When sex is hard after infidelity

Tammy Nelson, PhD offers advice for healing a relationship after infidelity, and how to renew your sex life after an affair
Relationship Advice | When sex is hard for a couple after one has had an affair
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When sex is hard after infidelity

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So you are on the path to repairing your relationship and you have even moved so far as to begin having a sex life again, and it is going well. And then, something triggers you. You have a thought, an intrusive memory and you start to fantasize about your partner with their affair person. Did you do this with her? Did you think about me when you were with her? And suddenly, you are frozen in the bed or you get really angry. And that´s a normal part of the process. It is good and healthy to just tell your partner I need a time out. Can we just stop for a second and talk about how I am feeling right in this moment? I feel really vulnerable. I am afraid and I am starting to have feelings of anger that are surfacing. At that point, your partner who had the affair has a choice. They can shut down and roll over and say oh my god, I can´t deal with this. That´s called conflict avoidance. Or they can show empathy, which means it makes total sense that you feel that way. I totally get it. What do you need from me right now? Do you want me to hold you? Do you want to talk? And they actually have a third choice. It is called anticipatory empathy where they can anticipate how you might feel. It looks like you are having a hard time right now. Is something coming up for you? What do you need from me right now? You seem a little distant, or I see that you are crying. Can I help you? Can I hold you? Are you having thoughts about the affair? That actually will help move your sex life along faster than not talking about what possibly could be coming up for both of you. And remember it is not just you as the person who was betrayed that´s going to have instrusive thoughts during sex, your partner who cheated as well. And that´s a hard thing sometimes to remember because we don´t want to think that our partner is thinking about someone else or thinking about their affair. But frankly, they are in a grieiving process as well and they are worried about what you are thinking. And if you are in a heterosexual relationship, man´s number one sexual need is to please their partner. They want to know that you are happy and that you are having a good time. And you need to be able to communicate what´s going to work for you in bed in order for them to fulfill that need for themselves. They can´t read your mind. Sometimes we feel like if you really loved me, you would know what I need right in this moment. You would know that i need to be held or that I need you to talk to me. Don´t assume that they know anything. Always communicate your needs and always talk about what´s going on with you in the moment whether it is what you need sexually, emotionally or physically.

Tammy Nelson, PhD offers advice for healing a relationship after infidelity, and how to renew your sex life after an affair

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Expert Bio

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Tammy Nelson, PhD

Psychotherapist & Relationship Expert

Tammy Nelson PhD is the author of several books including, “Getting the Sex You Want; Shed Your Inhibitions and Reach New Heights of Passion Together”  (2008) and  “What’s Eating You? A Workbook for Anorexia and Bulimia (2004)” and her latest  book “The New Monogamy; Redefining Your Relationship After Infidelity” (January 2013) is receiving critical acclaim.  She has been a featured expert in New York Times, Washington Post, Self,  Glamour Magazine, Cosmopolitan, Redbook, MSNBC,  Shape, Men’s Health, Women’s Health Woman’s Day, Women’s Health, and a source in Time Magazine. She writes for the Huffington Post, YourTango and can be followed on her blog www.drtammynelson.com/blog/.

Tammy Nelson is a Board Certified Sexologist, a Certified Sex Therapist and an Imago Relationship Therapist.  She is an international speaker and a licensed psychotherapist in private practice with over 25 years of experience working with individuals and couples.  She travels and lectures internationally on her quest for global relational change.

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