Sexual Singles, part 8
By Harlan Jacobsen
A TOUCHY SUBJECT WHEN YOU ARE NEWLY DIVORCED IS "SHOULD YOU HAVE
SEX WITH YOUR EX" WHEN AND WHILE YOU GET DIVORCED?
When do you stop??when you make the decision to split? (Some quit sex
before they make the divorce decision.) Quit when you file? Quit when
you physically live separately? Quit when the divorce becomes final? When
should you quit?
SOME WE HAVE INTERVIEWED STILL HAVE SEX WITH THEIR EX UP TO THREE YEARS
They date other people but also date their ex. Unusual, but it happens.
Sometimes, one or the other or both are divorced physically but not emotionally.
Some have dragged their feet on striking out on their own to form a new
RATHER THAN BE LEFT "HIGH AND DRY," THEY HAVE SEX WITH THEIR
It seems much safer and more comfortable than completely cutting loose
and going out on your own with a roller coaster of feast or famine in
filling one's sexual needs as a single.
OFTEN MUCH OF THE ANGER IN A DIVORCE RESULTS FROM BEING CUT OFF FROM
A STEADY, RELIABLE SOURCE OF READILY AVAILABLE SEX
Perhaps this anger needs to be recognized, so you can determine how it
is to be handled. Are you going to continue to have sex to keep the other
person from getting angry and muddying up the divorce? Is the other person
going to have to continue sex to keep you from ruining it? If you are
to maintain a fair and friendly divorce, this must be considered.
However, how two people having the usual legal hassle/divorce dispute
can have sex together seems hard to understand. A story about a husband
at the hospital maternity ward may illustrate the point: The nurse came
out to the waiting room and announced, "You are the father of an
8 pound baby boy. You may go in and speak to your wife now." He replied
that he couldn't do that, as they had a dispute going and had not spoken
in over a year. "You mean to tell me," said the Nurse, "That
you as a married couple have not spoken in a year? How in the world do
you explain this baby, then?" "Well," he said, "we
were mad, but not that mad."
USUALLY THE MARRIAGE RELATIONSHIP IS STRAINED FOR ANY NUMBER OF REASONS,
AND THE MARRIED SEX BEING A BAROMETER OF THE RELATIONSHIP BECOMES BAD
So often on splitting, those "living together" irritations are
eliminated, and getting together for sex after splitting becomes better
or "good" again.
AT THAT POINT, HAVING SPLIT UP SEEMS TO HAVE BEEN A MISTAKE
But if they do get back together again, the sex again deteriorates, as
all the other reasons for the original split become apparent again. Sometimes
the spouse that didn't want the divorce hopes that having sex will somehow
get them back together on a normal basis again. Others, still having affection
for the spouse after splitting up "fair and friendly", don't
know how to express those feelings except through sex.
SOME THINK THE OLD MAGIC WILL BE REKINDLED
In fact, it is sometimes better than it ever was while married - no resentments,
no bag of injustices bottled up - so they are more relaxed, and some indeed
make great divorced lovers, especially if the meeting is new territory,
without old work schedules, relatives, friends, etc.
SO THEY GET BACK TOGETHER: HOWEVER, ONCE BACK TO THE OLD MARRIED ROUTINE,
IT IS RUINED AGAIN
So most couples go through this "try it one more time" stage.
Almost always, it only adds to the original difficult, painful problem
of coming apart. We have even interviewed divorced people who have gone
through this, three times, often just to reassure themselves that they
did the right thing by splitting.
WHEN YOUR MARRIAGE IS NOT WORKING, YOU GET DIVORCED: BUT WHEN YOUR DIVORCE
IS NOT WORKING, AND YOU ARE SEXUALLY STARVED, AMONG OTHER NEEDS, WHAT
DO YOU DO?
You get back together? Wrong situation. Correct solution is to learn to
fill your needs as a single person.
IF BOTH ARE AT A SEXUAL DROUGHT STAGE, THEY DO GET TOGETHER
Sooner or later, however. one develops other relationships. The remaining
one -still entirely dependent on the ex for filling sexual needs - starts
eating him or herself up with jealousy. Finally there is a bitter breaking
off of the relationship and the "left out" partner goes out
and seeks another.
OUR ADVICE HAS BEEN TO STOP IMMEDIATELY ALL SEXUAL CONTACT WITH THE EX
This can be compared to adhesive tape. In breaking off a relationship,
you can do it quickly, completely and neatly by ending it 100%. Like pulling
off the adhesive tape with a big jerk, all at once. The alternative is
to pull it off gradually and painfully, over a period of time.
PARTING IS ALMOST ALWAYS DONE FOR A GOOD, VALID REASON, AND IS USUALLY
ARRIVED AT TOO LATE, NOT TOO EARLY
The more complete the separation, the cutting off of all unnecessary contact
with the ex, the sooner you get on with your new life. Painful as it may
seem, we see "cold turkey" as the best method, though often
taking the most courage.
IT IS MUCH LIKE A DRUG ADDICT
Tapering off or stopping and starting again only prolongs the agony. You
will go through similar withdrawal symptoms in separating a long-term
relationship. Cutting off ALL contact will be difficult, painful and require
considerable will power, but will be the best for you in the long run.
Once you are off the drug and no longer dependent, you can start to live
a new life again.
GOING BACK AND HAVING SEX WITH YOUR EX NO MATTER HOW GREAT THE NEED SEEMS,
WILL WIND UP BAD FOR TWO REASONS
One, if it is now good because the old married resentment parts are gone,
you may decide to get back together again. The second parting will almost
certainly come, and be worse than the first parting. Unless you are a
glutton for punishment, we advise against it. Second, if the sex is bad
again, you renew a whole lot of old resentments in that department that
will pop up all over again.
BEST BET - A COMPLETE "HANDS OFF" POLICY
The relationship is over. Realize that, and get on with the new, better
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