It’s not unusual for me to get correspondence that has to do with sex after the discovery of an affair. Not surprisingly, the sex can be difficult or awkward. Sometimes, though, it isn’t actually the act of the sex that is the biggest difficulty. It is the intimacy that goes along with it. Some wives have more trouble with the intimate gestures that go hand in hand with the sex rather than with the sex itself.
One example is that of kissing. Some wives report great difficulty with kissing their husband after his affair and they don’t completely understand this. After all, a kiss is much less than sex, right? And yet, it is the kiss that plagues them the worst of all. A wife might explain: “I found out my husband was having an affair four weeks ago. The first two weeks, I did not interact with him. Over the last two weeks, we have decided that we will try to save our marriage. I do want this and I think that it is the best decision for us. However, things are sort of weird between us. I know this because one of my favorite things in life were kisses from my husband. Now I literally have to stop myself from cringing when he tries to kiss me. My body will literally involuntarily recoil. There have been times when I almost turn my face. It is not as if my husband has changed his kissing style in any way. We’ve had sex a couple of times and honestly, it was not as big of an obstacle or hurdle as the kissing. Why am I having this problem?”
Losing Some Pieces Of The Puzzle: I’m certainly no expert, but I can tell you my theories. Kissing is an intimate act. I feel that it’s more intimate than sex in some cases. You are face to face. You are often looking into one another’s eyes. You don’t have as many of the physical sensations that can allow you to get carried away as you do with sex.
It can be hard to have intimacy after an affair because you are guarded. Because of the betrayal, you don’t trust him. You are angry. You put a wall around your heart. Kissing requires a vulnerability that relies upon trust. When that is broken, it only makes sense that real kissing is going to be a challenge. You don’t have all of the necessary pieces of the puzzle to make it work.
Getting It Back: Does this mean that you and your husband can never share a heart-felt or sincere kiss? Absolutely not. It does mean that, to the surprise of no one, it is going to take time and work to reestablish the trust and vulnerability. I know that it may feel like you may never get there or that your marriage might be forever altered. But think about it. I believe that we all know (or know of) someone who has restored their marriage after an affair. Do you think that this couple no longer kisses one another? I can tell you that my husband and I share very nice kisses on a very regular basis. I can also tell you that early on, everything about our relationship – from kissing – to sex – to talking – was extremely difficult and felt forever altered. That is how it feels early on – that nothing will ever be right again. But in time, and with work, it can be.
What you are going through is completely normal. In order for the physical aspects of your relationship to be working normally and properly, you often need to have the emotional aspects of your relationship working properly. All of the pieces fit and work together. If one thing is eschew, everything else falls out of alignment. That doesn’t mean that it can’t be fixed. And that doesn’t mean that you have to stop trying.