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Are Separate Bedrooms Common And Advisable After An Affair?
Many of the questions that I get from wives who have been cheated on pertain to sex. People worry that their sex life wasn’t “normal” either before or after the affair. They are often looking for reassurance that their feelings, or their experience, is valid.
An example is the couple whose marriage has just been severely altered because the husband has cheated. Quite understandably, the wife will often want to pause their sex life while she tries to figure out how she wants to proceed. Sometimes, the husband is not happy with this arrangement and he will try to make her feel as if she is wrong to even suggest it.
Here’s what I mean. A wife might say: “I kicked my husband out of our bedroom after I caught him cheating. It was hard for me to even look at him, much less to have him sleeping next to me or even thinking that we might have sex. I don’t want him even touching me, much less putting any sexual moves on me. I did not tell him to leave our home because of our children. And also because I want to reserve the right to take my time in deciding what I really want. I don’t feel that this is too much to ask. In fact, one of my best friends went through this and she said that she and her husband didn’t share a bed until about six months post-affair. But my husband acts as if I am being unreasonable. He says that he too has friends who have dealt with infidelity and that his male friends are telling him that they still shared a bedroom after the affair. He admits that not all of them were having sex right away, but he insists that the men were not kicked out of their bedrooms. Who is right?”
I believe that both people can be right. But it doesn’t really matter what other couples decide to do. What matters is what works for YOU. The arrangement that couples have as far as their bedroom goes varies greatly. One couple may be comfortable still being in the same room while the another may not be. I don’t think that you need to feel bad if you want to sleep in separate bedrooms for a while.
I did this also and I felt that it was a better compromise than having my husband leave our home permanently. I just couldn’t deal with the close proximity of sharing a bedroom when I was so angry and hurt. He respected this because I believe he realized that the situation was his fault and he understood why I wouldn’t want to share a bed with him at that time.
I did not want to feel pressured about having sex. I needed time on my own. I wanted private, quiet nights where I could just be alone with my thoughts and not constantly be questioned. We did interact during the early days for the sake of our family. But at night, we went our separate ways, although sometimes I asked him to talk or watch TV with me, but we did that in the living room, not the bedroom.
This went on for a little while as we were attempting to work through the issues and heal. But it did not go on forever. I will admit that we started resuming sex a little while before my husband officially moved back into our bedroom. I suppose we wanted to test the waters and move gradually. I didn’t stress too much about that. I just used how I was feeling as a guide. As I felt more close to my husband again and we began to restore the trust, I started to feel more desire toward him and so our sex life and sharing a bedroom naturally resumed.
But I did not allow myself to feel pressured about this. And it would have been impossible for me to feel that desire in the early days. I was too angry and hurt and therefore, my emotions were shut down. Every one is different, but in order for me to feel physical desire, I have to feel an emotional connection. And that wasn’t possible when the affair was still fresh.
I think that another consideration here is that not every one is going to be honest about their bedroom habits. And that is fine because frankly, it is no one else’s business. But it is possible that your husband’s friends who claim that they never left their bedroom aren’t being completely truthful. They may not want to appear like they weren’t in control of their own marriage so they aren’t admitting that they spent some time outside of their own bedroom. Again, it is their business. But I don’t want for you to just blindly believe this and feel that there is something wrong with you because you didn’t make the same choice.
I firmly believe that you have every right to decide what works for you. If it doesn’t feel right to share a bedroom right now, I don’t see any benefit in forcing yourself to do so. If you think it would help to talk about this, a suggestion might be something like: “I hear what you are saying. But it doesn’t matter to me what our friends have done. Because this is about us and what is right for our situation. Right now, I just want some time to myself. I am not saying that it will always be this way. But for now, I feel like I want to be alone at night. I am asking you to respect that.”
I think that one reason husbands push to stay in their bedroom is not necessarily because of sex. It is because they are afraid if that if they leave it even for a little while, they may never be invited back in your bedroom. This often turns out to be untrue. And sometimes it helps if you tell them that as you begin to heal, you may change your mind about this eventually.
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