292/444 Healing from Infidelity: Sunday Simplicity
294/444 Healing from Infidelity: The Blessing Of Sex

293/444 Healing from Infidelity: Betrayal And Sexual Intimacy

Issues that we have in general, we will also have sexually.  No technique or method will change that.

    ~Patrick Carnes

Sex with a 3rd person is a thundering tempest to the soul of a marriage. It assaults a foundation of trust and rips apart walls of safety leaving gaping holes. What once felt permanent is suddenly exposed as vulnerable by the jagged light and bass rumblings of the revelation of an affair.

In one way the revelation is a real trauma for both in the marriage. It cracks the denial the infidel carried about the minimal damage that the affair would bring. The betrayed one receives an ultrasonic blow shattering his or her illusion of a somewhat idyllic relationship.

In another way the revelation only exposes what is true. The betrayal had been going on for a while, the lies were not new. The affair partner didn't just appear the moment of the revelation. Whatever issues of closeness and intimacy impacted the relationship had been there for a while. And as Carnes says those issues, those wounds and walls and fears, that are there in general will impact the sexual aspect of the relationship too. Only now it is laced with the trauma of the revelation. 

Couples respond differently and can respond a variety of ways in the chaos. Some couples will have sex often after the revelation. They may not have hopped in the sack naked this much in years. Perhaps it is a reaction of the betrayed spouse trying to hang onto the spouse or to try to measure up to the affair partner in some perceived standard.

Other couples won't hardly have or will have no sex. I just read that about 15% of all marriages are sexless. These couples are trending that way. The thought of being that vulnerable with someone who just imparted a wound so brutal is inconceivable to some.

Virtually all couples will deal with the ghost of the affair partner. For the longest time I could sense his presence in our bed. It wasn't that I couldn't enjoy sex with Ann, I did. God did make it to feel good. Still, there was a haunting sense that our marriage bed had been invaded, which it had. I lamented, 'How long, O Lord, will this go on? How long until the vapor of his presence will disappear from my enjoyment with my bride? Will this persist the rest of my days? How long, O Lord?'

Of course, there is no answer like it will end in 111 or 222 or 333 or 444 days. It will appear and disappear. It will seemingly be no more and then stealthily invade sending a couple back down a chute after climbing up so many ladders.

Ann and I had experienced much healing. We decided to go to a conference on the west coast. The conference was being held at a certain hotel and I didn't think much about it. When we arrived it slammed me that this chain of hotel was where most of their encounters took place. The betrayal emerged fresh. The ghost showed up instantly like Spock and Kirk transporting from the Enterprise to a targeted planet. 

But all those ladders gained were not lost. We had really done the work on our wounds and walls and fears so tumbling down this chute didn't negate all that other work. We just didn't foresee this challenge. Since we had done the work it didn't take as long to recapture the ground as it did before. 

How long O Lord? I can't say. But I do know that understanding the issues you have in general, as an individual and as a couple, and understanding how those issues play out in your sexual relationship is a significant factor in the healing and growth and enjoyment of your sexual relationship. 

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