Marathon18

My husband had an affair which caused devastation but about a year ago, the affair over, he finally decided he wanted to stay and rebuild our marriage. Since then he has worked very hard to be kind and loving again, as he was before the affair. But he refuses to talk about it. After 18 months of pain and turmoil our relationship is back on track and I should be happy I suppose.

Our sex life has resumed mostly successfully, except that he can’t maintain an erection. He can get an erection but it just disappears at the critical moment! We find other ways to have fun and it’s lovely, but I’m afraid it’s psychological. Perhaps it’s because he feels guilty, but my darkest thoughts are that the awful things he said in our terrible time are actually true.

In the midst of his affair he told me I was like a sister to him, that there’d never been a spark for him, I wasn’t his type, he’d never truly loved me and he only stayed with me for our children. He has never taken those harsh words back, which is a daily struggle for me. If I ask him to he says he wasn’t very well then and he doesn’t feel like that now. But that still leaves me with 20 years of apparently having had a relationship with someone who was living a lie. So I can assume he could still be pretending and that his affair was a temporary blip where he lost self control. For all I know he could have really felt that way both before and after his affair, but decided that on balance he was better off with me and that true love wasn’t everything.

Unfortunately this has done a lot of damage to my self esteem and my belief in people. And possibly that is why he has erectile problems. I know it’s common in men of his age (mid 50s) and I understand that talking about it might make it more of an issue, but I wondered if anyone else had experienced something similar during reconciliation? If so, did it improve? I spend a lot of time wondering sadly if I should have just let him go and be happy with his ‘true love’. And that doesn’t help my self esteem either. 

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Crushed
At first after his affair the sex was great. Hysterical bonding I believe they call it.  Then the trickle truth began and so did the deteoration of the sex.  The further out we got the further apart we grew.  Then just like your WS  he couldnt keep an erection and
 worse yet he couldnt get off by other means that involved me.  He tells me that it is because he is so worried that he wont please me.  He has went to doctor to get pills which for him was a major thing to have to tell doctor.  But like you I feel it is that he has no desire for me.  I feel rejected and unloved. We fight over it quite alot. He was a porn addict and was into some pretty bad stuff which I have absolutely no desire to participate in.  Its probably been 6 months since we had sex.  It makes me wonder if he is back to old habits and I just haven't caught him.   
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Marathon18
I’m sorry to hear that. I think maybe they just feel guilty but it doesn’t help. I hope your WS isn’t back to his old ways. Did you go to therapy? I’m wondering how you knew about the porn. I sometimes wonder if my husband was into that too because I did once find out he’d been watching porn when I was away. He was obviously embarrassed I’d found out and he wouldn’t talk about that either. I don’t think it’s an addiction but I wouldn’t actually know. It seems a lot of people do watch it and I don’t really know what’s considered ‘normal’!
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Cam28
We are 7 months past DDay and I am having a similar experience.  He told me that the affair was about sex and that she was nastier than me.  I do know that he has from time to time watch porn.  I don't know if that had anything to do with it.  I do know that his AP was a self proclaimed "sex goddess" and our sex life was never super passionate.  We had the best sex I can remember during the hysterical bonding period which seems to be over.  We are able to take pleasure in one another in ways but he struggles with keeping an erection as well.  I feel the same way you do.  I feel that he loves me but doesn't really have the same desire as before the affair.  He also said mean things to me during but not after it ended.   I also know that he has done everything possible to minimize it.  All we can do is pray and hope that time will make it better.  Are you working on your own healing?  
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Marathon18
Thanks. It’s helpful to know other people have this too. Yes I am working on myself a bit and I’m tons better than I was a year ago (which was totally desperate!) and able to get more perspective now. Less traumatised. But I have this constant sadness that my life wasn’t what I thought it was, my husband wasn’t the person I thought either and our relationship can’t have been that great if he could do what he did. Also I’m angry about the irreparable effect it had on our kids, which he minimises and denies. Lots of anger there still! I wish you all well.
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anthro
TMI warning....

As a BS, I was kind of expecting this could be an issue for me but it turned out not to be. On the other hand my WS and I now basically do not have any sex life whatsoever, despite the fact that I think it is a pretty important element of a recovered/recovering relationship. Unless I were to cheat now myself - which is not really something I could or would do - it looks like I am on my own as far as sex goes for the rest of my life. I do have a fairly strong need for some kind of fulfilment and connection in this area and if it were up to me it would be a daily or almost-daily thing.

I am aged mid-40s so maybe erectile dysfunction is something that I guess might still be around the corner for me. I have had some experience with it way back, like at the very beginning of my sex life, late teens/early 20s, which looking back was to do with anxiety, performance pressure, and possibly a poor choice of partners. It simply went away after the first few times, when I gained some increased confidence and comfort, and has not been an issue since.

My best suggestion with your husband is to wait it out. I feel it is very unlikely that he is not actually attracted to you. What he said retrospectively about your time together is classic history rewriting stuff, and it generally fades very quickly once an affair is ended and there's no contact. 

Depending on how you feel about it and how much initiative you want to take (and this is where another TMI warning kicks in), I wonder if it might be worth trying to initiate some intimacy in the early morning. This can be a time when things like fatigue, anxiety, stress etc are at their least harmful. (Just watch out for morning breath...)
Formerly known as Anthropoidape... male bs, long affair, d-day Feb 2017.
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hurting
Anthro raised some good points. I think as BS, we tend to feel very strongly that any lack is a reflection of us. God knows I’ve felt that. 

It could well be an anxiety/guilt issue. I think if he wasn’t attracted to you, he probably wouldn’t get an erection in the first place...

having said that, I myself am very wary when this happens. My WS was a porn ‘addict’. Among the porn addiction boards, erectile dysfunction is a common issue. Often it’s thought to partly be due to how porn has affected the brain (there are some out there who are so accustomed to porn that reality can’t quite get them off- which seems really quite pathetic but did happen with my WS). The other part is that they’re so accustomed to jacking off that they actually have reduced penile sensitivity (again, noted by my own WS and many on such forums) because their grip tends to be firmer/harsher than the real thing... 

so although I would be inclined to think certainly issues with shame/guilt/performance anxiety certainly might have a strong dampening effect on things... when my WS struggles at times, I am immediately suspicious. That’s just how his bad choices of the past have left their mark on me. Certainly it’s a huge blow to our self confidence. Which is funny because in any other situation, erectile dysfunction would surely be a blow to the guy’s confidence...
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Keepabuzz
My challenges seem to be the opposite of others here. My wife had the affair. We went through hysterical bonding, then my desire slowly all but went away.  I haven’t had any issues with getting an erection, although it takes more effort to become aroused due to my lack of desire. I have had problems finishing though. My wife wants sex often, and I could literally go without. It’s like sex is ruined for me. Maybe just sex with her is ruined for me. She has a hard time with it because  she feels like I don’t find her attractive, although I do. When we do have sex, it’s just sex. I don’t feel any intimacy, and she knows this. I don’t look at her. Most times I can’t. If I look at her, it becomes too much. I become to vulnerable, which I’m not comfortable with. There is a wall up inside me, that I don’t know how to take down. 
Male BS, D-day July 2015, trying to stay out of the dark.....
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Phoenix
For us, Sex  was never a frequent thing. We have always had a great sex life. In the beginning we also did hysterical bonding. Then he went through a face of also not being able to finish and not look at me. Now we are back to the norm. Not to frequent but when we do as of now he is able to enjoy it. I do everything to make him very special. Candles, messages, lingerie. It seems to work. we are bale to look into each others eyes. I make sure I always have eye contact with him. He expressed once that when I close my eyes he feels I am still thinking of the OP. 
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