Recovering From An Affair: How to Become His “Girlfriend” Again

liam-neeson-girlfriend-600x450First off, this article is NOT meant to let men off the hook.   Or that it’s only men who have grievances against their spouses.  Or that only men are susceptible to affairs.  Not true.  I hope some Former Cheating Female writes something similar from the female POV.  Truly.  I just wouldn’t be qualified to do so.  That being said….this is a topic I’ve thought long about, based on what I’ve seen on blogs, read in books, and heard in a roundabout way from a variety of on-line therapists and psychologists.  What is the common thread for why most men cheat?

Because their wives are no longer their ‘girlfriends.’

Now, before some of you have a knee-jerk reaction and jump all over me, pounding your keyboards silly in response, “BUT WIVES ARE NOT TO BLAME FOR WHY SOME MEN HAVE AFFAIRS, YOU NUMBSKULL!!!”, take a moment and read below. And read other parts of my blog. I’ve never said that anyone who has an affair is anything but 100% responsible for their own actions — they are! And the reasons for an affair are not the same thing as an excuse for having one.  Having affairs is not justified and is not the answer to marital problems. I’ve said it over and over again.

However, what is clear from a wide range of psychologists and other experts on the subject is that critical unmet needs in a marriage/committed relationship create emotional distance and a dangerous vacuum and sometimes the reaction is to get those needs met elsewhere.  Pretty simple, really. Powerful concept, when properly understood.  Nobody is 100% happy all the time and that’s not what it means – but needs that are so critical to someone aren’t being met consistently and over the long-term in a marriage/relationship, frequently, those needs WILL get met.  Yes, some will quietly and sadly accept their fate and deal with it.  Others will just walk out.  And some have affairs to get them met.  So let’s put that aside. I would refer to the reader to other articles I’ve posted about affairs on my site to debate this point.

So we’re not talking about sex addicts and serial cheaters here. They are their own class and will cheat if given the opportunity, no matter what’s going on in their relationships or marriage.  But they are the minority.  No, what we’re talking about is the majority of cheaters who strayed because of extreme unhappiness in their marriage due to long-term, unmet critical emotional needs.

I am only going to speak of men here, because I “are one.”

But that said…what is the common thread for men that cheat that I’ve gleaned from reading dozens of blogs, books, and listening on the radio?  What is that one thing — that one absolute truth — that  jumps out at me as why a lot of men stray from their wives (including me)?

That their wives were no longer their girlfriend.   That they became something else after marriage.  The men no longer feel appreciated, wanted, understood, and yes, DESIRED!  It might be a cliche that women seem to lose interest in sex after marriage — but it’s a cliche because in too many cases it appears to be true.  FOR WHATEVER REASON (I’m not blaming any gender here in particular — each situation is different – so I’m dealing with generalities).

Old joke here:    Q:   What food cures nympho-mania?    A:   Wedding cake.

*BA-DUM TSSSS!*

Your “girlfriend” was always interested in sex.  She wanted it and was plain she wanted you.  Do you remember how when you saw each other, you couldn’t wait to get each others’ clothes off?  How you “did it” in the car sometimes?  Or you gave oral without being asked to?  In fact, you acted like it was the most amazing thing on earth?  She dressed like she cared what you thought and to flatter herself and her figure.  All the time.

And now?  What once was a cute, snug top with a pair of flattering hip-hugger jeans, with some cute little matching panty and bra set from VS’s….now has turned into granny panties underneath sweats.   Sweet, flirty and loving messages sent back and forth all day by text when dating are now nonexistent, or worse, are instead comprised of  a list of “chores” you’re expected to do, and direct or indirect criticisms.

And sex….What I hear from a lot of men — including friends who are married but unhappy — is how their wives range anywhere from only semi-interested in sex now to not interested at all. And how much this hurts them to feel this sort of rejection of them as men and sexual beings.   Yes, it IS rejection.   It’s like your wife giving you the finger concerning something that IS emotionally-based and part and parcel of your identity. A cold rejection of something that I truly believe is the glue in a marriage or a relationship — not “everything”, but critical. A leg on a bar stool.  Nobody likes to feel undesired, unattractive and undesirable.  It’s an utter and complete rejection.

But it’s not just sex I’m talking about here.  Many men miss the dates.  The fun.   The shared interests and hobbies.  The emotional intimacy they had with their wives when they were girlfriends.  How they and their relationship was the central part of each others’ lives, not far down on the list of priorities.  “Us” was the priority.

Dr. Laura Schlessinger wrote a whole book that I think goes to this point — “The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands” (or something like that). It was a best seller. It pointed out obvious truisms if you want to make a married man a happily married man and your marriage “affair-proof”.  Some sneer at it, but gosh, who WOULDN’T want to the “keys” to how to make your spouse happy? This is just one book.  There are many.  This one sold a ton.

You will find a lot of resources on how men fall short in marriages that tend to drive their wives away from them.  Tons of resources.  I am speaking only as a male, a husband, a former cheater.    So do not take this as a sexist treatise. Both genders have much to learn.  As a generation, we generally suck as marital partners — both sides.  But I think I could relate to this concept.

Looking back, my OW was my “girlfriend” — filling all those roles that my wife had long abandoned.  And sure, I was no longer my wife’s “boyfriend”.  I was becoming resentful.  Distant.  We weren’t openly fighting, but I was disengaged — from her, from her needs, from our lives.  I was going through the motions.  Fulfilling my duties.  Having fun mostly without her (hobbies, etc).  A huge chasm opened up between us.  We weren’t anything like the promise our wedding day held.

And you see where that ended up for us last year.  Not good.

I now have my ‘girlfriend’ back.  My wife and I “date” again.  We have fun.  We are sharing hobbies, not having separate ones.  Sex is a priority, frequent, active and inspired.  It’s anything but rote and predictable now, as it was for so many years.  We spend a lot of time talking and listening to each other.  We now both feel “heard,” “appreciated,” and “understood”, as well as “desired.”

Like we did when we were dating. Before kids.  Before a mountain of other responsibilities.  Before resentments on both sides started to erode our intimacy.

It makes all the difference in the world to man to have his wife be his “girlfriend” again.  A simple, yet powerful concept that would “affair-proof” a lot of marriages out there.

© COPYRIGHT 2006, 2007, 2013 Recovering Wayward Enterprises, LLC

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5 thoughts on “Recovering From An Affair: How to Become His “Girlfriend” Again

  1. Wow, this article really hit home for me. It was so well said and wish I could have lived by this before my husband left me and went to live with his secretary. I can only hope I have learned my lesson, unfortunately, at the cost of my marriage. My soon to be ex-husband would never even talk to me about reconciliation; he was too involved with the OW by the time I found out and I’m sure I didn’t handle things like I should have. Wish I would have found all these blogs during that time. Thank you for your blog – it’s extremely informative.

  2. For many years sex was the glue that held us together. However after so many years of his narcissistic abuse I just stopped wantingto share myself with him. I also went into menopause instantly at age 42 (basicall periods just stopped and never resumed so my hormones were so outta whack and he refused to pay for the ones I needed. Between the two I lost all desire for sex but I continued begrudgingly -I felt it my wifely duty. If you’ve read my blog I admit that I wasnot present in my marriage , so knowing what I know now I accept my portion of blame – however that is no excuse for his choices. Narcissism must take its share of the blame as well. Because no matter how unhappy I was I didn’t cheat because that’s just not me. This (affair discovery a m d the years prior) has been a wild roller coaster ride. I have forgiven him for the past indiscretion and years of abuse-he truly did not realize how his treatment of us (me and boys) was WRONG. I want to be his girlfiend again and will work to that goal-AS LONG AS THERE IS NO MORE ABUSE CHEATING OR LIES. Its a slow road to travel, much patience required-but it is getting better even the sex-not what it was before but hopefully will continue to improve. Oh how I hope these messages get to younger people in relationships/marriages so they can PREVENT an affair instead of having to try to SURVIVE an affair. If anyone’s interested my blog at http://www.chely5150@wordpress.com

  3. While it may be the case that in many marriages the husband isn’t getting any sex or attention or affection, that can definitely be a generalization. I was a “sex starved wife” for many years even before my husbands affairs began (there were many and he may be in the serial cheater category). I wanted it plenty but was told I was oversexed and sometimes made to feel as if I were not normal because I placed sex in the marriage at such high importance. I was even very honest with him about my vulnerability to an affair because my needs were not being met (both physical and emotional) although I still never strayed from my marriage. I also, after the honeymoon phase of our relationship, was pretty much the ONLY one who tried to arrange time for us to do fun things together, who showed emotional and physical affection, and who placed our relationship above our child. Now, I am not perfect and nobody is and I worked on myself and my faults, improved myself over the years and tried as best as I knew how. And yet, he still went outside the marriage (many times). He never made me aware of his unhappiness and the extent of it. I knew things were not good just by intuition and tried to get him to open up, but felt like I was up against a wall as he would never let me in. So I feel like I really had no chance. How can you know how unhappy someone is when they don’t share or try to heal that unhappiness along with you by working on the marriage? I was just left as a person to blame even though I put so much time and effort in. Unfortunately, not all situations are as simple as the woman isn’t his girlfriend. All I wanted was to be treated like his girlfriend and I tried my darnedest to treat him like a boyfriend, but no matter what, I was still a person with imperfections and I was real, not shiny and new like his affair partners. I couldn’t ever compete.

  4. This is a very sensitive area of discussion for any woman. When I met my husband I was an 18 year old virgin. Never had any sexual experience beyond some kissing and allowing one guy touch my boobs. We married and our relationship and sex life were always great. I always thought I was the last person who could ever slip into this most painful and devastating area of any relationship.

    My husband was VERY experienced sexually having been the typical arrogant frat boy type. We were married almost 20 years when “it happened.” A girlfriend of mine told me a friend of hers had a things for me. I’d never had anyone really say anything like that. Then she told me he was known for being very well endowed and the girls she knew who had been with him, raved about the fireworks in bed and whatever else.

    My husband traveled out of town and my friend invited me to a party at her place. Yes, he was there; and later told me he only went there to talk with me. We talked over several glasses of wine and he just acted like a teenager who was like thrilled to have the attention. I made the mistake of telling myself “one kiss is no big deal.” Nothing ever ends at one kiss! I still don’t know why I let things happen, but one thing after another happened and my friend kept pushing me to give the guy a chance.

    About an hour later my friend asked him he’d pick up some stuff for the party from the store and I don’t know why, but I went with him. At the first red light it was like high school again. We started kissing and I rubbed his crotch. He did the same to me. Instead of going to the store, he drove into the driveway of his apartment complex saying he had to grab something. I was going to wait in the car but it was dark so I told myself it was safer to go inside. I NEVER should have done that!

    As soon as he closed the door behind me we started kissing and clothes came off. He even slipped my wedding ring off my hand and put in my pocket. I knew I was in over my head and I was thinking how wrong it was but I knew I could get away with it and I was just too curious and into it. That was when I saw and felt that what Sheila had told me about his penis was stunningly true. It was like an electrically over powering feeling and I just began giving him oral sex. I do not know why I did it and I feel terrible that I didn’t even feel bad by then.

    He returned the favor and then all of a sudden he was on top of me and we were full-on making love. It was more than that. It was like animalistic F-ing! It hurt going in, it hurt hitting thing deep inside me! Then I experienced my first orgasm during intercourse and it turned me into a f-ing animal! No condom, he was just 27 so that meant no vasectomy and I was not on birth control because my husband was “V” safe. I was so damned caught up in being stupid I didn’t care. It just felt good! It was totally huge, thick and it gave me four orgasms during sex, something I’d tried with my husband for 20 years.

    About 45 minutes later, my so-called friend called me. She giggled when she could hear by the sound of my voice I was not just sitting still. Then he let it go inside me and I’ll never forget her saying, “I told you it would be great!” He just stood up and started getting dressed telling me e had to get back to the party because he was the ride for two friends. No kiss. No thank you. No ‘That felt great.” nothing. We rode back in near silence. I was getting sick and threw up out the window. He laughed saying it was obvious I’d never been hit to deep that I barfed before or I would have been used to it. Then he said, “If your husband isn’t big enough to get the job done I’m always available.” I didn’t know what to think.

    When we got back my friend greeted me and told me, “I’m impressed Miss Prude.” He just ignored me after I knew he was bragging to his friends. I threw up again and just left.

    I didn’t know what to do. When my husband got home I thought it was best that I tell him everything that happened and beg for forgiveness. I wish I’d never said anything. He was shattered and it turned out the guy I’d cheated with was also a guy who used to bully and degrade my husband when they played football together in high school. He literally hated the guy.

    I let my husband vent out and I just took all the screaming, name calling and foul language. I knew I deserved it. The problem is it has continued on for the last 9 months now and he has not let up. If he leaves me I’d rather die. Our sex life is almost zero because I told him I had only been curious because the guy was supposed to have such a huge one. He’s angry because I let the guy orgasm inside me so what used to be an awesome oral sex life has not happened since.

    How long can this keep going? I’m beaten down. I cry every time he yells at me and I cry when he’s not there because I’m afraid he’s probably having sex with someone else. I don’t think this is fair to me after my apology and complete honesty. If he’s feeling inadequate now I think it is his problem and not mine. He knows I’ve always been content with him and our sex life. I was wrong but I think it should be past us. I’ll never do it again. I’ve told him that a thousand times. Why are guys like this or is it just him??

    Barbara

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