There is an article in the Daily Mail today entitled “Why ‘ex-sex’ can be a good idea: Sleeping with an old lover lessens psychological distress of break-up… if you’re not over him”
You can read all about it here: LINK
Apparently research from the University of Arizona (published in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology) found that divorced partners who slip back into the marital bed find sex can actually lessen the pain of the break-up.
We even have the UK sex expert Tracey Cox agreeing with this idea that sex with an ex can provide closure. Seriously? She said:
Sometimes we need to go back to move forward, and revisiting the sexual side of the relationship can sometimes make us see very clearly that we’ve idealised the relationship or feel much less pain than we thought. So there’s a sense of closure that can be helpful.
I know she is an expert, but I definitely don’t agree with this concept at all. I have worked with hundreds of people and I can tell you one thing:
If you are hung up on your ex and you sleep with him or her, it’s not called closure
There is another 7-letter word which is more appropriate and that is called TORTURE. Sleeping with your ex whilst in the pain of processing your divorce will open a can of worms/spiders/scorpions and all types of critters.
Those Z-listers from I AM A CELEBRITY GET ME OUTTA HERE would not even be able to stand 30 seconds with the critters unleashed from that can of worms.
Confusion will reign. Time will pass. Future dating partners will disappear. Your children will be confused. They will lose respect for you. You will lose respect for yourself.
Read these hashtags as if my lips were mouthing it: #sexwithexleadstodisaster #sexwithexarmageddon #sexwithexnotworthit #sexwithexcausespain
I think Tracey recommending that we revisit our sexual partners from the past to get closure must be talking about people who want to roll in the hay with someone they feel nothing for where one last shot in the dark concludes the whole relationship swiftly.
But life is never that simple
Both parties rarely ever feel nothing for each other so sex rarely leads to closure. Entire seminars have been dedicated to how human beings confuse sex with intimacy and use sex to get closer to people so why think that sex can lead to a severing with the ties?
In many break ups and divorces where kids/houses/betrayals and issues are involved, it can be very complex and not as simple as saying that “partners who had not accepted the break up actually found their divorce less painful whilst they were having sex with their ex.”
Of course they found it less painful
By sleeping with their ex, they “re-set” the roller-coaster of pain. They delayed the inevitable and important process of grieving and healing by artificially creating HOPE. Maybe one party discovered that they no longer felt anything but rarely will both parties sleep together, high five each other and declare that they are over each other.
So this study concluded that by sleeping together and delaying the inevitable pain, the pain was lessened overall? Totally illogical. Whoever came up with the hypothesis and this study most likely did so in a fish tank; there are so many errors of reasoning and co-morbidity factors at play.
I think someone needs a hypothesis-testing lesson. I have 3 years of university stats behind me and I have never seen a study like this one. Those journal dudes must have been sleeping when they let this puppy in. Without being any more facetious, I must state categorically that this study is ludicrous.
Anyone advocating sleeping with an ex whilst healing is doing the study in isolation
That study is most likely within a period of days, if not weeks. They are not doing their due diligence on the worst-case scenarios which come months or years after or looking at the long-term impact or at how long it takes the individuals to heal whilst bonking their ghosts from Christmas past.
By delaying the inevitable pain in severing ties with your ex, retail therapy, alcoholic or drug benders, dinners with mates, dates, working long hours or anything which is about being ‘busy’ whilst dying inside and avoiding being alone — you have fallen foul of the classic Short Term Emotion Avoidance Tactics.
In other words, you are valuing short term satisfaction over moving on and over your values like pride, self respect and honouring yourself. Basically, find another way to double click your mouse. Your ex does not need to be the one to do it.
Sex with an ex can be psychologically very confusing and damaging
I do know that sometimes partners will continue to sleep with each other after a break up. The break up brings up really sad and awful feelings and sometimes the sex is a way to break the loneliness and maintain closeness with someone.
Because you are less familiar with each other, the sex can feel more passionate but it’s born out of a neediness rather than a genuine commitment between two people to stay together; sometimes couples will ‘use’ each other in this way whilst they are breaking up.
This prolongs the inevitable, because the moment either party meets someone new, the sexual relationship will end or fizzle out and the pain will be too great to bear. I know some instances where women continue to sleep with their ex even long after he has got married to someone else and had new children.
I recommend the clean break option
It is truly the best for both parties and brings clear closure to the relationship. It hurts and feels awful for a few weeks but you don’t waste your life or your time hanging onto the old relationship. Also, I believe that women and men are more susceptible to have sex with their ex during the ‘Panic/ Negotiation’ phase within The Naked Divorce Grief Cycle as a way to get back together with their ex.
The major drawback is that one partner can have sex and it doesn’t need to mean anything to them, whereas the wounded partner will make sex mean all kinds of things and could wound up getting really hurt.
Understand the phases you will go through after your divorce
Understand your hormones and those angst-ridden feelings and where they are coming from. The next time you feel compelled to contact your ex, ask yourself a few questions:
- Do you miss being with your ex or do you simply miss being in a couple?
- What if your ex says yes and says ‘let’s give it another go’ – will you be able to change what didn’t work with the relationship?
- If you are leaving the outcome of your relationship with your ex and very much in their hands – what do YOU want?
- Is this the person you want to be with for the rest of your life? EVEN IF absolutely nothing changed?
- How does being single make you feel?
If you are struggling to get over your ex or in letting the relationship go, find something like the Naked Divorce Program. Our program has been designed to support you in getting over your relationship and there are loads of exercises each day to support you in making the break between yourself and your ex.
Communication Guidelines For the 1st Year
These guidelines are in place to support you in your healing within the first year and in you developing your own interests and your own life. If you feel you can have a friendship with your ex where you still maintain your own life, then you choose which of these points below support you in your new life.
There is no right or wrong answer; you need to find the path that works for you.
Here are some principles behind the CLEAN BREAK approach which is useful to adopt in the initial stages of healing. Once you have healed, friendship can certainly be on the table.
Do not call your ex, e-mail your ex or visit unnecessarily to brag about how great your life is
There is no need to tell them about a promotion, the death of a relative, or a terrific trip you just took. Don’t try to make your ex jealous or find excuses to engage with your ex because you are lonely or curious or needy.
Allow your ex to move on with his or her life, and you do the same. It will be easier for your new partner to get involved in an unencumbered relationship. Be graceful and accept it’s over and focus your energy in new relationships or existing relationships with relatives or friends.
If you have a new partner, and you and your ex are friendly, you may have dinner with your ex and your children
That’s if your partner is along, too, and your ex’s partner, if he or she has one, is included. Never disparage your ex in front of your children. It is damaging to the children.
I recommend not inviting your ex to your wedding. There is no reason for your ex to be there and many reasons for your ex not to be there. Your attention should all be on your new spouse and his or her family and friends. If your ex invites you to his or her wedding, kindly decline and send a modest gift that doesn’t imply anything.
Remove your ex from social media – at least for a while
If you were hoping to keep tabs on your ex by tracking his every online move or possible new dating adventures then remove him from your social media networks. It’ll just make you wonder who he/she is talking to (or obsess about those girls who keep posting messages to him), and you don’t need that.
Remove your ex’s page from your favorites and look for a new friend or two to take his MySpace place. If you have established your new life and feel there is a clear boundary between the two of you which is healthy, feel free to re-establish this contact.
If you know that you might call or email your ex when you are drunk, write their contact details down safely in a book
Delete his/her number, email address and IM address from your mobile phone. That way when you’re having a fragile moment at three A.M., you’re not tempted to contact your ex as the repercussions the following day can be both embarrassing and costly to your recovery. Once you are over the relationship and have established your new life, feel free to add his number back onto your phone.
Limit in-person contact for a while
There are just too many emotions swirling around in your post-divorce head. I would recommend not seeing your ex in person for a while. If you see your ex too soon, you run the risk of suffering potentially bad consequences; including waking up beside him the next morning and realizing you just had sex with your ex, or worse, getting arrested for assault and battery.
If you are torturing yourself and not moving on, you need help.
Time is precious. Rather than prolonging the pain, take action. Do something about it. If you want to know more about what we do, call us. We are here to serve.