Only you can gauge if sex with your soon-to-be-ex is a good idea. In the short term it may feel wonderful; after all, you may have enjoyed a happy sexual relationship. It’s natural to want some physical affection and attention during this draught, and divorce is fodder for insecurities. What better way to quell those demons than with a rendezvous between the sheets?
First of all, there’s always the possibility it won’t go as well as you imagine; secondly, even if it does, it rarely leads to reconciliation. If having sex was going to repair your marital issues they probably would have been all sewn up years ago.
Do you have another reason for wanting sex with your ex, or soon-to-be-ex? Is it to show him or her how you’ve changed? Have you lost weight? Learned some new tricks? Want to make him or her regret the decision to split? Do you fantasize having another baby? (A baby could keep you together, but at what cost? Or, you might decide to end the pregnancy. This is one of those situations when it’s good to be careful what you wish for because you might get it. If you’re already a parent, you know how much extra stress a baby brings to a relationship. Is this the wisest choice? You may find yourself in the throes of passion and jointly craving the excitement and fantasized marital glue of a new baby; but, one second’s decision can change your life forever. Think carefully.)
It is axiomatic that separated and divorced people often connect for sexual relief, and its accompanying meta-messages that you are still desirable. Quite a heady emotional cocktail. Just be sure your liver can handle the detox and you won’t have a huge hangover in the morning.
If you’re lonely or randy there are other options: call a friend or make a play date with yourself. The long term consequences of giving in to your momentary craving may create emotional residuals that rock your world more than the best sex. Short term gain could easily morph to long term pain.
OK, let’s say you decide to have sex with your soon-to-be-ex. What are the likely consequences?
1. One night of great passion may ignite a reconciliation. Not likely. If it were that simple it would have already happened. And, if the relationship ended because of very different sexual appetites then your suddenly changing your style (i.e. having sex more frequently, or engaging in behaviors you used to shun) may woo your mate back, but you will probably revert to your old preferences as soon as you feel secure in the relationship again.
2. You might end up feeling guilty because you know you’re definitely divorcing, but you let your momentary desire rule the day. This could easily make a difficult situation worse: emotionally and legally. The last thing you need is a more scorned, bitter and resentful soon-to-be-ex-spouse.
3. Your children could wake up, find you together in bed, and assume all’s well.
4. You could get a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Whatever you think, you don’t know what your mate’s been up to. So, if you do choose to have sex, use a condom.
5. It may be hard to believe, but you could feel worse afterwards. More angry, depressed, anxious, worthless, or grief-stricken; especially, if things didn’t match your fantasy.
6. You could have more clarity about ending your marriage. Sex can bring semi-dormant or repressed feelings into high relief, and you may realize anew why you’re divorcing.
7. Perhaps sex was the one reliably good aspect of your marriage. If so, you could both have a good time and recognize it for what it was: connection, fun, satisfaction. However, since sex is fraught with emotional and psychological subtext, that’s pretty unlikely. Not impossible, but unlikely. What’s more typical is one of you would be just fine and dandy while the other surfs an emotional storm.
Copyright Nicole S. Urdang