My Husband Cheated! So Why Is Our Sex Life Hotter Than Ever?

He cheated, and now it seems our relationship is stronger than ever. We've been together for almost 13 years. I was the other woman when we first met. He left her for me. Sex was great in the beginning. We were VERY ADVENTUROUS. We would invite other couples into our bed, role play, BDSM, etc. It was intense, fun, and THRILLING! We fell madly, deeply in love. I had two kids from a previous relationship and so did he. We all came together, Brady Bunch style. It was challenging at first, of course. But now these kids are inseparable! I became focused on the kids, work, finances, life. It seemed, to me at least, that he didn't share the same passion I had for the kids. He would get frustrated easily with disciplining our kids and it often turned into an argument between the two of us. I was so angry with him. So unimpressed. Disappointed. Sex began taking a backseat until I had absolutely no interest in pleasing him anymore. In any form. I began rejecting his advances. It went on for so long that I forgot how to love him. Even when things were good, because you know they weren't always bad times, I still couldn't respond to him. As if I were afraid to touch him. Why? I have no clue why it got so bad. I barely had interest in sex at all. I couldn't even masturbate. No sex drive to speak of. But everything else was fine. He was my best friend. He gave me anything I could want. We were happy, right? Just ... no sex. This went on for about two years. He recently confessed to having just ended an affair. A year-long affair. A YEAR! My whole world fell apart. My safe, little bubble of ignorant bliss had burst! I couldn't believe that this could happen to me. Someone else, sure. NOT ME. But there I was, crying, screaming, hitting and smacking and cursing him to hell. He was crying, too. Apologizing. Begging for my forgiveness. And then the craziest, twisted thing happened: I WANTED MY HUSBAND. Passionately, desperately, painfully, hatefully—I was so confused! It was a tidal wave of tension relieving, intense, violent, AMAZING SEX! It's been about a week since the confession, and we haven't stopped. We're like teenagers. All the deep, intense passion we had when we first met has been reborn, and we're having an outrageous time! But in my alone moments, I can't help but wonder why this happened to me. Why did my husband's infidelity awaken my sexual desires for him? And these thoughts lead me to fear the worst: will this die again? Is he still seeing her? What happens when the kids leave us? Will we still want to be together? I'm very happy to have this new relationship with the man I love, but I can't help doubting myself, my actions, my feelings, whether or not I should be trusting that this is worth another chance. —Arousing Doubts
Dear Arousing Doubts,

Thank you for your letter. Let me start by saying this pattern is more common than many people realize. There are varying opinions on why feelings and reactions evolve this way, but there are a couple of things that may be playing into it. First, the revelation of an affair is indication that your marriage is on shaky ground, and your increased desire for sex may be one way of “staking your claim,” consciously or unconsciously, and regaining the ground you feel you have lost. You may—again, not necessarily consciously—desire increased intimacy with your husband because you are afraid to lose him.

Second, there are many people who, for various reasons, associate love with extreme emotions. When those individuals get into relationships that are relatively “easy” and “normal,” they can and sometimes do lose passion for their partners. When something happens to heighten emotions, it can serve as a spark of sorts and passion can, as a result, be reignited. Based on what you described about the trajectory of your relationship, it sounds like you might be inclined—again, possibly unconsciously—to equate intensity with love. While maintaining passion is important for a relationship, it is also not reasonable to maintain high levels of intensity long-term. In the course of everyday life, over time, intensity may diminish and passion may wane. Part of the challenge every couple faces is how to have a strong, passionate union when life’s many demands creep in.

When something happens to heighten emotions, it can serve as a spark of sorts and passion can, as a result, be reignited. Based on what you described about the trajectory of your relationship, it sounds like you might be inclined—possibly unconsciously—to equate intensity with love.

During this confusing time, despite the intense feelings you’re having, you are asking yourself some valid and serious questions that deserve to be carefully examined before you make any rash decisions. While it is well within the realm of “ordinary” to have your passion reignited in a situation like yours, it is worth deeper examination to understand why you responded this way and if you want to continue this pattern. The other questions you are asking are also important to sit with; the trust in your relationship was breached, and that takes significant time and effort to repair. Are you both willing and able to do that? If you do choose to stay together and work things out, how will you deal with the dynamics at play and work to maintain passion without crisis? Another question that bears examination is if your relationship style is best suited for monogamy; it sounds like you both once enjoyed a more open or “swinging” style that inspired passionate feelings reminiscent of what you’re feeling now.

Your husband made his choices and surely had his reasons, and exploring his experience of this as well as yours in a safe, nonjudgmental, therapeutic space likely would serve him, you, your relationship, and ultimately your family. Your situation is complex, but there are many therapists who specialize in sexuality and relationship concerns. I strongly suggest you seek out a skilled therapist who can assist you in navigating your path, whatever you decide. Best wishes along the way.

Sincerely,
Lisa

Lisa Vallejos
Lisa Vallejos, PhD, LPC, specializes in existential psychology. Her primary focus is helping people to be more present in their lives, more engaged with their existence, and to face the world with courage. Lisa began her career in the mental health field working in residential treatment, community mental health centers, and with adjudicated individuals before moving into private practice. She is in the process of finishing a PhD as well as advanced training in existential-humanistic psychotherapy, and provides clinical training and supervision.
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  • Leila

    Leila

    April 17th, 2015 at 9:22 AM

    I agree. Sex is just one of those ways that you can immediately connect with someone, and maybe by having more sex you are trying to show him what he would be missing if he were to leave you for someone else.

  • michael

    michael

    April 17th, 2015 at 1:41 PM

    I agree partly with the answer. However, there is also the small matter of the fact that they were both into an alternate lifestyle when they met and that it seemed to have been set aside over time. His unfaithfulness could have triggered sexual desire by way of her actually being turned on by his being with another woman. Voyeurism and sharing are often a part of the lifestyle and they would not be if they were not erotic. Further, the lifestyle has clear rules. One can be unfaithful while also being a swinger. His breach of trust is one thing; his sexual exploit is another. I think they both need to reflect on their sexual and personal needs within the context of their value system and lifestyle.

  • AARON

    AARON

    April 18th, 2015 at 7:52 AM

    you knew what he was into when you married him

  • deb

    deb

    April 20th, 2015 at 11:26 AM

    It’s probably multi faceted I would suspect.
    I think that this is partly because you want to try to keep him with your womanly gifts and then there is another part of you that really wants to throw ut in his face what he would be missing out on.
    At least that’s probably what I would do anyway.

  • Stefan

    Stefan

    April 22nd, 2015 at 3:35 PM

    Is it that your sexual desires have been awakened or you have such a fear of losing him that now you will try anything that make him stay?
    I hope that it is the first, and that these new feelings that you are having can help save your relationship with each other.
    But I would make sure that he has the same feelings toward you.

  • brooke

    brooke

    May 7th, 2015 at 10:54 AM

    Look, no matter what happened he is the one who made the bad choice and he is the one who needs to do the work to get the relationship back to normal. You shouldn’t feel like you have to be some hot sex goddess for him to love you again because he should love you for who you are and not some made up version of yourself that you only feel like you have to be.

  • Azi

    Azi

    February 25th, 2016 at 2:05 PM

    You both cheated on other people to be with each other in the first instance, so you are both adulterers. He commits adultery again and you are surprised? Im not.
    Sex wont make him stay with you, neither of you respect it. You dont respect other peoples relationships, so why expect him to respect yours?!

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