Okay, ponder this. It’s complicated. Here’s something that I hear every so often from divorced women. “ My ex is cheating on his girlfriend with me. Yes, I’m cheating with my ex husband. He has a girlfriend, but still sleeps with me. I miss him. I miss the sex. He misses me. Maybe, we can make this work after all.”

Those statements sound like part of the juiciest, (most disastrous) soap opera plot ever! You got divorced, maybe because your husband had a girlfriend, and now you have to admit, “I’m sleeping with my ex husband who has a girlfriend.” My advice is STOP!

Even though your ex and his girlfriend aren’t married, you’re in the situation where the ex-wife is the other woman…you are the infamous OW. 

Think about how you would feel if you have started moving on and you found out your new boyfriend slept with his ex wife again while dating you?

Or you might be a man who has to admit, “I cheated on my girlfriend with my ex wife.”

Let’s think about these scenarios for a minute. What do they say about you? What do they say about your ex? What benefit is cheating with your ex to you? What does his continual cheating say about him? Do you really want to go there?

I was so furious and sad about my ex husband’s girlfriend that it was hard to even imagine getting in bed with him again. I can sort of understand, especially if both people were drinking, and not thinking clearly, that it could happen. Maybe, even though you’re divorced and your ex has moved on, a situation could come up where you and your ex are alone together and you find yourself in bed having sex for old time’s sake or something.

But now, in the light of day, after your divorce, your ex husband has a girlfriend, and you find yourself cheating with your ex-husband while he is dating someone else. I’m not a therapist. I am not giving professional advice, but in my opinion, sleeping with your ex is a big mistake.

As Sir Walter Scott (not Shakespeare!) puts it,

“Oh what a tangled web we weave. When we first practice to deceive.” 

Again, let’s take a minute to think of reasons the “sleeping with your ex who also has a girlfriend” scenario might actually become reality? And Why?

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Getting Revenge 

What would make a woman want to sleep with a man who either has already cheated on her with his girlfriend or is cheating on his girlfriend now with you, his ex-wife? He’s cheating on both you and his girlfriend.

You might have a wild night of great sex, but what deep-down fulfillment and connection and long-lasting pleasure could you really get by sleeping with a man like that?

Are you trying to get revenge on the girlfriend by saying, “He still likes sex with me!”? Or are you subconsciously saying to the girlfriend, “You caused me heartache by cheating with him, so I’m going to cause you heartache by sleeping with him so that you know how it feels!”? Are you simply asking, “You cheated with him, now he is cheating on you. How do you like it?”

Or maybe you want to prove that you’re still desirable to your ex. Whatever the reason, this is a guy you and the girlfriend should both say, “Good-bye and good riddance!” to NOW!

And in my opinion, to stay in this situation makes both you and the girlfriend look desperate. If he cheated on you in the first place, and is now cheating on another woman, why would you get back together with him knowing that he is so lacking in moral character?

To me, all it seems you are doing is stroking his ego by making him think he’s really hot stuff with two women completely abandoning their integrity to get in bed with him! He’s not someone who is trustworthy and who would make you feel safe in the long run. Wouldn’t you always wonder what he was up to?

Feeling Validated

When I found out my then husband had been cheating on me, the thought of him having sex with “her,” showed up in my brain over and over again. It’s hard not to think about it. As much as you try, it’s hard not to let your mind envision it. For me it was agony and heartache every single time I allowed my mind to go there.

Often, when we first realize our husband has been cheating with someone else, our first thoughts are crazy-making:

  • I wonder how they kissed?
  • I wonder how he touched her? 
  • I’m not sexy enough
  • I’m too fat
  • I’m not pretty enough
  • I’m getting old
  • I’m not adventurous enough
  • I pay too much attention to the kids
  • I don’t make enough money
  • I’m not organized
  • He likes blondes with long legs, and I’m short with slightly graying brown hair.
  • Whatever… 

Our mind goes into overdrive thinking and rethinking, “What is wrong with me? Why did he feel like he had to have a girlfriend in the first place?” 

But suddenly, if he starts having sex with us again, we can somehow rationalize that “Maybe it’s not me after all! He still loves me enough to want to sleep with me. Cheating on me was more about him than about me and my less-than-perfect self, because now he’s cheating on this girlfriend and still likes sex with me!” 

It’s ridiculous for us to rationalize this situation, but sometimes we do so to protect our fragile self esteem.

Once A Cheater, Always A Cheater

Most research shows that if a man cheats once, it’s easier for him to rationalize cheating again. About 42% of men who cheat actually have more than one affair. It’s not unusual in my work to hear that some of these men become serial affair guys. It’s a high for them. We can never compete with that. To be fair, about as many women cheat as men. Sad, but true.

A man (or woman’s – for that matter) first affair may cause them discomfort or even great angst. But especially if we stayed with them and gave them another chance and moved on, which most of us do the first time, they often stray again.

Actually, guys who cheat aren’t innocently reeled in against their will by immoral women. They usually have already decided that an affair is an option and worth the risk. And sometimes they have affairs because of the risk…the idea of “forbidden fruit” being the juiciest. 

Will We Get Back Together?

Most divorces happening today are midlife or late life divorces. Maybe you were married for 33 years like I was. It’s hard keeping a marriage vibrant and lively and fun for decades. Sometimes sex becomes too methodical and less important to women. Maybe the guy has a hard time performing and is embarrassed. Maybe you just want to spice things up. These are all reasons affairs can happen.

I’m not excusing them, but again, long term marriages demand commitment and investment in the marriage and a determination to, not just endure marriage, but to truly make it better and better. In fact, all marriages need constant love and care. That’s not impossible even though our media and culture try to make us think it is. No matter whether it’s your first, second or more…happy, fun, good marriages are possible and worth the effort.

In most cases, people are willing to forgive their spouse for a one-night stand or a fleeting dalliance or even a longer term affair with another person if our partner does these three things after the affair:

Gets it…understands the seriousness of what he/she did…and how much it hurt you, hurt your marriage, and hurt your family.

Owns it…takes full responsibility for the affair and does not try to blame it on someone (especially you!) or something else.

Fixes it….does whatever you need for him to do to fix it. And then is willing to work on your relationship as a couple moving forward.

Giving Them An Ultimatum

In my own case, and in the case of most women, we often give them a choice. Most women I know would not stay in a relationship where there is another woman involved for a significant length of time. Most of us give our husbands many, maybe too many, chances to get rid of the other relationship and come back home. I gave my ex three years to decide. He chose, and I filed for divorce.

Women usually take our husband’s word for it when they say the affair is over. Often that is a mistake. We desperately want it to be true. Extricating yourself from a long-term affair is not easy. Especially if the other woman has left her own primary family and is waiting for your husband to leave you so he can marry her. That’s a lot of pressure. And if they come home to us, they have a lot of work to do.

The other woman is usually telling them how wonderful they are, and we’re telling them they’ve been a cad and have some serious amends to make. For most people in affairs, they take the path of least resistance and go with the new love.

Most women (and men, too) whose partner is having an affair usually finally get to a point where they say, “Enough is enough!” I cannot live in a toxic relationship like this. I can’t be the woman (or man) I want to be and live in a marriage like this, and they file for divorce. It’s usually the most heartbreaking decision you will ever make in your life.

But remember this: Leaving a bad relationship can also be the start of a new and better life where you know the people in your life are honest and true. You are no longer with someone you don’t trust.

There is no loneliness worse than the loneliness of being with a person who doesn’t cherish you or have your best interest at heart – who lies to your face or continues to blame you for their bad choices. Don’t settle. You can have the relationship you have deserved all along.

If you are in a relationship where your spouse has had or is still having an affair, or you are separated or divorced and trying to move on because of an affair or divorce, we can help. Don’t try to slog through this situation on your own. It’s just too hard. Get the resources you need. Connect with others who understand. We are here for you.

5-Day Divorce Recovery Crash Course. Take the first steps in your recovery and start healing today! Send me the free emails
5-Day Divorce Recovery Crash Course. Take the first steps in your recovery and start healing today! Send me the free emails