Q: My husband who has been extremely violent with me wants our marriage to work. I am a stay at home mom. I love my life when he is at work…I can deal with him when he comes home, but when it comes to sex I am sickened to a state where I want to physically be sick. I want to heal, but cannot imagine ever being attracted to him again? Is there a healing period in which this revulsion will pass?

A: You say that your husband wants this marriage to work… what do you want? If he has been violent with you are you sure you want to stay with him? Are you sure that he won’t hurt you again? Has he received professional help for his behavior? I have worked with domestic violence a great deal in my career and for the most part I believe that people do not change without help and a strong incentive (avoiding jail, divorce, etc). I think it is natural to lose trust in someone who has violated you, especially someone who is supposed to love you and support you. I am not surprised that you find it difficult to feel comfortable with him sexually. For some people they can heal with time and rebuild trust and sometimes end up with an even stronger relationship. However, this takes a lot of work and I’d say even more work from the person who violated the relationship in the first place. Time will tell if you can heal enough to be attracted to him again but my hunch is that it won’t happen unless he has truly invested serious and painful effort into mending what he broke.. And then again, sometimes “too much water has passed under the bridge” and the best thing you can do is pick up the pieces and move on with your life.