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Why does it bother you?

You love her. You think she's sexy. You do all the right things.

What is the problem?

Why do you feel the need to fix this?

What do you WANT? Do you want her to act more sexy? Dress more sexy? Come on to you more often? Get more adventurous in the bedroom? You must want something to come out of this.

See, you are trying to figure out how to fix this for her. We, as women, are telling you that this is inside her and if it's not manifesting itself as detrimental to the marriage....she will figure it out or not. It's HER issue, and if it's not causing problems let it go.

And ya know, it COULD be that she finds the flaws on her body in things that she cannot change...no matter if some stranger says she's hot. Like maybe she thinks her toes are ugly, or the shape of her ears, or that one boob is bigger than the other, etc...

So she may not think of herself as sexy.... shouldn't even be an issue. Some people are humble about that, some aren't.
 

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My wife is very accomplished in her career, serves on the board of a non-profit, is active in the art community, and is confident in her public/work persona (almost to the point of being called "intimidating").

So I'm not sure how I can boost her self-esteem by encouraging her achievements. The issue is that she doesn't see herself as being sexually attractive. Sure, I find her attractive, and in fact I know others find her attractive (both men and women). She gets a lot of looks from men when we go out, and she gets looks from the younger guys at the gym as well.

The challenge here is that she just doesn't see herself that way. Having a man eyeballing her in a restaurant just isn't the same as having one actually tell her that she is sexy. Like I said, her love language is words of affirmation, and I tell her she is sexy all the time. She just doesn't seem to buy into it.

She was in IC for a while, and that seemed to help her a lot, but I'm not sure it would be productive for me to encourage her to go back.
Then it's best that those words come from you, OP. What you suggested in your OP could open a door that you'd end up wishing had remained closed.

I've heard that many women get a real boost out of a professional photo shoot... Really tasteful but sexy pictures of themselves. Would this be an option?
 

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Is this really such a problem for her? She sounds very accomplished and successful. Does she really feel badly at 50 because she thinks that people don't find her hot? Usually by then you know that you are sufficient, and you no longer care what people think about you.
 

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A few years ago, right after I got married, I started getting emails from a strange guy. He talked in a flirty way....called me Sug and Hon and Girlfriend, and signed his emails "Daddy Bill" or "Big Daddy". He talked about his travels, or about his day as if we were friends....it was weird, but harmless.

I finally emailed him back, because I felt bad like I was snooping into a stranger's private life. I wrote that I think he was sending his emails to the wrong person, that I didn't know who he was, and that I didn't want him to think the intended person wasn't replying to his letters.

Turns out, he got my email off of forwarded jokes to a mutual friend. Apparently he likes raunchy jokes. He did ask her about emailing me, and she said she didn't think it would be a problem. He was in his 70's and his wife of 40 something years had died the year before and he now spends his days on the internet.

Just talking and flirting. We became "pen pals" for awhile. H and I called him my "internet boyfriend".... just a sweet, kinda dirty old man visiting via the internet with all his "girlfriends".

:) I know this isn't the same, it just reminded me of Daddy Bill. We've lost touch in the past year, and the thought made me smile.

I still vote NO on the secret admirer.
 

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Discussion Starter #25
I'm not exactly sure why this is an issue for me. She is outwardly confident in other aspects of her life. But she lacks self-confidence in our relationship. I would just like to see her be as self-confident with me as she is with her colleagues at work.

She seemed to be much more self-confident (in her day-to-day dealings with me, sexually, and otherwise) while she was in IC. I don't know what was discussed during her IC, but it manifested itself in her being more outgoing and confident in our interpersonal dealings. Like I said, I don't think suggesting that she go back to IC would be taken in the spirit intended.

I'm a man, and men always want to fix things. Perhaps I should just be happy with how things are, but I know they could be better because I saw it when she was in IC.
 

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Discussion Starter #26
Sunny T - did you find the initial or the first couple of emails from Daddy Bill creepy or did they make you uncomfortable?
 

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Well, not sure if it's the same with men but I suspect it is.... we have highs and lows when it comes to self-esteem anyway. A bad hair day is just that...it will be better tomorrow probably. We might have a period of time that we are not so confident, and other times when we are in the right groove. To US, or maybe to me....I shouldn't speak for all women... it's really not a big deal.

If my H suggested counseling for this, then I'd just tell him he's a nut and if he has specific issues to tell me and I will face it, but that doesn't mean I think they need to be fixed.

Actually, my husband said something recently about me being wishy-washy this past year. Said it was just something he'd noticed. I said I hadn't noticed but that I'll be more aware of it and work on that. BUT....I wouldn't go to counseling for it, it's not hurting the relationship, and this is coming from a very blunt man. Issue mentioned, issue noted. Period.
 

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Sunny T - did you find the initial or the first couple of emails from Daddy Bill creepy or did they make you uncomfortable?
Yes, uncomfortable. It was a stranger, sounding intimate, a bit sexual, and out of the blue....so definitely uncomfortable. So the initial attention, intending to be sweet on his part was wasted on me.

I come from a family of 7 brothers, truck drivers and drunkards...so I don't creep out or get offended easily. :D

And even if it were a secret admirer and not a dirty ol' mutual friend, I'd think he was lame. If he were old enough to appreciate me, he should be more mature than sending secret admirer emails. It would be a wasted effort.
 

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My wife has always had a bit of a self-esteem issue. Nothing super-serious, but she doesn't really see herself as being attractive to other men.

She is 50, brunette with dark hair and blue eyes, 5'1' and 115#, 34D, curvy in all the right places. She generally wears pretty conservative clothes for work and everyday, but when she dresses up for special occasions or when we go out, she really is a knockout. I see men looking at her when we go out, but she doesn't really notice. Think Jamie Lee Curtis in "True Lies".

I compliment her frequently, but she thinks that I only do this to get her into bed or to make her feel better about herself.

She works at a local college. I was thinking of sending her an anonymous email from a "secret admirer", pretending I was a younger male student who has seen her walking around campus, and thought she was interesting-looking and attractive. That I have been admiring her from afar, but that I am too shy to actually approach and talk to her.

Depending on how she reacts, my plan was to keep this going for a while, keeping it relatively platonic, but mostly just as a way to keep her ego pumped up ("your husband is a lucky guy", "a couple of my friends think you are a hottie", etc.). I could very easily break it off at any time if it starts to get sideways.

I understand that there is a chance that she may want to act on this situation (i.e. meet the admirer), in which case I could cut it off, and I don't think that it would bother me much to know that she was interested in actually meeting this "guy". I think the potential benefit to her self-esteem would far outweigh the risk of my having any negative feelings about it, and I think it could really help her to feel better about herself.

What do the ladies think?
Sorry, married male responder here.

Are you out of your effin' MIND????
 

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OK, I understand that most of you would be pissed if you found out, and I get that. But how would you feel about getting an email from an admirer in the first place? Let's assume for the sake of discussion that you didn't find out.

Would it be flattering? Creepy? Again, I'm trying to get a feel for whether the initial reaction would be positive or negative. That would weigh heavily in the risk-benefit calculation.

Please for the love of all that is good and holy, LISTEN to the women here and DON'T do this.

While your intentions may be good, this could end very badly, and even if you go over ever possible outcome seven times from Tuesday, there will be something you miss that could bite you in the ass.

Unforseen possibility causing unforseen consequences...
 

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Discussion Starter #33
She originally went to IC to work on some other relationship issues she had after we did some MC together. The counselor did tell her that she had a TON of unresolved family issues she needs to work through (she grew up in a very dysfunctional/abusive family situation).

Perhaps I should urge her to go back to IC to work on the family issues, and see if IC helps her regain some of the self-confidence she had the last time she was in IC?

The female consensus seems to be that a secret admirer would be creepy at best, and would potentially create some resentment in the worst case (if she found out it was me).

The original idea was probably not the best one, but I don't understand the outrage that some of you here on TAM have expressed. It might not be a great idea, but when people on here are talking about open marriages, threesomes, gang bangs, sex and swingers clubs, and cuckolding, I think what I had proposed seems pretty tame in comparison.

I do appreciate that TAM is here and I can vet ideas like this one before I act on them. Thanks.
 

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She originally went to IC to work on some other relationship issues she had after we did some MC together. The counselor did tell her that she had a TON of unresolved family issues she needs to work through (she grew up in a very dysfunctional/abusive family situation).

Perhaps I should urge her to go back to IC to work on the family issues, and see if IC helps her regain some of the self-confidence she had the last time she was in IC?

The female consensus seems to be that a secret admirer would be creepy at best, and would potentially create some resentment in the worst case (if she found out it was me).

The original idea was probably not the best one, but I don't understand the outrage that some of you here on TAM have expressed. It might not be a great idea, but when people on here are talking about open marriages, threesomes, gang bangs, sex and swingers clubs, and cuckolding, I think what I had proposed seems pretty tame in comparison.

I do appreciate that TAM is here and I can vet ideas like this one before I act on them. Thanks.
This is true. I can't really describe why, but what you suggested just seems very...different from those things.

The first thing that popped into my mind was something that happened a long time ago. My ex-wife's sister was a really big girl in high school, and not terribly attractive. As a joke, the school voted her as Homecoming queen just to make fun of her. To send the message that the only way anyone would think she was pretty was if it was faked...
 

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Discussion Starter #36
Here is the net of this suggestion, based heavily on female TAM input:

1.) Best case scenario: She gets the email(s), feels flattered, not creeped out. Gets a self-esteem boost, but the long-term benefit is likely not significant.

2.) Worst case scenario: She gets creeped out from the initial email, and feels uncomfortable going to work or walking around campus. Or she finds out it was me, and gets pissed and/or feels resentment towards me for playing with her feelings.

I still don't see how this idea is on the same plane as an open marriage, or swinging, or whatever. So I just don't get responses like "Are you out of your effing mind!" Yeah, it is a different approach, but I think the worst-case consequences of my idea are much less onerous than having a threesome and experiencing the worst-case outcome. In my situation, the third party is imaginary and doesn't exist.

Anyway, I think I am going to focus my energies on how to tactfully suggest she go back to IC to deal with issues she knows she has to deal with anyway, and see how that goes. Perhaps her confidence issues are rooted in her early family dysfunction, and if she works through those issues, she will regain the confidence she had during her last round of IC.

Anyway, like I said, I appreciate that TAM is here and I can bounce ideas off of others whose opinions I value.
 

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keeper...Self-esteem is something one has to develop for themselves. Having a secret admirer doesn't "give" you good self-esteem or a good self-image.

What might work better is sitting her down and telling her how deeply it affects you when she insults herself, and when she doesn't accept your genuine compliments.

It hurts when someone will not accept a sincere compliment, and from that angle, if she lets it sink in, she might "get it" and maybe open herself up to letting herself at least believe and be happy with YOUR admiration of her, even if she still won't give it to herself.
 

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Here is the net of this suggestion, based heavily on female TAM input:

1.) Best case scenario: She gets the email(s), feels flattered, not creeped out. Gets a self-esteem boost, but the long-term benefit is likely not significant.

2.) Worst case scenario: She gets creeped out from the initial email, and feels uncomfortable going to work or walking around campus. Or she finds out it was me, and gets pissed and/or feels resentment towards me for playing with her feelings.

I still don't see how this idea is on the same plane as an open marriage, or swinging, or whatever. So I just don't get responses like "Are you out of your effing mind!" Yeah, it is a different approach, but I think the worst-case consequences of my idea are much less onerous than having a threesome and experiencing the worst-case outcome. In my situation, the third party is imaginary and doesn't exist.

Anyway, I think I am going to focus my energies on how to tactfully suggest she go back to IC to deal with issues she knows she has to deal with anyway, and see how that goes. Perhaps her confidence issues are rooted in her early family dysfunction, and if she works through those issues, she will regain the confidence she had during her last round of IC.

Anyway, like I said, I appreciate that TAM is here and I can bounce ideas off of others whose opinions I value.
I think the difference is with ^these situations, it is supposedly WITH the wife's consensus. Not a trick. If you were trying to trick her into one of these situations we would go off on you for that too! :D
 

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keeper...Self-esteem is something one has to develop for themselves. Having a secret admirer doesn't "give" you good self-esteem or a good self-image.

What might work better is sitting her down and telling her how deeply it affects you when she insults herself, and when she doesn't accept your genuine compliments.

It hurts when someone will not accept a sincere compliment, and from that angle, if she lets it sink in, she might "get it" and maybe open herself up to letting herself at least believe and be happy with YOUR admiration of her, even if she still won't give it to herself.
This right here. My STBW has self image issue, but I have shown her in words and actions that she is absolutely gorgeous in my eyes, the most attractive woman in the world to me. She still does not feel that way about herself. She looks in the mirror and sees a very plain average woman, but she KNOWS beyond any doubt that I see her exactly how I say and show. This is good enough for her.
 

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Discussion Starter #40
FW and samyeagar - I have sat her down several times and told her that it's hurtful for me to compliment her sincerely, and have her just brush it off, and not really accept it. I have also spoken to her many times about how much I would like it if she would bring some of the confidence she projects to the rest of the world to our relationship.

This isn't just a sex thing. I would say that our sex life is great, and that the only thing I would like to see improve is her confidence, and her willingness to initiate and tell me what she wants.

I want a piece of the confident woman that I see in her work and her other social settings, and I have told her this.

Being a man, I have an urge to try to fix things, hence the admirer idea.

I'm now inclined to think that the better solution is to tactfully convince her to go back to IC.
 
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