Does love return?

Avatar for raspberrykat
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Registered: 03-26-2003
Does love return?
Wed, 04-23-2003 - 9:03am
I'm wondering ..... does the love return in a marriage after an Affiar? Can I get the spark back? H knows about the Affair, and is very willing to put it behind us. When I told him about it, he said it was in the past and that we were making a new start. He said that if I wanted to talk about it I could and if I didn't want to talk about it that was fine with him. I told him I never wanted to talk about it again, and we haven't. He does not know "who" it was and has never asked. He knows what he did wrong in the past and I have forgiven him that also (huge things for many years). We also did couples therapy ......

Anyway, I have come to a point where I really want our marriage to work. H is very much in love with me and I would love to be able to return those feelings. My main problem is sex. We finally had last week after months of no sex at all. I had to keep my eyes closed the whole time and could not kiss him (therapist says that's because I don't want to be intimate with him) and as soon as I was satisfied, I wanted it over. Also I had no desire to please him (although with him it doesn't take much), but I want to WANT to please him.

Any thoughts? I'd love to hear what everyone thinks.




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Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 04-23-2003 - 11:37am
Kat, your post really hit home with me... I wish I had an answer and I'd love to hear what others have to say about this...

I'm so impressed with your H (and your) reaction the the confession. I wish there was any way my H would respond like that, but in my case my H does not know and never will. So of course that adds a different element, but still there is a lot that is the same for you and me... and my H does at least know something is wrong and has gone to some counseling sessions with me (and my therapist knows about the A but thinks he should not be told).

I love my H, but physically we don't have the greatest relationship - that was, for me, a huge part of why I was vulnerable to an A. Obviously not the only reason, but if I'd had a good sex life with H I don't know that the other factors would have been enough for me to fall...

I went through many times, especially during the A, when I could NOT bear to kiss him. It's such an intimate act, isn't it? In some ways, so much more than sex... probably why prostitutes don't kiss (or so I've been told - no personal experience there!)... and I would really like to work on my desire to kiss my H more - still not something that's always easy for me with him...

As for wanting to please him - I have had major issues about that. Like your H, mine is "easy" to please - usually way too quick to be done - is that what you are referring to with your H also? For me, one reason I stopped being a very generous giving lover with him was that it seemed to make him be done even sooner - more stimulation went against what I (we?) were trying to achieve - him lasting longer... and honestly I can now see that I also had some major resentment against him because of his lack of stamina... and being with XMM really didn't help me a lot there because he had no problem lasting... So I fell into a trap of resenting and not wanting to please H because it was too damn quick and easy anyway...

After the A ended, I have tried to be a more giving lover to H, even if it does mean he finishes even more quickly. And I'm talking a little to the therapist about these issues and we ARE working on our sex life improving - H at least admits that it could use some work. But I wonder, can you get a spark back, or create one out of cooled-down ashes? I don't have an answer yet... I just feel exactly like you said "I want to want to please him" - how does one get to that point????

Waiting for more replies...


Avatar for guardedticker
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Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 04-23-2003 - 11:50am
What you are both describing are intimacy issues, not sexual. I experienced the same thing in my marriage. When something happens which breaks down the genuine intimacy with a spouse and things get shoved under the rug rather than dealt with because it is EASIER and less painful, it chips away at the intimacy. When you chip away at intimacy, it is tough to want to express intimacy by having sex, let alone kissing.

This is my honest opinion. I went through this in my marriage because of feelings of resentment I had towards my DH over something he didn't disclose to me prior to getting married and should have. Rather than dealing with my feelings about it, I was quick to forgive him, consequently burying my true feelings about it and the pain I had experienced over it. Our sex was never the same from that moment on because I had lost the desire to please him.

Good luck to you both.


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Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 04-23-2003 - 12:15pm
I'm still in my EMA (although we've majorly reduced the amount of time we spend together) but I wanted to chime in because this is a very major issue for me. Before my EMA I was just 'going through the motions' with my husband, and truthfully, we had a pretty terrible sex life, although it took MM to make me realize this.

Now I have zero desire to be intimate at all with my H, and also zero desire to please him. Although my H doesn't know the reason why, he's definately picked up on my unwillingness to be intimate, and his reaction has been to pursue me relentless for more, better, different sex. And the more he pursues, the more difficult it becomes!

GT is right, its about an unwillingness to be intimate. I read in a book on marriage and EMAs that people who have them fall into two categories-the first (and I can't remember what they're actually called) are people who capable of compartmentalizing their lovers so effectively that they can carry on the EMA over a long period of time guilt free. The second are those who are basically monogomous people who happen to be having an EMA, and those people aren't really capable of being intimate with more then one person.

I think most women fall into the 2nd category, so while in the EMA we have 'turn off' any desire for intimacy with H. The BIG QUESTION is-can you get back that desire? My guess is that it taking being utterly, completely and unquestionably OVER MM in order to get to that point and for me that's going to take a very long time.

I hope everyone here can regain the intimacy that they lost with their H. And we have to remember that its not just bad sex that got us to where we are right now, there were alot of other issues in the marriage that led us to this point.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Wed, 04-23-2003 - 12:17pm
Not sure if this is of any help, since I was the single one in our A, but I do not agree with the fact that you and your H have agreed to not discuss your A. I don't believe that either party can truly move past the hurt and uncertainty until they work through ALL the issues. They WILL keep popping up..if not verbally, then probably in his mind, your H will always have questions. I know that my ex aMM & his SO are not dealing well with all that has happened. Now, they are talking about buying a new home...starting fresh. This definitely will not solve all the issues they had prior to, or during the A. As GT posted to me yesterday, it is like putting a big bandage on the wound...eventually that wound will fester. I do agree that therapy is a great idea & wish you the best of luck.



Avatar for guardedticker
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Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 04-23-2003 - 1:20pm
One word of warning about this. I felt I had done the right thing by forgiving my DH and what happened between us was within six months after getting married. The marriage lasted five years and when I thought things were good between us, etc., he surprised me and announced he was leaving. Everyone including myself was shocked. It took me four years to understand my part in our marriage failing. If only I had addressed the feelings I had and how hurt I was when what happened did right at that time, our relationship could've healed and we could've grown intimately together rather than apart. So take heed of this. It is with open, honest communication that you find true intimacy, nothing less. It is right to forgive but there is more to it.

Take care and again, good luck to you both.


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Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 04-23-2003 - 1:29pm
Hi Kat,

I too am rebuilding with an H who does know about my A and he does know the person with whom I was involved. I think regaining that spark has a lot to do with what was wrong in the marriage leading up to the A. If you truly loved and respected your H prior to the A but much was missing from your relationship, then in my opinion it would be more likely for you to regain that spark once the missing elements of your relationship were discussed and remedied. For me, it is about respect. I have not had respect for my H in a very long time. He has done nothing to earn my respect. In my marriage I am the one who makes the decisions about everything. If I didn’t, nothing would get done. I also think you have to basically like the person before you can feel that “spark” for them. Many times I do not like my H. I care about him as a person and as the father of my children, I just sometimes really don’t like him.

This leads to huge problems for me as far as intimacy and sex go. In my marriage I have never felt free to share things with my H. Now we are talking about anything, you name it. What I did during the day, where I went, who I talked to, etc. On some level he always managed to put me down about things I did or didn’t do. As a result, I stopped telling him things. This led to a complete breakdown in intimacy. If you don’t feel comfortable telling your H that you went to visit your family that day, how can you expect to feel comfortable telling him what you want in bed? So, I absolutely struggle with the sexual part of our relationship. I swore when he moved back in that things would get better, but they haven’t in that area, anyway, thus far.

Anyway, I do believe that the spark can be reignited. It just takes time and a basic “like” of the person you are with.

Hope this gave you some insight.


iVillage Member
Registered: 04-08-2003
Wed, 04-23-2003 - 1:44pm
Hi, Kat.

Well, I don't know if you want my advice since I am no longer married, but that's mainly because my xH became very abusive after the A. However, we hit a bump in our marriage early on. It was something he felt was enough to tear the two of us apart. When the time came for us to decide to sepparate or not, he decided that he was still so in love with me that he wanted to work things out. In my state of guilt, I decided to work things out with him as well, as long as it was never mentioned again, and he never held it against me. Maybe that was asking too much of him. Anyway, we had the same exact problems you described in the bedroom. I shut my eyes tight, as if I wasn't even there at all. And most of the time, I didn't want him trying to please me. I pretended I was satisfied so he would just hurry up and finish. I couldn't wait to get him off me. I don't know why it was like that. Therapists told me a large part of it was the guilt I still felt. In truth, I did feel guilty, however, I think I felt worse because I knew deep inside that I was no longer in love with him the same way. As a matter of fact, the fact that he was being so kind and understanding about the whole thing was making me feel worse. But the big differene between your situation and my own, is the fact that I really didn't have any desire to try and love him again. For me, I was dead inside, and no amount of love from him was going to make things any better.

But, just as a warning...not that your H is anything like my xH at all.....All the years he let the first "mistake" go, and didn't mention anything built up inside him. When I told him I wanted a divorce because I was having an A, he exploded something fierce. This man who would give me the last crumb on his plate if I was still hungry attacked me like I was threatening his life! I ended up in the hospital, and he went to jail.

That's all I can offer. I'm sorry it's so morbid, but like I said, I'm not at all saying your H is anything like mine. I think its great he is being very supportive, but make sure that he gets all his pent up feeling out into the open, as well. I hope things get better between the two of you! As long as you still feel something inside for him, isn't it worth the time to try and find the love again?


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-05-2003
Wed, 04-23-2003 - 2:51pm

Oh boy, you have taken the words right out of my mouth. I want to feel like I'm in love with my husband but I just don't feel the same. My husband knows of affair and has never mentioned it again. He feels we are even now for the things he has done to me throughout our marriage and wants to move past things but I have not been able to do so completely. I have been feeling much better lately but I still worry that I am staying in a marriage that is not right for me and it is frustrating!! I hope you get lots of good advice and support from everyone here (I will read the replies later myself) because I know how it hurts to try and feel something that doesn't seem like it's there!!


Karry - - who is learning to embrace life on her own raising her miracle, Carley Paige

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 04-23-2003 - 3:13pm

If it is ok, can I ask how things are going with your H? I can really relate the feelings you expressed in your post. I have lost respect for my H too (like you, I had the become the one 'in charge' of everything) and most of the time I don't really like him very much. He is a nice person and the father of our 2 wonderful children, but as a person I don't think real highly of him. He also puts me a down alot too, and my therapist says its because he feels threatened by me. It's almost like he pushed all the responsibility for eveything on me, and now feels insecure because I'm able to handle it all!

Anyway, your situation sounds so similar to mine, and I was just wondering how you are suceeding at the rebuilding part.


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 04-23-2003 - 3:14pm
Well I am questioning this as well. My DH knows about XOM too and has chosen to move on with rebuilding our marriage WHEN I feel that I am OVER my feelings for xOM. Till then we are basically maintaining a freindship and partnership for our children. I have been very honest with him that I dont know WHEN thats going to happen ... BUT DH is willing to wait he says and he has been rather great about it actually. I know it would be VERY difficult for me to do. All I know is yes I hope one day that I will fall in love and have that intimacy back with DH that we had. But I cant even begin to think about being COMPLETE and ABLE to open myself up to that until I heal from the loss of x om.

I just dont think its possible to TRULY love smeone when you still have feelings for someone else - you agree? maybe I am wrong

But I do wonder if its possible to GO BACK to what you once had with your spouse after you fell for another anyway!! I think you have to find something new and fresh becuase it will never be the same...:sigh::