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Hi

I'll try to provide a summary of the last ~8 years or so - looking for advice.
I have been married 22 years - got married at 23yrs old.
My wife and I have, over the last 8 years, really gotten into a loop of lacking intimacy and sex.
About 5 years ago, I had leaned too much on a woman that I knew for support and to get some of the emotional response I was looking for.
My wife found out of course and knew for months she said before asking me who this person was/etc/etc.
I told her the whole story. No physical affair but surely an emotional one.

About 6 months after that, I decided that the only reasons I was leaning on this lady was fear - fear of discussing the roadblocks in my marriage with my wife. I also had some borderline ED issues occuring at that time.

So I got myself a counselor, made a dedicated effort to get back to the gym to get in better shape, talked to my doctor for an anti-depressant, and talked to an endocrinologist for these ED type symptoms.

Around 2017 we stared couples counseling, at my request, because I was looking for more intimacy/sex/conversation in my marriage - not just single word type answers "oh that's fine / good / nothing much happened today / etc"
These simple replies were around long before I was leaning on this lady for emotional support.
One of the goals I wanted to achieve in counseling was to improve our sex life too. We were averaging about sex once every 3 months. In the start of our relationship too (I had very little self-confidence at the time) and there were 'rules' that were needed. When I would visit her, she would tell me that she "needs to warm up to me first now that I'm here". We didn't have alot of sex in the early part of our relationship. When we were married, there (for many years ~5 or so) was a "no touching rule" that when she got into bed I couldn't touch her for 20 minutes or so. I tried so many times. Even talking to her in text yesterday she said "you always tried back then"
Currently, our sex life has waxed and waned a bit. And has again been on the skids The last time we had sex was in November 2019 and I gave her oral, no intercourse/etc/etc. Even working up to me giving her oral was many years in the making, I wanted to do/try it and she was resistant. One of the things I had asked many times in therapy was for her to initiate sex a bit, just sometimes - let me know that she has desire for me. This happens rarely.
I had been incontact with a divorce lawyer of the last 2 years, and had not done that because I still thought there were things I could do to make her happy. More of simple touch/etc - things she asked for. I believed I was doing them - not out of force but because I enjoy them and she asked for them. For example, kiss in the morning in bed, before I goto work, I love you before I leave the house, text/snapchat during the day with simple messages or kissy faces. So I kept trying to see what I could do, based on what I heard, to be better for her. She also thinks I am way to assertive (I'm sicilian so there is that!) and she was right. I learned alot about how to modulate my voice to a lower softer tone, speak less forcefully, to try to better match what she perceived as non-confrontational. We talked about sex several times in counseling. I had said that we have alot to work on overall, sex is about 6 weeks...so lets not be greedy right now - if we can get to once a month that would be fantastic.

In feb 2020, I brought up again - why we haven't had sex. She said that she needs simple things like "a touch on the arm" or to sit a little closer on the couch. That's all she needs.
I was mad that she says its just these "little things" and I told her it seems like if they were so little, and I've been trying to improve our sex life and intimacy, that you would have mentioned it.
I told her, I thought I had been doing what you asked for. Being more attentive to kiss in the morning, always asking what i can do help with dinner, thanking her for some of things she does around the house, or a meal she makes/etc.
She also then told me that sex had become complex and awkward anyway. I asked her....we have been in therapy.... how long did you feel this way? I've been asking for more intimacy and sharing and knowing your feelings and it seems like you are still holding back critical things that could help us.
So I became increasingly frustrated, thinking back on therapy/etc and thought that enough is finally enough.
Two weeks ago, I said I think we should seperate. I gave her a divorce proposal based on what I had been advised by my lawyer as a starting point/etc.

We just had a conversation tonight where she said things like
Lets just forget the past, put a stake in the ground and move foward.
I thought you only wanted sex 1 time a month, I could probably have it many times a month
When you asked for more sharing - i thought you just meant about my day - that's all. (I specifically said even the therapist has been pushing for deeper feelings).

The conversation loop also becomes "Well if you wanted sex, you could have made the move". I then say "Yes you are definately right, but I have asked you to try a little for me. Reach out so I feel attractive/etc"
I also asked her, tonight "if she really wants sex multiple times a month, and she definately liked the oral from Novemember, why wouldn't you say it was great and I want it again - or anything at all?" Reply was "if you liked giving it to me, I could ask the same question"

I've said recently to her that I love her, and I want to be with her. But I need 100% of my wife. I don't want a glorified roommate.

I told her that I don't know to make any of these pieces fit. I am not sure that I can do a leap of faith, forget the past, and we will just start having more sex over time soon.
I also said that I am terrified about the person I may become over the next 2 to 3 years. I don't want to lean on another woman for emotional support. I don't want to become resentful (well I already am to a degree) and I don't want to become a score keeper. I said that it makes me feel bad about myself that you don't reach out for me. I also said it makes me feel bad that you still hide emotions/thoughts/etc from us - despite a few years of therapy.
She replied, well I am working on it. I am working on speaking up.

Other backround on this. We have two daughters who will be 16 soon.
During the last 20 years, I have built a very successfull business.
I bought us a very nice new home - which has actually accentuated (for me) the issues. Living in this beautiful new home with a wife who hides her emotions from me and this sex standoff makes me feel really bad about myself.
I had started a few years ago, selling off some of my prized tangible items (cars mostly)
I am 95% sure I am not attached to any of the physical things I own (well I do really like the new house!) so I am not worried about losing physical items or money. I can rebuild that eventually.

I am scared that if I do the leap-of-faith that we will still be back in the same boat.
Is this a lightbulb turning point for her? I don't know ....
In my brain - i think of course not. I've had a close friend say to me that I've done enough. I even asked her if she wanted an open relationship (maybe in 2017?) DId she have some sex fantasy or something that she wanted to live out and needed. I would support it - with a man a woman etc. I was grasping at straws there.
In my heart, I'd love to have a marriage that lasts forever.
But I can't do 10 years like we have been doing. I am not even sure I can do 2 without become a person I don't want to be.

What are the thoughts on this? I'd be really interested to ready any parallel stories or advice if someone has it.

Thanks!
 

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So, you threatened the relationship and now she is willing to say what you want to hear in order to stall for time/keep you around permanently. Don't fall for it. In the immortal words of Admiral Akbar "It's a trap!"

If she was really interested in fixing things she'd have mentioned her stated issues with sex in the years of therapy.If she really did want to have sex (with you) multiple times a month, you'd have been having sex multiple times a month. You can't square it because it's bullpucky.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hi

That's probably the most concise summary I could ask for!

I don't believe her ... She drops this huge bomb that sex has been awkward etc. Really? After this long in therapy you mention this after I start asking why we haven't had sex in a while again? She then says she doesn't want to get scolded when she voices her thoughts because isn't that what I am asking for? It seems a little too circular...
 

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Hi

That's probably the most concise summary I could ask for!

I don't believe her ... She drops this huge bomb that sex has been awkward etc. Really? After this long in therapy you mention this after I start asking why we haven't had sex in a while again? She then says she doesn't want to get scolded when she voices her thoughts because isn't that what I am asking for? It seems a little too circular...
In the Reddit DeadBedroom sub this circular thing is quite common.

Bottom line is actions, not words. For years her actions told you the truth of how she feels. Her words now are meaningless. If they were true, you wouldn't be here.

Beware hysterical bonding. Lots of DB spouses threaten the relationship, their partner responds by having lots of sex...for a time. Then the relationship stabilizes and the sex dries up because it's unnecessary now that the threat is gone.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I read a deadbedroom PDF a few weeks ago... that described very similar to what I've been observing

And your "lots of sex for a while" .. yes that has happened! Well 2 times in a month being lots and then cools right down after the "problem" is resolved...

Yikes...I've been in deep for a while 🙄
 

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I read a deadbedroom PDF a few weeks ago... that described very similar to what I've been observing

And your "lots of sex for a while" .. yes that has happened! Well 2 times in a month being lots and then cools right down after the "problem" is resolved...

Yikes...I've been in deep for a while 🙄
Human behavior tends toward patterns. You are seeing the pattern now. The question is, will you break the cycle and stop the pattern repeating?
 

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You two were sexually incompatible from the very beginning, and you never should’ve married her because of that. She is giving you the runaround and only telling you what she thinks you want to hear, this is never going to get better in the way that you want it to. I think it’s time you corrected that mistake and divorce her, she has wasted too many of your years already. Go find yourself a happy life without her.




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Human behavior tends toward patterns. You are seeing the pattern now. The question is, will you break the cycle and stop the pattern repeating?

I agree .. I had some bad cycles and got myself in the right place. I'm literally in the best shape of my life (250+ bench press etc), I don't want to slide into leaning on a woman, and I don't want to cheat, and I don't want to become a score keeper.

I had told my attorney to put papers in motion already... I have a call with them tuesday.

It's tough to hear the things you wanted to hear but only after a tantrum, well in this case a nuclear bomb
You two were sexually incompatible from the very beginning, and you never should’ve married her because of that. She is giving you the runaround and only telling you what she thinks you want to hear, this is never going to get better in the way that you want it to. I think it’s time you corrected that mistake and divorce her, she has wasted too many of your years already. Go find yourself a happy life without her.




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I would never consider it a waste at all. Perhaps moving forward if we stayed together and then I looked back and thought dammit! Yes.
She seems to be saying that she understands my view, she will work on being more asserting, should have been working on that in therapy, should have brought up things that she thought in therapy. So my major roadblock here - if she has withheld critical parts of information that could be helpful and she withheld this in the 'safe space' of a therapist office ... what do I do to resolve that in my mind and in reality?
Talking to her today in text, she said 'honestly, when I think about November when we had sex - i was wondering if I did something wrong'. Huh??? I said to her, if that is the case and I have been desperate for you to share thoughts/feelings/etc why not tell me that then. Maybe not the same night, but the next day or something. Why make me wait months and months, so i feel like an ass, because i don't know what is going on. I told her I would have said anything to help reassure her in the moment back in November. Its like she can have her cake and eat it too, sort of. She can tell me "well you asked me to share, then I share, and you get mad". I said yes, but I thought the sharing would not come with an 8-12 week latency. I used a crude example of dogs nose...you can't hit the dog 2 weeks later after it pee'd on the carpet .. it will have no idea what is going on. Yes that was my example - i put myself in the position of the dog :O
She said that she is a work in progress and needs to do better. I agree, but that hasn't happened in therapy. And if she knew it -- what else is she hiding emotionally/etc that I'll discover in another 12 months or so.... what a mess
 

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The time for talk is over. You are at the point where you are about to divorce your wife if you don't see a change. I suggest you stop talking to her about any of this. Simply approach her in a loving manner several times per day such as when you kiss her in the morning. Hug her and hold her hand. Sit next to her on the couch. Put your arm around her. Initiate sex.

If she responds favorably, continue to do this and initiate sex at least twice per week.

If she turns you away or complains, tell her this is why you are seeking a divorce.

I am not recommending divorce, but since you are planning to divorce her if she continues along the same path of disinterest and you don't really want a divorce, you might give this a try and see what happens. She doesn't seem capable of initiation, but you can initiate and see what happens. If she doesn't respond favorably, then at least you gave it a last shot.
 

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The time for talk is over. You are at the point where you are about to divorce your wife if you don't see a change. I suggest you stop talking to her about any of this. Simply approach her in a loving manner several times per day such as when you kiss her in the morning. Hug her and hold her hand. Sit next to her on the couch. Put your arm around her. Initiate sex.

If she responds favorably, continue to do this and initiate sex at least twice per week.

If she turns you away or complains, tell her this is why you are seeking a divorce.

I am not recommending divorce, but since you are planning to divorce her if she continues along the same path of disinterest and you don't really want a divorce, you might give this a try and see what happens. She doesn't seem capable of initiation, but you can initiate and see what happens. If she doesn't respond favorably, then at least you gave it a last shot.
Well...we talked about this at the start of February when I asked why we hadn't been intimate in a while. She said that she just needed a little more physical touch, a hand on a shoulder things like that. I was a little upset that if it's just a 'simple' thing that she wouldnt bring that up earlier. I got over that and then tried to pay even more attention to small touches or sitting a little closer. She recently told me that she did really like it! I asked ok, well doesn't that make you want to reach out for me. Then she says well my period was erratic so that wasn't a good time. I said ok...but nothing? Kissing? Make out anything? I said it doesn't have to lead to full sex all the time ... So I think we went down that road. She said she needed more time and was just starting to really warm up again. It's like the carrot is always right there and if i only do one more thing I'll get everything I want...
So honestly, why stay in this?

Why put yourself through this any more at all? Just because you love her?

Really???

Unless the divorce will go through....
I agree... I wish the kids were 18 but it doesn't really matter the difference between 16 vs 18 .... It's going to be sad and hard all the way around anyway
 

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It will be sad and hard all the way around.

Has she told you she loves you but is not in love with you?

Her actions are far more important than a carrot-rich diet of words.

This dance can last a long time before your partner will tire... you will have to take the lead.
 

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This is crap. Nothing but ridiculous excuses from her and hoop jumping for you. At the end of the day what it boils down to is that she doesn’t have real desire for you, or enough respect for you to be honest about it.




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She doesn’t want a divorce so if she thinks that’s even a remote possibility she’s going to tell you whatever she thinks she needs to for that not to happen. And it will likely be temporary change because that’s easy. Real, permanent change is hard and that’s another story.
 

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She doesn’t want a divorce so if she thinks that’s even a remote possibility she’s going to tell you whatever she thinks she needs to for that not to happen. And it will likely be temporary change because that’s easy. Real, permanent change is hard and that’s another story.
You're right! It took a huge amount of effort to talk about my failures, get help, do so counseling.. I read alot of books too.. not a conversation. A friend of mine said that people can say anything under stress to make the stress go away
 

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  1. It will be sad and hard all the way around.

    Has she told you she loves you but is not in love with you?

    Her actions are far more important than a carrot-rich diet of words.

    This dance can last a long time before your partner will tire... you will have to take the lead.
    No, she says she loves me very much. We were talking about the gym. She is a runner and is in good shape! She usually doesn't go-to the gym. I usually don't run. I've trained with her to run some 5ks while she has run the 15k or 20k portion of the same race. I even flew us to Antigua for 4 days for the "run in paradise". So I keep asking her once a week, "come to the gym, let's go workout together" her reply consistently was "no I hate the gym". I asked for weeks and weeks recently .. almost 4 months in a row. She said to me talking and in text last night "I didn't know how much value you placed on the gym. If you had said to me that you were feeling really sad because I wasn't going to the gym spend time with you, then I'm sure I would have went" I guess that's a point, maybe I need to ask in a clear fashion providing all of the emotional details for a common simple request like come to the gym with me so we can work out and I'll take you to breakfast after. Not even once a month?
 

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I am always for saving a marriage. But come onnnn she wasn’t even trying. She couldn’t give you any effort at all. You are asking for very very little and she isn’t trying.

If I were you I honestly don’t know what I would do. The problem is, it’s not only about sex you guys have a lack of emotional connection, and at that point there is no point.

I personally think that you should try again. But this time, she needs to do the heavy lifting. She needs to prove to you that she wants this marriage and she is willing to do what it takes. You have needs and wants too and it isn’t all about her all the time. She has forgotten that.

Give her like 4 months. Don’t tell her that, but set it on your calendar. Give her a change to change, stop managing the relationship and controlling everything. Give her a warning that your done being the manager. And see how it goes.
 

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No, she says she loves me very much. We were talking about the gym. She is a runner and is in good shape! She usually doesn't go-to the gym. I usually don't run. I've trained with her to run some 5ks while she has run the 15k or 20k portion of the same race. I even flew us to Antigua for 4 days for the "run in paradise". So I keep asking her once a week, "come to the gym, let's go workout together" her reply consistently was "no I hate the gym". I asked for weeks and weeks recently .. almost 4 months in a row. She said to me talking and in text last night "I didn't know how much value you placed on the gym. If you had said to me that you were feeling really sad because I wasn't going to the gym spend time with you, then I'm sure I would have went" I guess that's a point, maybe I need to ask in a clear fashion providing all of the emotional details for a common simple request like come to the gym with me so we can work out and I'll take you to breakfast after. Not even once a month?
What are you even talking about this for, what difference do it make.

Your wife does not love you romantically, she never has. She is not now and never has been sexually attracted to you.

What do people have to say to you to get you to understand:

1) Your wife does not love you.
2) She is using you.
3) She will never love you.
4) YOU have serious issue because you have fallen for this crap and allow yourself to be treated this way...

File for divorce now and move on...
 

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I am always for saving a marriage. But come onnnn she wasn’t even trying. She couldn’t give you any effort at all. You are asking for very very little and she isn’t trying.

If I were you I honestly don’t know what I would do. The problem is, it’s not only about sex you guys have a lack of emotional connection, and at that point there is no point.

I personally think that you should try again. But this time, she needs to do the heavy lifting. She needs to prove to you that she wants this marriage and she is willing to do what it takes. You have needs and wants too and it isn’t all about her all the time. She has forgotten that.

Give her like 4 months. Don’t tell her that, but set it on your calendar. Give her a change to change, stop managing the relationship and controlling everything. Give her a warning that your done being the manager. And see how it goes.

Oh my god you're killing you're me 😞
Two weeks ago, the counselor we were using said that she wants to treat this as a marriage in crisis. And that we need a commitment for 90 days that we're going to put everything we have into the marriage. No one's going to send anybody home no one's going to go to a parent nobody's going to have an affair etc. So I said yes I'm a thousand percent in and she said yes 100%. the therapist also gave us a book recommendation to read, the rules of a modern marriage. I don't like to read I usually read only for information. She reads all the time. I read that book 300 some pages in a day and a half. She only got the page 44 by the time we had our next weekly therapy meeting. During the therapy meeting I start a talking about this 90-day and that I'm glad to have this dedicated time we're really going to focus. Apparently this was news to everyone. even the therapist thought that the 90-day thing was my idea and you can't really tie any kind of timelines to this stuff. I'm on the video call with the therapist and my wife and I'm defending this Twilight zone reality like a kind of crazy person. She said say that she will work on anything. I was pressing this issue of this 90-day, and I even said we didn't make any decision as to what would happen after 90 days just that we would all see how we feel after 90 days. And I was just out there in the breeze on this whole thing. Feeling like an idiot. later on that evening she said that she didn't even want to know when the 90 days was up because she couldn't even think about it. So I guess we kind of tried to do a couple month crash course put everything in type of idea. And that sort of fizzled in a week. She says that she'll work on things and improve and work on her assertiveness for what her feelings.. I was saying to a friend if my kids were 18 there would be 0000 chance of tolerating this whatsoever. Kids are almost 16 now. I could probably do another two more years but to what point?
 

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What are you even talking about this for, what difference do it make.

Your wife does not love you romantically, she never has. She is not now and never has been sexually attracted to you.

What do people have to say to you to get you to understand:

1) Your wife does not love you.
2) She is using you.
3) She will never love you.
4) YOU have serious issue because you have fallen for this crap and allow yourself to be treated this way...

File for divorce now and move on...
I know ... Well she does love me but I think it's really just surface deep. She has even characterized herself many times as not a deep person. I have walked back from the edge to try harder...mostly because my kids were young. I was not going to split up with 11 Year old or 9! Year old kids. I would not have been able to bring myself to do it. Kids are almost 16 ... 18 will be here soon. I could squeak by for 2 more years...but I am virtually out of patience. I'm not perfect either. I have said things too that have hurt her...pretty sure she didn't like my emotional involvement with another woman years ago as I mentioned above. I tried to take ownership of that, apologize, and better myself. I think that's run it course... I'd like a more emotionally fullfilling relationship...which I'm sure would naturally lead to more physical stuff :0
 
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