        Andrea, I am so sorry you are going through this. I’m 64 years old and married for 44 years, so I have some idea where you are coming from. For me, D-day was two weeks before our fortieth wedding anniversary .

        Were the two of you able to work through the affair?? Did he show true remorse etc. Do you think he understands how much pain he caused you? If not, do you think this could be part of the disconnect??

        I know a number of friends that are struggling with the whole “retirement thing” even if there was no affair. Could that be part of the problem??

        The book HOLD ME TIGHT by Sue Johnson really addresses the whole connection thing. I found it really helpful.

        I also recently read IT TAKES ONE TO TANGO BY Winifred M Reilly and it really shifted some of my thinking, in a good way.

        Are you doing anything to take care of you???

  7. Rachel April 6, 2014 at 10:56 pm #

    Oh boy strength !!! I know just what you are saying!!!!!
    I threw myself at him and he took me while still in touch with the other woman.
    But then he said he didn’t want me. Yikes what was I thinking??
    What gets me thru is my daily giggle that the other women didn’t leave her husband for him. And now he wants me back. NOT!

  8. Strengthrequired April 7, 2014 at 2:37 am #

    Rachel,
    Before I found this site, I actually thought there was something wrong with me for being so accommodating towards my h, instead of backing off and declaring my newly found single status. Then I found here, I knew that all those feelings, the wants etc, I was experiencing most of the other bs were feeling the same and doing very similar.
    I guess I hadn’t felt more alone than what I had been feeling more than any other time in my life until this happened, it was actually a relief to realise that although I felt alone, there were other bs that had already experience, or going through at the same time, or just started their journey into the darkness, just as I had been walking through it.
    I’m just surprised that it bothers me even more now about my experience with the hysterical bonding.
    I’m sorry you feel the same, yet I know it must be worse on you knowing you are now divorced, and you gave yourself to your h hoping that he would see what he truly had right in front of him (just like I did with my h) hoping he will wake up. Yet you know Rachel, your exh h was just.a fool leaving you and treating you so terribly. He didn’t deserve you, you deserved so much better.

  9. Rachel April 7, 2014 at 8:03 am #

    Thank you strength . I have actually found better. I am with a wonderful man who treats me like the lady that I am. He is the nicest man that I have ever met. He too went thru the same thing as I . Actually twice with his wife of 27 years. He took her back because he to believed in his vows. The second time she would not go for help and wanted a divorce. Now she wants to be his friend. He wants nothing to do with her.
    My ex is a lost soul I’ve been told by people who see him around town. But you know what, these cheaters should have thought of it before they start the first meeting text email.
    F him. I hope he’s miserable for the rest of his life. He’s a verbal abussive cheating person. I can’t call him a man because a man would not do this to his family.
    I am so happy now. Life is good. I have fallen in love with the most incredible man. He is my rock. Never ever did I think I could have feelings for someone else. He is a complete opposite of my ex, which is a really good thing.
    Don’t beat yourself up about the hysterical bonding. We all did it for one reason or another. We are good people.
    Take care.

  10. Strengthrequired April 7, 2014 at 9:09 pm #

    Rachel, I know about your new love, and honestly from the bottom of my heart I’m so very happy for you. You deserve this happiness. So does by the sounds of it your new man, my goodness what a charmer his exw is. I wish you both all the happiness in the world.

  11. EyesOpened April 12, 2014 at 6:19 pm #

    Craigslistloveaffair

    So sorry I didn’t see your post previously – sometimes they just don’t appear !

    I really appreciate the members on this site helping me to heal by understanding their feelings and thoughts – and I think it would help others if we shared our difficulties openly – if you’re ok with that? It is anonymous and we don’t have to be too detailed!!! Doug / Linda – where do you suggest we ‘talk’ assuming clla still wants to?

    • Doug April 13, 2014 at 8:09 am #

      EO, Shoot me an email and I’ll give you CLLA’s email address – or if you’re Higher Healing members you can use the private messaging feature.

      • CraigsListLoveAffair April 14, 2014 at 8:36 am #

        Doug,

        That would be great if you could pass my email along. I am going to do some more reading here and try to jump in. I’m also going to check into Higher Healing. Is it something that can help the “betrayer” or the “other woman?”

        • Doug April 14, 2014 at 9:20 am #

          CLLA, I just sent EyesOpened your email address, so you guys can take it from here. The Higher Healing area does have many useful materials for BS though to be honest there is certainly much more that is geared towards the betrayed.

    • CraigsListLoveAffair April 14, 2014 at 8:34 am #

      EO,

      Thanks for responding. I really do need to jump in on some of these forums I’ve been reading from. My affair ended five weeks ago. My heart is empty and I’m trying to figure out how to feel again. I don’t know if this is the correct location to go into the details of my situation.

      But, along the lines of the sexual intimacy after affair- my husband and I finally made love on Friday night. It had been six weeks. I still can not kiss him, unless it’s a quick one and not on the lips. I feel so guilty because I’m the one that cheated. I shouldn’t be feeling like this. I should be begging him to forgive me. On Friday, I was ok at the beginning of the intimacy. However, about 3/4’s of the way through I had silent tears running down my face. He never found out.

      I really feel like I need to talk about my situation. I am going to start a blog, but I’d really like some people to talk back and forth with and try to make sense of some of this. Is there a certain spot here that I should go?

      Thanks,
      CLLA

  12. gizfield April 14, 2014 at 10:28 am #

    Craigslist, I think you csn get a lot of help here but it won’t be easy for you. but who said anything worthwhile has to be easy , right? Sounds like you mostly want to be in contact with other cheaters, like EO. She has made wonderful progress. If I were her, I’d be cautious when communicating with other cheaters privately because sometimes that leads to a backslide for the more recovered person. I saw that at the few AA meetings I went to. It was like recovery consisted of reminiscing about drinking, and drinking “vicariously” through someone else’s experiences. For example, if CL speaks positively of her affair partner or affair, it might influence EO to think more positively as well. Which is something she absolutely does not want, I’m sure.

  13. gizfield April 14, 2014 at 10:40 am #

    And craigslist and EO, I’m not saying corresponding privately is bad or necessarily will lead to backsliding but I do think it’s a possibility. CL, youve given a few indicators that you are still missing your “love” affair so you might be in danger of cheating again. We have seen it happen millions of times , seemingly, on here.

  14. EyesOpened April 14, 2014 at 5:14 pm #

    Thanks Gizfield. I promise there’ll be no sliding here :-).

    CLLA : 6 weeks out is absolutely nothing. There are so many things I’ve learned that I will try to share but I won’t be able to cover them all…

    1) Coming to this site really helps you to understand your h’s pain – whilst you are experiencing some of the hardest emotions of your own. It’s hard to see and feel your partners pain too through the amazing people who allow us on to this site.

    2) Counselling for yourself is a very good place to start. You will learn so much about yourself and why you got to where you are.

    3) I know you feel very in love with your ap right now. Making love with your h can actually feel as if you are cheating on your ap .

    4) you are using all your emotional strength not to think thoughts that are in your head ALL the time, not saying the wrong thing, questioning EVERY single thought and emotion you’ve ever felt. It is exhausting.

    5) the ap you have been sharing every thought, feeling, care, worry , hope , joy, fear and secret with is the one and only person you want to turn to.

    6) you will be feeling utterly hopeless, down and tired, as if a truck is on your chest – but you need to be strong and support the person you have just broken into pieces. It won’t feel as if it will ever be possible.

    7) you’ll be wondering how the perfection you achieved with your ap could possibly all have gone so wrong . How did it happen???!

    8) All the plans you made for this exact situation have just crumbled. Where is the guy that promised he’d never give up on you, no matter what?

    9) the habit/addiction of the secret texts and calls leaves a hole so huge it feels like it will never be filled.

    10) On a personal level, my h and I found out through counselling that we both had massive issues. My h used sex to ‘soothe’ himself, and used me to make him feel better all the time. I had over the years ‘allowed him’ to control me, and had lost the ability to stand up for myself, frightened of his angry reactions. He also suffered with depression. The opportunity arose for me to have an affair and the timing created the perfect storm. 18 months on and the man I thought I was in love with, that I’d have left my husband for… Could have been ANYONE, is still married and went to a counselling and SLAA, told me he never loved me and I haven’t spoken to him in a year (we worked together or it would have been. 17 months)!

    The point is – you will feel different in time.

    For a woman, your head has to be in the right place before your heart and body will follow . You need time, and you need a counsellor to explain that to your husband with you .

    It is the most unfair, crappy situation -and the worst of it is, there is only one person you can blame – and it’s yourself.

    But – CLLA – you will look back one day ad be amazed at the fact it’s all behind you . I promise . I’ll help if you’ll let me.

    Bit by bit the sex is returning to my marriage because my h has finally after counselling, learned he has to let me be. It was that simple all along
    But it took months and months of counselling and hard work .

    The intimacy is still hard, because I’m still recovering from all our joint marital mistakes that got us here and the aftermath of an affair – together with low esteem , self doubt, exhaustion, guilt – you name it.. But I honestly believe our lives are getting better day by day – and 18 months ago – i just would not have thought it possible.

    Long – but I hope it provides something hopeful for you . This site is the best place ever. Ask away CLLA. And post here instead of texting him

  15. EyesOpened April 14, 2014 at 5:23 pm #

    Ps – I did the crying in sex thing A LOT. It feels degrading to allow your body to be used to ease the pain that you have created – but not doing it causes rejection. It is so so difficult. Passionate kissing is still difficult for me – but I’m working on it.

    There was a part of me suppressing my ‘wrong feelings ‘ so much, that I felt that if I allowed the. ‘Right feelings’ in with my h, I might allow the wrong feelings about the ap to surface too. Seriously heavy stuff.

    And all the lovely BSs on this site – I do hope the above words give you insight , and do not cause you pain.

    • CraigsListLoveAffair April 14, 2014 at 7:45 pm #

      EO,

      Thank you, thank you, thank you! The above is absolutely how I feel. Some days are better than others, but most of the time I’m struggling to breathe. I was the one that ended the affair- after an intense 13 months. I went to my husband and told him everything that had happened. I didn’t really WANT to do that but I was in so much pain IN the affair and couldn’t stop seeing him. That was 5 weeks ago. I want nothing more than to feel in love with my husband again and make him happy like I used to do so easily. He is wonderful. He is so supportive- which actually makes me feel a little worse because I don’t want to be treated like the victim when I’m the one that betrayed.

      I started seeing a counselor last week. For now it’s just me, but we are talking about marriage counseling as well. I plan to see my counselor weekly, when possible. I do think that will help too. My ‘homework’ for the week was to continue using my inner strength to get up, get dressed and do something that makes me feel better. Right now, those things are yoga or teaching. So, I’m trying to do as much of that as I can. I’m trying so hard to get my AP out of my head.

      I really appreciate you taking the time to write to me. It helps to not feel so alone. I literally felt some pressure lift off my chest. I absolutely do not want to do or say anything that would cause you to slide backwards from your healing.

      I also wanted to say that I’ve been on the betrayed side several times as well. That was years ago, but I still remember how I felt and I can relate to many of the posts by the BS’s too.

  16. gizfield April 14, 2014 at 7:25 pm #

    Yeay, Eyes Opened, glad you are doing so well. I’m kind of a mother hen, especially where former cheaters are involved. Once you get out of it, you are so much better off and happier. I completely LOVE your post.!! Very well thought out, and very personal as well. You are so lucky to no longer harbor any illusions about your affair, to be glad to be free of it.

    I think if there was anything I would add is that one of the biggest piles of baloney I have ever heard is that If your spouse ever sees their former affair partner they will always go running back to them, they will always love them, blah, blah, blah. What hogwash. There is something called “false love” which I believe most affairs are built on, and those feelings can disappear in the blink of an eye.

    • CraigsListLoveAffair April 14, 2014 at 7:54 pm #

      Gizfield,

      I strongly agree with what you are saying. In fact, I don’t know that I ever really loved my AP. I think I loved how he made me feel and the escape he provided me with. I am just now starting to sort out my feelings and emotions.

  17. gizfield April 14, 2014 at 10:54 pm #

    Yeay, for you as well, CL. Wishing you all the best, you sound like a nice lady. My story is that I cheated on my first husband with my high school boyfriend more than 20 years ago. We had an off and on relationship for years, from when I was about 15 til maybe 20. Not really sure when it was anymore. We parted on bad terms, married other people and didnt see or have any contact for about ten years. I never even thought about him. He showed back up the year my father died but we didn’t start sneaking around til a year later , after my mother died. I’ d finally realized my husband was an alcoholic. Very mean. A very low point in my life. And of course he was telling me all the crap I wanted to hear. I knew from before that he was a pathological liar and a cheater but I convinced myself he had changed. We had an affair for about a year, I think, he got a girlfriend and we stopped. Then, about a year later it started up again. The first time he was single but the second time he was living with his girlfriend. I guess he hadn’t changed, right? Incredibly, even though he was my first sex partner we really didn’t do much physically. We only slept together once, at the very end of the affair. It’s like it was just over for me after that.

    I guess we all have things that we are especially ashamed of. one of mine was that I went to their trailer and had sex with him (the only time) the night his girlfriend was at the hospital after having their baby. I am totally disgusted by this even after 23 years, or however long it has been now. That night was horrible,.and the next day any “love” I felt for him all those years just disappeared. I’m happy to say I never cheated again, it was such a disgusting experience. I never truly understood how I could let this happen. It’s like I did not even like him, he treated me like shit, but I was “in love ” with him. One day I read an article on here about “limerence”, or false love. I believe this is exactly what happened to me. There is a really excellent book called “Love and Limerence” by Dr. Dorothy Tennov which explains all this in detail. I finally understood this relationship after all those years. The book is available on Amazon Kindle for about $10 I think.

  18. EyesOpened April 15, 2014 at 1:23 am #

    Doug and Linda. Soooo sorry!!! Why do some posts just not show?! I refresh my phone and more posts appear but not all? It looks as though I’m ignoring you.

    Thank you for the email too. If it doesn’t offend, I’m going to remain here on the forum – as my h and I share our email, and I’m not sure if he’d want to be presented with every detail in his inbox!

    I do hope that’s ok – but if anyone at all feels uncomfortable with an open discussion between CSs – please say and I’ll stop. My hope is, that knowing some CS inner thoughts will help others in the way that learning BS’s thoughts has helped me so much.

    • Doug April 15, 2014 at 6:50 am #

      Due to some hosting issues, we had to utilize a service that has a cache feature to it. The result is that sometimes, you will be served a page/post/etc that is cached (saved) and not necessarily an updated version of that page. So all you have to do is refresh the page and the most recent version will appear. I know it’s a pain in the ass and I hate it, but it beats getting the site shut down for excessive use of server resources.

      Trust me, we all welcome discussions and comments from CS. It helps people to get that side of things. Like SR said, it might be hard for some BS to read, but helpful nonetheless.

  19. Strengthrequired April 15, 2014 at 2:28 am #

    Eyeso, I don’t see why it would be a problem you and other cs having a discussion here. We are all recovering, not just the bs.
    It may be hard for the bs to hear, but I’m sure some of what the bs say can be just as hard and uncomfortable for the cs to hear. We the bs get to hear about and learn from what goes on in the mind of a cs, and the cs get to hear about and learn from what goes through the mind of a bs. Win win all round I say.

  20. EyesOpened April 15, 2014 at 11:11 am #

    Thanks Doug and SR and Gizfield for the cheering !!

    CLLA – you are already a better person than me because you confessed. I was found out. Twice! (Same AP).

    I am sure your h is a good , kind and supportive person , but something was going on in your life that meant you were open to an affair. Do you know what it was yet ? If not, it will become clear in counselling.

    My h remembers me saying ‘I’m going to make you so happy’ when he discovered the affair and I was in full blown survival mode. What I didn’t know then, is that I can’t ‘make my h happy ‘ – it was something I’d been failing to do for years – but both he and I thought I could!! In counselling we discovered ways for him to find his own contentment in life – not always lean on me. He was supportive and kind at the outset but until the issues were tackled, we were unable to begin healing properly – and that has only really happened fairly recently .

    Another thing is – and my memory could be altering the truth here – but like you, I knew in my heart that my AP and I would not work together and that whatever we had was unlikely to be real love. However, the more attention given to the affair (his wife, him , my husband, my work, our friends and family), the bigger the whole drama became. I actually grew to love the fantasy memory more AFTER the affair than during the affair itself. A bit like when someone dies, you start focusing in on just the good memories. I still feel to this day – if I’d been ignored by him and his family from dday – I may well have questioned whether what we’d had was ‘real or important’. But the fact was, his wife’s actions elevated me to a level of importance in their lives that convinced me I meant something to him (emailing me, telling our colleagues, writing warning letters to my husband of other men she was convinced I’d become involved with -I hadn’t btw, hitting me in front of people at an event). Don’t get me wrong – I hold myself responsible for her anger, and in her situation I’d have been 100 times worse BUT the point is – because I mattered so much to HER, I decided that I mattered more to him than I actually thought I did when I was with him! Not sure if that makes sense?

    It’s a long way round of saying – write down how you feel right now , in the moment about your AP- but write down all the niggles too – you’ll come to realise (eventually), that if you remove your h from the picture and you and your AP could actually be together – Would he rub your feet/clear up after you/ organise the bills/ sit with the kids whilst the struggled with homework etc etc? I know you will answer ‘yes’ to this – but somewhere inside you know when reality hit – he’d probably be a pain in the ass ! And then you would be starting all over again.

    Anyway – I’m rambling now. It’s therapeutic to be able to look back with utter clarity now – and I know you’ll be doing the same one day. I’m sure you’re JUST starting to learn that your story is the same as all the others – that was the moment reality started to kick in for me. I wasn’t special, he wasn’t special ‘we were just another pin-in-the-haystack’ affair couple that pulled peoples lives to pieces around us.

    I know all this is just words to you right now – and the other thing I know is … If you learn about you and your marriage – even if you are single and on a desert island in 2 years from now – your AP will be the last person you’d turn to. You can’t comprehend that now – but you will. Honestly. Huge huge hugs to you.

    • CraigslistLoveAffair April 17, 2014 at 2:26 pm #

      EO,

      Thanks for sharing your experience and thoughts with me. I did confess, but I didn’t confess because I wanted to. I confessed because the A was killing me. Probably literally. I was so sad, not sleeping, sick all day, not eating, crying all of the time, not cooking or cleaning, forgetting things, not even remembering errands I’d ran. It was putting quite the toll on my health- both emotionally and physically. I tried to break it off with my AP many times. He tried to break if off as well. But, for whatever reason we were simply not able to walk away from one another. So, I told my H. I knew that would blow everything up and I would be forced to stop this destructive behavior. I feel like a coward that I wasn’t able to walk away myself.

      My situation started out very odd. My husband and I had decided we were going to open our marriage up to one other person, for each of us. We (H and I) were happy, content and thought we’d spice things up a little and let each other feel those butterfly feelings again. WORST decision ever. I met my AP right away. He was looking for someone to have an affair with- his wife would not know. We got pretty intense right off the bat. Neither of us ever said we planned to leave our spouses or that we would ever be more than what we were. He didn’t promise me the world. I didn’t promise him the world. But, as the time passed we began to feel quite deeply for one another. I don’t know what the appropriate amount of detail is, so I’ll leave it at that just to be safe.

      Long story short, my husband began to worry that we were falling in love with one another and he asked me to stop talking to my AP and to definitely not see him ever again. I told him I had stopped, but I was still seeing my AP several times a week and we were as in it as ever before. That went on for 4 months before I confessed six weeks ago.

      There is soooooo much more to this so I’m sorry if it doesn’t make a lot of sense. At this point, I’m still struggling to breathe. I think about the hurt I’ve caused and I’m trying to figure out how to move forward. My AP’s wife has never contacted me, but she did call my husband and asked for some details. I have heard nothing from AP or his wife since Dday. I have not reached out at all either. My husband threatened AP pretty violently, over email, so it’s not likely AP will reach out to me ever again.

      I’m waiting for the day that I feel just a little bit better. I’m waiting for the day that I don’t think about AP right when I wake up and all day long after that. I just want to forget about it and feel good in my marriage again. I know that’s way too much to ask, but I’m just being honest and getting a little bit off my chest.

      Thanks again for the support and for allowing me to vent a little bit. Hugs to you as well.

    • CraigslistLoveAffair April 17, 2014 at 2:33 pm #

      EO,

      I also wanted to comment on the part about my AP not being the one for me in the long run. I already know that to be true. I knew that to be true all along, but I still couldn’t stop feeling like I needed him. One time I was able to sit down and list 50, yes- truly 50, things I disliked about my AP and why he would never make me happy. It took me all of 10 minutes. But, like I said, for some reason I felt addicted to him.

      Some of the things he did during our A made me lose a lot of respect for him. (I’m sure I shouldn’t have respected him at all- nor should I have been respected) I kept thinking to myself that I would have been crushed if I was his wife and found out the stuff he was doing/saying… and truly not even caring. He is not someone I’d want to share my life with. Now I just have to get my heart where my head is. I’m one of those very emotional people. I love deeply…. even my friends. It’s definitely one of my weaknesses, but it makes me, ME, I guess.

  21. gizfield April 17, 2014 at 2:44 pm #

    Wow, Craigslist, that is quite a story. I’ve been exact ly where you are, at least in the aspect of someone inferior having some kind of addictive control over me. Probably more than once, unfortunately. If you have a Kindle, research limerence, or false love, or addictive love. There are a lot of good resources there. We are here to help you, please remember that.

    • CraigslistLoveAffair April 17, 2014 at 3:06 pm #

      gizfield- I don’t mean to talk poorly about my AP. Aside from cheating on his wife (multiple times, from what I gather- just not physical until me), he is a good guy. Just not my type of guy. I could list the reasons, but it would bore everyone. I will just say that he’s not even half the man my husband is. He isn’t capable of that- he’s too arrogant to ever put anyone before himself and his desires. There were many reasons I liked him. He was my best friend…. which made it even worse.

      I have read about limerence. I think it was in the book “When Good People Have Affairs.” I do not know what my feelings are for him or what they were for him. I’m still trying to sort all of that out. I’m guessing I will find it was limerence… because I didn’t even know him all that well. Only what he wanted me to know, basically.

      I don’t feel like he led me on. Even though we never told each other that we were going to leave our marriages he would say things that led me to believe he wanted to. I started counseling back in September- when my marriage was struggling because of the “open” thing we were trying. I remember going from my counseling to my AP and telling him how it went. I remember telling him that she told me I needed to let go of him because he wasn’t mine to have and that people in affairs never end up happy together in the end. His reply? “Well, we will just march into her office in the future when we are together. And very happy.” Things like that all of the time…. I think that sort of thing made me feel like I liked him more and more.

      I don’t know. It’s such a mess. I am so sorry for the pain I caused. I don’t even know what pain I caused on his end. I have no idea how any of the pieces fell there. I am sick when I’m in public because I’m so nervous to run into him or his wife. I’m so ashamed of how I let this little fantasy be fed so much and grow into such a big thing.

      Thanks for the support. Being on the BS side of things in the past, I know that there is a huge need for support there. But, now that I’m on the side of CS I see how support could be needed there too.

  22. gizfield April 17, 2014 at 3:22 pm #

    CraigsliSt, rule number one. You are not talking bad about someone when you are telling the truth about their actions. From what you say, he says one thing and does another. These serial cheaters, which he is, have manipulation and telling you what you want to hear down to a science. I would not be surprised to find hes moved on to his next affair, truthfully. My affair partner cheated on everyone he was ever with, was a pathological liar, and would promise you anything as long as he was sure he would never actually have to do it. they are masters, seriously.

    • forcryin'outloud April 17, 2014 at 8:49 pm #

      Giz you need to put this on t-shirts and sell them. It’s the honest truth!

      “You are not talking bad about someone when you are telling the truth about their actions.”

  23. EyesOpened April 18, 2014 at 5:03 am #

    CLLA : What a difficult situation ! It’s not often, but I’m lost for words.

    My guess is, owing to the facts above , that the sex with the OM was stratospheric with all of the fantasy and you and your h ‘s chemistry is just not on the same level right now.

    I’m boring myself by repeating it but I really do think LOTS of counselling is the key here, to discover what it is that both you and your h are seeking.

    It sounds positive for the future to me because you love your h and recognise the good in him and I think one day, you will ‘feel’ that those are the important things in life. What you need to know is you absolutely WILL get there – but you need to allow yourself time and you need to get your h to allow you time too.

    I think you might find similar stories to yours on Daily Strength – but to me, yours is a new situation and so complicated. Although your feelings are the same as all CS’s. What I’m wondering is how aligned your h’s feeling to most BSs, given that he kind of agreed the first ‘bit’?

    • CLLA April 18, 2014 at 10:30 am #

      EO,

      Believe it or not, sex with the OM was not good at all. Borderline terrible. But, I wasn’t really looking for sex as much as I was looking for affection, I think. As time progressed, I found the sex to be more satisfying. The quality of the sex was still very up satisfying, but because we were getting more emotionally attached. It was now a way to feel very close to one another instead of purely sex. If that makes sense? For the OM it was always great.

      Thankfully my h is allowing me the time I need. The first 8ish years of our marriage I had to forgive and forget over and over…. So he might feel he owes it to me? I’m not sure, but he definitely is supportive. We had sex again last night. It was the second time since Dday. Still couldn’t kiss him. Still thought of the OM. But, I didn’t cry until after we were done this time. I think that’s improvement.

      I am still in counseling, but wasn’t able to get in this week. So my second appt is for this Tuesday. I’m really looking forward to it. I think a HUGE part of my desire for an affair was because of my low self esteem and only feeling good about myself if others make me feel good about myself. Even though I’m attractive, smart, etc…. I still have always suffered from low self esteem. One of my goals is to find ways to feel good about myself without any help from other people.

      I do feel more and more clear with each passing day. Some days I feel like I took a few steps backwards but then a few days later I feel back on track again. I’m starting to feel a bit annoyed that everyone is hurting except the OM. Well, I guess I don’t know he’s not hurting, but I just picture him all content at home as everyone else suffers.

      • Mary October 1, 2017 at 6:52 am #

        I got into an affair online. It was during a bad part of my life. I suffered from depression and low self esteem from childhood sexual abuse. Anyway an old coworker started flirting with me online and I fell for it. I never loved him. But he made me feel special. It lasted almost two years with physical sex happening three times. The sex wasn’t good at all. In fact the last time it took 20 minutes for the pain to go away. In person he wasn’t the great guy I thought he was. Even though the sex sucked we fed each other kudos on it. He bragged how good he was and I went along for the texting. Anyway when I got caught it was my text messages to AP that killed my husband. He never got over it. No matter how much I tell him he is so much better those text messages are in his head. We had sex within a week of D-Day and he has been competing with the other man ever since. He went to the gym….our sex life is beyond great. I’ve never had so many orgasms in my life….on day I had 20. I was exhausted. It’s cooled down now to five or six orgasms but he still thinks the other man was great and is still competing. I guess I will never convince him….it’s been three years.

  24. gizfield April 18, 2014 at 9:35 am #

    Thanks! FCOL about the t-shirt idea. I could use a Second Income Stream, lol.

  25. gizfield April 18, 2014 at 9:38 am #

    My husband would say stuff like “you are making me look bad” if I mentioned the stuff he did. I said “no, you are making YOURSELF look bad by doing the things in the first place”. Get real, buddy.

  26. EyesOpened April 18, 2014 at 5:25 pm #

    CLLA – was your h the one who betrayed you initially?

    • CLLA April 18, 2014 at 6:13 pm #

      EO,

      Yes. But it was many years ago. We’ve been married for 12 years. I think it’s been a solid five years since he’s strayed at all- was on and off the other years. A lot of his ‘cheating’ was just for the thrill, I guess. Very rarely physical. But, yes, it was him initially.

  27. EyesOpened April 19, 2014 at 4:42 pm #

    Wow CLLA – what a history!

    My counsellor discovered that I’d have to ‘paper over the cracks’ as a child – smile whenever my father got angry and ignore the scary, tense atmosphere of the bullying that was about to take place. I was abused by my grandfather, my parents divorced and my mum is controlling . My coping mechanism was to make everyone smile, feel good about themselves and do whatever it took to make the world feel good around me – always putting my own needs and wants last of all. If I made someone else happy, I was content. The problems came when I ‘couldn’t make my husband happy’ – but met someone else who appeared happy just being in my company . He was meeting my deepest need. After all the ‘work’ I’ve done in myself, I’m actually not nearly as nice as I used to be. – but I’m happier inside and more true to myself.

    If it doesn’t sound too rude, your marriage sounds incredibly complicated and dare I say it – broken?! It sounds as if you BOTH need to get to the roots of what is driving this behaviour from BOTH you and your h.

    It’s difficult to feel sympathy for your h, who has betrayed you previously , then have given you permission to get intimate with others. What do YOU want CLLA? Do you really want monogamy or excitement ? Doug and Linda recently wrote about permitted adultery – there may be more resources there?

    What is exceptionally clear ‘from the outside’ is that your ap is just not right for you, and you are in a very toxic place with him . I’m so glad you’ve been strong enough to end it – today is the beginning of the rest of your life CLLA – and it’s going to get immensely better from now on. Not easy. Harder in fact. But better. I’m sure of that . I’m so sorry for the pain you’re in – it makes it so hard to think.
    Keep strong.

  28. Sarah September 19, 2016 at 2:00 pm #

    My situation is a little bit different. My boyfriend and I had what myself and everyone else considered the “perfect” relationship- for almost 2 years. That doesn’t mean we didn’t have problems or issues from time to time- we did. But I believed we addressed them. Then boom: he has an unexpected 2 month long affair. Afterwards, there was a great deal of turbulance, hurt, anger, and personal growth for each of us…and working through contributing factors which had culminated in the affair. Afterwards, we managed to maintain a somewhat regular, and at times intensely passionate, sex life. We continue to work through various issues surrounding the affair, but the predominate issue at this time- 2+ years after the affair, is my sexual desire (or lack thereof), for my boyfriend. I can be insanely aroused, and anticipating sex- and then he touches me, and all sexual desire is gone. I no longer want sex at all. I do find him incredibly attractive, so it’s not simply a matter of attraction. Unlike many, I also don’t have images of him engaged in sexual acts with the other woman when this happens. Its just that all of my sexual desire spontaneously and without reason disappears. Anyone else have this type of experience after having survived the initial sexual complication following an affair?

  29. RomanceLoses2Blane January 2, 2017 at 2:12 pm #

    I hate to say i feel my situation is different – i would feel so much better in a “support” group if i felt i had much in common with the group. I feel, 23 months from D-Day, that i should be farther along, especially after therapy has helped with communication and other issues we have had. But my wife was a bit of an introvert, not the biggest sexual history, and i too was not the most open when it came to sex. We both brought many resentments into our marriage, many of which had nothing to do with us. But we dated for 3 years and were very happy. Rarely fought. Respected one another. Loved one another. I did not have the most self-esteem, but i was and always will be a diehard romantic. My wife still says this is why she fell in love with me.
    Dating, we grew more comfortable sexually with ourselves, but as we got married, amd had children, our sex love grew bland. She did not feel good about her body post-partum, and struggled. I never looked away, and tried to tell her how beautiful she was.

    When she could not believe it, it hurt, but therapy ten years ago told me she had to feel it for herself, when she was ready. My wife was never comfortable kissing me beneath the neck, not being kissed anywhere lower than the neck. I was patient, would never pressure her to do anything she did not want to. But i would bring up every 5 years or so that i would love to share any oral exchange with her. But left itvat that.

    So when she found herself, the introvert, reaching out to keep in contact with her boss of 5 years as he got promoted, it seemed a bolder version of her. When they talked of doing shots together, my wife who had not done so since we were single changed again. And when he sexted her that he wanted to do things to her at work, and have her do things to him – things that she had not been interested nor comfortable doing to or with me – and she found herself turned on and texting him that yes, she wanted him to take her, and she wanted to kiss him everywhere, in much less pg verbage, she broke my heart.

    It was only sexting. But it was an affair. It only lasted a few weeks, but it was he who stopped it, not her. 10 months later, they were only happy holiday texts, but she reached out to him because she could not gdt him off her mind.

    So, he was ten years younger than me. Her ex-boss. Had more in common with her than me. I am attractive for my age, but i cannot compete with youth. Full hair. Sexual stamina. And i cannot let go of the fact that her desire for him was more than it ever was for me in our 20+ years of marriage, proven in her boldness, comfort in textinf sexually, and desire to do things never before shared with me. Now she wants to share those things with me, but as we sought therapy ten years ago when she first felt no desire for me sexually, no desire to find out why it was gone, and felt life would be great if could just hold every night – it seems too little, too late.

    So, how does one who has always been there, never pushed a lady to where she was not comfortable, and always waited patiently for her to come around – how does he not feel he has always lost out to her fantasies of actors, bad boys, and shades of gray – which she finally made a reality in her boss. I feel her love for me. I see her remorse and what my pain has done to her. But i also feel love will never be enough. My outlook on life has changed. The good guy may get the girl, but he does not keep her, not in the face of sexual desire. And that is what is supposed to separate married couples from friends. But how do you recover that desire, as long as you feel she loves you and will do anything for you? Include settling in terms of sexuality, and will do things with you that she truly desired with those that motivated her to new heights, new feelings of “being alive”? I cannot see it.

  30. LostInSF June 9, 2017 at 7:40 pm #

    I’m going to keep this short and sweet. 1) b/c I’m at work and 2) I’m actually really tired of talking, much less thinking, of “our affair”.

    My details: Married 11 years, known each other for 12. 2 kids. Wife started an affair about 3 years ago during a period where I lost my job then went through a period of depression (nice). AP is someone I know which makes my blood boil that much more; his kid goes to our kid’s school and so I occasionally see him. I have emailed/talked face-to-face with him, at times with anger and other times in a civil way. Do not wish to speak or even see him anymore, though. Wife ended affair after my discovery, but did talk to him 1 or 2x. Has gone through grieving the loss which, on the one hand, I am empathetic towards and, on the other, really cannot tolerate it. Where’s my empathy?!

    We have slowly restored some intimacy, mostly closeness/togetherness. Things like sitting on the sofa and watching a movie, she with her legs on my lap and snuggling. Or me lightly scratching her back, which she likes alot, while snuggling/spooning in bed. We hug/hold each other. Those moments are nice.

    But she does not want to kiss. Has reminded me that she has never liked kissing all that much, especially really passionate/”make out” type kisses. But even right now, soft/somewhat quick kisses are too much for her. And sex is out of the question. I’m a patient man. I understand that we need to find the friendship and closeness again, I really do. But this is making me bonkers. I can’t stand to lie in bed, softly stroking my wife’s back, and not want her. She loves me, cares for me very much, but said in the days after D-day that she did not love me as her husband and did not have any sexual feelings towards me. She has said that she needs time to process, needs some space to figure things out as she goes through her own counseling (she has said that she will go to see a MC with me soon), that what she experienced was sort of a mid-life crisis (she is approaching 50 soon), and that she needs to figure out what the next chapter of her life will look like. The great thing is that she is using alot of “we” statements rather than some of the “I ” statements I remembered (and was puzzled hearing) in the 2 years or so before D-day, things like “when we retire” or “where we live”, etc.

    Our sex life for the first half of our marriage was very good. Once the kids were toddlers it began to suffer a little, mostly out of sheer exhaustion. More recently, peri-menopause has been the culprit. To be young and not have any issues in the bedroom! Ugh. She had complained about some things we had done sexually that weren’t working for her, things which I have vowed we would change b/c I love and respect her and want her to feel both comfortable and like she’s getting what she needs. But I have needs, too; I have my own “love language” that needs to be spoken. I have been always treated her with sweetness and respect, what many guys in her past could not/would not provide. And yet I’m the one who is punished for that. Totally lost on that count.

    Anyone have any thoughts here? We are sort-of on the road to intimacy, which is really nice, but I feel like I’m high school again; we’re not even heavy petting, and I feel like a 15 year old with a boner and not knowing what to do with it. This is my wife, partner and friend of 12 years — I should not have to even think about this. I do want her to come to me when she is ready, b/c it’s the only way that I will know that she truly wants to reignite our relationship, but I didn’t say it wasn’t maddening!

    And RomanceLoses2Blane: I feel for you, man. Good luck with your wife. My strategy? Be the man she fell for. Keep it light. Have fun. Remind her of why she chose you and no one else (and vice versa). That’s been my M.O.

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