It took Lisa Vanderpump to explain on the Vanderpump Rules reunion Monday exactly what Brittany Cartwright was thinking when she ran right back to Jax Taylor to have sex following his cheating admission.
Lisa schooled the SURvers when she said, “It’s called reclaiming your spouse.” And it made a lot of sense. It’s when after a couple deals with infidelity and betrayal, the partner who was cheated on immediately has sex with their significant other even though they are hurting and unsure of where the relationship stands. Experts say the choice to have sex in a moment of confusion and sadness is simply wanting and craving something familiar. You are "reclaiming" what is yours.
New York-based therapist Mordechai Salzberg, LCSW, tells Personal Space that the person still wants to feel connected to the cheating spouse, and they want to show them "this is what you are missing."
“In my experience with couples dealing with infidelity, it is fairly common for someone to have sex with their partner/significant other after they were cheated on. I don't think there's one simplistic explanation for this, but I do think the idea of ‘reclaiming’ them can play a part in that choice,” he says. “More broadly though, I think it can be about the complexity of relationships and the impact one act of infidelity can have on them. A partner may choose to have sex in a moment when they are connected to the totality of the cheating spouse … when they can see them as more than the worst decision they've made. They can make that choice from a space of confusion, and wanting something familiar. They can even make that choice from a space of anger and wanting to use their significant other the way they felt used by being cheated on.”
He adds that the decision to have sex with a cheating partner is neither good nor bad, it’s just different in every circumstance.
“I wouldn't label it as either good or bad, although in many cases it may not be the most healthy of decisions,” he says. “Even in those cases, it's important to remember that a partner who finds out about infidelity is often in a state of shock and trauma, and from that place, choosing to have sex may be the healthiest decision they are capable of.”
Dr. Liz Lasky, relationship coach and therapist says wanting to keep a sense of attachment to the person you probably still love is a major reason people return straight to the bedroom.
“A person may have sex with a partner after they cheat for a variety of reasons including love, anger, a sense of attachment, etc. There is often still love in the mix, even if someone cheats,” Lasky says. “The idea of reclaiming your partner has elements of power and control. It is like saying ‘this is MINE!’ When the feeling of ownership of a partner comes into play, it can raise a red flag."
“I encourage my clients to explore why they feel like they have ‘reclaim’ a person. Oftentimes, this means that one partner feels like they have no control over the other person and they want to keep them close to avoid further cheating or pain. This often boils down to not being able to trust your partner which can be a deal-breaker in relationships. Not being able to trust your partner can lead to mistrust, anxiety, doubt, and fears in the relationship.”
Personal Space is Bravo's home for all things "relationships," from romance to friendships to family to co-workers. Ready for a commitment? Then Like us on Facebook to stay connected to our daily updates.