Are You Ready for Romance Again but Your
Partner is Not?
By Susie and Otto Collins
It's been over a year since Jenny discovered that her
husband Cliff had an affair.
Even though Cliff assured her (and provided proof to back up
his claim) that the affair was brief and that he'd ended it,
Jenny was shocked and felt betrayed.
During the months since that time, Jenny and Cliff have both
made significant changes in the way that they communicate,
interact and spend their time.
They met with a relationship coach for several
months and, with her help, have formed new, healthier
In some ways, Jenny and Cliff's marriage is becoming
stronger than it has ever been. Jenny has mostly forgiven
Cliff, but there are moments when the memories of his
betrayal and the hurt overwhelm her.
Cliff has tried to be romantic again with Jenny. He wants to
take her to a cozy, secluded cabin in the woods for an
intimate weekend alone.
While Jenny is glad that Cliff finds her attractive and
sexy, she is not sure that she is ready to take this step
If something happened in the recent past to erode trust in
your relationship, you undoubtedly noticed a decline in your
intimate interactions as well.
It's really tough to open up and allow yourself to give and
receive romantic or intimate sharing when you don't
completely trust your partner.
Of course, there are people who "fake it," but that doesn't
benefit either person.
If you and your mate have been making changes in the way
that you interact and you two have been gradually rebuilding
It makes sense that you would want to become closer and more
intimate with your partner.
Being romantic is certainly one way to set the mood and
express your desire for more passion.
Troubles can come up, however, when your partner is just not
ready to take that step with you yet.
Try not to take it personally.
Unfortunately, if he or she is honest with you about not
wanting to be romantic or intimate right now, you might take
It could feel like a rejection for you to hear your partner
say something like, "I need to take it slow. I'm not ready
for romance yet."
You might feel irritated or impatient and wonder how long
you will have to wait.
You might also try to guess about why your partner is
All of this can undermine the trust rebuilding that you've
been working at.
When you take it personally, you essentially shut
yourself down to the true reasons why your mate is asking
you to wait a little bit longer.
We know, it may not be easy to do, but if you are ready for
romance and your mate is not, take a slow, deep breath and
Be willing to listen with openness and non-judgment to the
reasons why your partner is saying no to romance right now.
You might find that you gain a better understanding of where
he or she is in terms of your healing relationship.
You might also find that your mate is not saying "never,"
but instead is saying "not yet."
There is a big difference between "never" and "not yet."
If you close down to communication and merely become angry
or blameful, you won't be able to hear that.
Take steps toward romance and intimacy that you both are
When Jenny told Cliff that she is not ready to go away with
him for a romantic and intimate weekend get-away, he was
He has been wanting to be close with her again and misses
Deep down inside, Cliff feels slightly rejected by Jenny. He
worries that she'll never be able to fully trust him enough
to receive his romantic advances.
Cliff acknowledges all of his feelings to himself and then
he asks Jenny to talk about her feelings right now and their
It is an honest and informative talk for them both. Jenny
can hear from Cliff that he doesn't only want to go away
with her to be sexual again.
He tells her that he misses the closeness and intimacy, but
it's not just about sex.
Jenny tells Cliff that she would like to be more intimate
with him and she would like to-- one day soon-- be sexually
She appreciates his invitation for the weekend get-away, but
it feels like too much right now.
They decide to set a goal to take the weekend get-away in a
month or two.
For now, Cliff and Jenny agree to create time for romance
and possible intimacy at least once each week. Jenny
suggests that they go to dinner and then dancing that
When you keep the lines of communication open and honest,
you might find that your partner is willing to be romantic
and possibly even
intimate with you-- it just might be in a different form
than you originally had in mind.
Ask one another what level of intimacy and what romantic
activities you are each willing to do.
You might find that you're not as far apart in what you want
than you initially thought.
Part of rebuilding trust is to meet potential conflict with
a willingness to communicate and stay connected.
You can both heal even more and move closer together in the