Sustained passion in Marriage -who is responsible and now what?

In therapy we have had to discuss our sex life, hard task. I have always maintained that I am not a prude, always enjoyed sex and have had a wonderful and active past. My H maintains that one of his reasons for cheating is that our sex life had come to a halt. Wait a minute…in one respect he was right, our excellent physical relationship had waned to almost nil, but why was this my fault? Why was I the one that was punished and betrayed as a result? Was I not living in the drought the same as he? I did not decided to forgo my vows to satisfy this shortfall in our marriage.

For the last many years and in fact since D-day, I have been feeling guilty. I have been feeling like it was in fact, my wrong doing. I started to comb through the timelines. Before and during the decline, my H was often away, and then we went through a period of two years where his father was horribly ill, and died. One year almost to the day his dad died, his mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer. The time we both took taking care of her (she lived 2.5 hours away) was intense. He was often gone, staying with her for weeks at a time like any wonderful son would. When he was not there he was working. Clearly not a time of lust and romance. When she died it was indeed a very very heartbreaking period in our lives. Add to that colds, work, stress and other factors…I guess we were both guilty of putting our relationship behind other issues. The longer it went on, the harder it was to reverse it, the more self-conscious I got. Vicious circle.

Yes I had my 50% part to play, not feeling in the mood, not feeling good about myself at times, however every time it was discussed, it was thrown to me as in “we don’t have sex….fix it”, those were not his exact words but holy cow pretty close, and that’s exactly what his words and actions meant. There was never a time when we were able to dissect the problem and find solutions. Seduction on his part went out the window. In therapy we talked about how hard it is to initiate when one has been rejected a number of times. Again I felt guilty for indeed there were many times I was not interested. Then I remembered all the times (while he was cheating and before) that I crawled into his lap or tried to show affection. It was not the stuff of high passion, I did not grab and paw him but it was my feeble, insecure way of trying to initiate. It was met with the same dismissive behaviour that I had given him.  I knew as time passed it became harder and harder to do. I felt diminished, hurt, and just so fucking awkward, I just worried quietly but let it go on. The one time during the months before we called it quits, we had some pretty great passion..and I thought, wow, we are going to move forward and fix this. I found out on D-day that he slept with gross disgusting Holly a few days later as if my giving myself to him fully meant nothing. I still struggle on the days where I paste together our moments and how they relate to his cheating…its so hard to let it go.

Today I went through the photos on his is my right now that we have it all out in the open to check his devices, I don’t do it often. Long gone are the few photos of the others I discovered, the gross video of one of his oh so classy ladies pissing. What remains however, are quite a few smiling selfies…at work, at home…I am pretty sure they are for the others..since only a few were familiar. The deception of that time, seeing us in photos together, smiling, standing in front of a for sale sign on a property we had just purchased…and then the thoughts of his duplicitous behaviour and these photos for the others just cuts my heart in two. Even though I am 7 months from d-day, the realization that someone can lie and cheat and carry on business as usual for three years still shocks and sickens me.

Our sex life since d-day (actually since 2012) is dismal. In the first few weeks, there was some hysterical bonding, he was unable to perform, guilt, shock at being discovered…the next few ended in tears on my part…so disgusted. Now what? How does one get beyond? How do I find the passion again? Yes most often I still find him attractive, particularly when he takes some care in his appearance, when he is kind and sweet, when he consoles me in day-to-day heartache. I know there have been times when I was not attracted to him…especially while he was cheating…but I guess that was as much about his behaviour as it was about how he presented. How does one bridge this huge chasm? Why is it so easy to give yourself to a new partner (as I did when we were apart)..and yet so hard to submit to someone you have known for so long? Nothing at stake with someone new. I hit a brick wall every time I try to have more than a hug, more than a cuddle at night. When I kiss him, I halt….it feels like I have little to no control over the steel wall that juts up between us, and yet I know this cannot continue forever…it must be repaired or we will implode again.

There are articles galore, written by therapists, who have all kinds of wonderful suggestions about going slow, restoring intimacy and trust (with no actual direction on how to do so). All written by well-meaning people who have never actually had to do this. The words are soft and kind and flowery, but really they amount to little actual step by step instructions…so I put it out to my fellow betrayed…would love to hear how it went for any of you who have bridged the gap…feeling stuck.

8 thoughts on “Sustained passion in Marriage -who is responsible and now what?

  1. My husband and I were actually having alot of sex prior to his affair, so he didn’t have that as an excuse to cheat. After many d-days I stopped having sex with him until I got my test results. Even then I was weary. Luckily the OW didn’t live near us so I knew they weren’t having sex. We went through alot of hysterical bonding for months after he ended it. I can’t tell you when the smoke cleared and the wall went down because even after almost 3 years I will still cry after sex and the OW is still in my head when I have sex with my husband. He’s pretty much told me everything they did and I will still wonder if they did this or that while we’re having sex. I honestly try to enjoy myself and let go, but it’s always in the back of my mind. It sucks. Good luck to you. You are very early on so give yourself time to heal and grieve.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It is very hard to focus on the feeling and turn off the bad thoughts.
    Going slow might not be the best way for all. It works when couples are no longer intimate and going slow (with a focus on touch) can help.

    In regards to adultery, it is very hard to keep the AP out of your mind.
    But…when you partner is committed to YOU, and is doing the work, you can tell yourself that there is no longer room for that person in your mind.
    Often it is the person who had the affair who is no longer thinking at all about the AP, but it is the person who was betrayed. The strange thing is…it is your imagination and the visuals that hurt you.

    My way is to say “STOP” to myself, and re-focus on what is good between us now. No room for people who are not worth your energy.
    1. Talk when intimate, 2. say what you like, 3. look at each other, 4. and let yourself go…
    Sometimes a crisis like an affair can liberate women whose partner is committed to make it work, in the sense that “he chose you”, he “wants you” and the most attractive woman in the bedroom is one who is proud of her body and who gives and receives and does not hold back. Tell yourself what you find beautiful about your body and what you find sexy.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Yes…what Elisabeth shared. For me, taking time daily to look into each other’s eyes, and to exchange appreciations, share new information, talk about our wishes/hopes/dreams…the things you do regularly in a new relationship but forsake in old ones. We do this daily now, seriously. And we have developed such an intimate emotional connection, it just sort of spills out on the physical too. OW most definitely had headspace with me for awhile, but she only gets flashes today. Hang in there…be authentic…share from your heart and ask that he does too. HUGS.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the response, I have been dealing with a terminal parent and it is amazing how one crisis can replace another in heart and mind. I honestly cannot really look into his eyes, I am not there yet, not in a passionate way. We still have issues with communication in the deepest sense, daily is fine but he is still very much stunted and not sharing what he is feeling. I will keep trying to find it..right now just trying to keep my head above water.

      I still think about the AP’s some times but am able to push it out of my mind with some concerted effort.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thinking about you with the terminal parent…my dad died 4 months after I began to uncover my real marriage…and he and my mom lived with us to help them out with his end-stage Parkinsons. I definitely feel for you. Blessings, and lots of hugs.


      2. Thank you so much, it is overwhelming, heartbreaking and still everyday I cannot believe it is happening. He went from perfect, strong and athletic to completely dependant in a matter of three weeks…I don’t know how I will get through it


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