strength1

H and I are rebuilding our marriage, after a long affair, and long drawn-out breakup 3 months ago. Finally I am once again recognising the man I married, he is fully committed to our marriage and it’s great being together. He has moved back home, we both work from home these days, and it’s been much better than we both expected. We argue extremely little and the down moments are usually a result of something which triggers me and causes me to doubt his sincerity or to feel the pain more acutely.  

But there’s a “but”: to put it bluntly, no sex.  We affectionately give long hugs morning and evening, we sit really close to each other on the couch when we’re watching TV, but nothing else.  He hasn’t really initiated any intimacy although he says he likes it when I cuddle up to him. If he reciprocates, it’s with the awkwardness of a teenager, or he might seemingly imperceptibly slide closer to me on the couch, for example.  Two weeks ago we spoke about how important it was for both of us to move past the “housemates” status, and a few days ago I told him I need him physically and he said he does too.  We’re sleeping in separate bedrooms and I told him he could come over to my room or invite me to his when he wanted.  But so far, nothing.

So I’m baffled. All the signs are positive but I sense a reluctance or a shyness to get intimate.  I expect HIM to make a move, given that he was the one who opened his bed to another person,  although when we first met 25 years ago he found it extremely hard to do that and the first move eventually can from me.  What am I missing? All this is making me feel insecure and wondering if he is attracted to me.

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BlindCheetah

We went the hysterical bonding route so we just barreled through the awkward so I don’t know how helpful this will be. The most important thing we did was to talk more about what we wanted now and pre affair, the more we talked the less awkward the conversations. We talked about things we should have discussed 20 years ago. 

If it’s something you both want, just strip down to nothing crawl into the same bed and hold each other until you fall asleep or something else happens. No expectations of performance just let things happen or not happen. If things start then go wrong just be together.

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Keepabuzz

My wife and I also went through hysterical bonding for a few months. Then my (BS) desire went off a cliff. For a long , long time I had intrusive thoughts while being intimate with my wife. It still happens sometimes. There were times when it was so bad I couldn’t continue, I would literally just stop, get up, get dressed and walk out of the room.  My wife has done pretty much all the right things since her confession, she clearly wants me often. But here I am almost 5 years out, and have no strong desire.  I can literally go weeks in between. Whereas before we were usually a few times a week. She and I both know it’s her fault, but that isn’t fixing anything. Our marriage is really good now, pretty much every aspect except sex. 


Strength1 it seems you feel the opposite of me. I am curious since you say your husband is not know to “make the move” by nature, that now after what he has done, maybe he also feels that he doesn’t have the right to come on to you. Maybe he feels like he is being respectful by letting you set the pace, and let you decide when and where that happens.  My wife was and at times still gun shy to make the wrong move after what she did. Maybe you walk into his room and go for what you want. If it goes sideways, let it be then talk about why the next day. I know when it has gone sideways for me, the very last thing I want to do at that time is talk about it. 

Male BS, D-day July 2015, trying to stay out of the dark.....
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BlindCheetah
My husband was very hesitant to initiate at first. He felt like he didn’t deserve it, he didn’t really but I wanted it anyway. He also started having performance anxiety after the first affair, I had no idea why at the time. So now that I know what he was bottling up for almost a decade sex is probably better than it has been since before kids. He really needs to talk about what’s going on in his head. How I react to things not “working” makes a huge difference, talking at the wrong time can just makes it worse. 
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beach5
I am the BS and initially went through what I now know, was hysterical bonding. There were some awkward moments and some great ones. Now I have absolutely no interest.  I picture him with his AP and while they were physically together in the same place 5 times, I can't get it out of my mind nor the letter he wrote to her for "closure" after they got caught, nor the fact that 4 months later, after she reconnected with him, he sent her a phone so they could continue to communicate.  I think I have total apathy about everything.  He never initiates conversations about the affair and he knows I am sitting here waiting for answers.  He is going to counseling once a week.  He says he wants "us" and that all of his dreams are with me. He has expressed loads of remorse and has claimed to have no contact with the AP since she ended it 12/31.  I thinks this is true but, his reluctance to initiate the conversation has made me angry. I refuse to bring it up now and that leaves us with silence.  D Day was 1/4/20, when the AP's husband contacted me.  I feel angry and ambivalent and the last thing I want with him is sex. We have not been spending much time together under the same roof since COVID-19, but we were together over Easter for about 10 days.  I was ready for him to leave.  Just so uncertain.
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strength1
beach5 wrote:
 I was ready for him to leave.  Just so uncertain.


This is such a rollercoaster ride.  H also has a reluctancy to talk about it (actively avoids it), and I know that there are still a couple of pages of that chapter with AP which are not totally closed.  I've learned a lot over the last year, the biggest lesson being "trust the process", but also that I can't control everything and therefore to listen to my gut.  As for trusting him, I'm really not sure whether the full and blind trust I had in him for many many years will ever return. 
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BlindCheetah
strength1 wrote:

As for trusting him, I'm really not sure whether the full and blind trust I had in him for many many years will ever return. 


Trust is hard, I will never trust blindly again. He shattered that then set it on fire.
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Keepabuzz
strength1 wrote:


This is such a rollercoaster ride.  H also has a reluctancy to talk about it (actively avoids it), and I know that there are still a couple of pages of that chapter with AP which are not totally closed.  I've learned a lot over the last year, the biggest lesson being "trust the process", but also that I can't control everything and therefore to listen to my gut.  As for trusting him, I'm really not sure whether the full and blind trust I had in him for many many years will ever return. 


I know without any doubt the blind trust I had for wife is gone forever. It actually gone with everyone. The only person I trust fully is the guy I see in the mirror, and there are days where he is a bit sketchy. Lol
Male BS, D-day July 2015, trying to stay out of the dark.....
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strength1
Keepabuzz wrote:


I know without any doubt the blind trust I had for wife is gone forever. It actually gone with everyone. The only person I trust fully is the guy I see in the mirror, and there are days where he is a bit sketchy. Lol


The scary bit is that I was never a person who trusted easily, and because I am an overthinker I am liable to looking for the holes in someone's story as they're talking.  H fooled me completely, so of course I can't help wondering if in fact he still is. 
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BlindCheetah
Keepabuzz wrote:

My wife and I also went through hysterical bonding for a few months. Then my (BS) desire went off a cliff. For a long , long time I had intrusive thoughts while being intimate with my wife. It still happens sometimes. There were times when it was so bad I couldn’t continue




Any tips on pushing away the intrusive thoughts? Yesterday has me thinking of some of your posts about the dark side of hysterical bonding. It was AP2’s birthday she was occupying way too much space in my head. I’m kinda bitter about how my birthday went and spent the day hoping she alone and miserable, it would help if she would stop trying to contact H. It really sucked the fun out of the bonding thing. Tomorrow is 6 months from D Day 1. 
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Keepabuzz




Any tips on pushing away the intrusive thoughts? Yesterday has me thinking of some of your posts about the dark side of hysterical bonding. It was AP2’s birthday she was occupying way too much space in my head. I’m kinda bitter about how my birthday went and spent the day hoping she alone and miserable, it would help if she would stop trying to contact H. It really sucked the fun out of the bonding thing. Tomorrow is 6 months from D Day 1. 
 


I wish I knew. The only thing that helped me was trying distract myself by doing something, but that wasn’t always successful.  I did find that the earlier I could catch myself, the higher my chances were at being successful at redirecting myself. I didn’t really have any ability to stop them or control them in anyway until I was more than a year out. 

Male BS, D-day July 2015, trying to stay out of the dark.....
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hurting
I managed it through thought stopping. As Keep said, catching yourself as soon as you can, and actively making the decision to stop that train of thought and not go there.

This is HARD. But you will get better at it with time and practice. I would actually picture a ‘stop’ sign. It would feel like I was standing on the edge of stepping over the stop line I had set for myself. Sometimes I did, because the pain or compulsion was too great. 

The most important thing i learnt to recognise over time (and it took me well over a year to even begin to do this) was to not only catch it but come to terms with myself over why I shouldn’t step over the line and let the intrusive thoughts in. In a way, I felt like I SHOULD experience the intrusive thoughts and pain- because that was how bad the whole mess he has inflicted upon me was. This isn’t to say I WANTED to suffer... but recognising that I had the ability to NOT go there seemed to be denying the impact of the affair upon me and thus not acknowledging just how bad it was? I realise that is really convoluted and difficult to understand. It was like I felt I had to let the thoughts in because that was how bad it all was. Yet the thoughts truly were intrusive- I didn’t TRY to have them. Sometimes I just lacked the will to stop them. 

What I eventually realised was that I was the only one suffering the ongoing effects of those intrusive thoughts. And I had suffered enough at his hands to not let my own head keep torturing me. I decided that there was nothing to be gained by going over those mind movies etc again. It was time to look after me. That gave me greater strength to not step over the line whenever I needed to use the stop sign. 
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Keepabuzz
hurting wrote:
The most important thing i learnt to recognise over time (and it took me well over a year to even begin to do this) was to not only catch it but come to terms with myself over why I shouldn’t step over the line and let the intrusive thoughts in. In a way, I felt like I SHOULD experience the intrusive thoughts and pain- because that was how bad the whole mess he has inflicted upon me was. This isn’t to say I WANTED to suffer... but recognising that I had the ability to NOT go there seemed to be denying the impact of the affair upon me and thus not acknowledging just how bad it was? I realise that is really convoluted and difficult to understand. It was like I felt I had to let the thoughts in because that was how bad it all was. Yet the thoughts truly were intrusive- I didn’t TRY to have them. Sometimes I just lacked the will to stop them. 


I agree with everything that you wrote, but especially this. It’s like mental gymnastics.  I felt/feel this so much. Like if I stop it, then I’m rug sweeping, or minimizing the damage. 
Male BS, D-day July 2015, trying to stay out of the dark.....
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ThrivenotSurvive
One thing that helped me when intrusive thoughts came was focusing on myself, my needs.  Thinking about him sometimes caused me to start thinking about comparisons (Was he thinking of her?  Did he like the way she did this/that better, etc?) 

So when intrusive thoughts came I would often do two things - first I'd remind myself that the reason my husband got into the situation he did was that he can be incredibly selfish.  Therefore, he wouldn't be here, in bed with me, if it wasn't exactly where he wanted to be (especially since I'd done nearly everything possible to encourage him to go without actually leaving myself.)

Then I'd think, it is time for me to practice a little healthy selfishness myself.  I enjoy sex, my body and pleasure.  So right now, I am going to think of him as someone here to meet my needs/wants - not necessarily as my husband.  Obviously not ideal - but it helped a LOT in the early part of reconciliation.  

As we healed, this changed and I began to connect with him on a more emotional level as well regularly.  I rarely experience intrusive thoughts now.  If I do, it is almost always because I've seen something on TV that has triggered me (the media appears to portray that every man is basically 3.5 seconds away from cheating - and that lowers to 1 second if she's pretty and twenty years his junior.) 

Don't know if this approach would work for others, but it was really about the only thing that worked for me in the first 18 months or so.  
BS - Female
Married 27 years, one adult child
DD May 2016

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” - V Frankl
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BlindCheetah


Then I'd think, it is time for me to practice a little healthy selfishness myself.  I enjoy sex, my body and pleasure.  So right now, I am going to think of him as someone here to meet my needs/wants - not necessarily as my husband.  Obviously not ideal - but it helped a LOT in the early part of reconciliation.  



I have done this.
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