She Cheated on Her Ex With Me. Can We Make It Work?

Dear Rachel & Aaron,

I’ve been having problems with my fiance. We met online while she was having a really bad time with her now ex husband. The relationship they had was abusive to say the least. And when we first met we… well you know the story. 

Anyway, it’s been nearly 3 years now and she doesn’t want to have sex. She doesn’t even seem to want to spend time with me. Anytime I suggest sex or even just going outside it seems to make her miserable. I take care of our home and her kids so asking if we can just get out of the house shouldn’t be major – especially since at this point I’ve just about given up on sex. And even that seems to make her angry. 

When we talk about our sexual problems she blames it on either her ex hurting her or that she believes she can’t trust me. Given what has happened I understand that. I thought about leaving but there are so many reasons why I cant. I want to make this work. I think it can still work… so what, if any, advice can you give me to help me make it work?


Sexually Frustrated

She Said: 

Sorry to hear that things have been so difficult with your fiance. Before you tie the knot, it is very important that the two of you work on these issues. I’d suggest that your fiance start seeing a therapist weekly to work past her suffering and abuse in the previous relationship. Her “baggage” is affecting your current relationship. If you want to have a healthy relationship, it is crucial that she first takes care of her own issues. 
I’d also suggest you join her therapy sessions every now and then or that the two of you see a separate couple’s counselor. It is important for you to understand where she is coming from and learn to be patient with her. But you must also learn how to get your needs met, and right now that is impossible. Without therapy, I worry your relationship will not last. 

He Said: 

This is a very typical case of “baggage” where wounds from the past affect the current relationship. I agree with Rachel that therapy is definitely warranted.  Your relationship started from a traumatic place (an abusive relationship and her cheating on her husband) and those need to be addressed so you have a more solid place to form your relationship. Once those are addressed appropriately couples normally find their sex life automatically improving.
I’ve said it before that you can’t have a happy relationship and a bad sex life – the two are to just too closely connected. If one is bad, the other is usually bad, too. If there are problems in the bedroom it’s because one partner’s problems from the past or because of current relationship problems. It sounds like she’s giving you a clue about what’s keep her from being more active in the bedroom. You wrote that she believes she can’t trust you. Explore that with her more. Be understanding, acknowledging and receptive when she tells you why. Don’t question her or try to rebut. Have a wholehearted conversation with her and really listen. Just by doing this will help create trust and you’ll be on a step in the right direction – hopefully this will help you in the meantime until you go see a counselor. 
About Rachel:  Rachel Russo is a Dating, Relationship, & Image Coach who works with marriage-minded singles and couples in NYC and throughout the US. Checkout her website at

About Aaron: Aaron Anderson is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, owner of The Marriage and Family Clinic in Denver, Colorado and writer for various websites on marriage and relationships.

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