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Discussion Starter #1
A little over a year ago, the wife and I went through the ilubnilwu thing. We sorted things out, fell back in love. Communication improved as did everything else. She quit the job that was driving her to insomnia and resulted in depression. The depression was treated and she started IC to deal with those problems as well as some repeated issues from childhood.

We’ve been good for the last 10 months and still are. Most of our marriage of 18 years has been good. She has improved admirably when it comes to affection and communication of feelings but still falls a little short adn I told her last night that its not good enough yet.

I’m ok with this if it is work in progress, but when it stalls or regresses it becomes an issue for me. This is made worse by my perception that she is not putting in the effort needed to improve or show me that she takes these things seriously. I take stuff like this much more seriously than before the blow up a year ago. I told her this last night in an effort to resolve it prior to me building up real resentment. She made some immediate commitments to improve and the conversation was overall good.

Before I go further I want to put this into context. Our relationship is an 8 out of 10. I want an 9 or better. This is not a situation where either of us is pondering leaving. This is an early communication of what will become a problem if we don’t work through this.

When I told her she should pick something and focus, she didn’t know what I meant. My thoughts are that she sees a problem or a goal as too big tackle and instead of breaking it down and then moving forward, she waits for some roadblock to go away or for it to work itself out. Her profession requires that she do this on a daily basis. She has to drive and plan very complex and long lasting projects, so this is not something unknown to her. She thinks she is doing something about it. I say that she is not. OK, that’s a bit judging… I know this is difficult for her. The issues are likely caused by the things she is still working through in IC.

So now after the background, the meat of my request: I have to wonder if I’m being impatient and carrying expectations too high that I should reset. So, am I out of line for wanting her to carry these last pieces across the finish line? If I am, what do I do about it? If I am not out of line, what is a reasonable course of action she could take to overcome issues and make these improvements?

The needs in question:
  1. 1. Sexual Fulfilment – Frequency is fine 2 or 3+ per week. She is attractive and fit. She’s also responsive and engaged. The things that are lacking:
    • oral sex (18 years, no problem with doing this and then none starting last year. Childhood abuse issues resurfaced now there is an aversion that needs to be overcome. This one causes me the most internal conflict) – medium priority but rising.
    • More passion in her kissing – medium priority
    • I desire more eye contact – Low priority
  2. Openness and honesty – mostly good. She has improved leaps and bounds here
    • [*]Communicate the things that matter. She discounts important stuff, like how she feels about things. This is big to me because of some avoidant tendencies that helped lead to the blow up a year ago. – High priority

      [*]Initiate a conversation even when she doesn’t have everything figured out when something is troubling her. – Low Priority
  3. She should more aggressively try to resolve these issues. – High Priority
  4. Communicate affection and admiration verbally – i.e. my “love languages” are words of affirmation and physical touch. – Medium Priority (as a counter, I need to refocus myself to her love language, acts of service)
Books I’ve read:
  • His Needs Her Needs – great investment. We did the work books together and this was an excellent catalyst to improving our relationship at a very dark time. This is how I am able to put my finger on what is missing.
  • 5 Love languages – eye opening
  • MMSL – Sex life got better, lol.
  • NMMNG – not me
  • How We love – helped me understand the avoidant personality type. I’m a slight vacillator. Which makes me question whether or not I’m being fair in my expectations.
 

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I would give it more time with the IC for her. But why don't you ask her to make a similar outline complete with priorities and share them one night? Along with the fact you view the relationship as an 8? Your complaints make it seem more like a 5.

And maybe help her with the things you would like to see improvement on in communication department. Sit down with her and ask her if there are problems or things bothering her. Prod.

As to oral sex issues is that with giving or receiving? I assume giving? How about let her admire and stroke your erection in the light. Play with it, see it's nothing to be feared, that the penis itself is NOT the aggressor. Don't ever push her down on it. Let her start to just tickle or lick it and tell her how wonderful and strong she is for trying it. Let her see it as a tool (no pun intended!) for pleasure for BOTH of you.
 

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I tend to side with the men regarding most sexual conflicts in marriage

But I sort of lack sympathy here

According to you:

You are now having sex 2-3+/wk, and she is responsive and engaged...and yet the lack of oral sex is #1 on your "still needs improvement" list (with medium priority and rising)

This, when you know she has childhood abuse issues resurfacing?

"This one causes me the most internal conflict"


Hmm....

well...maybe it should
 

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Discussion Starter #4
along with the fact you view the relationship as an 8? Your complaints make it seem more like a 5.
I was worried it would seam that way. My written communication style does that sometimes.

And maybe help her with the things you would like to see improvement on in communication department. Sit down with her and ask her if there are problems or things bothering her. Prod.
Thank you, I will.


As to oral sex issues is that with giving or receiving? I assume giving? How about let her admire and stroke your erection in the light. Play with it, see it's nothing to be feared, that the penis itself is NOT the aggressor. Don't ever push her down on it. Let her start to just tickle or lick it and tell her how wonderful and strong she is for trying it. Let her see it as a tool (no pun intended!) for pleasure for BOTH of you.
This is good advice. I'll bring it up to her.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I tend to side with the men regarding most sexual conflicts in marriage

But I sort of lack sympathy here

According to you:

You are now having sex 2-3+/wk, and she is responsive and engaged...and yet the lack of oral sex is #1 on your "still needs improvement" list (with medium priority and rising)

This, when you know she has childhood abuse issues resurfacing?

"This one causes me the most internal conflict"


Hmm....

well...maybe it should
Like I said, may be I am out of line. I think my problem with #1 more to do with #3 and 2.b than not actually receiving oral sex.

Ie. I'm not getting clear communication on what is going on with something that was a part of our regular sex lives.

This is good. I appreciate the feedback.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Working through issues in IC isn't working on it in your eyes? How long has she been in IC?
A year, but it's very unfocused from what I can tell. She says, for a while now, that the problems or triggers don't come up in day to day. Only occasionally.

So I can't help but wonder if there should be a more decisive course of therapy now that she has uncovered and dealt with the past.
 

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A year, but it's very unfocused from what I can tell. She says, for a while now, that the problems or triggers don't come up in day to day. Only occasionally.

So I can't help but wonder if there should be a more decisive course of therapy now that she has uncovered and dealt with the past.
Were you expecting the IC to be sort of a magic pill to resolving the issues?

Does she feel that the IC is helping her?

Usually I'm all for a man getting more in the bedroom but I think you're kind of pushing the envelope a bit here. Having an 8 and wanting a 9 under the circumstances may be asking for a lot... for now anyway. Do you fear her thinking you were being pushy if you pressed the issue?

Personally, I think the communication is of a higher importance than anything else and where the most focus should be.

ETA: Sex is important too, but one will facilitate the other IMO
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Were you expecting the IC to be sort of a magic pill to resolving the issues?

Does she feel that the IC is helping her?
No, not a magic pill, but I see where you are going.

Yes, but she says it is slower going now

Usually I'm all for a man getting more in the bedroom but I think you're kind of pushing the envelope a bit here. Having an 8 and wanting a 9 under the circumstances may be asking for a lot... for now anyway. Do you fear her thinking you were being pushy if you pressed the issue?
bedroom's a six, overall we are an eight.

I fear being unfair to her more than I fear her thinking I am being pushy. I'm not sure what you meant here?

Personally, I think the communication is of a higher importance than anything else and where the most focus should be.
I do too, now that I think more about it.
 

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Carl Jung said that the biggest illusion people have to overcome is the notion anything can ever fully satisfy anyone.

That's sort of what came to my mind when I read your thread...and I just think its good for us to remember in general.

No experience, is ever going to seem as completely fulfilling as we feel and imagine it could be...discontentment is written in our genes...and it's this unrest that drives us to eat, mate, build civilizations...

But at some point, we have to recognize this, and actively choose to feel contented with what we have...or we never will

Obviously, there are many situations where people should NOT feel content...where they really are getting a raw deal in their marriage

It's sort of a listen to your heart/gut feeling type of thing

So yeah...not saying this is necessarily where you are in you marriage..but it's something to consider
 

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I fear being unfair to her more than I fear her thinking I am being pushy. I'm not sure what you meant here?
Pushy meaning wanting your needs met above her need of time to progress and get past her hangups. I don't believe either of your needs trump the other and if you press her (the wrong way) it may backfire on you entirely.

A 6 huh? And oral would put this up to.....???

I think you should re-evaluate your expectations. If she was doing absolutely nothing, no IC, no talking at all, then yes I could see you needing to press the issue. Some people need the push to be consistent.

On the other hand, if you really do feel that this needs to be addressed then of course talk to her about it. Tell her your fears and that you don't want to put any added pressure on her intentionally, it is only an observation you've made and you wanted her thoughts about it.

You know your wife best and how she operates. These are only suggestions of which approaches I would take. I always check myself first before bringing it to my husband. I need to make sure that any issues I want to bring up are hills to die on or really just something I need to work out on my own.
 

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Carl Jung said that the biggest illusion people have to overcome is the notion anything can ever fully satisfy anyone.

That's sort of what came to my mind when I read your thread...and I just think its good for us to remember in general.

No experience, is ever going to seem as completely fulfilling as we feel and imagine it could be...discontentment is written in our genes...and it's this unrest that drives us to eat, mate, build civilizations...

But at some point, we have to recognize this, and actively choose to feel contented with what we have...or we never will
Obviously, there are many situations where people should NOT feel content...where they really are getting a raw deal in their marriage

It's sort of a listen to your heart/gut feeling type of thing

So yeah...not saying this is necessarily where you are in you marriage..but it's something to consider
Absolutely 100% agree. Especially with the bolded.
 

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Your list of complaints seems a little controlling.

(Don't ask how I know). It really is a bit overbearing.
Secondly, you complain "She discounts how she feels about things".

Maybe, just maybe, her reaction to your compalints is for her (NOT to discredit her feelings, but to aviod conflict with you.)

I would be really put off if my husband dictated even how I should kiss him (eyes open, eyes closed, more passion).

Sounds like you want to improve.

How are you working on yourself?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Carl Jung said that the biggest illusion people have to overcome is the notion anything can ever fully satisfy anyone.

That's sort of what came to my mind when I read your thread...and I just think its good for us to remember in general.

No experience, is ever going to seem as completely fulfilling as we feel and imagine it could be...discontentment is written in our genes...and it's this unrest that drives us to eat, mate, build civilizations...

But at some point, we have to recognize this, and actively choose to feel contented with what we have...or we never will

Obviously, there are many situations where people should NOT feel content...where they really are getting a raw deal in their marriage

It's sort of a listen to your heart/gut feeling type of thing

So yeah...not saying this is necessarily where you are in you marriage..but it's something to consider
Very interesting, Im a big fan of Carl Jung, especially the personality types work. I'm an INTJ.

As I alluded to earlier, I have to wonder if my expectations are unfair. I'm not the type to settle, more likely to go the other way. It does me well in my professinal life, but can cause me problems elsewhere!

Maybe this is one of those occasions where I needed someone else to say the thing that my inner voice has been saying to me also. "What else do you want?" I would love to feel content with what I have.
 

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but still falls a little short adn I told her last night that its not good enough yet.

I’m ok with this if it is work in progress, but when it stalls or regresses it becomes an issue for me. This is made worse by my perception that she is not putting in the effort needed to improve or show me that she takes these things seriously. I take stuff like this much more seriously than before the blow up a year ago. I told her this last night in an effort to resolve it prior to me building up real resentment. She made some immediate commitments to improve and the conversation was overall good.

Which makes me question whether or not I’m being fair in my expectations.
Your expectations seem fair but you need to be very careful how you express them and especially how you monitor their fulfillment.

If you and your wife can agree on a road map and a general time time table then you can pick a neutral time and ask each other how you feel things are progressing. If a particular incident results in your doubting her commitment, it's probably better to wait a few days before discussing the big picture
 

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I get teased sometimes by non engineers about my organized approach to motorcycle maintenance or 4x4 performance modifications. I use spreadsheets and generally organize my activities more so than your average shade tree mechanic. Your list of expectations with priorities and your catalog of marriage research material was impressive to say the least. If I showed a list like this to my wife her head would explode. I would like to you consider the following:

  • Your wife did not run away during the ilubnilwu thing and made improvements.
  • Your wife has a decent project management position which means she's probably educated.
  • Your wife is having sex with you 2-3 times a week.
  • You think your marriage is an 8 out of 10.
I think your instincs are correct and you are nit picking now. You've read alot of good information and it's stuck in your brain. Take it from someone who does it himself. Your over analyzing your marriage now and your expectations are way too high for her to live up to. Your gonna drive your wife away if you don't cut her some slack at this point. Based on what you said she seems like a good women, but you would like to tweak her slightly to meet your needs. My advice to you is to be thankful that you're still married and happy after 18 years because that's an accomplishment. I'm betting you need to work on romancing her a bit. Show her a good time and relax a little if you can afford it. I had a co-worker who use to always tell me "The key to a happy life is about lowering your expectations". The older I get the more I think he was a Zen master.

Peace
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
I get teased sometimes by non engineers about my organized approach to motorcycle maintenance or 4x4 performance modifications. I use spreadsheets and generally organize my activities more so than your average shade tree mechanic. Your list of expectations with priorities and your catalog of marriage research material was impressive to say the least. If I showed a list like this to my wife her head would explode. I would like to you consider the following:

  • Your wife did not run away during the ilubnilwu thing and made improvements.
  • Your wife has a decent project management position which means she's probably educated.
  • Your wife is having sex with you 2-3 times a week.
  • You think your marriage is an 8 out of 10.
I think your instincs are correct and you are nit picking now. You've read alot of good information and it's stuck in your brain. Take it from someone who does it himself. Your over analyzing your marriage now and your expectations are way too high for her to live up to. Your gonna drive your wife away if you don't cut her some slack at this point. Based on what you said she seems like a good women, but you would like to tweak her slightly to meet your needs. My advice to you is to be thankful that you're still married and happy after 18 years because that's an accomplishment. I'm betting you need to work on romancing her a bit. Show her a good time and relax a little if you can afford it. I had a co-worker who use to always tell me "The key to a happy life is about lowering your expectations". The older I get the more I think he was a Zen master.

Peace
Good advice. I'll take it.

There were a several things I worked on and improved. The romance part is one of them.

I think this boils down to the recent anniversary of the ilyb conversation, coming across my journal from back then that I used to help keep me sane, and not getting closure on some of the things she said she would work on and little steps she was going to take. Got some of my own triggers, I guess.
 

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I still struggle with my triggers as well but have learned to keep them to myself when it's a minor issue. I learned that constant pressure, whether it was justified or not, was a bad game plan for a healthy marriage. The one thing I had to figure out was that reminding my wife of her flaws was not going to make her love me more or get me laid more often. They really don't want to hear it but sometimes you have to.

Good Luck
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Your list of complaints seems a little controlling.

(Don't ask how I know). It really is a bit overbearing.
Secondly, you complain "She discounts how she feels about things".

***Ok. Her words not mine.

Maybe, just maybe, her reaction to your compalints is for her (NOT to discredit her feelings, but to aviod conflict with you.)

***I talk different than when I am writing a concise, straight to the point summary.

I would be really put off if my husband dictated even how I should kiss him (eyes open, eyes closed, more passion).

*** I did not intend to give the impression that I was dictating or making selfish demands. Many of these things originated as things _she_ said she was going to do 9 months ago. Note: eyes open kissing is kinda creepy. Just saying I like to be connected.

Sounds like you want to improve.

***I have and do

How are you working on yourself?

***Diligently and continuously. It's a hobby of mine.
I hear what you are saying. I'm not the guy you appear to be saying I am. At least I do the best I can not to be.
 
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