Should I Stop Having Sex With My Husband After His Affair?

By: Katie Lersch:  I often hear from women who have no desire to resume sexual relationships with this husband after he has had an affair.  Some are acting out of anger and others want to teach their husband a lesson.  Withholding sex can be a very deliberate decision made as a way to punish the husband for his actions.

I heard from a wife who said: “the idea of having sex with my husband right now is not at all appealing to me.  Because when I think about being intimate with him, I think about him being intimate with her and that is the biggest turn off in the world.   One of my friends has recently gone through this and she has told me that eventually, my desire will return.  She said that I will want to have sex with him again because this is part of the recovery process and it will bring us closer together when we start to reconcile.  Frankly, I have no intention of having sex with him again for a very long time.  I feel like if I withhold sex, he will be truly sorry for what he has done.  My friend says this is not a good idea.  Is she right?  Should I stop having sex with him because he had an affair?”

This is not an answer that I could give to the wife.  This is very individual decision.  However having been through this myself, I do understand that after infidelity, the idea of sex is usually not one that is all that appealing.  Many wives feel pressured to have sex because they worry that if they are not fulfilling this need within my husband, then he’ll just go back to the other woman or find some other woman who will fulfill this need.  I don’t think it’s a good idea to allow yourself to feel pressured to be intimate.  Frankly, the sex isn’t all that good when this happens and usually a lot more resentment will build up as a result.  The wife feels as if she’s only an object and that her feelings don’t matter.  This isn’t good for either spouse.

Why I Don’t Think Withholding Sex For Punishment Is A Good Idea: On the flip side of the coin, many wives will take the opposite approach and will refuse to have sex with their husbands.  While I completely agree that you shouldn’t be intimate unless you want to, withholding this part of your marriage as a means to punish your husband can harm the relationship as much as the affair. Intimacy can be a way to reconnect and to begin to reestablish the trust.  If you hold this aspect of your relationship back or remove it all together, it may delay or thwart your healing and you will probably worry that your husband will remain faithful.  The bottom line for me is that you should allow your feelings and your intuition to be your guide.  You will likely know when the time is right and you shouldn’t  compromise your wishes for anyone else.  You are allowed to move at your own pace.

Have Sex Again When You Are Ready And Know That It’s The Best Thing For Your Relationship If You Are Reconciling:  One of the most common questions that I hear is when is the right time to start resuming sex.  There is no set answer for every couple.  I usually tell people that they will know when the time is right.  Usually, this time comes after healing has begun.  It usually doesn’t happen until the wife begins to see some remorse and rehabilitation.  If you rush it, the experience might be an awkward or painful one.  But if you wait until the time is right for both of you, then you’ll usually have a good experience that ultimately helps in your healing.

There is no reason to rush this or to delay it.  Allow yourself to go at a natural pace, moving forward only when you are comfortable or sure.  Intimacy is a very special thing between two people.  It’s important to safe guard it rather than to manipulate it.  So to answer the question posed, I don’t believe that you should rush having sex again or allow yourself to be pressured into doing something that you are not ready to do.  With that said, if you know the time is right and you are comfortable, then I don’t feel that it’s a good idea to without intimacy simply to teach your husband a lesson or to punish him.  This can hurt your marriage, make you both resentful, and delay your healing.

I was in no hurry to have sex with my husband after his affair.  I trusted myself to know when the time was right.  My husband was probably not that thrilled about this, but he understood.  Waiting until we had begun our recovery was the right choice because I felt respected and in control and the outcome was a good one because I didn’t feel pressured or resentful.  It it helps, you can read the whole story on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

 

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