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Can't seem to quote the original post but wanted to comment on your reply.


After reading your thoughts, I'm now praying he doesn't ask me if I enjoyed wearing them because the honest answer will be no. I'll enjoy how rev'd up he's going to get and I'll enjoy the sex that will result from it. But I will hate the actual wearing of the shoes. This would be enough for me and I'm sure it will be for him.

Well, it seems to me you do have that. You've asked and she's told you she enjoys the sex. The sex and the quality of it is a result of adding on the extras for you. So if you're way more rev'd up because she wore something special for you, she enjoys the sex more. And she has told you she enjoys it.



Have you ever asked her what things she'd like to incorporate into your sex life?
Yes, I have asked many times. She has no answer.

That's not that unsual an answer. Many women either have no fantasies or just can't bring themselves to share them. They are embarrassed by them.



She is connecting. Right now, I am not.

This is interesting. So you feel SHE feels a connection with you. You don't feel it back because she doesn't enjoy the same aspects of sex that you do. That's a shame because sex is about making both people happy. If you learned to just enjoy what you like and let her enjoy what she likes you might both be a lot happier. She could be posting on another board "my husband won't connect with me because I don't like the exact same stuff as him. I try and I try to give him what he wants to do but that's just not enough...unless I like exactly what he wants me to like it's ruined." You say your goal is to make her happy in regards to sex...you making her happy and her enjoying that is how you connect. Well, she gets happy and feels connected when you perform great PIV sex and you're missing it!!! So do that and make her happy and then be happy yourself. Take that other stuff for yourself because for as much as I think you say you're doing it for her, you're not, you're doing it for you. And she lets you because she loves you and wants you to be happy. And she's right...you do over think this stuff...she's working hard to make you happy.
 

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Discussion Starter #43
Can't seem to quote the original post but wanted to comment on your reply.


After reading your thoughts, I'm now praying he doesn't ask me if I enjoyed wearing them because the honest answer will be no. I'll enjoy how rev'd up he's going to get and I'll enjoy the sex that will result from it. But I will hate the actual wearing of the shoes. This would be enough for me and I'm sure it will be for him.

Well, it seems to me you do have that. You've asked and she's told you she enjoys the sex. The sex and the quality of it is a result of adding on the extras for you. So if you're way more rev'd up because she wore something special for you, she enjoys the sex more. And she has told you she enjoys it.



Have you ever asked her what things she'd like to incorporate into your sex life?
Yes, I have asked many times. She has no answer.

That's not that unsual an answer. Many women either have no fantasies or just can't bring themselves to share them. They are embarrassed by them.



She is connecting. Right now, I am not.

This is interesting. So you feel SHE feels a connection with you. You don't feel it back because she doesn't enjoy the same aspects of sex that you do. That's a shame because sex is about making both people happy. If you learned to just enjoy what you like and let her enjoy what she likes you might both be a lot happier. She could be posting on another board "my husband won't connect with me because I don't like the exact same stuff as him. I try and I try to give him what he wants to do but that's just not enough...unless I like exactly what he wants me to like it's ruined." You say your goal is to make her happy in regards to sex...you making her happy and her enjoying that is how you connect. Well, she gets happy and feels connected when you perform great PIV sex and you're missing it!!! So do that and make her happy and then be happy yourself. Take that other stuff for yourself because for as much as I think you say you're doing it for her, you're not, you're doing it for you. And she lets you because she loves you and wants you to be happy. And she's right...you do over think this stuff...she's working hard to make you happy.
I am not responding to most posts right now because I am just trying to take in peoples input. I do want to address what I have bolded. I am not sure that I have stated it like you have here, but fair enough. Pleasing my partner is an important part of it for me. Being pleased by my partner is also important. I don't think that I implied that I am only doing things to please her. Most of what we do is what I want and to please me. Having a partner that wants to please me is important to me. If I have given the impression that its all about making her happy, that's my bad.
 

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Yes, she literally says "I am willing" when I suggest things. It is the way she says it, it's not what I would pick. When I specifically ask for something she just does it, with the least amount of effort possible.

I am a scientist, so that is what you are seeing coming through my writing. I am less emotional than most people. I am more emotional than my wife.
Can you give us a little more detail about your wife and her personality? For her to respond like that and to be less emotional than a not very emotional male scientist, it sounds like she's more unique than the average woman we might have in our heads when we picture your relationship.

Also, what about her life? Does she work, how's her relationship with the kids, does she have time to herself to relax, etc? Anything in her past which might be relevant for how she acts in your relationship?
 

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It seems to me that you are way overthinking this. Your wife has told you she likes having sex with you and likes how you touch her, but you seem hung up on how focused she is on PIV. Really, it's okay to have a favorite part about the sexual experience without having the same favorite part as your spouse. It seems to me that your wife is happy with you and your sex life. You would feel better if you would accept that and enjoy. Don't expect her to ask or tell you what she wants. From what I read here, that is a common issue. Personally I have a motto that if you don't ask, you are not likely to get what you want, but if you ask for something you have a much higher chance of getting what you want. This is what I tell my family for life in general. But not everyone does this. A lot of people just wish and hope for something to happen to them. I'm more proactive about my life, but, from my 55 years of observation and reading here, I don't think that's how most people operate. Your wife seems to be in that number of not being proactive. Maybe it's working for her.

If my husband based his ideas about what I like and what I don't on my fantasy life, he would think I hated sex, because I don't really fantasize. I may think back on times we had together, but I don't make up scenarios in my mind. When we are together, I enjoy what is happening at the moment, not wishing we were doing something else.

Seriously, dude, I think you are making things up and think you are drawing logical conclusions when you aren't. I think you're in a negative mindset that is bringing you down and impacting your marriage in a very negative way.
 

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@leftfield: I can sorta kinda relate to your situation, despite the fact that my wife and I have completely stopped having sex. But I think the reason we stopped is relevant to why you feel unfulfilled. And I want to give you a warning not to push to hard for what you think you want, because you might find yourself in a much worse place.

To me, sex is hardly at all about sensation. For me, sex rarely feels as good as masturbation (easy to explain - I have rarely had sex but I have frequently masturbated - so I am much more skilled at masturbation that at sex). Nevertheless, I was highly motivated to seek sex with my wife. Why? Because for me, sex was about validation. It wasn't about the sensation. It was about ego gratification. I felt powerful and successful at 2 points: when she consented, and when she had an orgasm (or faked one - I doubt she ever actually had an orgasm when with me).

Eventually, it became clear that she never really had an orgasm. And she wasn't consenting because she found me sexually attractive, she was consenting only to placate me. Once I realized that (and that took many more years / decades than it should have), I lost all interest in having sex with her. Because now sex holds no pleasure for me. Not because my wife doesn't love me. Not because she isn't truly consenting to sex with me. And not because it doesn't feel good. But because now the sex is only about my sensual pleasure and not about gratifying my ego. At which point, I would rather masturbate than have sex.

Which is a problem with ME. Not a problem with my wife. Not her fault because she can't or won't respond the way I wish she would. But because I can't accept that she is giving me 100% of what she has to give, without expecting anything in return (in the moment). While we do it, sex is all about me. All about satisfying my needs. And I can't handle that. My identity is so wrapped up in being a martyr that I cannot take what she freely offers. Which makes me one very messed up guy.

Don't be like me. Don't get so wrapped up in justifying your desire for sex based on how much you try to please your wife. Accept the truth that you want it for you. And that it is OK to want it for yourself. And that it is OK to take what your wife freely gives even if the giving isn't all that pleasurable for her. Because the look on your face afterward is satisfying to her. Don't rob her of that satisfaction. Don't pretend the sex was bad for you despite your orgasm because she didn't orgasm. Admit that the sex was good for you and be thankful she is willing to provide it despite the fact that it doesn't do much for her. THAT is the true measure of love and selfless devotion.

Because you are worth it. And if you don't believe you are worth it. If you believe you can only "earn" sex by making it good for her. Because why else should she want to have sex with you? Then you have self-esteem problems that you need to address before you even start to address your sex life with your wonderful wife.
 

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@leftfield: I can sorta kinda relate to your situation, despite the fact that my wife and I have completely stopped having sex. But I think the reason we stopped is relevant to why you feel unfulfilled. And I want to give you a warning not to push to hard for what you think you want, because you might find yourself in a much worse place.

To me, sex is hardly at all about sensation. For me, sex rarely feels as good as masturbation (easy to explain - I have rarely had sex but I have frequently masturbated - so I am much more skilled at masturbation that at sex). Nevertheless, I was highly motivated to seek sex with my wife. Why? Because for me, sex was about validation. It wasn't about the sensation. It was about ego gratification. I felt powerful and successful at 2 points: when she consented, and when she had an orgasm (or faked one - I doubt she ever actually had an orgasm when with me).

Eventually, it became clear that she never really had an orgasm. And she wasn't consenting because she found me sexually attractive, she was consenting only to placate me. Once I realized that (and that took many more years / decades than it should have), I lost all interest in having sex with her. Because now sex holds no pleasure for me. Not because my wife doesn't love me. Not because she isn't truly consenting to sex with me. And not because it doesn't feel good. But because now the sex is only about my sensual pleasure and not about gratifying my ego. At which point, I would rather masturbate than have sex.

Which is a problem with ME. Not a problem with my wife. Not her fault because she can't or won't respond the way I wish she would. But because I can't accept that she is giving me 100% of what she has to give, without expecting anything in return (in the moment). While we do it, sex is all about me. All about satisfying my needs. And I can't handle that. My identity is so wrapped up in being a martyr that I cannot take what she freely offers. Which makes me one very messed up guy.

Don't be like me. Don't get so wrapped up in justifying your desire for sex based on how much you try to please your wife. Accept the truth that you want it for you. And that it is OK to want it for yourself. And that it is OK to take what your wife freely gives even if the giving isn't all that pleasurable for her. Because the look on your face afterward is satisfying to her. Don't rob her of that satisfaction. Don't pretend the sex was bad for you despite your orgasm because she didn't orgasm. Admit that the sex was good for you and be thankful she is willing to provide it despite the fact that it doesn't do much for her. THAT is the true measure of love and selfless devotion.

Because you are worth it. And if you don't believe you are worth it. If you believe you can only "earn" sex by making it good for her. Because why else should she want to have sex with you? Then you have self-esteem problems that you need to address before you even start to address your sex life with your wonderful wife.
I've allowed myself to get into a very bad place... a wife who hasn't desired sex and even said she has resented it... but in the end I could not get to where you are and stay married, because if I had no hope that my wife could understand sex is an "us" thing and not just "me", if she couldn't understand that we each have responsibilities to each other and that sex is one of them, I would not stay married. She (my wife) feels badly that she is the way she is, but she also understands that intimacy with her is an emotional bond through sex, not just physical, and that she's got to work at changing her view. She knows how close I came 1.5 years ago to leaving.

I don't know. Maybe we're the same and I'm just in denial, but I think I have more to work with, I think my wife is coming around to realizing that rug sweeping problems will only cause bigger problems, not relieve her from what she doesn't like.

Trust me, I've gone through massive guilt over the idea that sex with my wife has been just for me. That's been my life throughout our marriage. Why am I having her do something she doesn't (hopefully didn't) want to do. How selfish is that? But the upside? A:) It kept things in working order. B:) It kept the issue alive and allowed for the sexual equivalent of "The Purge" each year when we'd go on vacation, where she'd be at least willing without reservation (still a far cry from desire). C:) It kept my foot in the door. The line must be drawn here, this far, no farther.

I may end up being one of the lucky ones. I may come out the far end of this intact, with a better marriage, better intimacy with my wife (most importantly felt by her, not just me). And that, if it happens, will only be due to random circumstance that revealed why my wife has been plagued by guilt and depression all these years.

I pray that you have a better outcome than what it appears you've settled into. For me, the combination of the discovery (of why the guilt and despression) coming on my 63rd birthday, while I was nearly bedridden with a fractured pelvis... everything seemed hugely magnified in importance. It was not something I could walk away from. It was a pivotal moment in time. Maybe you've not had that pivotal moment that says this, this is the hill you either win or die on.
 

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We have 4 kids from 15-8. I am not 'very unhappy', but I am not able to be myself.
I know it's very frustrating - I've been there. What are the chances that your wife will change? Probably zero. You are not very unhappy, but you say you can't be yourself. But marriage is compromise. You have to lose a little bit of yourself to accommodate your wife's wishes and desires. You are very unbalanced in the intimacy department and I see this an area where you will have to compromise if you want to keep your family together. You are where I was 10 years ago. My story doesn't have a happy ending but I was far more frustrated than you are.
 

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Yours is different...she appears to realize this so she does other things to make you have better sex. That's a pretty loving quality actually. It all falls apart because you pick apart her reasons for doing it. If you accepted that the fact that she does these things is the loving, connecting part, not her enjoyment of them you'd be a happier guy. Because women don't do extra **** in bed that they don't need and/or want for guys they don't feel an intimate connection with, they just don't.

This... ^^^
 

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Discussion Starter #50 (Edited)
The comments here have started to wonder.

Several people have stressed that I should find a way to be a happy were I am. I agree, that would be best. In one of my early comments I said that I am looking to find acceptance. My heart tells me I can't do it, as tears start to form in my eyes. Time will tell if I can manage this or not.

@notmyjamie, you are correct that I need to stop asking the questions I have been asking. I realize that I was doing it as a way to seek a positive interaction. It is not good. I need to change and be better. Thank you for helping see this.

@Ragnar Ragnasson, @wilson, @Casual Observer, @In Absentia, thank you for making comments that relate to the situation. I appreciate the the thoughts that each of you have shared in your posts.

@Marduk "What you are saying here is even though you love your wife, are attracted to her, and she's willing to give you what you want, you don't desire it. Because she doesn't desire it. There is an element of good sex that is being selfish. You can be both giving and selfish. Does it make you feel bad when you just take what you want in bed?"
I would only feel bad if I was forcing someone to do it. Being selfish in bed has little to no interest to me. If I felt connected to my partner, I would enjoy it. It all depend on the woman I am with. Girl power recently had a thread were she discussing how her partner had an effect on what she was and was not willing to do during sex. This is an example of how my partner affects what I am interested in.

"What are you really doing?
You're having sex with someone that is happily consenting to do so. Why is she consenting? Because she loves you.
That may not be a raging lust for you, but it also may be enough for you. "
I am not overly interested in sex. I am very interested in sexual intimacy. I picture it like a milk shake with whipping cream and cherry on top. Sex would be the equivalent to the cherry on top. I don't buy a milk shake for the cherry on top. Likewise, I do not instigate intimacy for the sex. The sex is just a bonus. Can I enjoy the cherry? yep. Will I be getting more or less milk shakes if they only consist of the cherry? Most definitely less. Would I be happy with a milk shake that has no cherry? yes, most of the time.

@Cynthia, "You would feel better if you would accept that and enjoy." See what I just posted to Marduk.

@Holdingontoit, thank you for your post. "But because now the sex is only about my sensual pleasure and not about gratifying my ego. At which point, I would rather masturbate than have sex." For me; if it is a choice between sex and masturbation, I would choose masturbation. If it is a choice between sex with intimacy or masturbation. I will choose sex with intimacy. For me, intimacy is more important than sex. As you said in your post. This is my problem. Something that I will need to work on.

Let me say thank you to each of you. You have helped me identify things that I need to work on and better myself.

One interesting thing about having a very close relationship with your spouse is that you are able to read each other. My wife and I have a very hard time hiding things from one another. Thus, the storm clouds have gather over my marriage.
 

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So what I take from this is that your physical needs are being met because she will do whatever you want her to do physically, but you don’t FEEL a connection with her.
Your happy is happy, and is satisfied by you. Your needs are technically being met, but your not feeling the connection. Which is why you compared it to being with a prostitute.
Have you always felt this disconnection? Is it a mid life crisis thing?
 

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So what I take from this is that your physical needs are being met because she will do whatever you want her to do physically, but you don’t FEEL a connection with her.
Your happy is happy, and is satisfied by you. Your needs are technically being met, but your not feeling the connection. Which is why you compared it to being with a prostitute.
Have you always felt this disconnection? Is it a mid life crisis thing?


Let me know if I’m totally off track here.
 

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The comments here have started to wonder.

Several people have stressed that I should find a way to be a happy were I am. I agree, that would be best. In one of my early comments I said that I am looking to find acceptance. My heart tells me I can't do it, as tears start to form in my eyes. Time will tell if I can manage this or not.

@notmyjamie, you are correct that I need to stop asking the questions I have been asking. I realize that I was doing it as a way to seek a positive interaction. It is not good. I need to change and be better. Thank you for helping see this.

@Ragnar, @wilson, @Casual Observer, @In Absentia, that you for making comments that relate to the situation. I appreciate the the thoughts that each of you have shared in your posts.

@Marduk "What you are saying here is even though you love your wife, are attracted to her, and she's willing to give you what you want, you don't desire it. Because she doesn't desire it. There is an element of good sex that is being selfish. You can be both giving and selfish. Does it make you feel bad when you just take what you want in bed?"
I would only feel bad if I was forcing someone to do it. Being selfish in bed has little to no interest to me. If I felt connected my partner, I would enjoy it. It all depend on the woman I am with. Girl power recently had a thread were she discussing how her partner had an effect on what she was and was not willing to do during sex. This is an example of how my partner affects what I am interested in.

"What are you really doing?
You're having sex with someone that is happily consenting to do so. Why is she consenting? Because she loves you.
That may not be a raging lust for you, but it also may be enough for you. "
I am not overly interested in sex. I am very interested in sexual intimacy. I picture it like a milk shake with whipping cream and cherry on top. Sex would be the equivalent to the cherry on top. I don't buy a milk shake for the cherry on top. Likewise, I do not instigate intimacy for the sex. The sex is just a bonus. Can I enjoy the cherry? yep. Will I be getting more or less milk shakes if they only consist of the cherry? Most definitely less. Would I be happy with a milk shake that has no cherry? yes, most of the time.

@Cynthia, "You would feel better if you would accept that and enjoy." See what I just posted to Marduk.

@Holdingontoit, thank you for your post. "But because now the sex is only about my sensual pleasure and not about gratifying my ego. At which point, I would rather masturbate than have sex." For me; if it is a choice between sex and masturbation, I would choose masturbation. If it is a choice between sex with intimacy or masturbation. I will choose sex with intimacy. For me, intimacy is more important than sex. As you said in your post. This is my problem. Something that I will need to work on.

Let me say thank you to each of you. You have helped me identify things that I need to work on and better myself.

One interesting thing about having a very close relationship with your spouse is that you are able to read each other. My wife and I have a very hard time hiding things from one another. Thus, the storm clouds have gather over my marriage right now.
We keep going round and round here, man.

A couple things that I'll throw out there as experiments.

1. stop having sex. Give the both of you, say a month to reboot the whole thing. Replace sex with emotional connection. Do everything except have sex. Date, make out, fool around, be teenagers. But no sex. See what happens. Take the focus off of sex, and take the burden off of it, too. Create space, because with space comes freedom and creativity.

2. Only make sex about sex for a little while. At the end of the day we humans put a lot of expectations on sex. There should be fireworks! Everyone should have O's every time! We should connect and bond and the earth should move! We should both look perfect and immediately know what to do and everything's fantastic. When in reality, sex can be none of those things. Sex can just be sex. Again, I'm trying to peel back the layers of expectation and heaviness here. Is sex ever just fun for the both of you? Do either of you laugh during sex? If not, maybe if you relieve the burdens and heaviness of sex, you'll both create space to add in things like emotional connection.

3. Have you ever tried tantric sex, that is specifically designed for emotional and spiritual connection, even if that means nobody has an orgasm?
 

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Several people have stressed that I should find a way to be a happy were I am. I agree, that would be best. In one of my early comments I said that I am looking to find acceptance. My heart tells me I can't do it, as tears start to form in my eyes. Time will tell if I can manage this or not.
Your scientific mind may present some stumbling blocks as you deal with this situation. Speaking as someone who is a software engineer, sometimes it's easy to get really focused on a problem and coming up with a solution for that problem. It can make the problem seem worse than it actually is. You may feel unhappy because you can't solve the problem rather than the situation is really a problem that needs a solution. It sounds like there is some room for improvement, but your internal view of the situation may be much bleaker than it actually is.

One pattern that is common in these situations is that you may feel like you can't be happy in life unless the intimacy aspect is fixed. That is false. You should actively work to change that mindset. Find things you enjoy doing, do them, and allow yourself to enjoy doing them. Improving your mood in other areas of your life will give you a much better attitude when dealing with this issue.

Do you exercise at all? If you don't, I'm writing you a prescription for 6 weeks of exercise. High physical exertion can often greatly improve a person's mood. Find some sort of small group coached workout like boot camp, Orange Theory gym, or something like that. Find something where you are put through your paces for an hour and do it a few times a week. You'll feel better immediately because of the workout, and you'll feel more confident because you'll be proud of your new body.
 

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We keep going round and round here, man.

A couple things that I'll throw out there as experiments.

1. stop having sex. Give the both of you, say a month to reboot the whole thing. Replace sex with emotional connection. Do everything except have sex. Date, make out, fool around, be teenagers. But no sex. See what happens. Take the focus off of sex, and take the burden off of it, too. Create space, because with space comes freedom and creativity.

2. Only make sex about sex for a little while. At the end of the day we humans put a lot of expectations on sex. There should be fireworks! Everyone should have O's every time! We should connect and bond and the earth should move! We should both look perfect and immediately know what to do and everything's fantastic. When in reality, sex can be none of those things. Sex can just be sex. Again, I'm trying to peel back the layers of expectation and heaviness here. Is sex ever just fun for the both of you? Do either of you laugh during sex? If not, maybe if you relieve the burdens and heaviness of sex, you'll both create space to add in things like emotional connection.

3. Have you ever tried tantric sex, that is specifically designed for emotional and spiritual connection, even if that means nobody has an orgasm?

I think this is excellent advice!!!! I think a reboot would be a great idea. Maybe change up some of your expectations about what sex should be like between you both.

I also think maybe showing your wife what I wrote (the post that started all this) and telling her that's more of what you're looking for, not just her being willing, but participating in making new things happen. For all you know, she thinks you want to run the whole show. You might be surprised at her reaction.
 

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Discussion Starter #56 (Edited)
So what I take from this is that your physical needs are being met because she will do whatever you want her to do physically, but you don’t FEEL a connection with her.
Your happy is happy, and is satisfied by you. Your needs are technically being met, but your not feeling the connection. Which is why you compared it to being with a prostitute.
Have you always felt this disconnection? Is it a mid life crisis thing?
The bolded parts are correct. The disconnect is new.

@Marduk:
1. stop having sex. Give the both of you, say a month to reboot the whole thing. Replace sex with emotional connection. Do everything except have sex. Date, make out, fool around, be teenagers. But no sex. See what happens. Take the focus off of sex, and take the burden off of it, too. Create space, because with space comes freedom and creativity.
Good idea. Luckily for us I have already started us on this plan. :grin2:

2. Only make sex about sex for a little while. At the end of the day we humans put a lot of expectations on sex. There should be fireworks! Everyone should have O's every time! We should connect and bond and the earth should move! We should both look perfect and immediately know what to do and everything's fantastic. When in reality, sex can be none of those things. Sex can just be sex. Again, I'm trying to peel back the layers of expectation and heaviness here. Is sex ever just fun for the both of you? Do either of you laugh during sex? If not, maybe if you relieve the burdens and heaviness of sex, you'll both create space to add in things like emotional connection.
Thank you for making this so clear. I now understand why my wife has always had so much less interest than I.

3. Have you ever tried tantric sex, that is specifically designed for emotional and spiritual connection, even if that means nobody has an orgasm?
Nope. Sounds like something I'd probably like. Does not sound like something my wife would be interest in.

@wilson, Do you exercise at all? If you don't, I'm writing you a prescription for 6 weeks of exercise. High physical exertion can often greatly improve a person's mood. Find some sort of small group coached workout like boot camp, Orange Theory gym, or something like that. Find something where you are put through your paces for an hour and do it a few times a week. You'll feel better immediately because of the workout, and you'll feel more confident because you'll be proud of your new body.
Apparently I'm depressed. You are about the 6th person who has commented on how down I am or how I need to increase happiness. Well, I better go do something about it.
 

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I reread your post and I have some thoughts. At first I didn’t understand why her telling you “let me know when you want me to wear the lingerie” bothered you. And now I understand. It’s like when a wife has to tell her husband The obvious things around the house that need to be done like the dishes or taking out the trash. Do you want a partner not someone you have to tell what to do all the time.

As far as the massage goes, your wife should say no I don’t like the massage or yes I like it and I want it. She seems to have no opinion. It’s like the lights are on but no one is home. Like you’re living with somebody whose not a real person.
 

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Discussion Starter #58
I reread your post and I have some thoughts. At first I didn’t understand why her telling you “let me know when you want me to wear the lingerie” bothered you. And now I understand. It’s like when a wife has to tell her husband The obvious things around the house that need to be done like the dishes or taking out the trash. Do you want a partner not someone you have to tell what to do all the time.

As far as the massage goes, your wife should say no I don’t like the massage or yes I like it and I want it. She seems to have no opinion. It’s like the lights are on but no one is home. Like you’re living with somebody whose not a real person.
You are absolutely on the right track here.

The bolded portion is particularly applicable. Last night we talked some. She indicated that she can't answer those questions because she is not being herself. Who exactly is she trying to be? Something, something, reference that thing and tie it back to nothing, drift this way, then drift back...... nothing comprehensible came from this. I finally said; 'just stop. Nothing you said makes any sense and I am getting frustrated hearing you contradict what you said just minutes before'. Her response; 'I know, sorry, I am messed up'.
 

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You are absolutely on the right track here.

The bolded portion is particularly applicable. Last night we talked some. She indicated that she can't answer those questions because she is not being herself. Who exactly is she trying to be? Something, something, reference that thing and tie it back to nothing, drift this way, then drift back...... nothing comprehensible came from this. I finally said; 'just stop. Nothing you said makes any sense and I am getting frustrated hearing you contradict what you said just minutes before'. Her response; 'I know, sorry, I am messed up'.


Oh boy. Has she always been this way and your just noticing it? It sounds like she is just a people pleaser and went through life trying to make others happy and not forming her own view and opinions and likes/dislikes.

I feel bad for her because she can’t really help it. It you don’t care about anything what can you do?
 

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So what is OPs wife doing WRT to his love languages? I think the focus is all wrong here.... manipulating her to get what you want. Guess what? She has what she wants and there is no desire to go outside that. You CANNOT negotiate desire.... period. She can’t negotiate you into desiring to do more with your kids. You either desire to or not. In my marriage, my wife let it slip that for years she was having sex because she had to and then scrambled to save face. It is better now but don’t be surprised if you hear that in the future. Just because she says yes doesn’t mean she wants to.

1. Stop having sex and quit romancing and putting the pressure on. You’ll only get frustrated. Start loving yourself instead.

2. Read “No More Mr Nice Guy” as there are covert contacts all over this situation and you need to stop. You have a very one-sided relationship... quit handing it to her.

3. Hit the gym and work on yourself. Go to therapy and work out your stuff. I gave up trying to drag my wife to MC (she’s a therapist which is ironic) and worked on myself then she didn’t want to be left out and thought I might leave her so she started her own. Making progress but still some deep hidden baggage.

4. For me, what was a game changer is looking at the relationship if you took sex out of the equation and finding out that you undervalue yourself. You can talk compromise and being 50/50 but marriage is supposed to be a “value added”-thing for both of you. She got a breadwinner, a father for kids and helpmate. What did you get? Someone to take care of even if she divorced you down the road? Look at how much effort you’re putting into something SHE is responsible for... her sexual excitement (it’s not 100% your job).

This sounds harsh but I realized I put my wife on a pedestal and thought sex to be the ultimate validation and for what... a taker? At that point a switch flipped. Previously all I could think about was sex then changed to setting boundaries, doing things solo and improving myself. Why use a taker for validation? You hope she shows love and desire to validate yourself but doesn’t and now you’re frustrated and feel disrespected.

Another thing left out when others tell you “that’s just how she is” and “you need to accept it.” Yes and Yes but you don’t need to find it to be an attractive quality. Partners get complacent and forget that other people are gladly willing to take your place... why do you think affairs happen?

I was scared to fight because she may not want sex. Now I’m not and I think subconsciously she respects that and has been more enthusiastic about sex. In a perfect world, she would own it and say she owes you better and get to the bottom of things (i.e. trash from previous relationships) because when kids are gone it’s you two. At that point (maybe even now) her love is different from yours. In the real world, the only thing you can do is own your stuff and go from there and hope she follows.




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