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Intimacy After Infidelity: How Soon Is Too Soon

There are few, if any occurrences more devastating to a relationship than infidelity. The realization that your partner has violated your trust by intimately connecting with someone else in a capacity that is only meant to be shared with you is difficult to recover from.

Yes, infidelity can shake a relationship to its core, but it doesn’t have to mean that the relationship is over. Many couples decide to stay together after their partner has cheated, mainly because there are multiple methods to aid in the emotional recovery, but what about intimacy recovery?

Sexual intimacy is a central part of any romantic relationship, but in the aftermath of an affair, processing the thought that your partner has strayed can make it difficult to reconnect in the bedroom. Thus, if you do decide to continue your relationship, the question is, how do you know when it’s the right time to return to intimacy.

Some couples may find themselves reengage in sexual intimacy immediately after learning about the infidelity. To some this may seem odd, but it is more common than you may think. Couples may feel the desire to physically reconnect when they consider losing one another and want to show that they are still attracted to their partner. Another reason is to ‘stake your claim’ over each other after your monogamy has been compromised. For this reason, it’s common for couples to have sex once the infidelity is out in the open.

For other victims of infidelity, they will sometimes experience an emotional processing phase. This phase may include having numerous questions, both reasonable and unreasonable. They will engage in pro and con considerations about whether to stay together and quite possibly, they may need time away from it all to think about how they feel.

It’s a normal reaction to withdraw and assess before making a decision on if you wish to proceed with your relationship.

Thus, it is best to avoid sexual intimacy unless both you and your partner are comfortable about the idea. Doing so before you are emotionally ready may result in resentment towards your partner, and detachment is likely to linger long after the incident occurred. So rushing things in the bedroom could foster negative associations with intimacy that will continue into the future.

It’s significant for couples to note that building a strong emotional re-connection is incredibly important when reinforcing a strong foundation for a monogamous relationship. Therefore, emotional intimacy is more critical to your success than sexual intimacy. So it may be prudent to abstain from sex until you feel genuine empathy, warmth, and love towards your partner again.

Once you have determined the state of your relationship, and begun to move on, then it is time to start exploring your sexuality in light of your renewed connection.

It is perfectly normal for one partner to feel ready for sex before the other. However, you shouldn’t be overzealous or rush sexual intimacy, particularly if you were the unfaithful partner. It is necessary to first have an erotic reconnection take place. Begin by focusing on touching and physically demonstrating your intimacy without having sex may help to bridge the gap from infidelity to a healed relationship. Hugging, kissing, holding hands, are ways to reactivate your sexuality without pushing the idea of love-making. If one or both partners are not ready for sex after the relationship has settled back into a normal pattern, it may be necessary to attend couple’s therapy or see a sex therapist if you haven’t already. It is perfectly normal to require the guidance of a neutral third party in light of infidelity.

Relationships can recover following an affair by accepting varying patterns of reconnection with your partner, like waiting until both partners are ready to move on from the infidelity and focusing on non-sexual physical contact. These can aid in the process of reuniting with your partner and help you, on your way to a renewed, loving and intimate relationship.

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