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Thanks again for all the productive replies. Happyhusband's hyperbole is the closest to how I feel. I love my wife and don't think I'll truly be happier with someone else. But SamHam is right too -- I often feel like she doesn't desire me, and I want my wife to desire me. I'm sad that my wife surely has felt the same way.

I want her to feel happy enough and relaxed enough and confident enough to think of sex, but I'm losing hope that it will ever happen. She's too busy being a great mom and a productive person. In my frustration, I look at other women and blame my wife's physique, but I know it's more than that. In an oversimplification, sexual excitement may be = hotness x attitude. I'd like to constructively raise that product, and daily compliments seem like a great start. Then I have a problem: this line of thought is me trying to change her [priorities].

I'm the prime beneficiary of all her hard work. She's raising a great kid, taking care of our lives while I work, and she's spending a small fortune to make our house beautiful. I'm grateful, but I also care less about my surroundings and more about intimacy.

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As a defensive aside, I obviously have flaws, but I don't consider myself an ugly person. I exercise 4 days/week and if you think hair transplants can't look good, take a closer look at Elon Musk or google Hollywood hair transplants. My point is that trying to look good is part of my identity. This is true for many men and women, vain we may be. I understand why it's less important for my wife than it used to be, but I wish it weren't.

Also, if my thinking sounds too strange to be real, just check out INTJ weaknesses ("romantically clueless"). Overly critical? You betcha. Of myself too btw. It's helped me in many ways, but I sometimes struggle and overthink.

But the problem with the bold above is that you weren't happy with her back when, either. Which means that even if looking good were more of a priority for her long ago, her prioritization didn't make any difference. You still weren't excited by her, were looking at other women and even expressing your dissatisfaction with her. Apparently, her placing a higher priority on looking good still didn't make her good enough in your eyes. And the worst part is, she knows it.

Which may be a huge part of the reason she doesn't feel happy enough, relaxed enough and confident enough to think of sex with you. You made it fairly clear early on that she wasn't doing it for you. She knows you're not really into her, sexually, even though you probably want sex. She feels unsafe, emotionally, being vulnerable with you. Which has, naturally, negatively impacted her sexual self-esteem and your sex life together.

There are other things in her life that do make her happy, relaxed and confident, and those are the things she prioritizes. Those things just aren't you or sex with you.
 

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If you thought knocking her down a peg would make her value you more, you were sadly mistaken. She'll view that as your own deficit and weakness and inability to be happy and if she's really smart she'll know it's your low self-esteem that makes you want to try to feel superior to her by trying to make her feel bad about herself and also by trying to turn her into a trophy you can prop up your ego with.
 

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I'm 33 and have been married 6 years, and we've been together since college. I have a long history of being inwardly critical about my wife’s looks but I quite like her as a person.

Early in college we were mostly happy but I wanted her to have bigger boobs.
Later in college she was a bit heavier and I even told her I wasn’t super attracted to her. She was hurt, stayed and will never forget.
At my senior year formal I was silently mad at her bc she wasn’t sexy on the dance floor and I wanted several other girls instead of her.
We took dance lessons our first year in New York and I was frustrated that she wasn’t light on her feet and wasn’t sexy to dance with.
I was drawn to enough women on the sidewalk that I tried to break up with her. We both cried and stayed together.

The next 3 years were better as I grew balder. She was trim and the other girls I was attracted to clearly didn’t see me.
At 29 I started working for myself and felt more confident and secure than I had in years. Less on my to do list directly increases the time I spend thinking about sex. She remains very busy, often working past 8.
At 31 we have a child and I get a hair transplant (midlife crisis; I don’t want to look 50 at 35. it worked and looks decent.) she’s even busier and spread thin with the kid and she thinks someday she will have time. Every month that passes I think she will never make time for physical activity and sexuality.

I recently asked my buddies on a guy trip, how much mental capacity are you spending on sex. I’m scouting every girl that enters the restaurant. My sexual desire is not quenched at home, so it follows me around. On sidewalks, grabbing lunch or drinks out. There are so many hot, tight women, why didn't I hold out for one? That's right, I have no game.

My wife says she’s attracted to me and enjoys sex. I believe her. But she’s worn lingerie once in the last decade, once, she very rarely initiates sex, and we only do missionary & cowgirl. Oral is a never. I was honestly bored the last go around and am considering how to change it up.

On one hand I’m a five-star asshole. I judge her weight even after she birthed our child, and even at her thinnest I was inwardly critical of her.
On the other hand I’m lonely and powerless. I’ve tried to lighten her burden several ways and give her time for mental and physical selfishness. She refuses. Being a great mom is important to her, and she prioritizes it.

When things are good and we are intimate, I've told her I need her to be my sexy bunny. We do occasionally find that chemistry and she’s a pretty woman, just not horny or especially hot one. Writing this made me realize how long this side of her has frustrated me.

My life is lacking sexual energy. And I’m ashamed to admit I recently turned to Tinder to find it (in chat only, I haven’t met anyone.) I've spoken to 2 counselors about this in the past year. It's just so hard for me to communicate with her without blaming & hurting. When I can't find the words, I just fail silently and can't sleep. When I force the effort, I invariably hurt her feelings and make her feel inadequate. Which -- you guessed it -- leads to tons of sex yay (sad sarcasm.)

Oof. These things are hard for a simple man to navigate.
I wouldn't have sex with you either. I don't even know why she married you, even after you told her she wasn't exactly your type. I don't think there is much to salvage. You screwed this one up. Serves you right, you are an entitled j*** and now you're bald and not that attractive...looks like God served you exactly what you deserve.
 

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I have insecurities that I’m not good enough, so I’m constantly trying to be better and improve myself. I can’t imagine being with someone whose insecurities involve their partner never being good enough, that would literally destroy me.
 

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I have insecurities that I’m not good enough, so I’m constantly trying to be better and improve myself. I can’t imagine being with someone whose insecurities involve their partner never being good enough, that would literally destroy me.
If everyone truly focused on themselves and tried to be the best version of a person they could be, most of these marital issues would never surface. Unfortunately, laziness and complacency rule the day in most married couples. People get fat, lose priorities, stop working, stop sex, and blame the other partner. Wash, rinse and repeat...
 

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If everyone truly focused on themselves and tried to be the best version of a person they could be, most of these marital issues would never surface. Unfortunately, laziness and complacency rule the day in most married couples. People get fat, lose priorities, stop working, stop sex, and blame the other partner. Wash, rinse and repeat...
I agree. The key is to focus on yourself. Your job is to love your spouse, not perfect them.
 

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So is your wife hotter than you and better than you in other ways? And that’s why you’re getting hair plugs and thinking all the women should be looking at you?
 

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Discussion Starter #49
Could be correct, the expectation is the real problem as we know it will never be met.
Thank you again to everyone with empathetic replies. It is honestly pretty tough not to get defensive on here. Please remember that you're reading an emotionally-charged half-truth. I'm not evil or awful, but I am confused and several of you understand my problems me better than I do.

To In Absentia, happyhusband, badsanta, and CatholicDad: as you see me, what am I doing wrong? I want to be better for my wife and for myself. It sounds like I need to let go of unrealistic expectations and develop more constructive habits of thought sounds, but please tell me in your words. If you see my insecurity as the root of my problems, can you explain or direct me to resources on how/why that is the case?

And to RebuildingMe, you paint an idealistic picture that's easy to agree with. But clearly I've gone astray. Marital love is not blind. Part of my problem is that my standards for my wife are on par with myself: higher than for anyone else in my life. Perhaps this is due to my ego/insecurity and seeing her as an extension of myself, which is not fair.

I believe I can change, but I need and want to understand what I'm doing wrong and why. This whole thing is hard for me to understand. I don't see it clearly. I came here for help/ constructive insight and I appreciate your patience. Thank you.
 

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I believe I can change, but I need and want to understand what I'm doing wrong and why. This whole thing is hard for me to understand. I don't see it clearly. I came here for help/ constructive insight and I appreciate your patience. Thank you.
It seems to me that you tried to cheat, but since you didn't get any offers, you're once again ready to "settle" for your wife. So now you want to undo the damage you've done to her.

For her sake, I'll offer what I think you need to change (and yes, I think you can if you truly want to start having a real relationship with her). Start by not comparing her to other women. Lose the porn and stop the cheating sites. Seriously. Those are the first and easiest steps.

Then, start putting your wife's feelings first. Think about ways to build her up and make her feel loved and wanted. Basically, start all over and hope that it's not too late.

*Frankly, you should be honest with her about the cheating. Let her make an informed decision going forward, or if she even wants to go forward.
 

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My advise to you is..... it has taken a long time to get to this point and it will take a long time to get to a different place. Over time we create layers and they will take time to peel off. It will not happen over night. Get up in the morning and tell yourself you can do this, be positive, take her feelings and needs make them a priority. On the other hand if you tell yourself this is hard and cant hold your hurtful comments they will never stop and nothing will change. You are a grown man you have the power to think before you speak! ;-) Apologize to her , tell her your working on it and things will start to change with time.

Like So married said:
For her sake, I'll offer what I think you need to change (and yes, I think you can if you truly want to start having a real relationship with her). Start by not comparing her to other women. Lose the porn and stop the cheating sites. Seriously. Those are the first and easiest steps.

Then, start putting your wife's feelings first. Think about ways to build her up and make her feel loved and wanted. Basically, start all over and hope that it's not too late.
 

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I think the expectations will never be met because of how he has treated his wife. You don’t bring out the best in people by berating them and calling them fat and ugly.

This is a beast of your own making.
 
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