I get this question quite a bit. Women who are separated or divorced from their husband will often still have an emotional tie to their former lover and will wonder if it is OK to sleep with their ex.
So since you came her seeking answers, let’s explore whether it is ever a good idea to sleep with your ex husband.
I would imagine there are a lot of things running through your mind right now.
You might wonder what’s in it for you if you should bed down with your former man?
Could it open up an avenue for you and your ex husband to form a new and improved relationship?
Do you even want that?
Or is the sexual encounter just that….a sexual encounter you are having with your ex husband and you simply see it as a win win?
Should you be concerned about whether sleeping with your ex hubby will result in some bad emotional outcomes?
Will you and your ex husband end up developing an “ex with benefits” type of relationship?
Is that a good thing or are you setting yourself up for failure?
Different Strokes for Different Folks
As you can see, there are a number of issues that revolve around this issue of whether you should sleep with your ex husband.
As you probably can already tell if you have read some of my previous posts, I am not one of those black or white kind of guys.
To me, the people around us and all of their experiences, feelings, and behaviors is colored in many shades.
There is no easy answer that is right for everyone, just as there is no one right person for each one of us.
The complexity of our feelings about our lovers and the choices we make about who we wish to be intimate with will always be a very layered and nuisanced subject.
But many people out there are struggling with what is the right thing to do.
So I will try to steer you in the right direction.
For example, here is a scattering of some of the inquires I have gotten in the past on the topic of whether you should jump in the sack with your ex.
Let’s treat these as separate case studies. Later, I will comment on how I advised each of these clients.
Bessie’s Case Study of Doing the Sex Thing With Her Ex Husband
“Hey Chris. I know I shouldn’t be doing this sex thing with my cheating husband. We are not divorced. It is sort of our own separation event. I made him leave our apartment. I don’t think I want him back. The sex we now have always seems to leave me confused later. I go in saying, “No, I won’t give in to his little seduction games”. But then I fall all over myself wanting to be with my guy. He wants back in my life but I am really mad at him for a casual fling he had. I think at the time we are both adults and we know what we are doing. You know. No harm, no foul. The sex is great and he is good too me. But when it is all over, I have to remind myself that I chased him out of my live for a reason and every time I jump into bed with him, I know it just creates friction for us further down the road. What do I do??”
Tricia Case Study of a Husband Who Wants Back In
My husband and I broke it off a few weeks ago. He calls it a trial separation. I call it good riddance. You see, he cheated on me with my best friend. Now he says it over and was a mistake and only wants me. He keeps coming by to check on me and makes these sexual overtures. I know what he wants. He thinks if we make love, I will soften my hurt feelings. I should be pretty enough for him and yet he cheated on me, then thinks I can just wipe it all clear and please him in bed. He is trying really heard to win me back. Part of me hates him for his stupidity. Another part of me hopes his efforts are genuine. Can I trust him? We have always been a sexual couple and I do miss him. Should I just cool it with him for a while longer? I am still not sure if he really ended it. My friend tells me he did but I don’t trust her anymore either. Should I just have sex with him to satisfy my own needs, but tell him that it doesn’t change the problem we have? I am so confused.
Amelia’s Case Study of Wanting To Create Havoc for Her Ex
Chris, I need your advice. My husband and I have been divorced for a couple of years but we still see each other socially sometimes. I guess I mean that we still have sex. He has his new girlfriend and I really have not take up with anyone. It is not like we plan for it. It just kind of evolves. We had plenty of problems during our marriage. Lots of conflict and sad little dramas we would each have a big hand in. But our sex life was pretty good and I have to admit I get lonely and when he start acting in a certain way I signal to him that I want it. He is always happy to oblige. I know in a way I am jealous that he found a younger version of me in this new girlfriend of his. My husband is not a bad-looking guy and stays in shape. Another part of me is still angry at him and I sometimes get thoughts of secretly video taping some of our lovemaking and sending it to his girlfriend. I know that would just mess everything up big time. What I need to know is whether I should be carrying on with my ex in bed. Am I making things worse for me? I feel that way. But I still do it.
What To Do With All Those Sexual Feelings?
Do any of these situations sound familiar?
As you can see, they cover all types of situations.
Do you struggle with knowing where to draw the line with your ex husband?
As I alluded to earlier, whether it is the right thing for you to sleep with your ex husband is really a tricky proposition to answer.
Just based on my experience in consulting to clients that talk about this subject with me, more often than not having sex with your ex husband leads to worse outcomes than better outcomes.
I guess if I was being purely puritanical I would tell you to never, ever have sex with your former husband. But you see, I am not a Puritan at heart. I am more pragmatic about these things.
I have seen cases where a former husband and wife understood each other’s needs and were able to avoid any of the emotional fallout.
Though my sense is that a long-term pattern of sleeping with your ex husband is likely not going to end well.
At some stage, no matter what the circumstances are in each of your lives, you both need to move on. After all, you broke up for very likely a good reason. So unless there is a concerted effort to come back into each other lives and make the marriage work, routinely having sex with your ex husband is likely to lead you down the wrong path of confused thoughts and wrong signals.
I want you to understand though that making love with your ex husband should not be something you should feel ashamed of and if you are confused by your shifting emotions and moods around this whole topic, just know that sex has always played an important role with couples. Even when they are in a break up or divorced situation, thoughts of sex with your former partner or lover will often find its way into your life.
So the question is what do you do with these feelings or if a real situation unfolds, what should you do?
Getting Lost in Sleeping With The Ex Husband
Let’s take the first case study I referenced above (Bessie).
In her situation you can see she is struggling out of the gate when she comes to me. The relationship with her ex husband has turned into one in which sex is the primary force pulling them together. Don’t get me wrong, having good sex with your husband is important. It can act as an enabling force in a marriage.
But we are talking an estranged husband here. In a situation in which the marriage is on the rocks, if the sex is getting in the way of working through the core problem that caused the marriage to crumble, then that sexual activity is not an enabler. Rather it can be a disabling force.
What this couple should be doing is addressing the core issue that caused the problem. My client explained to me that they really have not had the “talk” about why her husband strayed. I explained to her that until they can hash that out with honesty, it will be very difficult for much-needed trust to be rebuilt.
As it is, even with her husband fully accounting for his actions and acknowledging how much pain he has caused for his wife, the road to full recovery will be a long run.
Trust, particularly when it comes to matters of sex and emotional intimacy, is repaired over time through many acts of love and kindness.
I explained to my client that this is where they need to get to, but what is muddying the waters is her husband desire to try to resume their relationship as if nothing really happened.
Obviously a lot has changed and in a way, it seems that her husband is using their sexual connection as his door back into the relationship.
In this case, sleeping with her husband who she has thrown out is creating a lot of conflicting signals for both of them. I suggested they should cool it with the sex and start focusing on discussing the problem and the steps they wish to take to bring about some sense of normalcy.
I told her that if she doesn’t want her husband to live with her anymore, then she should cease having sex with him. If reconciling is important to her, then she should discuss this with her husband and also honestly explain that she enjoys making love and wants that to be a part of their life going forward. But that resolving the hurt feelings and resentment is more important for now.
Let’s see where her husband’s commitment level is. If he truly loves her and wishes for the marriage to get back on track, then he will learn to accept that he cannot just expect to have sex with his wife without ensuring trust levels have been repaired.
Sex can act as a bond or glue that helps rebuild trust. So I explained that neither of them need to act like a monk and withhold affection and intimacy.
But since her husband was avoiding talking about forgiveness and had not laid down a marker to work on rebuilding trust, agreeing to sleeping with her estranged husband was causing more harm than good.
Confusion Can Reign When You Sleep With Your Ex
In the second case study (Tricia), the client is also struggling with what is the right thing to do.
Similar to the first situation, the break up was precipitated by the husband infidelity. And also like the first situation, the ex husband was trying to wedge his way back into his wife’s life through sex.
My advice was similar as in the first case study except I told Tricia that it seemed that she was confused about whether she really wanted her husband to return.
Sometimes when a woman get sexual with her ex husband, the confusing and conflicting emotions get churned up. The chemistry of making love results in chemical changes of the brain. And as a result, you end up craving those intimate moments you had with your ex. Dopamine and oxytocin can cause even the best of us to lose perspective of what is best.
Later when these chemicals have less influence on our thinking, we can usually see things more clearly and like Tricia, come to regret the encounter with her ex husband.
I told Tricia that she and her husband have a lot of work ahead of them if they want their marriage back.
Right now, it is more of a friends with benefits type of relationship. I told her that what might be best for her in the short-term is to tell her estranged husband that she needs time to herself for a few weeks. Explain that she has been trying to sort through her feelings and has realized that his affair has hurt her deeply.
I told her to use that time to focus on healing and focusing on her own needs. I explained that her ex husband will not at first understand and may feel rejected. But the truth is that her husband rejected her and broke the faith and trust between them. Their bond of sexual intimacy has been broken.
I suggested she should tell her husband that she wishes to see him in two weeks and wants to be assured that his affair is completely over. Ask him to come up with a plan on how she can trust him again. In a way it is a test of whether or not her husband is being completely honest with her about wanting back into the relationship.
I have counseled couples who have had infidelity issues and tried to patch things up really quickly. Once separated, one should not rush back into the relationship when the break up was caused by matters of unfaithfulness. The rebuilding of the marriage should be deliberate and thoughtful.
Using Sex As a Pay Back Strategy – Not Cool
In the third case study (Amelia), my client was struggling with whether she should continue to have casual sex with her ex.
The first thing I told her was to simply forget about trying to get some payback by poisoning the relationship her ex husband has with his girlfriend.
I explained that any such effort would be destructive for all parties. A lose – lose.
I told Amelia that I thought it was time for her to move on. Her continued the sexual relationship with her ex of several years was not healthy behavior.
She agreed that she was feeling guilty over what they were doing as she had met his girlfriend and liked her. She said that she really believed this woman was a good thing for her former husband. But she also admitted that she sometimes would have these pangs of jealousy and resented her husband leaving her.
I explained that when it comes to marriages that end up on the rocks, the emotions that can flood the mind, even years later, can be complicated and even overwhelming.
I explained that she was enabling her husband’s poor decision to cheat on his girlfriend. Men can be that way. Given the right priming, they can be like putty in the hands of a woman who knows how to push all the right buttons.
So I advised her to end the affair she was having with her ex husband. I explained that she needed to work on investing some quality time in finding someone else.
Part of her was still holding on to the past. There is so much more for her to experience if she can invest her love and share her intimacy with someone who will be there for her over the longer term.