Intimacy between partners evolves naturally. There are many good and exciting reasons for this. Unfortunately, in some cases, loss of intimacy can come about due to a crisis like an infidelity. There is too much guilt, shame, anger, doubt, and uncertainty to even contemplate intimacy.
At first, this will likely be the case. However, if you are part of a couple who opted to stay together, this issue will ease back into your daily consciousness in time.
Is Intimacy Possible After Infidelity?
The short answer is “yes.” The longer answer depends on each couple—their foundation, goals, and individual personalities. It also is rooted in how couples define and express intimacy. Our society might lump it all under the decidedly un-helpful label of “having sex.” In reality, we all know intimacy is an evolving, eye-of-the-beholder concept.
Intimacy can be broken into these broad categories:
Within each of these categories, the variations are endless. For the purposes of this post, we’ll focus physical intimacy. As you’ll see, however, they tend to blur into each other!
How to Move Towards Post-Infidelity Intimacy
1. Start with communication
Even if infidelity were not a factor, you’d start with communication. But since a betrayal has occurred, this becomes doubly important. Schedule time to talk about your feelings and needs. Make sure you listen and make sure you’re heard.
2. Laugh together
It’s been said that shared laughter is erotic. This option encompasses almost all the intimacy forms listed above. Get back to having fun. It helps re-connect you and goes a long way to bringing back the spark and desire. Make a date for a night at Comedy Oakland!
3. Don’t rely on pornography to “jump start” things
Internet porn does not encourage intimacy. It does quite the opposite. Your intimate life is your own to invent, re-invent, and define. Steer clear of extreme imagery and scripted action. Allow your imaginations to conjure up new ideas and directions.
4. Don’t relegate “foreplay” to a side note
We’re often conditioned to see intercourse and orgasm as sexual goals. Without them, it’s not sex. As you transition back into intimacy, let go of such conditioning. Use this as an opportunity to learn and grow.
5. Appreciate the “little” things
Holding hands, a gentle touch, sustained eye contact, or a kiss on the forehead—the list is infinite. Don’t overlook or underestimate the role these moments and gestures of intimacy play in your reconnection. After infidelity, it’s not a countdown to how soon you get naked. It’s an endless journey of small steps. Appreciate each one.
6. Maintain an open mind
Intimacy is not a destination. It’s a process. Like any process, it requires your attention and flexibility. It’s important to set boundaries. However, remain open to other’s needs and desires.
7. Be patient
A painful betrayal occurred. To act as if it is easy to bounce back is counterproductive. Do not set any deadlines or create any more pressure than already exists.
Seeking Help to Make the Commitment
There are many variables that can influence a couple impacted by betrayal. One universal factor is confusion. Where do we start? What if I change my mind and need more time? How do I know if he’s thinking about me or the affair partner
All of these (and much more) are valid questions that may require guidance when seeking answers. That’s why, so often, the two partners commit to couples counseling. Those weekly sessions are where everything is brought out in the open. In such an environment, the transition from infidelity to intimacy becomes possible.