Delicate subject. Why is the hot and steamy we have when we first meet seemingly impossible to maintain? I speak with my married, separated and divorced friends about this often. For one betrayed pal of mine, the sex remained, if not hot, at least good. She would often say “I have a young husband at home and I have to keep him happy!” I myself failed in that area miserably for so many reasons, but the reasons were not mine alone.
I have read all the scientific studies about the chemicals we release when we are first together, that ply us into mating constantly and that the dissipate over time. But honestly have any of you been cheated on when your sex life was still a going concern? I read some do cheat in spite of a healthy sexual relationship so what exactly does all this mean? I for one am very confused. Can I place the blame squarely on my shoulders for letting the romance die or would he have cheated anyways, because he was in some way dissatisfied with other areas of our life. In short, are cheaters just spoiled brats who are not getting their way, so they act out?
When I met my H he was 30 and I 38. The attraction was not instant. I was quite happy, fit, great job, owned my own house and I felt great about myself, Active dating life and I truly felt those dudes were lucky to meet me. Sounds arrogant but it was more confident. Second date a few days later and the minute he walked in I was a goner. We had an amazing time, it was like we had known each forever. Butterflies, I was comfortable and very very excited to be spending time with him. Date three, chemistry and the feeling that this could be something. Date four and he never really left.
We held off actually sleeping together for about five weeks, even though he was staying over. We took it slowly, getting to know each other. Building the excitement. When we finally had sex the first time it was awesome and from then on we were at it every chance we got. And so it went, for years, we enjoyed our physical selves, talked about things we liked. All in all we had a great run. Then life happened, and it was no longer just about us. It was work, parents, disagreements, feeling let down. He stopped being in any way romantic or in fact having any kind of “game”.
Over my life, I have struggled with weight, overweight as a teenager, not huge but always a nagging 40lbs. My parents and family all thin, teased me, picked on me…”fat pig” was a particular favourite of my moms when we would fight. SO in fact in that area I was messed up. Once I hit my stride in my mid 20’s I lost the weight and was finally comfortable with myself. I vowed never to gain any weight again and was thin until I was in my mid 40’s. I guess as goes with marrieds, I got a bit lazy about my eating, stress and emotional eating and gained 50lbs. I also started into early menopause which I did not realize contributed greatly to my weight gain.
My H who had dated many woman who had been much larger than me (he was actually a bit of a chubby chaser) did not seem to mind at all, except for how it made me feel. I no longer felt sexy, or in the mood. I was ashamed of my body so I hid from him and changed with my back to him which made him mad!!!!!! So sex became less and less, and less hot. So my fault in some ways and some ways not. But the kicker is, he never tried to romance me, or seduce me, it was always “I WANT SEX”, that was his approach. When he got mad, I would cry and we would talk about the issues. Bury that under other small fights and disagreements and I was not feeling very loved or in the mood. I knew it was dysfunctional, I wanted to have more sex. I enjoyed sex with him. I hoped it would be a rough patch and we would work through it together. But he made it my issue alone, and I was to fix it with no help or effort on his part to restore the romance and seduction in our marriage. I had wrongly assumed my sexual feelings were dead, my menopause had killed them.
I finally started to deal with my menopause, and started to lose weight and feel better but by that time, he had been cheating for a year and a half, and was putting NOTHING into our marriage except poison. He was pulling away, rejecting my guarded advances. I was dumbfounded, mortified and hurt. When I finally kicked him out, I had lost quite a bit of weight and as the months passed, the separation and stress caused me to become quite tiny. Once we were over (he asked for a divorce), I very quickly met a sexy, handsome man who made me realize I was not sexually dead, just incredibly beaten up. We dated for several months and had things in common that were missing from my marriage, but I knew we would not be together forever. My H started to press his friends to contact me. I decided to at least see him, I was still so hurt and damaged by how horrid he had been. And we got back together, we talked about the hurt, but the sex just never returned, I felt horribly unsafe, suspicious, my sixth sense was telling me to hold back and now I know to trust that, because he had been such a cheat. Sex became the same old dance between us, he demanded it, did little to make me want it and so the fourth and I hope final cheating occurred. Neither of us knew how to bridge the chasm.
So in true recovery fashion, I am looking at those things which I did to hurt my spouse, and he is looking at himself too, but where do we go from here? I have seen photos of three of the women he slept with, and I can confidently say, they pose no threat to me in any way (thats the nicest way I can phrase it even though I would rather say what I really think). I know they are not prettier, sexier than me. He got rid of all of them when they ceased to amuse him. Sad really, they could have been blow up dolls for what he thought of them. But now how to recover? I find him attractive, and he finds me attractive, but the few times we have attempted intimacy, the ghosts in the bedroom appear and I can’t bring myself to go through with it, and yes there have been tears. I picture him with these woman, wonder where his body parts have been and what they have been doing. This is not about desire, it is about conflict and hurt. He is no longer the man I trusted and desired. He is the keeper of secrets and lies. He has had years of living a duplicitous life and it feels like he is no longer mine alone. He has promised me to never cheat again. How will I know, how will I take that leap? If anyone has any advice I am all ears….cause I am stumped.