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My husband had an affair seven years ago. I don’t trust him – and can’t bring myself to have sex with him

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His betrayal rocked the family, but we got back together. Now our sex life is nonexistent, but we still love each other. What should I do?

My husband had an affair about seven years ago, just after we got back together from a two-year separation. We have been married for nearly 25 years. The affair damaged me and our daughters, especially our oldest daughter. It took her a long time and therapy to trust him again. His initial reaction was emotionally brutal and self-righteous. After several months, he became ashamed of what he did and now finds it hard to discuss. I still harbour feelings of mistrust towards him. Our sexual relationship before his affair was almost nonexistent; since the affair, all these years ago, it has been totally nonexistent. We love each other very much and get along extremely well. He would like to have an intimate sexual relationship with me, but I just can’t bring myself around to having sex with him. It doesn’t interest me. I’m at a loss as to what to do.

It takes time to rebuild your trust, but it is seven years since he broke it and you are still not sexually reconnected. Perhaps it is time to accept that your marriage has many positive aspects, but that it excludes sex. Perhaps you never had strong desire for him – if so, just accept that. Marriages can take many forms. Since you are still together after two years’ separation plus a traumatic betrayal, there is clearly something that bonds you deeply. Neither of you has to conform to anyone else’s idea of what a marriage should be; you might find it beneficial – and fair – to express this to your husband.

Pamela Stephenson Connolly is a US-based psychotherapist who specialises in treating sexual disorders.

If you would like advice from Pamela on sexual matters, send us a brief description of your concerns to private.lives@theguardian.com (please don’t send attachments). Each week, Pamela chooses one problem to answer, which will be published online. She regrets that she cannot enter into personal correspondence. Submissions are subject to our terms and conditions: see gu.com/letters-terms.

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