Four divorcées share what happened when they slept with their ex-husbands and what it taught them about relationships.
It happens on TV and in movies all the time—a couple gets divorced, only to find themselves getting it on like newlyweds soon after (think: Cougar Town, The Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce, It's Complicated). Sure, post-divorce nookie is a classic plot twist that makes for super steamy binge-watching sessions, but how often does it happen IRL?
"Many of the women I meet have slept with their ex-husbands," says Jess O'Reilly, Ph.D., resident sexologist and relationship expert for Astroglide. "Humans naturally crave predictability and excitement—sex with an ex offers both," says O'Reilly. You get the thrill of having sex with someone who's "off-limits," along with the security of knowing one another intimately, she says.
As for whether it's a bad idea to have sex with each other after putting a ring on it and, well, taking it off: "It's not universally bad or good," says O'Reilly. Yes, you're treading in murky waters, but if the sex is satisfying and neither of you are using it as a means to get back together (or keep tabs on each other), then by all means. But if you feel bad after hitting the sheets with your ex for any reason, it may be time to reevaluate.
Here, four divorcées share what happened when they slept with their ex-husbands and what it taught them about relationships.
"If there's one thing my ex and I weren't good at, it was communicating. Whenever there was a problem, we'd talk to everyone but each other. And, embarrassingly enough, our friends and family seemed to have a better grip on our relationship than we did.
It got to the point where there was so much unspoken between us, we became strangers to each other. We didn't even break up like adults—he just left one night and never came back. He eventually sent divorce papers that I signed without hesitation.
"Later that year, he texted me to wish me a happy birthday, and I drunkenly invited him to a party my friends were throwing. We hung out like old times, suddenly morphing into the people we were before the giant abyss between us swallowed our marriage whole.
As usual, the sex was amazing, but the conversations about real-life issues or grown-up feelings? Not so much. I learned a lot from our silence. Mainly, you have to speak up in order to get what you want out of a relationship, and that involves finding someone who's man enough to handle (and respect) what you have to say." —Bianca, 31
"My husband and I decided to split because I had kids from a previous relationship and he couldn't cope with the fact that they weren't his. We both agreed that filing for divorce was best, and he offered to pay spousal support to help out. Barely a week after our divorce was final, he popped by my friend's house to drop off the support money.
My friend invited him to stay and play ball with her man, which led to him spending the night and the two of us hooking up. I guess he hadn't had sex in a while because we barely got started when he ejaculated—and I ended up pregnant. I don't regret my son, but I do regret giving in to nostalgia. Now when I break up with someone, there's no going back." —Erin, 30
"My ex and I were together for 10 years and married for five. I ended up breaking it off because of his drinking and overall juvenile behavior. It was fine when we first started dating since we were both in college and that's how you roll when you're young, but the longer we were together the more I felt like his mom, not his wife.
Two years after our divorce, we found each other dancing and reminiscing at a mutual friend's wedding and, well, one thing led to another. It was the best sex we'd ever had together. I think it was because we were both free to be exactly who we are. I wasn't trying to get him to grow up, and he wasn't guilting me for being so serious.
The hookup helped me get back in touch with who I used to be before our marriage hit the skids. It also gave me the confidence boost necessary to start seeking out a new relationship with a guy who acts his age." —Andrea, 34
"Before my ex and I started seeing each other, he'd broken up with a girl who was hella clingy and basically suffocated him. It didn't seem to matter how long we were together—she was always hovering around our relationship like a vulture. After we got married, she still refused to take the hint.
However, I've always believed that if he really wanted her out of his life, she would be. As time went on, I realized he kept her on the back burner because she filled a void for him: I have never and will never be a woman who needs to be in a relationship, and her perma-attentiveness was clearly something he needed and I wasn't capable of providing. Not long after our divorce, he and the stage-five clinger got back together.
"Flash forward one year, we bumped into each other at a Starbucks. I'm single, he's single...or so I assumed. For the next month, he initiated contact regularly. We went out on several dates, all of which led to a romp in the sack. One night when he was in the bathroom, his cell phone rang, and surprise, surprise, it was the bunny boiler.
You'd think I'd be furious or at the very least feel sorry for myself. Instead, I felt sorry for them. They were stuck in the same rut I left them in, whereas I'd built a pretty kick-ass life for myself. Hooking up with my ex-hubby helped me realize how far I'm come and how much I'd grown. I'd never allow myself to be someone's backup plan." —Cara, 29