Sex with the Ex

So now you’re separated and trying your best to get through the grieving process and move on with your life. Then suddenly, out of the blue, you and your STBX are back in bed together. You briefly feel exhilarated, then you feel rotten. Then you get angry. Welcome to the slightly shitty world of sleeping with the STBX.

First, know that you’re normal. Divorce is just a really cruddy time. You’re going to feel alone and abandoned, even if you’re the leaver, and you’re likely to reach out in desperation to anyone who can provide comfort, including the person who shared your bed before. I don’t know where this came from, but I heard an estimate once that about 60% of divorcing couples have sex together between the time they separate and the time they divorce. Please don’t ask me how they found this out, because I genuinely don’t want to know.

If you’re contemplating going to bed with your STBX, let me point out the obvious: it’s a bad idea. In some courts, judges might determine that, by having sex, you and your STBX have reconciled, which means they might dismiss your divorce case. Beyond that, and even if there’s not a legal problem, having sex with each other slows down your grieving and that of your spouse, raises false hopes about saving the marriage, and may even help you catch something. As your mama used to say, “You don’t know where he’s (she’s) been.”

Alice probably said it best. She confessed that she and the STBX were having sex, and then she asked, “How could I be intimate with a self-centered person who doesn’t treat me with respect, caring, and genuine concern?” How indeed.

Another reason I take a dim view of having sex with the person you’re divorcing is that it often keeps one or both spouses confused about where the relationship is going. And let’s be honest, who really wants a “pity poke,” anyway?

For the same reason, I encourage former spouses who are considering remarriage to let sex be the last thing they introduce into their reunited relationship. If the two of you are meant to be back together, abstaining from sex certainly won’t keep you apart. If this is all a big mistake and you’ll eventually wish you had stayed divorced, having sex together right now might lure you back together for the wrong reason.

If you have a choice, don’t. If you already have, stop. But don’t beat yourself up about it. Just cool it.

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