Reclamation Sex – what exactly is it?

Reclamation Sex – what exactly is it? What is reclamation? Simply put, reclamation is the process of claiming something back or of reasserting a right. For example, “the reclamation of our shared history.” Reclamation sex in Affair Recovery is when the affair partner and the hurt partner engage in sex after an affair is discovered or disclosed.  As a marriage therapist and affair recovery specialist, couples come in to see if they can or want to salvage their marriage. “Should I stay or should I go” is a question the hurt partner wants desperately to know. During the initial session where both share their narratives they say they are having sex with each other despite the range of emotions from the affair. They say they have been having more sex with each other than ever before. Both feel it is an implicit message to one another that the affair will be resolved and they will get back to their normal lives. They think having a lot of sex with each other during recovery minimizes the affair partner’s behavior and repairs the problems that lead to the affair.

photo credit: Natalia Mindru Photomicona
couple exercising reclamation sex after an affair

This is far from being true. Sex is happening because the partners want to reclaim their love for each other. They want to reclaim their bodies to each other as there exists a breach in physical boundaries. The act of sex is symbolic in that they are the primary relationship and any third party is not part of union. The hurt partner may be having a lot of sex to keep the affair partner from any more contact with the “lover.” The “other woman” presents a threat to the primary relationship, and as a dog marks its territory so does do the people in affair recovery. The affair partner may be having a lot of sex to make up for the guilt and shame and to show remorse for devastating the hurt partner. Showing each other physical intimacy helps reassure any insecurities for the time being.

In affair recovery we talk about the reasons for the affair. The process helps the affair partner gain some insight to his/her behavior and why he/she went down that bad road. To be able to articulate that insight to the hurt partner while the hurt partner learns to appropriately manage their emotions is the single best indicator that prognosis will be good.

Couples therapist

Having sex with your partner after an affair is actually quite normal. There is no judgement or criticism while in affair recovery. Information gathering to obtain insight is crucial to recovery. And having sex in the meantime doesn’t necessarily mean one way or the other for the future of the relationship.

For more information about reclamation sex and affair recovery please visit my website CouplesCounselorSanDiego.com or call me at (858) 735-1139.

Reestablishing Intimacy After Infidelity

Reestablishing Intimacy After Infidelity. Now that the unthinkable has happened, what do you do next? You just discovered your husband/wife is having an affair. Whether it was disclosed to you or discovered it still hurts like crazy. It can feel like someone stabbed you in the heart. You feel a range of emotions. You still love him, and he still loves you. She says she doesn’t want to lose you, that she’s willing to do anything to save your marriage. “I’ll do anything to save the marriage,” are just words if you don’t put those words into action. Saying, “I’m sorry,” doesn’t mean anything if the supposedly remorseful actions are repeated. These may be pleads out of desperation to reach real intimacy again in the relationship. However, to reach the point of intimacy after an affair, you must work on truly recovering from the affair.

Related: Do You Have Sexual Intelligence?

What is Affair Recovery?

Affair Recovery isn’t simply saying, “I’m sorry.” Affair recovery isn’t saying, “it’ll never happen again.” Affair recovery is a process where the Affair Partner (the cheater) truly understands the meaning and motives behind the betrayal. It’s where the Affair Partner obtains insight about why he/she cheated and articulates to the Hurt Partner why it isn’t going to happen again. Affair recovery is about the Hurt Partner learning how to manage the overwhelming emotions while undergoing the moving forward process. Easier said than done, right? Yes, this process is challenging for both partners and is not a quick fix. Affair recovery isn’t two weeks of talking to a marriage counselor and everything is better. Affair recovery can take months for both parties to get the insight needed to start moving forward. Affair recovery involves counseling with an Affair Recovery Specialist who knows how to move couples forward and helps guide the healing process. Both parties need to undergo affair recovery with good integrity and commitment to their marriage. Both partners will be asked to follow through with what is being asked of them for affair recovery to be successful. This means reaching an understanding and truly working on changing for the better and forgiving the Affair Partner.

Man and Woman Holding Hands

Do Second Chances Work?

Second chances are reasonable. It’s also risky and scary because of the doubt and lack of trust, but you think the love you shared is worth it. You don’t want to give up on the hopes and dreams you had for your relationship. You believe there’s a chance you won’t be betrayed again. You hope you can be able to trust your partner again. You think the two of you might be able to redevelop the love and closeness you once had. You’re right – this is possible. 

As a Marriage Counselor and Affair Recovery Specialist, I say what is needed to do this are two people who truly want to move past the affair together. Affair recovery asks that both the affair partner and the hurt partner undergo the process as Functional Adults. It is the commitment to the marriage and  Despite the pain, affair recovery is a place to process the pain in mature ways. What is not permissible in affair recovery is mudslinging and power struggles. Neither partner can try to bring down the other, but rather, they must both work from a place of wanting to understand and reconnect with each other. We are here to learn not to punish. If punishing is what you want, there is poor prognosis for moving forward.

Related: To Leave or Not To Leave

What Does Intimacy Really Take?

To regain intimacy after infidelity, both partners must be willing to work through deep hurt, disappointment, rage, and other negative feelings. The single most important factor to regain intimacy is for the affair partner to show ongoing empathy to the hurt partner where the hurt partner doesn’t act out in negative ways dealing with the overwhelming feelings about the affair. Intimacy isn’t just sex. Intimacy is emotional connection. Intimacy is what keeps a couple from feeling like roommates. Intimacy is sometimes the driving factor behind infidelity, which can make reestablishing it more difficult. To achieve an emotional connection with your partner, you both must show vulnerability, empathy, and the willingness to understand each other. You must understand your feelings, or at least be transparent in discussing them, in order to begin to connect on an emotional level. 

Couple Lying on Ground While Holding Looking at and Holding Each Other

Intimacy is both emotional and physical. Oftentimes, people want this connection to happen organically, but when it comes to reestablishing intimacy, it takes effort. It may feel unusual to schedule time for physical contact or for deep conversations, but it is necessary in the wake of an affair. Doing so ensures an opportunity for both partners to come together and work on regaining, and strengthening, the connection they’re longing for.

Are you struggling to regain intimacy after an affair? Contact Sarah to be guided through affair recovery where you both get the results you want.

Couples therapist

Sarah Ruggera, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
Helping People Who Ask The Question….
“Should I Stay Or Should I Go?”
858.735.1139

 

He Cheated “Should I Stay or Go?”

He Cheated “Should I Stay Or Go?” It’s devastating to discover your husband, the person you trust the most, has betrayed you. It’s surreal to sit there while he actually discloses the fact that he’s been seeing someone else. You sit there in astonishment not believing this is happening to YOU. Your initial reaction is to leave, but you think doing so is what he wants. You’re confused and feeling a range of emotions. You feel bad about yourself. Intellectually you know it’s not your fault. But, emotionally, you can’t help but feel bad about yourself. So, what do you do now? Well, certainly don’t panic. Try and regain some dignity of control. What you should not do is anything impulsive to make matters worse. Like telling your friends, telling the children, calling divorce attorneys, shaming your husband to your parent and in-laws, etc., Remain calm and find a counselor you can talk to and sort out your thoughts and feelings. The better you know what you want for yourself the better you will know what to do about your relationship. How do you decide to stay with or leave a partner you discover is cheating on you?

Get a clear understanding of what you want. There are three options to consider. Option 1 – status quo (do nothing), Option 2 – move forward in affair recovery, or Option 3 – move on (separate/divorce). As a Marriage Counselor and Affair Recovery Specialist, I don’t believe you can select Option 3 without entering into Option 2 – Moving forward with a plan that outlines what is needed to do that. You can make an informed decision opting for Option 2 for either staying or leaving the relationship.

To regain intimacy after infidelity both partners must be willing to work through deep hurt, disappointment, rage, and other negative feelings. The single most important factor to regain intimacy is for the affair partner to show ongoing empathy to the hurt partner where the hurt partner learns to manage acting out behaviors of overwhelm to give positive reinforcement to that empathy. Intimacy isn’t just sex. Intimacy is emotional connection. Intimacy is what keeps a couple from feeling like roommates.

There is no shame in remaining together. Every couple is different with their own set of circumstances. Don’t compare yourself to others. Don’t base a decision to stay in your marriage as a stigma to be judged. It’s no one’s business whether you stay or go. Hence the recommendation not to tell the world about his/her affair.

Call me at (858) 735-1139. I’ll take you through affair recovery where you both get the results you want.

 

 

What Defines Infidelity?

What really defines Infidelity? What exactly is an affair? Is it an affair when your partner is “sexting?” What about having an emotional connection with someone but there is no sex involved (coitus)? How about watching porn, is that infidelity? The definition of infidelity is subjective. Typically, it is what two people who are in a primary relationship say it is. Both partners within that relationship determine what infidelity means to them, and it may differ across different relationships. Also, since infidelity depends on individual perceptions, partners may not initially see eye-to-eye.

Related: When Is It Time To Break Up?

Man and Woman discussing intently

Is Infidelity Betrayal?

Oftentimes, the Affair Partner (the cheater) minimizes the behavior and doesn’t think it is an affair because there was no actual sexual intercourse. There are many justifications the Affair Partner may try to give to manipulate the situation. Nonetheless, the Hurt Partner (the one cheated on) begs to differ, as they understandably feel the hurt of betrayal. So, is infidelity betrayal? And if so, on what level? 

There is no omnipotent being that defines infidelity. As a Marriage Counselor, I label it as a transgression from what the explicit or implicit agreement was between two partners about monogamy. During some marriage ceremonies promising to be faithful to each other for the rest of their lives is supposedly understood. In some, it is even directly stated and mutually agreed. But sometimes, individuals either miss that promise or rationalize their way out of it and cheat anyways. Cheating, again, is what the couple defines as “cheating.” If both partners agree that kissing other people doesn’t betray their relationship, then kissing isn’t considered cheating, even though it is in other relationships. Monogamy can no longer be assumed, but rather, must be discussed and agreed upon by both partners. Sexual and physical actions are commonly seen as betrayal, but sometimes, partners don’t agree on what qualifies as cheating in their relationship. If there is disagreement, thorough discussion, and potentially compromise, is needed. 

Woman sleeping next to Man texting

Why is Discussing Infidelity So Important?

Without discussing what defines infidelity within the relationship, there remains space for misunderstanding or beliefs to misalign. Even when it is discussed, defined, and agreed on by both partners, misunderstanding can still occur. People usually focus on discussing physical intimacy but forget to discuss emotional intimacy. Whether it is texting another person or connecting with someone over the internet, sexual or intimate conversations are often considered as emotional infidelity. This form of infidelity can be just as destructive to a relationship because it can create doubt and mistrust. There are many different boundaries, which may vary significantly from a past relationship or others’ relationships. Therefore, explicitly discussing what defines infidelity is important for establishing mutual understanding and trust regarding those boundaries

Related: What’s A Healthy Relationship Anyway

It may help to talk about infidelity by telling your partner you read an article that discusses its subjectivity. This opens the conversation up to share each person’s perceptions of cheating. Also, counterintuitively, it is helpful to discuss issues or potential issues while things are good in the relationship. Again, misunderstanding can be avoided by communicating openly.

What Leads to Infidelity?

Men and women have affairs for many different reasons. The major attraction in an affair is not the Love Partner (the other person in the affair) but the positive mirroring of the self – “the way I look and feel when I see myself in the other person’s eyes.” After being married for years, the woman disappears behind the mother; the man disappears behind the provider; the sexual person disappear behind the responsible person. Therein lies the longing for emotional connection. When a person isn’t getting the emotional needs from their partner, they seek connection outside of the relationship. Clients I work with say they have affairs because they want to feel a sense of “aliveness.” They want to relive their vibrant past selves. They want to reclaim something they had lost or forgotten. People almost always have affairs because it makes them feel something other than what they have been feeling for some time in long-term relationships.

Related: Is The Man You Married The Partner You Want?

Is it Possible to Recover from Infidelity?

In Affair Recovery the single best indicator of whether the relationship can survive infidelity is how much empathy the Affair Partner shows for the pain they have caused to the Hurt Partner. The Hurt Partner must be willing to find ways to appropriately manage overwhelming emotions about their partner’s affair so the couple can move forward to sort out why the affair happened, and more importantly, what needs to change so that it never happens again. Having insight about their narrative and being able to articulate it to one another makes for good prognosis.

Divorce doesn’t have to be the outcome of infidelity. On the contrary, infidelity could be the catalyst in developing a renewed relationship that’s a better fit for both partners in a world where change is constant. It’s naive to think we can get all our needs met by one person. So, I say become a more dynamic person to be able to accommodate the changes needed for moving forward. Some people appreciate the reframe of infidelity, in that, you can rethink infidelity as a means of waking up your relationship. Take the bad and turn it into something that could be the best thing that ever happened to you and for your relationship.

A lot of couples do make it past an affair by learning and understanding and setting the relationship in a new direction. It takes work from both partners but recovering from an affair is not out of reach. 

Have you or your partner had an affair and want to fix your relationship? Contact Sarah for more information on Affair Recovery. 

Couples therapist

Sarah Ruggera, Marriage and Family Therapist
Helping People Who Ask The Question….
“Should I Stay Or Should I Go?”
858.735.1139

Do You Want Details Of Your Husband’s Infidelity?

Do You Want Details Of Your Husband’s Infidelity? As an Affair Recovery specialist, I understand the Hurt Partner (typically the wife) wants details of her husband’s affair.  As much as I can appreciate that it is not productive to moving forward. How many times did you have sex and what positions is not helpful. As a matter of fact it can be detrimental because mental images negatively impact moving forward.  “I’m sorry” is not affair recovery. Neither is “It’ll never happen again”  The statement “I’ll do whatever it takes” to repair the relationship includes getting into affair recovery and exercising the newfound behavior consistently. Understand the future possibilities for the marriage are not determined by what happened in the affair, they are determined by what happens after the affair is known.

Detective questions (facts about the affair) are not helpful to the affair recovery process. However, Investigative questions are. They help to get meaning and motives behind the affair. I take the couple through questions that help the Affair Partner get some insight about why the affair happened in the first place and help articulate that insight to the Hurt Partner.

Questions include:

  • What did the affair mean to you?
  • Why did it happen when it happened?
  • Were you looking for it? Did it just happen?
  • Did you tell anyone about the affair?
  • Do you think of leaving me?

Affair recovery includes:

  • Teamwork; both spouses must be fully committed to the hard work of getting their marriage back on track
  • The unfaithful partner needs to willingly end the affair
  • Be honest and transparent to gradually rebuild trust
  • Understanding affairs are less about love and more about boundaries
  • Understand the major attraction in an affair is NOT the ‘lover’ but the positive mirroring of the self – “the way I look when I see myself in my lover’s eyes”
  • The hurt partner must be willing to find ways to manage her overwhelming emotions so they can sort out the reasons for the affair and what needs to change so that it never happens again.
  • Time – allow time to heal. With time and effort you can move forward.

Some couples think they can do all this on their own. I beg to differ. I believe it is extremely important to undergo affair recovery and with someone who knows how to move you forward. Doing nothing almost always guarantees repeat offense. Affair relapse prevention is contingent on both partners understanding their part in this problem. Without blaming and by showing empathy and validating each others’ perspective affair recovery is successful.

For more information please contact me at (858) 735-1139.