Sex After Infidelity

The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast with Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

Sex After Infidelity: It’s “Me Before We” 

So often, when your trust, self-esteem, wellbeing, and basic sense of safety have been shattered by infidelity, the experience shines a light on the places within yourself that are in need of care, attention, and healing. That’s why a good couples counselor will help the individual heal from the pain of infidelity before trying to save the relationship. 

But compassionate self-care is not always our first response when a partner cheats. It’s very common for the hurt partner to focus on healing their relationship rather than themselves in the aftermath of infidelity. 

If you pause to take care of yourself first, you’ll be more in touch with what you need from your partner to feel safe again, and then you can begin the process of rebuilding intimacy. 

How to Rebuild Trust After Cheating

The “offending partner” is often so overwhelmed by guilt, shame, and regret in the aftermath of an affair that they’re eager to put the episode in the past and move forward as fast as possible. They may even feel frustrated with the hurt partner’s inability to simply get over it.  

Recovering from infidelity doesn’t happen overnight and repairing trust is a slow process. It’s important for the offending partner to be patient with their partner’s healing and remain empathetic to all the painful feelings that accompany it, for as long as it takes. 

Effective affair recovery work requires the partner who cheated to take time for understanding and healing as well. They need to process their guilt and shame, take accountability for how they’ve hurt their partner, understand what led them to cheat, and sometimes even grieve the outside relationship. 

Post-Infidelity Stress Disorder: PTSD from Cheating

PTSD from cheating is real and can take a specific form called betrayal trauma. The hurt partner will experience serious hurt, a sense of betrayal, jealousy, shaken self-esteem, and anger. They’re likely to fear losing the relationship, while also fearing that, if they stay, the betrayal will happen again. 

In that intense swirl of emotion, it’s hard to make a level-headed decision about whether to fix the relationship or walk away after infidelity. It’s smart to take some time, process feelings, and consider whether or not the relationship was actually what you wanted it to be, even minus the infidelity. 

“Hysterical Bonding” After Cheating

When cheating threatens your relationship, it’s very common for the hurt partner to feel a need to hold on at all costs. This desperate need to not let go of an important attachment bond is sometimes called “hysterical bonding,” and is more like an instinctual response than a thought-through decision. The hurt partner is simply reacting rather than stopping to think, “Can this relationship be savedShould this relationship be saved?”

The challenge is to process the painful emotions without allowing them to sway your decision either way about whether to heal your relationship after infidelity or let it go. 

Infidelity and “The Myth of Monogamy” 

Most couples in monogamous relationships have never had a real conversation about what monogamy means to them, their attraction to other people, or where they draw the line between innocent connections and actual betrayal. 

Is chatting with an Ex allowed? Is a Facebook affair really an affair? Most couples never discuss these issues. 

Monogamy may be the norm in our culture, but affairs in long-term relationships are incredibly common. Rather than defaulting to monogamy, it’s smart for individuals and couples to think through whether that’s actually what they want, and what exactly monogamy means to them. 

Sex After Infidelity

When couples have worked to heal their emotional connection after infidelity, they’re sometimes surprised by how triggering sexual intimacy can still be. It can be hard for the hurt partner to stay present during sex after infidelity and to keep their mind from drifting to the affair, and the affair partner. Even sharing a bed after infidelity can feel triggering.

Building safety and trust outside of the bedroom, with clothes on, through consensual touch exercises can help. The partner who cheated can also try using their partner’s name, rather than “baby” or another pet name, to reinforce that they’re not thinking about anyone but their partner. 

Both partners need to step up their communication about what feels good, what doesn’t, what’s triggering, and what they need from each other to restore sexual intimacy and feel safe again in sex after infidelity. 

How to Fix a Relationship After Cheating

It’s very common for the hurt partner to want all the details of the affair — even down to sexual positions, clothing, and how the affair partner smelled. This is a trauma response. Your body wants to know why this happened to you so it can keep it from happening again, and it thinks that having all the information will help. 

Details are delicate. They lead to painful comparisons and give the hurt partner a vivid image of the betrayal that they won’t soon forget. While the hurt partner has every right to know what happened, nothing their partner can tell them will make it all ok, or even make it make sense. Instead, more information will feed their obsession about the affair and add to their pain. 

The partner who cheated should be careful not to shut down when their partner asks for details, but rather to validate their need to know and proceed with caution, possibly with help from a marriage counselor

There are some details that the hurt partner definitely needs to know after being cheated on: possible pregnancies, STDs, and whether or not the affair partner is anyone they know. 

Sex After Infidelity: How to Get Over Being Cheated On

As painful and traumatizing as infidelity can be, it is possible to get over being cheated on, and there is hope on the other side. 

Infidelity is mind-blowingly hurtful, but it can lead to post-traumatic growth, and a deeper understanding of yourself and of your partner. It’s possible to heal from infidelity, and become healthier and happier than before — whether you do so together or you choose to end your relationship after cheating.

If you or a loved one is struggling to put the pieces back together after infidelity, I hope you find this episode validating and useful. And if you’ve found ways to rebuild intimacy after cheating, we’d love to hear how you did it in the comments below. 

All the best, 

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

Grow Together

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The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast

  • Infidelity Recovery Stages
    • People try to heal the relationship and not themselves.
    • Educate your partners about your triggers.
    • Intimacy is not about sex.
  • PTSD from Cheating
    • PTSD is real with the affairs.
    • Commit to the healing process with your partners.
    • Emotion is intimacy.
  • Hysterical Bonding
    • A relationship can be a three-legged stool.
    • Affairs are glamorized.
  • How To Rebuild Trust After Cheating
    • Have an open and honest conversation with your partner.
    • Understand your self-intimacy.
  • Sex After Infidelity
    • Create a safe environment for your partner.
    • Your body remembers trauma.
    • You have the right to know about possible pregnancies and STDs from their infidelity.
    • Overcoming infidelity: what’s on the other side.

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Sex After Infidelity

The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast with Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

Free, Expert Advice — For You.

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Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby:

How do you have a healthy sexual relationship with somebody who has cheated on you? Yeah, this is really hard. It is fraught with so many things and it is something that every couple on the road of healing after infidelity needs to address at some point. some point. So that is why we’re talking about this on today’s episode of the podcast.

We’re talking about how to not only navigate sex after infidelity, but how to use sexuality as part of the healing process as you rebuild your emotional bond after an affair. I’m so glad you’re joining me today. I’m Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby. This is the love, happiness, and success podcast where we come together every week to talk about different facets of healthy relationships, emotional wellness, and also feeling like a successful woman.

for you. This is a topic that I’m very much obsessed, both at work, but also at life. So every single week, I’m tackling a topic that is related to one of this. Oftentimes coming from your questions, you get in touch with me through Facebook, through Instagram, through my website, growingself. com. To let me know what is on your mind and in your heart.

So that we can talk about it together here on the show and leave you with some new ideas and takeaways and hopefully some actionable strategies that you can begin using today to help create positive change in your life. So that’s who I am. That’s what we’re doing here. And. Infidelity is the name of the game today.

And I frequently talk about infidelity on the show. Um, so my background, I’m a licensed marriage and family therapist. I’m also a licensed psychologist and I’m a board certified coach as well as the founder of growing self. However, Um, I really identify as an MFT, a marriage and family therapist. And I consider that to be my, my primary specialty.

Um, I’ve worked with so many couples over the years, also many individual clients who are coming to talk to me because of relational concerns of, of one kind or another. And, you know, through that, um. I have, I have oftentimes just been sitting in the reality that infidelity is unfortunately more, more common than you might think and is something that many couples need to address.

And certainly there are different kinds of infidelity. There is, you know, capital a affair with sexuality and lots of lying and, you know, somebody really like having a sexual relationship with somebody else, which is on one end of the spectrum, but. You know, infidelity and betrayal can take many different forms and facets, as I’ve talked about on other podcasts, but, um, particularly different kinds of infidelity and betrayal related to your partner having some kind of either sexual connection or even sexual sexual relationship.

interest in another person. Um, even relationship with pornography, if that falls for you in the cheating column, it can change your sexual relationship and has to be addressed specifically as you guys heal and grow back together. And so we’re going to be doing a deep dive into this today. I’m going to be talking about different ways that sexuality becomes, um, A piece of the, the healing, uh, after infidelity experience, also going to be talking about when it can be a problem, I’ll additionally be giving you some information and just new perspective on some of the obstacles you are likely to face as you are on this path.

Of healing and how to address them. And then also we’ll just be talking a bit about how the healing process works, but really focusing on sexuality and how that, how that weaves in all the way through. So the very first thing I want to say before we dive into this, whether or not you were the person who was cheated on, or whether you were the person who did the cheating, it’s not very, very important for you to know that, um, the mental and emotional well being of the person who was cheated on, first of all, has likely been shattered by this entire experience.

I mean, there’s a sense of safety that just like, What are we doing? I mean, it’s, it’s a profound betrayal and it requires a high degree of sensitivity of and, and priority to the needs and rights and feelings of the person who has been betrayed, the injured party. So whatever that injured party needs is what needs to happen in terms of self care, in terms of being together, in terms of being apart, in terms of whatever is that, that you get to call the shots.

It is. is you have been traumatized through no fault of your own. And it is very important for you in order to restore your sense of safety and to have any chance at all of healing is to regain your sense of control by being able to Ask for expect and maintain healthy boundaries, which involves really, you know, checking in with yourself.

I mean, like, what do I need right now? Well, it is vital for every couple healing after infidelity to be moving through a structured, um, healing process with the support of a highly qualified marriage and family therapist who practices evidence based forms of marriage and family therapy. So work in a program, so to speak.

It is also vitally important for anyone who has been betrayed by infidelity to have your own support person. So be in a relationship with your own therapist or, or have support. Be plugged into something, even if it’s like a really good support group where you have the opportunity to be tuning into yourself, thinking about how you’re feeling, what you’re needing, having a safe space to work through the many feelings that are going to be coming up for you.

And also a space to be thinking through, um, what you want to do about this for, for reasons Uh, that will, will make sense here in a minute, but, um, yeah, you, you need to have clarity on what is best for you in the situation. And if you’re only doing couples counseling with your partner for healing after infidelity, the focus of that work is on the relationship.

It is not necessarily on you. So have space for you. With that in mind, now, I want to move into talking specifically about sex after infidelity because, uh, as you know, if you have lived through or are living through this experience, it is quite fraught. Um, and so just to kind of dig into this, there are different stages.

of sex after infidelity. One of the things that many people experience when they have been cheated on by their partner, well, there can be a variety of different manifestations of this. I mean, it can be a huge explosion and I don’t want to see you or talk to you or do anything. Have anything to do with you because like away with you, that can certainly be a valid reaction, but it often surprises people how frequently they will experience a very intense surge of sexual desire for the partner who has just cheated on them.

It is confusing. Because on the one hand, I feel like I hate you with the fire of a thousand suns and what just happened is absolutely unforgivable. And my body is also doing this thing where I really want to have sex with you right now. And so I just wanted to say this out loud because I don’t think that this phenomenon gets enough attention.

And there’s a biologically based reason for this. It can be termed hysterical bonding, but it goes back to very primal survival drives and attachment bonds. Whenever an attachment bond, which is a physical thing, by the way. It’s not an emotional thing or a psychological thing. Humans are built to love. To bond to other humans and there are structures in our brains and in our bodies that are there for the purpose of bonding to other people.

There are hormones and neurotransmitters and all kinds of things going on there that like weld us to other people. So know that and whenever these bonds are threatened or broken The first primal survival based response is to reconnect at all costs. I’ve talked extensively about this, uh, on, on this program when it comes to heartbreak recovery and how to heal after a relationship loss, this first phase, like the withdrawal phase, very intense stage of healing, but I mean, there’s Obsession, craving for contact, um, intrusive thought, like all kinds of things.

This also happens when infidelity happens, even if you’re still together, your attachment bond has just had a bomb go off in it. Right. And. It is connected to our evolutionary like survival of the species biology is that whenever a primary attachment bond is threatened or broken, our first instinct is to reconnect because 50, 000 years ago, our lives literally depended.

on it. So it is, it is instinctive. It is not something that we are consciously doing. We’re like built to reconnect as fast and as powerfully as we can. And this shows up in our bodies, not in our brains. Your brain might be saying, this person is a psychopath. I hate them. This is a toxic relationship.

Don’t do it. But your body has a different agenda because your body would very much like to live. Your brain knows that it’s not 50, 000 years ago. You’re not going to get attacked by a bear if you don’t, you know, stay connected to this particular husband or boyfriend or whatever, but they’re on two different tracks, two totally different operating systems.

So the first thing to know about sexuality after an affair is that this is a thing and it might surprise you. It may or may not be a good idea to have sex with your partner after they’ve cheated on you. I don’t, I don’t know, but you’re You’re very likely going to have this experience and a very strong desire to save this relationship.

You want to reconnect in powerful ways. Part of this could be emotional. You might have thoughts about that, but your body is likely going to support that end goal too. And, just because you feel this way, May or may not mean that this relationship can be saved or should be saved. It’s going to take you a longer time to figure that out going back to our very first point, like, you know, prioritizing your own thoughts and feelings and needs first, just make space for that.

I feel like having sex with you right now. And so I’m going to do that. And I think I also need to be talking to somebody about like longterm, whether it’s a good idea to stay with you or not. Also completely okay. Just like whatever you need to do. I will also say that, um, you know, Re engaging in sexuality with somebody that you know has been having sex with other people.

Just have it in your head. Do they need to get tested? Could they have herpes? I mean, like there could be lots of stuff there. So just use common sense, use protection maybe for a little while if that’s unknown, um, and protect yourself and just, you know, even if in the moment you really want to reconnect long term.

Just do it. Be putting yourself first for a little while. Okay. Then, um, you may decide that you want to go through a real healing process with your partner. This healing process happens in stages, and I have talked a lot about this on other podcasts because, um, The stages of the process of healing after infidelity are very, very, very important to know because if you don’t go through the stages pretty much in order and do the work of each stage, you will likely get stuck and it will be very difficult to heal on like deep levels.

You know, the trust issues will be there. Um, this involves many, many different components. But. Allow me to gloss for just a second. The first phase of, of healing after infidelity is really a, a profound recognition of the damage that has been done to the person who was cheated on. One of the biggest obstacles to healing after infidelity is that the person who was unfaithful often doesn’t fully appreciate the level of damage that has been done and also doesn’t understand what will be involved.

In order to heal that, um, betrayal is fundamentally traumatic. You want to learn more about that? I did a podcast on the subject of betrayal trauma. I hope you check it out. But when we have been betrayed by somebody that, you know, we. Loved. We thought loved us. It is a powerfully traumatic experience and often creates, um, symptoms that are very much, uh, consistent with post traumatic stress disorder, hypervigilance, intrusive thoughts, um, Needing to seek information, avoidance of things that are associated with a trauma efforts to control situations are very much part of it.

Also, a lot of emotional reactivity, anxiety, anger, all the things, but really, this is a healing process. And somebody going through this needs to be having their needs in the moment met as. as they heal. And if they don’t get that from their partner, that healing will be obstructed. A major obstacle is that the person who did the cheating does not understand what needs to happen in order for healing to happen.

They feel ashamed. They feel defensive. They probably had all these reasons why they did what they did that need to be worked through, right? But they will oftentimes avoid conversations. They will say, I said I was sorry. That happened. It’s not happening anymore. We both just need to like get over this and move on, you know, like stop being so upset because they, they don’t, they just kind of want it to be over and do not realize the level at which they need to engage with their partner through this.

process. So it, that like turns into a big obstacle and really needs to be managed by a highly experienced marriage and family therapist who practices evidence based forms of therapy and who can walk you through this process. So now, even then, assuming that a couple is going through this process and healing, which just to manage everybody’s expectations is typically measured in years.

This is not like a few weeks, even a few months. I mean, if it was a serious, like sexual affair, progress will be measured in years, so it’s a long game and you’re probably going to want to have sex with each other as you’re going through this as part of reconnecting, right. And reestablishing a healthy relationship.

And. Because of what I shared, so betrayal trauma will always come with these PTSD symptoms. So anything that is even a little bit reminiscent of the trauma will flood you with big feelings, with big thoughts, with big feelings. Fears, and by definition, being sexually intimate with a person who cheated on you is going to be highly, highly triggering.

You’re going to have intrusive thoughts about what your partner might have been doing with somebody else. You’re going to see it in your mind’s eye. You are going to be reconnecting with that person. Big feelings of hurt and fear and anger. And so what this means is that it becomes extremely difficult to stay present during a sexual encounter after infidelity, because you’re going to be going into all of these places.

So. What do we do with this? I mean, ideally, you will have the support of a very good individual therapist who really understands betrayal trauma. This is also something that you’re going to be talking about openly with the marriage and family therapist who is helping you and your partner work through this.

Um, but it simply needs to be known. And ideally, there are a few things that you’ll be doing that will help with this. First of all, making your partner aware of what is happening. And also, um, they need to legitimize what is happening. They might need the support of a therapist to help them legitimize what is happening.

Because if you are getting flooded, if you’re essentially having like a, a Flashback in these moments and you’re saying, I’m dissociating right now. Like we’re trying to have sexism and they’re like, what are you going to get over this? Like that’s, that’s going to be additionally wounding. It is the opposite of healing.

And so they need to know that this is something that happens with you. Everybody stops. We all come back in to the present moment. Maybe do some deep breathing, you know, talk about whether or not we want to keep going here. Like, what do we do? So, you know, to, to have some. Some strategies for how to manage those moments, um, other things that you can do.

And again, I deal with the support of a good therapist is to be practicing, um, building safe touch and safe interactions that maybe aren’t sexual, but are adjacent to sexuality outside of the bedroom. So even hugging, holding hands. You know, back, back rubs, cuddling, um, those kinds of things can just sort of like help you with some of the sensitivity.

You might have some of that like triggering at first, but the more you do it, it’s like kind of exposure therapy, like, Oh, they’re touching me. Okay. Coming back into the present moment. That’s not quite as intense as sexuality. Also, one little strategy. Um, the person that cheated, only use your partner’s name.

Do not say honey, baby, sweetie, because that can also be quite triggering. Did they call them that? The same thing that they call me. So, Pro tip right there. But anyway, there’s, there can be a lot here. And so just to be ready for this, to be part of the process, um, it’ll be important for you guys to do a lot of communication about what feels good, what doesn’t, what I, I want this, this feels triggering, this is too much, too fast.

And really just like a lot of consent and talking openly around like, you know, this is what I’m meeting. From you right now in order for this to feel safe or also saying, I can’t, I can’t do this right now and having that be okay. But the most important thing here is for there to be validation, um, and support on the side of the person who did the cheating, which.

Can be very hard for them, and they may need support in order to be in the kind of headspace that will allow them to do that with you. So it’s also, you know, equally important for them to be in their own therapy or growth work to figure out. You know, how, how did this happen? First of all, but I’ll also work through their feelings of guilt and shame, but also frequently to work on empathy skills that will allow them to really like connect emotionally with how devastating, how devastated or wounded my partner really is and how can I.

Stay in the ring with that instead of trying to avoid, minimize, fix, shut down in order to make myself feel better because if I really allow myself to make contact with a fact of how much pain my partner is in because of my actions, it is like catastrophic to me. And yeah, I mean, it, it should be, it’s awful and like, it is hard to allow yourself to feel that.

So people avoid it. It takes a lot of courage to go into those dark spaces. It’s incredibly healing for both of you. And if there isn’t some kind of reckoning experience emotionally on the part of the person who committed the infidelity, they won’t be able to be the kind of partner that is required to show up in the way that they need to show up.

For healing after infidelity to happen. This is complex y’all. There are a lot of moving parts, but I just wanted to mention it because, um, it can be very difficult for people to do the kinds of things that I’m talking about. Another thing that can happen when, um, sexuality is, uh, reintroduced or, or is happening in a relationship where there’s been cheating.

Is, um, and again, this also, I think kind of correlates with hypervigilance as a trauma symptom, but the need for a lot of information, actually, I won’t say need, I will say desire for a lot of information. And, you know, somebody who has been cheated on often has this craving to know like what happened. And that is a.

biologically based manifestation of like safety seeking what exactly happened and you might feel urges to ask lots of questions that go into details like What was she wearing? What kinds of sexual positions did she wear perfume? What kind of perfume did it smell like this perfume? I mean, like it can be all kinds of stuff.

And this is a trauma response. There’s like this, this vigilance piece. Your brain like wants all the information and it’s related to control. You know, I think it goes back to this desire. Like if I know everything, I could keep it from happening again. Right. Um, and. In this regard, this, this instinct oftentimes makes it worse when it comes to, um, healing a relationship after an affair.

Because it becomes another trauma or another facet of the original trauma. When we go through trauma, the way our brains work is that when we are triggered, we re experience the trauma in some form or fashion. And what this trauma is, is the knowledge that your partner was sexually intimate with another person.

You may or may not have actually witnessed that, but the way that you experience the trauma is that you envision it in your mind’s eye. Right? And so when you get granular details about what actually happened, the lingerie was red. This is what the hotel room looked like. And this is exactly what we did.

Your brain now has this whole new set of manufactured memories that are going to be part of this trauma experience. So having the visual in your head, you won’t be able to unsee it and it will. Retraumatize you, so it’s normal to want information. It is oftentimes harmful for you to get that information.

In addition to retraumatizing you, it can sometimes lead to really painful, you know, comparisons that can contribute to feelings of shame and self esteem that are of no value, right? So this would be something to work through with your therapist and figure out how to set self balance. Boundaries related to specifically detailed sexual information as you’re healing from an affair.

So I just wanted to say that out loud. Um, and on the other side of this, you know, the, the partner who cheated. Um, should also not use this in a weaponized way to invalidate or shut down an important conversation. Um, but to just tread very carefully, like I hear you say that you’re really wanting to have more information about the details.

I can understand why you would want that. Um, I also understand that it could be very damaging or harmful for you to have that. And I don’t want to do anything that would hurt you and maybe be having those conversations in front of the marriage counselor, uh, to say, why don’t we talk about whether or not this is a good idea the next time we talk to Lisa, because I want us both to be going about this in a very thoughtful way.

So you’re being very responsive. You’re being validating, you’re being empathetic. And you are also not necessarily providing a lot of detailed information that may be retraumatizing. So that’s what that could look like. Okay. There are other things to know about sexuality after an affair. What we’ve been talking about our aspects of sexuality that often come up in the earliest phases.

So certainly that, you know, hysterical bonding, like, why do I feel like having sex with you? Kind of experience. There’s also the, like, trauma triggers that come up, particularly in the earlier phases of this. The need to be thoughtful about things like STDs. I mean, you know, it’s a thing also being very careful when it comes to desire for sexual information.

But, you know, one of the things that couples will often experience as they work through this healing process, again, through a structured, organized system with a professional who knows what they’re doing, like how to help you move through this, is that, Over time and towards the end of this process, when some of the, you know, most immediately painful feelings are no longer like what we’re needing to attend with, like, you know, we’re not freaking out anymore.

It’s not like the anger and the rage and the anxiety, it’s kind of muted down. What will often happen in the best case scenarios is that couples can then enter this really positive and important. Phase of growth together where they’re able to have incredibly meaningful and powerful conversations about what they each learned from the experience of infidelity and how it’s helping them grow as people, but also as a couple.

This sounds weird to say, and it may feel triggering for you if you’re in an early phase of this recovery process. So I say this with some hesitation. I don’t want to retraumatize you either. But as this heals and grows and we sort of move into a like, You know, how has this changed both of us? And what has this helped both of us realize about ourselves?

It can turn into a series of conversations where couples start unpacking aspects of sexuality, eroticism, values, um, sexual desires that they weren’t really talking about. Before the affair that can be very productive. Um, perhaps they weren’t really, uh, creating intentionally a sexual relationship together prior to having this experience weren’t talking about sexuality is.

Many couples don’t, but they also weren’t doing the kinds of things together that really led to a satisfying, um, exciting, erotic sexual relationship for both of them. So there can be an opportunity to start having those conversations that going forward, you know, what. We are actually having a lot more fun together than maybe we did in the past.

Um, it can potentially not always open the door to conversations around ethical non-no non-monogamy and what that might look like in a relationship. It’s a very important to. Talking and thinking about whether or not that is actually something that each of you want conversations around non monogamy can feel like a really convenient way for somebody who does actually want to have sex with other people to thread the needle of being able to do that and also maintain a relationship with their primary person.

Um, it’s really important for, uh, you know, somebody who has been cheated on to be doing a lot of soul searching around whether or not that kind of lifestyle is even remote. Interesting to you and being okay with saying no, if it’s not, but having open conversations around if I want a monogamous relationship and you really don’t want a monogamous relationship, what does that mean for us?

We’ve done so much work kind of healing and restoring our connection and, you know, that all feels good, but like long term, are we on a compatible life trajectory? If we really want a different life experience related to monogamy, ideally, you know, we’re having those conversations in, in a once we’re in a good place, right?

The anger is. It’s been worked through. It’s not a hurtful place. It’s more of like a, how would we each like to spend the next 30 years of our lives and what is actually best for each of us? And let’s have a values based, authentic, healthy, constructive conversation about that so that we can, you know, make, make some choices together because I don’t want to live through that again with you cheating on me.

So like. I don’t want to do that. What else we need to be talking about here? That could be one really positive outcome of having gone through an affair. It can be very liberating for both people. It could result in having a very different kind of relationship. If both of you are interested in and having spaciousness in the relationship that maybe didn’t exist before and reconceptualizing, uh, it You know, what, what being in a relationship means to you, I think for some couples, um, having sexual experiences is not really the same thing as being in a relationship.

And so do we want to have those conversations, but it could also mean conversations, you know, around, um, we just got to know each other a lot better through having had this experience. Didn’t we? We’re talking about things that we weren’t talking about before. Um, I’m understanding things about you that I didn’t really realize when we first got married.

And now I know. So let’s, you know, just talk about what we want a healthy future to look like for both of us. And it’s 1000 percent okay. If you don’t want to participate in your partner having sex with other people as a condition of maintaining their relationship with you, nobody would fault you. So we talked about many different aspects of sexuality after infidelity.

Um, I apologize if some of this felt scary or triggering to even, you know, talk about, but these are the kinds of things that we need to be addressing in this type of, of healing and growth work. So I hope it was helpful for you even just You know, for these things to have airtime, um, to have some fresh perspectives and ways of, you know, thinking about what might be happening in your relationship and certainly how to handle different, uh, aspects related to this.

Um, As I mentioned at various points in this podcast, I’ve recorded numerous other podcasts on all kinds of different aspects of affair recovery. It’s something that I’ve done a lot of, and it’s important to me to be putting good information out there because, you know, too many couples who, require the support of an experienced professional to get through this, um, connect with a couples counselor who isn’t that they have an unsatisfying experience.

They’re not able to heal and grow. So I’d very much hope that you would listen to some of these podcasts that I put out there. So the stages of healing after Infidelity is one of them, how to repair a relationship after infidelity. Um, one called Sarah, sorry, he’s not good enough. How to repair trust in a relationship.

Um, a podcast on how to feel more secure in a relationship, like all kinds of different things. You will find all of those well and I’ll say for you to be educating yourself about what this process really involves and what it should look like will not just help you move through it, but also help you make informed decisions about whether or not a therapist or clinician that you’ve employed to like help guide you through this process is is actually doing the things that are going to be necessary for you to do that.

Um, just so that you can be discerning and make, make good choices for yourself because most consumers, there just isn’t visibility into like how this stuff works enough for, for people to like, just make informed decisions about who is going to be an effective therapist for me with a specific presenting issue, uh, versus this, this would be a good therapist if I had an eating disorder, but probably not healing after an affair.

So like, you know, what am I doing here? Anyway, so all of this is available for you. If you come to my website, come to growingself. com, come into the love collection. So you’ll go to the, find the blog and podcast section, come into the love collection, and then you will find a, a, a dedicated content collection called a fair.

recovery. And in that all kinds of articles on this topic, curated podcast playlist that I’ve put together for you that has all the podcasts on, uh, that we’ve been talking about today and more. It’s all there for you. I hope that you take advantage of it and that you find things in there that support your journey of growth and healing.

And certainly if you would like to connect with With a professional therapist who is very well versed in how all of this works, both from the, what does a couple need to do? And also be finding individual therapists for both of you who can help each of you walk through the necessary steps of growth and healing that need to happen on both sides in order for couples work to really be successful.

Um, This is one of the specialties of my practice growing self. So you’re welcome to connect with us. And if you find your own path forward, I hope that the material that I put together for you allows you to do your own research again, so that you can be empowered and informed and make good decisions that will help you, you know, navigate your way through this successfully.

So thank you so much for spending this time with me today. I’ll be back in touch next week with another episode until then. Take care


Marriage Counseling Questions | Couples Therapy Questions

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