by: Leslie Cane: Some of the people who contact me about successfully handling a separation and saving their marriage don’t have a lot of access to their spouse and are trying to change this. But, others have regular and intimate access to their spouse – sometimes so much that the couple are still continuing to have sex even during the separation. Many people in this situation wants to know what continuing to be physically intimate during a separation really means in terms of saving their marriage. Many ask me if this is a good sign or means that they have a better chance of getting back together.
I recently heard from a wife who was in this situation. She said, in part: “my husband and I have been separated for about six weeks because of repetitive marital problems that don’t seem to improve. Right now, we’re leaving things open ended as far as a divorce goes. Neither of us has filed or intends to, at least for the time being. I’m glad because I never wanted the separation and I certainly don’t want the divorce. So I’m trying to handle the separation in a way that ensures that we will get back together and save the marriage. What I’m really confused about is the fact that we’re still having sex sometimes. Many times when my husband needs to come by or we run into one another, we end up in the bedroom being intimate. It doesn’t seem to be planned, and I don’t question it because I don’t want it to end. Every time it’s over, I hope that it means that he’ll want to come back and end the separation, but so far it hasn’t meant that at all. He acts like nothing has ever happened and it doesn’t seem to improve the situation. We still haven’t made any progress on our marital problems. What does it mean if you’re separated and still having sex? Does it mean that you have a better chance of getting back together?”
I’ll try to address these concerns in the following article.
Having Sex After You’re Separated Doesn’t Always Mean That You Will (Or Are) Getting Back Together, But It Can Sometimes Be A Good Sign: Many of the people who ask me about this (wives in particular) often assume that continuing to have sex throughout the separation means that things are improving and that they now have a better chance of saving the marriage and getting back together. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Sex can mean very different things to each spouse (and I’ll touch on this more a little later,) but it doesn’t always have positive (or any) ramifications for your marriage.
Sometimes, sex is a way to connect as you are both mourning the changes in the status of your relationship. Other times, it’s seeking a release or reaching out to someone who is very familiar and comforting to you. With that said, sometimes it can be a good sign. It often means that you are still attracted to one another and have a physical connection which can give you something to build upon in the future. I hear from countless couples on my “save my marriage blog” who indicate that there is no spark left between them whatsoever. So if you still have enough spark that you find yourself falling into bed with the spouse from whom you are separated on a regular basis, this can sometimes be a pretty good indication that a connection or attraction is still there. And sometimes, this connects you enough so that you’re motivated to do more and to work harder to save the marriage.
Sex During The Separation Can Mean Very Different Things To Both Spouses: Another issue to consider is that often, continuing to have sex means very different things to each spouse. For example, often women (or the spouse who did not want the separation) will have a very emotional response and connection during the sex. For them, the act of having sex is a way to reconnect with (and often an attempt to hold onto) their marriage and their spouse. Sometimes, if it was the wife who wanted or pushed for a separation and then it’s the wife who initiates the sex, this can be a good sign since many women have emotional responses or motivations for physical intimacy.
On the other side of this issue, often men (or the spouse who wanted or pushed for the separation) will have less of an emotional and more of a physical response. They aren’t necessarily having sex because they want to get back together or because they are acting on any deep emotional feelings (although they certainly might be.) Sometimes, they are a bit confused or unsure about the separation or the relationship and are reacting to the same. Sex with a reluctant spouse who wanted the separation can mean that they are now unsure if they want to leave the marriage, but this isn’t always a safe assumption.
How To Handle It If You’re Unsure What Sex Means During Your Martial Or Trial Separation: Although many people in this situation see the sex as positive sign or prefer still having sex over not having any contact at all with their spouse, many are quite confused and unsure. The sex often leaves them wondering if they are being taken advantage of or if they are getting their hopes up only to later have them dashed.
If you’re enjoying the sex, don’t have mixed feelings about it, and it doesn’t leave you with questions to which you want answers, then it’s certainly possible that you’re going to continue on with the sexual relationship until it’s clear that you’re either getting back together or you can’t or don’t want to go down that path any longer.
But if you have your doubts about what all of this means and you worry that you’re going to get hurt in the end, you might want to open up some dialog with your spouse to see what they’re feeling. You don’t have to insinuate that you’re assuming that you’ll reconcile or that you’re hanging all of your hopes on the regular sex, but you might tell them that it’s difficult for you to connect physically when you don’t know what’s going to happen in the future. This gives them the opportunity to either offer you reassurance or clarification or to realize that taking advantage of the situation is the wrong path to take if they have no intention of reconciling.
Honestly, I didn’t have the luxury of having sex with my spouse while we were separated. He was not receptive to me either emotionally or physically. And unfortunately, I did not understand that there’s a right way and a wrong way to go about saving your marriage. I pursued the wrong way for far too long and it almost costs me my marriage. Thankfully, I soon realized my mistake and decided to approach things from another angle and this eventually worked. If it helps, you can read that very personal story on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com/.
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