Infidelity in Marriage: Here’s How to Rebuild Intimacy after an Affair

BY: - 24 Apr '17 | Infidelity

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If I told you that the day my husband confessed his affair, we had sex the same night.  Would you believe me or think I was pulling one over on you?  Do you even believe it is possible to reconnect intimately immediately or does the thought of having sex so soon sicken you?

Well, we found ourselves in case number one below…

Infidelity has a deep effect on a marriage’s sex life. And, there are typically two mindsets to be had at the onset of reestablishing intimacy:

  1. Sexual “Healing”
  2. Sexual “Sickness”

SEXUAL “HEALING”

Prior to my husband’s affair, we had no issues or complaints in the bedroom…just keeping it real with you!  However immediately after his affair, I allowed this mental sexual demon to run rampant.  I felt like I had to kick it up a notch…almost feeling as if there was a panel of sexual judges sitting in our bedroom scoring my performance.

I know how crazy that sounds…right? Could you imagine that? (LOL)  However, the truth of the matter is I felt like I had to be better than I had ever been before!

In this case of sexual “healing”, the married couple’s sex life often becomes better after the affair. If you’ve read my book, “Love After Adultery: The Breakthrough Journey of the Brokenhearted” you will discover this is what happened in our marriage.

On the surface, this may appear like a good thing.  But you have to be careful of the motives because the better sex is motivated out of extreme hurt. The spouse who has been betrayed finds themselves constantly comparing themselves with the other woman or man.

Warning:  Do not ever compare yourself (or spouse) with the other woman or man.

Theodore Roosevelt said: “Comparison is the thief of joy.” And this very quote speaks to why we should not compare. Only feelings of lack surface when one compares themselves to another.  God created a masterpiece in you, me, and every child of His walking this Earth.

No one person is better than another; it’s our uniqueness that makes each of us special.  So it becomes important, critical, for you to feel good about yourself!

Every time you compare yourself to another, it merely sets you up to feel like a failure.  Life has shown me, but most of all taught me, that there is always going to be someone smarter, sexier, wittier, and the list goes on.

If you find yourself in this category, experiencing new sexual highs resulting from an internal comparison, sooner or later (preferably sooner) you must move into the proper category. A category of being grounded on restored love, trust, and security in the marriage.

You should know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are loved and desired by your spouse for who you are at your core.  And NOT because you are competing (and feel like you’re winning) against another man or woman.

Feeling good about yourself by comparison is putting your marriage on a weak foundation. And with any weak foundation, it is just a matter of time before it comes crumbling down.

SEXUAL “SICKNESS”

All to often, as an expert on the topic, I have found a couple’s sex life goes to the other extreme of the spectrum after an affair. The betrayed spouse is so sickened by the thought of their spouse engaging in sex with another man or woman that they feel sick to their stomach by the thought of being sexually intimate with their spouse.

The lack of sexual intimacy sometimes comes from the person who has been unfaithful. Often times, they will struggle with feelings of guilt and/or shame. Some struggle with not ending their affairs, or as crazy as this may sound, they are internally battling grieving the loss of the affair partner.

Affairs of the heart should never be put into cookie cutter solutions. Intimacy issues can be just as complex as their owners.

Be careful not to say such things as, “he has an issue” or “she has an issue”. Rather when it comes to intimacy, say “we have an issue.” Because after all, intimacy in marriage is a “we” thing.

Why is Intimacy So Important?

All of the below are meant to produce these desired outcomes…

  • Healing
  • Comforting
  • Argument Reconciliation
  • Self-Esteem Building (Increased Masculinity in the Husband)
  • Profound Expression of Love (when words aren’t enough)
  • Deeper Level of Connection
  • Ability to Relax
  • Please one’s partner
  • Feeling Sexual or Attractive

After spending many hours researching this topic, I found that some experts recommend that couples should not immediately engage sexually.  Personally, I beg to differ and could not think of a more critical time in a marital couple’s life when the above list is more crucial than after an affair.

Keep in mind I’m speaking from experience not text book.  So the goal would be to reconnect sexually as soon as both spouses can do so without either spouse feeling obligated or rushed.

Reconnecting sexually after your affair should not be considered a sign of reconciliation because there is so much that needs to happen in order for both spouses to recommit to the marriage after an affair.

Understand and expect that real healing takes time and should not under any circumstances be rushed.  At the same time, it’s hard to heal completely if sexual intimacy is being put on the back burner for all the wrong reasons, such as payback.

Remember: having sex doesn’t mean all is forgiven and life is all good now.  However, it is a step in the right direction of building on the list above.

Spouses must learn how to openly talk about intimacy, honestly and in a non-judgmental fashion.  And please understand…intimacy issues are not to be brought up during intimacy connecting.

Sometimes we have these great visions of how these intimacy chats will go and they fall flat.  So if you have an intimacy experience that falls flat, simply hold one another to take the pressure off and just be fully present for one another. Do not discuss what went wrong in the moment. Schedule that discussion for a time you know will be more successful.

Learn how to affair-proof your marriage from this day forward with our FREE eGuide – 3 Ways to Rebuild Your Marriage After an Affair

I say schedule because most of us are busy with day-to-day tasks that you want to make sure you are MAKING time to discuss marital concerns.

My husband and I implemented “Tough Talk Tuesday” where we bring any of our concerns to the table to discuss.   Perhaps you might consider doing the same.  Just protect the time so it is uninterrupted. Make your marriage the priority it needs to be.

Love Making Sex Vs. Break Me Off Sex

Many couples can relate to the two different types of sex; “lovemaking sex” or “break me off” sex. I’m sure you have gone between both with your spouse and that is perfectly normal.  However, during the affair-recovery period, you want to focus on lovemaking sex, especially while the bond of love and trust are in the process of being restored. There will be plenty of time to get back to breaking him or her off 🙂

Patience, tenderness, and understanding must be practiced to restore intimacy.  Marital issues and sexual issues mirror each other in marriage, in most cases.  What happens in your marriage will tend to show up in the way you are (or are not) engaging in intimacy, and what is going on in your intimate life with your spouse, will tend to be acted out in how you’re doing your marriage.

In restoring intimacy after an affair, it’s vital for the wayward spouse who had the affair to be sensitive to the needs of the betrayed spouse in restoring reassurance of their sexual attraction.

When people engage in certain acts of intimacy in their affairs, it is most helpful to the overall healing process for the unfaithful partner to be open and honest in their communication with the spouse in terms of potentially exploring the possibility of doing those same or similar things in the marriage, if their betrayed spouse desires it and it proves to be healthy for both spouses.

There is no intimacy without an open heart.  If the heart is closed, then so are the doors to unleash all the positives listed above.  When it is open, it has the capacity to generate love, warmth, affection and last but certainly not least…intimacy!

About the author

Da-Nay Macklin wrote 59 articles on this blog.

Coach Da-Nay Macklin is a Certified Christian Life & Relationship Coach, founder of the Courageous Conquerors Mastermind and Author of Love After Adultery: The Breakthrough Journey of the Brokenhearted Available on Amazon She is one of the nation’s leading experts on infidelity and a thought leader on maximizing potential as she assists couples and individuals to live life by design and not default. Da-Nay has been has been featured on the Oprah Winfrey Network’s show Unfaithful: Stories of Betrayal after successfully navigating adultery in her marriage, and named one of the 15 most powerful women on the south side of Chicago. She now resides in Charlotte, NC with her loving husband and daughter.

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How to Forgive Yourself After Your Affair

BY: - 8 Jun '17 | Infidelity

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Dealing with the guilt, shame and self-hatred or the flooding of negative emotions and feeling of self-worthlessness after the occurrence of an extra-marital or non-marital affair is no easy feat.  I’m speaking from experience, and this cycle of self-shaming could be as hindering on the marriage/relationship as the affair itself.

Dwelling the on shame, instead of dealing with the problem is the equivalent to picking a wound that is trying to heal. You will inadvertently prolong the pain and hurt for both parties, gradually chipping away whatever chance you had for healing and rebuilding the burnt bridge.  This could ultimately lead to doom and gloom for the marriage/relationship. Both the cheater and the partner who was cheated on are victims in every act of an affair.

Let me give the disclaimer upfront that I do not condone cheating.  At the same time, having experienced infidelity on the receiving end during our marriage, as well as, on the giving end during our engagement, I’m merely trying to share some big picture insight based on experience vs. societal theories.

The societal assumption that the person who is hurt the worst in such a situation is the faithful spouse couldn’t be any farther from the truth. Although to every general rule there is always an exception, but in most cases the offending spouse could unsurprisingly bear the most hurt from the affair and can slip into a dark state; struggling with intense guilt, low self-worth and even depression.

My husband and I both felt remorse and hated ourselves for the parts we played in both of our affairs, but for how long can one uphold this wallowing without losing their sanity and identity?

It is not the end of the world and there is definitely a bright light at the end of the tunnel, you and your spouse can be happy again, but you have to learn how to forgive yourself first.

Forgiveness: In this context, forgiveness shouldn’t be misread as being self-indulgent and selfish. That is far from it; forgiveness doesn’t excuse the act, nor absolves you from taking responsibility for your actions. Rather, it means you have owned up to your shortcomings and that this action does not define who you truly are and you’re ready to work at rebuilding the damage by working on yourself.

Acceptance: Come to an unreserved self-acceptance that you made a mistake and broke the trust of your marriage/relationship. Don’t make excuses or find faults or reasons for why it happened, take full ownership/responsibility for your actions. Acceptance will help you acknowledge, understand and address the pain you’re feeling. Without embracing the mistake, wholeheartedly, then you cannot truly forgive yourself and heal.

Be Aware: This is an important step. Because the road to infidelity starts long before sex is involved. The sexual act is what people focus on; failing to recognize that sex didn’t just happen.

There were emotions, triggers or feelings that preceded and culminated into the act. Being aware of the excuse or trigger that led to the actions is crucial, because it also sheds light on the root cause of the affair other than focusing on the symptom which was the sexual act. This will involve some questioning sessions and somber reflection on why you rationalized an act you knew very well to be wrong. Having the real answers to these questions will also help your partner forgive you and heal. The key to this step is unapologetic honesty with yourself.

Take Action & Deal with the Guilt: Intense guilt and shame also comes from a knowing that your moral or religious standards have been compromised. Whose standards are these…your parents, society, and/or yours?  It is important to take action to address it as soon as possible.


Meditate and Seek Spiritual Counseling:  For me, submitting to a higher power by incorporating prayer and surrendering to the forgiving and healing virtues of God helped to open up channels for miracles to happen and true healing and peace to be restored in my union.  I give all the glory to God for our healing and completely restoring my marriage.  Our love and union now is unbreakable, because it takes three…God, your spouse, and you!

In conclusion, do not dwell and most importantly be patient with yourself and your partner. Take into account that time is indeed the healer of all wounds. Encourage openness and communication from your partner, allow him or her to express his or her grief without feeling condemned and judged, put yourself in their shoes. Learn from the experience and forge new and better memories, all it takes is a little effort.

In the words of Bryant H. McGill “There is no love without forgiveness, and there is no forgiveness without love.”

About the author

Da-Nay Macklin wrote 59 articles on this blog.

Coach Da-Nay Macklin is a Certified Christian Life & Relationship Coach, founder of the Courageous Conquerors Mastermind and Author of Love After Adultery: The Breakthrough Journey of the Brokenhearted Available on Amazon She is one of the nation’s leading experts on infidelity and a thought leader on maximizing potential as she assists couples and individuals to live life by design and not default. Da-Nay has been has been featured on the Oprah Winfrey Network’s show Unfaithful: Stories of Betrayal after successfully navigating adultery in her marriage, and named one of the 15 most powerful women on the south side of Chicago. She now resides in Charlotte, NC with her loving husband and daughter.

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