I Still Have Sex With My Cheating Spouse And I’m Ashamed Of That

By: Katie Lersch:  There is often an assumption that as soon as a spouse finds out that the other is cheating, all sexual and romantic contact stops for a very long time.   This DOES sometimes happen.  But it is not the case for every couple.  For some, it is difficult to halt every aspect of your marriage, (especially if you are not sure about the fate of  it going forward.)  However, just because you’re still being intimate, this doesn’t always mean that you feel great about it.  I sometimes hear from people who are a bit embarrassed and ashamed that they are still having sex with a spouse who was unfaithful.

Someone might say: “I’m ashamed to even be saying this out loud, but I am still having sex with the husband who cheated on me.  He claims that he broke off the affair and that he is being faithful now, but I have no way to know if this is one hundred percent true.   Honestly, sometimes I want to have sex with him because I want to feel as if everything is going to be okay.  And when he’s apologizing and we both get so upset, I want for us to both feel better.  However, afterward, I’m a little embarrassed about it and I would never tell my friends.  They assume that we are no longer sleeping together and won’t until we have saved our marriage and until my husband has made this up to me.  The thing is, we haven’t done much to heal our marriage yet.  We’ve been researching counselors, but we have not gone.  My husband has repeatedly apologized, but other than that, not much has changed.  So I know that I probably should not be having sex with him.  I know that theoretically, he deserves to be punished.  And I would be really ashamed if anyone were to know that we were still having sex.  But at this point, I would feel bad to stop since I didn’t stop right away.”

You always have the right to change your mind when it comes to sex and your own body. You are under no obligation to anyone.  It is your body.  And your choice.  Whether or not to have sex (or when) after an affair can be tricky.  My thoughts on it were always that if you can do it with an open heart, can feel good about it, and both people are perfectly willing, then it is probably not hurting anything UNLESS you are using it as a substitute for healing. So often, people will assume that if they are successfully able to resume their sex life, then their marriage is hanging in there, so they can forego important things like counseling and / or self help.  In my experience and observation, this can be a huge mistake.  Glossing over the issues means that one day, they may come back to haunt you and provide stress or trouble.

If you don’t feel good about the sex or if you aren’t 100% sure that your husband is faithful, there is absolutely nothing wrong with taking sex off of the table for now, regardless of what you have done in the past.  You have every right to keep yourself healthy and safe.  And sleeping with someone who could be sleeping with someone else is risky.  So there is nothing wrong with holding off or hitting the pause button until you have complete confidence that he is no longer cheating and that your marriage has healed so that you don’t worry that he will one day cheat again.

These things do take time, which means that some couples do pause their sex life for a while.  Is this ideal?  No, but neither is infidelity.  And it can be confusing and painful to have sex when there is so much doubt and anger.  My rule of thumb was to wait until I was completely comfortable and very much wanted to resume sex because my mind was clear and without doubts.  This did not happen right away.  But I was glad that I did not rush it.  I felt that it was better to wait than to rush and have a bad experience or discomfort that would damage our marriage even more.

If you are ashamed and embarrassed, then this might be a good indication that you might need to reevaluate or at the very least have a very candid conversation with your husband about this to increase your comfort level. I understand being reluctant to have this conversation, as you likely don’t want to disappoint your husband or to experience any awkwardness.  But, I think it’s better to get it out in the open than to continue to experience the shame.  Your husband would likely rather you be honest than continue to feel conflicted about this.  The truth is, in my experience, you can’t continue to have decent sex physically if everything is not okay emotionally.  You need both in order to be able to give and to receive freely.  A spouse who truly cares about your well being would want to know about this and to make any necessary changes so that you can be comfortable and feel good about your joint decisions.  Continuing on without saying anything or making any adjustments is just unnecessary and may cause further damage and resentment.

Resuming my comfort with sex after the affair was a gradual process.  But I’m glad I didn’t push myself.  Because when I was sure, everything really did fall into place and some things even improved.  There’s more about that on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com.

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