I can identify with how you see sex. For me it is a very intimate sharing - mostly because it is about making myself physically very vulnerable to the other person. My husband and I have been married a long time. Of course, I haven't felt deep, mystical closeness every time with him. But, what bothered me most about my husband's affair was how he carried on having sex with me whilst he was becoming emotionally and physically entangled with her. (He didn't have sex with her, but she certainly had her tongue in his mouth a lot more than I did for the entire period of their affair.) WHen I asked him how he could have done that, he first told me that sex with me had become less intimate for him at that time. That he hadn't felt a true connection with me for a while. I know that he was being honest as I had asked him to be, but it hurt. So very much. He's tried to explain it better since then. But still, it makes me feel like he was using me to meet his physical needs ... and her to meet his emotional ones. I haven't really kissed him much since D-Day, and I cannot imagine what you went through when you made love to your wife again. When we do make love now, I do try to make sure that we are connecting emotionally as well as physically. It may feel a little forced, but that is preferable to the other.
Things lacking from our reconciliation? I am not sure that anything is really lacking from the process itself, but I miss normal things that should be there, but aren't - like normal anger (his). I read (somewhere in the hundreds of things I've read in the last 8 months) that one of the issues with effective reconciliation is knowing how and when to restore the balance of power to normalcy. Obviously, during reconciliation, the "power" in the relationship is tilted in the BS's favour. I think here on TAM it is spoken of as the wayward spouse doing the heavy lifting. The thing is, it can't stay like that forever because that would become unhealthy. I know that I'm not at that point yet, but the problem is that, at the moment ... he's treating me a little like he did when I was pregnant. As though I am physically fragile and need to be cosseted and pandered to. It's very hard to get him to express normal anger or irritation at normal, minor issues (even when, frankly, I deserve it). The reality is that normal life and all its petty irritations is still going on. So I want/need him to be normal about that. I can almost see him making the decision that I am She Who Must Be Obeyed ... at all costs. It makes me feel like he sees me as weak; and also that he is being dishonest about his true feelings. Is this petulant and pathetic? I know he's trying hard. And I know we can't go back. But I do just want ... normal, sometimes.
Your story has given me a lot of hope. Thank you again.
Hearing you think of sex as I do is actually refreshing to me, thank you for sharing that. The hysterical bonding, or me thinking I was reclaiming my wife, was an important time. I hate in myself for thinking I was reclaiming my wife, but for a time that's what I honestly felt. In a way I see reclaiming as being very shallow. But to be honest, that was a part of how and what I felt. Truly, I missed being able to look into her eyes and saying I love you without uttering a word. That took some time to come back for both of us. For my wife it was because she had been feeling my pain as I did.
I struggled being intimate with my wife, sex was very clumsy is the best to describe it. Almost like you have forgotten how to even have sex. As time goes by it begins to get better, in fact I now look into my wife's eyes as we are being intimate. As you can imagine this is so very important in our recovery.
As for the anger her moments of normalcy, that has been forever changed. Instead, keep anger from creeping in and instead communicate rationally for a solution. If your husband doesn't get angry I see that as good, but not if he is giving in to you because of his affair. That will simply be a cancer that in time will come out as resentment towards you. So that needs to stop as soon as possible. Your husband instead needs to communicate as to why he wants something a certain way, even if it is not how you wish to solve the problem. This is how you must decide together and make sacrifices together, calmly and rationally. It can't be like your marriage used to be, that way led to the both of you becoming distant. But your new marriage has to be different then the old, stay away from those old marriage traps.
I wish you the best of luck in your reconciliation. I hope you both have the strength to make it through and become a happy couple together. You mentioned that you have been married a long time, my wife and I will be together for a total of thirty years together this year. We dated seven years and will be married twenty-three years at the end of this month.