How Do I Flip Back on the Sexual Interest Switch After the Affair?
Dr. Huizenga coaches David in this Laser Coaching Series on what to do after the affair with sexual intimacy. A concern is a rekindling of the sexual interest and intimacy but tension and fears may surround that process.
David describes a marriage marred by emotional distance. As well, his cheating spouse was engaged in a My Marriage Made Me Do It type of affair. Dr. Huizenga gives encouragement and tips on how to work through the fears and establish more intimacy.
An After-the-Affair Sexless Emotional Stalemate! How do You Flip on the Intimacy Switch?
This is David’s story. It is contained in one of my Laser Coaching Sessions. I will give you a link to the audio tape at the end of this article.
David describes a marriage where the emotional closeness switch was turned off years ago. He tried to look at the positive. After all, they were still having sex. David admitted he missed some of her subtle signals that all was not well. But the marriage continued.
A few months ago, through electronic snooping, David discovered his wife was having an affair. When confronted, she admitted the fact. From her perspective it was an emotional affair.
After reading Break Free From the Affair, David settled on “My Marriage Made Me Do It” as the affair that best characterized their situation.
His wife broke off the affair because it was “the right thing to do.” In addition, David reports it is important for her to stay together for the sake of the children. David isn’t so sure.
David and his wife now exist in a sexless emotionally distant marriage.
David wonders strongly if separation and divorce may be next.
1. It is important to face BOLDLY all messages that we receive in a relationship of investment. Yes, we will miss some. But, when that gnawing feeling in our gut says something isn’t quite right at that moment, pay attention and respond.
You CAN handle anything that will emerge. You or the relationship won’t melt and disappear with a little conflict, or a lot of conflict, for that matter, if handled somewhat properly.
Approach those subtle, almost hidden messages with a conviction that says, “Yes, we can handle this. The worst case scenario is to pretend it doesn’t exist.”
David and his wife could work on developing this assumption.
2. Believe there is more – much, much more to explore and discover about one’s self, your partner and the relationship.
A stalemate, hitting the wall of silence, attack, defense or withdrawal indicates you are missing much more in your self and the relationship. The elephant is sitting there, you sense it is there, but you fail to acknowledge it and in so doing give it more life-draining power.
Of course most of us are not taught or encouraged to “look for the more.” Somehow we assume that the way things are is the way they are to be. We settle for mediocrity. We swallow and assume that is what we must do. We slowly die. The relationship slowly dies.
David and his wife experience this. Infidelity offers the opportunity to look for and experience that “something more.”
3. Never accept, “I don’t have feelings for you anymore.” In a relationship of investment there is no such thing as not having feelings for the other person.
Now, it might be accurate for his wife to say, “I don’t have the thoughts and feelings I want to have for you or think is appropriate.” Go after that.
The elephant for her most likely is her underlying resentment which may mask other powerful thoughts and feelings that have more to do with her self concept as a capable, proactive, I-will-get-my-needs-met-appropriately, loving, desirable, sexual person.
Now that would generate hours of thought and discussion, relief and a turn around of the negative feelings and thoughts.
4. David and his wife are like most of us.
We have not acquired the mental framework or been intentionally taught the skills which say, Relationships are given to us to explore, to learn, to evolve as people and as a couple, to face the “dark side” and transform it into our power and strength.
And so, we go no further. We know not how to go further. Out of our fear, faulty thinking, and misguided societal beliefs we stalemate…until infidelity wakes us.
5. At the end of the session with David I began engaging in messaging. I talk more about this skill in “My Marriage Made Me Do It” in Break Free From the Affair.
Messaging holds the potential for breaking through the walls and the stalemate.
Here’s what I say about Messaging in Break Free From the Affair:
- Messaging is a basic communication skill.
- Messaging converts what you want to say into a simple sentence or phrase that expresses the truth and intends to spark reflection and perhaps action in the other person.
- You want your message to “grab” the other person as your words pierce to the heart of the matter.
- You message when you have a point to make, when you want the other person to act and especially when time is of the essence.
- Messaging can and should be used effectively in all communication but can be especially powerful when facing the affair in your life.
- Messaging works because it bypasses the defenses of the other person.
- Your spouse will find it difficult to defend herself (attack, explain or withdraw) when you message. As well, when crafted correctly, the message speaks the truth. The truth cannot be ignored.
A few of my messages to David:
- What’s keeping the two of you together?
- So, you state the truth and you are fearful she would pull away. Could she pull much further away? What would be worse?
- Do you ever wonder what she is REALLY thinking?
- How much are you willing to tolerate?
And, in priming David to confront his wife in a positive way, I lead him to say to her:
- Yes, it’s true I’ve withdrawn, but it appears you have as well.
- I want more, much more and it appears you do also.
I think you will get a much better feel for this strategy as you listen to the last 5 or so minutes of the tape.