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Missing the spark

foreverparanoid posted 5/2/2019 08:47 AM

My husband and I are approaching 2 years post Dday. Overall, things between us are better; but there had been one thing that has been nagging at me for a while now: our sex life.

Yes, we do still have sex. But it does not feel exhilarating and passionate. Iím trying to map out why exactly this is. My husbands affair and our Dday coincided pretty much with the start of our marriage. With that in mind, is what we are experiencing 100% bc of the affair, or is this just a common occurrence in marriage?

I know part of it is bc I lack the confidence. I donít feel sexy and empowered. How can I? Knowing he was willing to throw me away and lose me forever for some hot action on the side? He tells me Iím sexy, tells me he wants me, tells me he loves me, etc. but my wall is so built up, Iím not going to believe itís genuine.

Iíve communicated this to him and he says he feels I donít initiate enough (which I will not deny) and he says he wants to feel desired too by me initiating. I find this reasonable. However, I argue back that I simply am not confident enough to feel compelled to initiate passionate love making. So weíre at an impass I guess?

Seeking advice and opinions. Thank you in advance

Tigersrule77 posted 5/2/2019 09:42 AM

Other than a time machine, what would make you feel that way? In the last two years, you never felt confident, sexy, etc. even once?

I can relate to how you feel. The A is a brutal thing to deal with.

For me, as a BH, I always wanted to feel the passion of being with someone who wanted to be with me. I think you are lacking that, as you say you are not yet convinced of your WH. Is there anything you can think of that would help you with that? Does he seem passionate with you?

cocoplus5nuts posted 5/2/2019 09:49 AM

How was your sex life before dday? That should tell you whether or not this is related to his cheating. My guess is that it is.

You need to spend some time on self love. Maybe IC if you have already started. Your sexy and self worth are not attached to your CH. They just are. Find them.

he says he feels I donít initiate enough (which I will not deny) and he says he wants to feel desired too by me initiating. I find this reasonable.

This would be reasonable if he hadn't cheated. It is not now. It is up to him to bring that spark back. He needs to be doing everything he can to show you that he wants you without any expectation of reciprocation.

What is he doing for you?

sisoon posted 5/2/2019 09:51 AM

He tells me Iím sexy, tells me he wants me, tells me he loves me, etc. but my wall is so built up, Iím not going to believe itís genuine.
What would tell you his desire is genuine? For me it was consistency, and it took me more than 2 years of consistent demonstration of desire for me to believe it. I probably didn't accept it as genuine until after our 3rd antiversary.

So time may be your issue. I can think of 2 other potential issues. First, the A may have been a deal killer.

Second, do you talk each other's 'love language'? If not, you can learn each other's LL, and that may may sparks fly.

Also, are you in IC? You describe a self-esteem problem ... letting your H's actions diminish your sense of self. A good IC can help you find your power again.

[This message edited by sisoon at 9:52 AM, May 2nd (Thursday)]

ChamomileTea posted 5/2/2019 10:12 AM

Iíve communicated this to him and he says he feels I donít initiate enough (which I will not deny) and he says he wants to feel desired too by me initiating

I don't put up with "the lady-in-waiting" routine anymore. My WH is a grown-ass man. So, if he wants to have sex with me, HE should initiate a conversation about that. Same goes for me. If I'm interested in having sex with him, it's on me to open my mouth and say so. And yes... that means he will quite likely be doing more initiating than I do since he's got twenty times more testosterone.

You're young. And unless you nip this in the bud, it's going to be a bugaboo in your marriage for as long as your marriage lasts. The whole "she doesn't initiate enough" has become part of the adolescent tapestry of bro culture. Don't put up with it. Adults speak their minds. Adults make their preferences known. Adults don't sit around with a hidden score card, grading you behind your back.

In terms of your desire for him, I really do believe that a lot of that has to do with whether or not we can rebuild respect. It's hard to feel "sparks" for a guy when we just don't respect his values or his choices. I do think it can be accomplished if the cheater has made repairs. Respect, like trust, has many aspects upon which to build. But here's the question... do you really want to? Sometimes, even after a good deal of time has gone by, we're still ambivalent after intimate betrayal. That feeling of having one foot out the door can diminish our will to rebuild. And really, that's not a bad thing. If feelings of ambivalence are persistent, maybe that's an indicator that you need to do some more thinking on whether this is truly the right partner for you?

DevastatedDee posted 5/2/2019 10:19 AM

I had this problem trying to R. I had previously been really passionate and turned on by my WH before DDay. Never after. I couldn't feel passionate about someone whom I felt victimized by. DDay killed that for me with my WH. I felt like a loser for letting him touch me. It was like having consensual sex with my rapist. I presume if you want to stay married you'll have to dig into this and figure out what your personal reasons are for not feeling passionate about your WH.

FloridaMan posted 5/2/2019 10:35 AM

All of the problems in your sex life were caused by him. He must fix all of them.

When I read that he said you dont initiate enough I assumed that was wayward behavior. He should initiate every day. He should write you love letters and sexy letters explaining how much he wants you.

If you tell him you dont feel confident he should do everything possible to make you feel confident.

Tell him to write you letters telling you how much he wants you. Tell him to write letters telling you how much he loved your sex life before the affair.

[This message edited by FloridaMan at 3:45 PM, May 2nd (Thursday)]

timespent posted 5/2/2019 11:18 AM

Wait. Why would you want to initiate sex with someone who betrayed you then did not make every effort to make sure you felt safe and sexy!!! It seems like he doesn't get what he has done to you and your marriage. I really think it's more about you protecting yourself than it is about your confidence. Please place the blame where it belongs and that is not on you! He has to wake the fuck up if he wants YOU! (sorry for the rant) sending you strength.

ThisIsSoLonely posted 5/2/2019 11:35 AM

As usual I will offer the other side of this and disagree with:

All of the problems in your sex life were caused by him. He must fix all of them.

This isn't a relationship type statement. It's not this simple. You are not the new dictator in your marriage, as he has been during his A. He is allowed to have wants and needs and to express them. I think it's a massive mistake to say to your partner in a relationship, "No! Don't tell me what you need or want. You screwed me over so now it's all about me." If you are trying to make a new relationship then you have some duties too. If you are committed to try to R, then some of the work is yours. Fair? Doesn't seem that way. True? Absolutely. Here's why I see it this way:

You have a "new" relationship now - the old one is gone. In a normal relationship would you say that if you were having a problem that it would be 100% the responsibility of your partner to "fix" things (more importantly, they cannot fix all of it ever)? No, you wouldn't. So here's your situation: You are having issues in your sex life because of a problem he created. The sex issues are a result of what he did. So can he work his ass off to "fix" the problem? Yep, and he very well should. That is 100% HIS responsibility and only he can do that. That is totally in his control. But we're not talking about the underlying problem here are we? We are talking about a side effect of the underlying issue. Much like you can't stop him from behaving however he is going to behave, he can't stop you from having these ancillary feelings.

So you've said why you think this is a problem for you. You said several things actually:

I know part of it is bc I lack the confidence.

I donít feel sexy and empowered.

I simply am not confident enough to feel compelled to initiate passionate love making.

my wall is so built up, Iím not going to believe itís genuine.

These are all things that are 100% in your control. He simply cannot change this because he wants to. You already indicated that he says these things:

He tells me Iím sexy, tells me he wants me, tells me he loves me, etc.

So, what else can he do at this moment? Please understand I'm NOT trying to defend what he did nor am I trying to minimize how his actions have affected you. Not in the LEAST. What I'm saying is, think about WHAT will help YOU get beyond this that HE can do? More of the same? Something else different? Saying things to help build your confidence?

There is a lot of talk on this site about building confidence - self-confidence that is NOT reliant on anyone but you. What have you done to get there? What have YOU done to make yourself feel more sexy and empowered - for you?

Now think about what YOU can do to help yourself get beyond this. I see that you admit you have a wall built. What can he do to help you take down that wall and what can YOU do to take it down yourself? Much like you could not get him to stop his A - he had to do that on his own. He cannot get you to remove the wall you've built either. He can show you he wants you to (much like I'm sure you did in regards to his A). He can tell you he loves you, finds you attractive, wants you, needs you, whatever, but no matter what he says or does he CANNOT remove that wall. ONLY YOU CAN.

You may not feel ready. You may not trust him enough to allow yourself to be that vulnerable. You may feel disgusted by him on some level. Your hurt may not allow you right now to take that wall down. There may be other reasons. And all that is fine, but there will come a point where YOU have to decide that either the wall is coming down brick by brick or via full demolition, or not at all, but that choice is yours and yours alone. Maybe the simplest answer is time and consistency. Maybe that's all you need. If that's the case, share that with him as he needs to know. If he can't commit to that then better to know now that later.

He can only make you feel safe enough to try to take it down - you actually have to do the removal yourself. That is your portion of the commitment to R fully. At some point you will have to make that choice. Should you explain that to him? I think so. What will he do with that information? Get frustrated? Give up and leave? Who knows - that part IS on him, but at some point you will have to figure out if you are willing and able to start taking down that wall. Maybe you will decide that you can't no matter what he does - and if that is the answer then you know where this will end eventually. But if you want to R you are going to have to put yourself out there eventually. You too have to try, as unfair as it seems.

[This message edited by ThisIsSoLonely at 11:58 AM, May 2nd (Thursday)]

ThisIsSoLonely posted 5/2/2019 11:54 AM

I just saw this and I agree:

Why would you want to initiate sex with someone who betrayed you then did not make every effort to make sure you felt safe and sexy!!! It seems like he doesn't get what he has done to you and your marriage. I really think it's more about you protecting yourself than it is about your confidence.

This is exactly my point - what else can he do? What do you think you need? And yes, it's all about protecting yourself - the wall.

I will only add this: initiation of sex on your part is not only about you making a commitment to trying to fulfill some of his needs and wants, but also about trying to get more comfortable with moving forward. I don't think it's a bad thing actually - test the waters here. Try to initiate and see how it makes you feel and talk about it later. I mean, you ARE already having sex, so it's not about the physical act. How will initiating make you feel? Sexy and desired or like a pushover? If it makes you feel like a pushover, talk about that and see what you can do to work through that, or find out you can't.

Committing to R IS hard work because there is going to be some level of uncomfortably for you too. That's the work. That's "trying" when you are ready to try. Do you not trust him that the A has stopped? If so I would guess sex itself would be difficult as you would feel like you're playing the pick me dance. If you don't think it's ongoing then what is stopping you? Ambivalence about going forward? Then talk about that too.

I told my WH just hours ago that there have been times where I've wanted to slap his hand away when he tries to hold mine. Why? Because of my wall, and because at moments he disgusts me, or because I'm angry, or because I don't want to try in that moment, and a whole host of other reasons. What did all those statements have in common? Me. Those are all about my feelings. So as a reaction to my feelings what can he do? And what can I do? (I will couch this by saying we are not in R as I haven't been able to commit to that - and honestly, neither has he. But you seem to have committed to doing that and it sounds like your WS has too so...how will you overcome your feelings is as paramount to reconciliation and recovery as his actions).

Put the focus on yourself and your feelings in this situation and decide why you don't feel safe opening up. While a LOT of R is about him, it's about you too.

[This message edited by ThisIsSoLonely at 12:07 PM, May 2nd (Thursday)]

emergent8 posted 5/2/2019 13:34 PM

Hi Foreverparanoid,

I want to start by mentioning that my story is somewhat similar to yours in that my husband's affair started very close to our wedding day - which I definitely believe was an aggravating factor to me and I imagine to you. I don't have any particular wisdom in this area, but I just wanted to let you know that I KNOW HOW YOU FEEL. It's hard to feel special/loved when the affair was going on around such a symbolic time period.

Regarding your specific query: I think you have identified the problem you are focusing on the wrong thing. What you should be working on is your confidence. For me (and I do not believe I am an outlier), my sex drive is directly related to my self-confidence. It sounds like you are a little depressed (which is very understandable in the circumstances). I would work on doing things for yourself that make you feel good about yourself. For me that is exercise - endorphins are so good for my state of mind (and it has the added benefit of making me feel better about my body). I love yoga, and I like that it's something I can watch myself get better at over time (I like the sense of achievement). Do you have something like that you can do? I'm not saying that'll solve the problem entirely, but it'll make you feel better.

To be clear, this is something you should be doing for yourself - not for your husband's benefit. If it helps with the latter, all the better.

crazyblindsided posted 5/2/2019 18:20 PM

I had previously been really passionate and turned on by my WH before DDay. Never after. I couldn't feel passionate about someone whom I felt victimized by. DDay killed that for me with my WH. I felt like a loser for letting him touch me. It was like having consensual sex with my rapist.

Word for word

staystrong101 posted 5/2/2019 18:59 PM

Someone once posted about a podcast by Marnie Bleeker. Itís about betrayal being trauma. (Mods - I apologize if against rules to mention this). This podcast helped me understand why my XWHís cheating was a dealbreaker for me. Itís an extreme violation that is very similar to rape/assault. Except itís caused by the one person who should have your back, the one you trust above all others. It causes a BS to question everything once believed to be true and safe.
After I caught WS, I was repulsed by the thought of him touching me. He begged me to R, but it was too little too late. I filed very quickly and have never regretted it. I canít even imagine if I had tried to R, and he proceeded to blame me for not initiating sex. Heís implying that youíre to blame for his lying n cheating. Seriously, he seems to be minimizing what he did to you and your M. Maybe the Affair was a deal breaker for you as it was for me. You deserve to be with someone you trust.

Tentwinkletoes posted 5/3/2019 02:32 AM

Hi foreverparanoid. I'm sorry he betrayed you at a time he was supposed to be committed and making you and your marriage special. I think this stands out because it makes his vows and oaths defiled and untrue. Which in turn makes his words now unbelievable and unreliable. So when he says you're sexy or he desires you it's not worth much. I also feel my husbands "desire" and "attraction" to me isn't worth much hes cheapened its value by giving it away to someone else so freely. So what if he wants me, it doesn't do the same for me as it did pre affair. It makes me at times feel like I could be just about anyone as long as I'm willing and semi attractive like ap was. Willing being the main requirement. He didn't care shes thick as two planks or cheap easy sleeping with two men at the same time. She was willing she him feel wanted so in retaliation he wanted her. Why would I want that same cheap exchange and cheapen myself?

It's a hard one isn't it. I too am 2 years out. And while I love him I dont have that crazy desire and attraction I once had. I know he misses it. I was worried it will make him look for the cheap option again but seems to be the opposite hes asking what he can do to please me and tells me everything I need to hear and occasionally i get back there. But it doesnt last. I think as I realise what makes me special and desired is all hes willing to do to rekindle it with me when theres 100's of women like ap out there on tap and yet he wants me. Thats what makes us special we are worth working for your wh has to work for you more. And you need ic to see how amazing YOU are within your own view what he thinks shouldn't touch it. Good luck

Tentwinkletoes posted 5/3/2019 02:32 AM

Duplicate post

[This message edited by Tentwinkletoes at 2:33 AM, May 3rd (Friday)]

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