My Husband Will Not Look At Me During Sex After His Affair

By: Katie Lersch:  It’s not uncommon for sex to be a bit of a struggle after one partner discovers that the other has cheated or had an affair.  Some couples stop having sex altogether for a while.  Others carry on, but struggle.  Still others find that although the sex is occurring, it feels drastically altered or changed. Sometimes, it just doesn’t feel as intimate or as authentic.

Here’s an example of one wife’s explanation.  She might explain that her husband avoids eye contact and the sort of sweet, intimate contact that is part of the sexual act itself.  She might say: “I found out that my husband cheated on me about five weeks ago.  It took me an entire month to decide to have sex with him again.  I made that decision after he agreed to counseling and after I decided that I would at least try to save our marriage.  The sex is not always as bad as I feared that it would be.  But one thing really bothers me about it.  My husband does not look at me when we have it.  He puts his head at my shoulder level.  Or he closes his eyes. We used to look into each others’ eyes.  To me, this was as enjoyable as the sex itself because it was very loving and intimate.  But now, he avoids that.  I’ve even gone so far as to turn his face toward me, but he will eventually turn away or close his eyes again. This is really bothering me.  It makes me worry that he doesn’t want to look at me because he doesn’t find me attractive, and the only way that he can successfully have sex with me is not to look.  Or I worry that he is fantasizing about the other woman and he is afraid that I will figure it out.  Whatever the reason, him not wanting to look at me when we are having sex is very troubling. Does this mean our sex life is always going to be this way?  Why won’t he look at me?”

Why Eye Contact Might Be Limited Or Nonexistent: There could be many possibilities, but I don’t think that you have to automatically assume the worst ones.  This situation is not uncommon.  Sometimes, it is the faithful spouse who has trouble making eye contact because they are still angry and guarded.  But either spouse can be affected.  Both people know that there is a lot at stake and both people know that their marriage has been damaged.  So being guarded is understandable in these circumstances.

I also suspect that many cheating spouses don’t make eye contact because they are embarrassed and ashamed.  Think about it.  We have all known the child who has done something wrong and who can’t look at you as soon as they come into the house.  They don’t make eye contact because they are guilty and they are afraid that if they make eye contact, you will see right through them.  Even after they are found out, many won’t make eye contact because they are ashamed and they know that you are angry with them.

This May Not Last Forever: Does this mean that your sex life is forever altered?  In my experience, no.  Things are still very fresh right now.  As you begin to heal and as your husband begins to take responsibility and make this right again, his shame may lessen some because he will realize that he is at least trying to redeem himself. As your marriage begins to regain its footing, he may eventually feel as if he has the right to have sex with you (and to look at you during it) again.

Understand that many men in this situation feel that they do not deserve to have sex with their wives.  Sure, they won’t turn it down if they are lucky enough for you to offer it.  They’ll be physically present for it.  But they may not participate as usual because they are sort of walking on eggshells.  They don’t want to do anything wrong.  They don’t want to do anything to make you question them.  And like you, they know that things feel different.

But as you heal, things have a way of stabilizing.  As the intimacy returns to your marriage, it will often return to your sex life.  I’ve always believed that couples who have both an emotionally and a physically satisfying sex life are deeply connected and committed.  Obviously, these two things are going to suffer after one spouse cheats.  But, with healing, these things can recover.  Which means that the sex can recover, too.  And this is when you will likely see him looking into your eyes again during sex.

I know that this is upsetting.  But think about the progress that has been made.  Your husband had agreed to counseling.  You have decided to give this healing thing a try.  Now, you just have to put one foot in front of the other and walk toward progress.  You have to keep doing that until you heal.  You can read more about my own progress on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

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