Abstinence. What About Sexual Compatibility?

So, a client got me thinking. He was discussing waiting until marriage to have sex. He expressed his respect for that choice, but also his concern as a dating, single male. He said, “What if I marry her and then find out that we are not sexually compatible?” I can certainly understand his concern. Some people would say, well, if you have never had sex before, you won’t know any difference and it won’t matter. But the majority of people who are abstinent are re-committing to abstinence (some coming out of marriages) who have had prior sexual experiences and are worried about that sexual compatibility because, well, they actually will know the difference.

So, I decided to do some research into this issue, realizing it is one that many couples are facing. In part, sexual compatibility is a modern construct, born out of a culture with an abundance of sexual experiences. If someone gave you your brand new dream car, you would be like, “Wow, thanks!! Amazing!!” But if you regularly received brand new dream cars and you were offered another one and were being asked to commit to only driving that one, you may be like, “ummm. let me test drive it first…” In all fairness, research does demonstrate that a lack of sexual compatibility in relationships leads to…

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What have you always wanted to do? What do you dream about doing that you dismiss or put off or tell yourself that it can’t happen now or you just have to wait until the time is right? Everyone has a dream. Everyone. I don’t care if you are 100 years old. I know you have one. If you think you don’t, you are lying to yourself.

I’m just being honest here. I know that we are often too self critical, but there are parts of our lives where we just flat out lie to ourselves, keeping us from living the life we were designed to live. Our words are the most powerful tool we humans have. So powerful that they can destroy generations- yes, words, even the unverbalized words we speak in our minds. The flip side is that words also have the power to transform. That’s why Cognitive Behavioral therapy (nutshell: learning to recognize the lies we tell ourselves and replace them with truth) has been scientifically proven to successfully treat a myriad of mental disorders. Did you hear what I just said?? The basis of many of our problems are the conversations we have with ourselves. These…

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Let me introduce myself.

I have been described as a crazy shrink who homeschools her kids, works out too much, has a million businesses and never gets enough sleep. This may be true, but I also see myself as just a busy mom of 5 kids (4 at home- one with special needs) currently doing what I love, living life with teenagers and a toddler at the same time! I have been a wife for 22 years and am a licensed psychotherapist with a doctorate in Clinical Psychology. I have an entrepreneurial spirit and yes, I do love to work out and stay fit. And okay, I rarely sleep. I have been an athlete, stay at home mom, entrepreneur, homeschooler, author and working professional.

We all have roles we play in our lives and this blog is about creating balance within real life!! So, what can I offer you? With 16 years of experience as a therapist, I have been privileged to have been given the key to the innermost chambers of people’s minds. Many of my patients share with me their darkest secrets, deepest desires, biggest regrets and loftiest dreams – the parts they don’t invite their parents or…

Read more: Introducing Dr. Zoe Shaw

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No one knows for sure, but it is estimated that affairs affect 40- 70% of all marriages. Most affairs are eventually discovered. During this devastating time, people often disclose the affair to friends and family in search of necessary support. 

So what happens when it’s you?  Your partner cheated. You are devastated. You run out and tell your friends and family. This is okay because you do need the support, but you are surprised once your relationship is on the mend that your friends and family are the ones who haven’t gotten over it. 

First things first- If you have any inclination that your relationship may stay intact, only disclose to people who aren’t too emotionally invested in the relationship. The less invested they are, the more objective they can be. Objectivity is what you need right now and will provide you with the most support. You may want someone to cry and get angry with you, but it will not serve you in the long run.

But, if the deed is already done, here’s what you need to do:

1. Involve those you told in the process of your reconciliation. It’s not fair that you initially spilled all the juicy details and now you want to be tight lipped and say that everything is fine.  Let them know about the therapy you are receiving (you did get therapy, right?).  Give them some insight into your process, the revelations experienced and the changes made. It will help them understand your decision to stay. You owe them that much for going through this emotional roller coaster with you. If it’s family, you should do this as a couple.

2. Let them know the conversation is over. After you have involved them in the process, it is okay to let them know that you are both in a place where you are moving forward and not talking about the affair as a couple. Thank them sincerely for their support during this struggle and let them know that you won’t be talking about it anymore.

3. You may need some space. If the anger and resentment is severe, this may be a time to distance yourself from this relationship for a while. The reality is that an affair affects many more than the two involved.  You may have inadvertently ripped off an affair wound which is causing them to take this affair personally. Most people eventually move on when they see that you are thriving. You need to have a difficult conversation explaining how their feelings are affecting you and that you appreciate their care for you, but that you are doing well and you need to give them some space and time to recognize that. When they are feeling more accepting of your current relationship, you can reconnect.

This is a difficult time for all involved. Although you need to focus on self-care, you also have to help those who have helped you.

Read more: When Your Friends and Family Can't Get Over the Affair

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