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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone. This is my first post, anytime, anywhere. Peraps some of you may have some words of encouragement.

I want to keep this a summary, but also give you enough information to be useful. My wife and I have been married 28 years. During this last year, she told me she is thinking of a separation, but didn't know where to go. For the last nine months, she also refuses sex. We are in marital crisis, and it has been devastating for me. I have never really experienced depression before, but now I understand what that means. I have never cried so much in life.

Some background. I don't know for sure, but my wife may have married me without ever having a strong sexual attraction to me. A head vs. heart thing. I offered the things she was looking for, I was a "good guy" and we had similar values, she knew I would be a good father and provider, and I was athletic and physically attractive enough. I was the guy you could bring home to the parents and they would be pleased.

But we were both sexually inexperienced. Early on in our marraige, we got into a routine were I learned how to please her orally, and she would usually have an orgasm, but she would just lay there with closed eyes and fantasize. I often wondered, who is she thinking about. Also, trying different positions was not allowed because anything other than the one sideways position was painful for her. Except for rare occasions, she refused to give me oral sex. From my perspective, it was always me trying to please her, but I never had a sense that she was trying to please me sexually. Perhaps she was, but it didn't feel that way to me.

Of course, my desire diminished. We did it less frequently, and with less emotional connection. Also, because of my disruptive snoring, we slept together less and less. The result was that neither one of us was being satisfied sexually. But we didn't do anything about it. I was busy in my career, she was busy at home, and we had three wonderful growing boys that we devoted our lives to. As parents, we worked great together; she is a wonderful Mom and she would agree that I am an involved and loving Dad. But we should have been paying more attention to ourselves, and our marriage.

Now, we are becoming empty nesters, and it seems that every frustration my wife has ever had in our marriage is bubbling to the top. She brings up issues or events from 15 or 20 years ago, and says she was just stuffing all these feelings deep inside because I missed all the messages of unhappiness she was sending to me. I am sure I did miss many things; I have never been very good at "reading" messages. At the same time, I always thought we were pretty happy. To me, the issues we had seemed like just minor bumps in the road. I realize now that I greatly under appreciated what was going on inside my wife emotionally.

Now I have learned that she is not attracted to me, and maybe even a bit repulsed by me. She would say she loves me as a husband and as a father to our boys, but not in a romantic way. The years of sexual routine, and not sleeping together enough, and me missing her messages to me, caused an emotional disconnect that is too much for her to bear. Through my own fault, I didn't realize that I was not meeting her emotional needs and was frustrating her. So, nine months ago sex came to an abrupt end.

The crazy thing is, for a few weeks before she cut off all sex, she was amazingly great in bed. I thought we had the best sex of our entire marraige. We had some different positions, including her being on top which was always previously painful for her, and even oral sex for me. From my perspective, we started connecting emotionally too, intimacy was being found, we were communicating better, and I really thought we were on our way to healing our marriage, and our next phase would include a great sex life together. I was excited. Then, one day, it all stopped. She said it wasn't working for her. I asked why, what happened, and she said she had just been faking it that last few weeks and she was just trying to prove to me that she can be great in bed. She later regretted saying that.

It has been a horrible nine months, but it feels like maybe we have turned a corner and we are both really trying hard to save our marraige. We agree that our grown kids would be devastated if we divorced. She knows I am trying to change the stuff about me that annoys her, and she is trying too.

We went out on a "date" for dinner and a movie, and then we made love afterwards. First time in a long time. We took our time, lots of caressing and kissing beforehand, and I gave her a back rub afterwards. Nevertheless, I know it was hard for her. I know that she is still in great emotional turmoil. She was able to kiss me, but I realize it may well have just been "sex" and not lovemaking. I know that things are not and will not be fixed over night. Still, I appreciated her effort and willingness to try being together sexually.

Just one month ago, I believed I had lost her completely. She wouldn't agree to go to marraige counseling, she wouldn't work through any marraige books with me (I bought a couple and she tossed them aside), I was not even allowed to show her any affection. She said things to me that hurt deeply, and it seemed that there was almost no chance of winning her back. It seemed like it was too late, and that whatever we once had, it was gone. Like the old Roy Orbison song, she "lost that loving feeling."

Now, it seems maybe there is a chance. I have some hope. So, here is my concern. Has anyone out there been in that situation where the wife is just not attracted to the husband, maybe even repulsed by him, but then was able to regain that "loving feeling"? I have read a lot of these posts, and so often it seems that once the love is gone, it is very rare to regain it. Are there some success stories out there? If so, do you have any advice that can help keep this going in a positive, healing, direction?

Sorry for the long post. I have absolutely no friends I can talk to about this. When I have tried to talk with a couple guys, their advice or perspective was pathetic. Thanks for whatever help or encouragement anyone might offer.
 

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It sounds to me like you lost her love years ago and she held it in until you became empty nesters. If you want her love back, you need to find out what needs she was not getting from you in all those years.

I bet for her it is not sex. The sex may have compounded her resentment actually. Look back to those things that she mentions from years past and look at them from her point of view.

It does sound like she might be trying but it also sounds like she my be done trying really soon. Right before my fiancé broke it off with me she was extra affectionate and the sex improved but it was her way of letting go...
 

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She could be a "walk-away-wife." Do some research on that.

Being more sexual "all of a sudden" is a bit odd. Please rule out cheating. Sometimes the sex "changes" hot or cold with the spouse.

Of course - marriage counseling if she changes her mind.

Lots of people here hopefully will give you some advice on how to attract your wife & also keep reading the threads.

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks to both of you for your thoughts. I did look up the "walk away wives" and that was very interesting. There are definitely some signs of fitting that pattern. I also agree that I must understand her unmet needs, and address those. That is what I have been trying to do. I just hope I am not too late. She now gets her emotional support from girlfriends, so I have been "replaced" in that sense. She is a recovering alcoholic, and I have been there supporting her for 15 years, but now she says that I can't understand her because I am not an alcoholic or a co-dependent, and so I cannot provide the emotional support like her girlfriends can. I suppose that is true, but it also has the effect of blocking me out of a major emotional issue in her life. Although we have been married for 28 years, she now says she has changed, and I don't "know" her anymore, but her girlfriends do know and understand her. I think I need to understand how to find a balance where she will look to me and to her girlfriends for support, not one or the other, but both. Maybe I also need to read up on how to support a recovering alcoholic and co-dependent. I always thought I was doing the right things, but obviously I wasn't.

To clarify, there is no cheating. But to me, it feels like there is an EA with one of her girlfriends. Her own Mom even asked me if she was in a lesbian relationship. I told her no, but with all the private texting, and trips away for the weekend, and many afternoons and other outings, it causes me to understand what it might feel like to be on the wrong end of an EA. I understand that she and her girlfriend are close, and I know she gets a lot out of that relationship, and I understand she needs that friendship, so I don't mind. But I have to admit that I get jealous of the time and closeness they share. I want to have those intimate conversations that they have, and that I thought we once had.

Despite all of that, I have hope. There are some outward positive signs. I am just hoping it is real, and that love can be restored. But I don't hear of too many success stories. I am really hoping and praying this might be one.
 

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Thanks to both of you for your thoughts. I did look up the "walk away wives" and that was very interesting. There are definitely some signs of fitting that pattern. I also agree that I must understand her unmet needs, and address those. That is what I have been trying to do. I just hope I am not too late. She now gets her emotional support from girlfriends, so I have been "replaced" in that sense. She is a recovering alcoholic, and I have been there supporting her for 15 years, but now she says that I can't understand her because I am not an alcoholic or a co-dependent, and so I cannot provide the emotional support like her girlfriends can. I suppose that is true, but it also has the effect of blocking me out of a major emotional issue in her life. Although we have been married for 28 years, she now says she has changed, and I don't "know" her anymore, but her girlfriends do know and understand her. I think I need to understand how to find a balance where she will look to me and to her girlfriends for support, not one or the other, but both. Maybe I also need to read up on how to support a recovering alcoholic and co-dependent. I always thought I was doing the right things, but obviously I wasn't.

To clarify, there is no cheating. But to me, it feels like there is an EA with one of her girlfriends. Her own Mom even asked me if she was in a lesbian relationship. I told her no, but with all the private texting, and trips away for the weekend, and many afternoons and other outings, it causes me to understand what it might feel like to be on the wrong end of an EA. I understand that she and her girlfriend are close, and I know she gets a lot out of that relationship, and I understand she needs that friendship, so I don't mind. But I have to admit that I get jealous of the time and closeness they share. I want to have those intimate conversations that they have, and that I thought we once had.

Despite all of that, I have hope. There are some outward positive signs. I am just hoping it is real, and that love can be restored. But I don't hear of too many success stories. I am really hoping and praying this might be one.
I would start with getting to know her. Do the things you used to do when you were dating. Show her that you understand but don't claim to.

It is quite probable that she is having an EA with her friend. An EA partner doesn't need to be of the opposite sex. It is an emotional investment that supplants the one for the spouse. It can be as damaging as an EA with the opposite sex. I have seen some of my parents friends that effectively replaced their spouse by a friend in this way. They remained married in name only.

If you can successfully relearn your spouse and rekindle her attraction then the EA can subside as she re-engages with you. If this doesn't work then you should treat the EA more like an opposite sex EA and demand marriage priority.
 

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Thanks to both of you for your thoughts. I did look up the "walk away wives" and that was very interesting. There are definitely some signs of fitting that pattern. I also agree that I must understand her unmet needs, and address those. That is what I have been trying to do. I just hope I am not too late. She now gets her emotional support from girlfriends, so I have been "replaced" in that sense. She is a recovering alcoholic, and I have been there supporting her for 15 years, but now she says that I can't understand her because I am not an alcoholic or a co-dependent, and so I cannot provide the emotional support like her girlfriends can. I suppose that is true, but it also has the effect of blocking me out of a major emotional issue in her life. Although we have been married for 28 years, she now says she has changed, and I don't "know" her anymore, but her girlfriends do know and understand her. I think I need to understand how to find a balance where she will look to me and to her girlfriends for support, not one or the other, but both. Maybe I also need to read up on how to support a recovering alcoholic and co-dependent. I always thought I was doing the right things, but obviously I wasn't.

To clarify, there is no cheating. But to me, it feels like there is an EA with one of her girlfriends. Her own Mom even asked me if she was in a lesbian relationship. I told her no, but with all the private texting, and trips away for the weekend, and many afternoons and other outings, it causes me to understand what it might feel like to be on the wrong end of an EA. I understand that she and her girlfriend are close, and I know she gets a lot out of that relationship, and I understand she needs that friendship, so I don't mind. But I have to admit that I get jealous of the time and closeness they share. I want to have those intimate conversations that they have, and that I thought we once had.

Despite all of that, I have hope. There are some outward positive signs. I am just hoping it is real, and that love can be restored. But I don't hear of too many success stories. I am really hoping and praying this might be one.
Is this girlfriend single or married? How long have they been friends? Are you ever invited to go out with the 2 of them? Do they seem to go out alone or in groups?

How has she communicated her unhappiness over the years?

Do you have any children?
 

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Hi hurting guy ~ You shared very transparently about the situation you're facing in your marriage. I'm sorry you're going through this, but I was really touched by the commitment you seem to have toward meeting your wife's needs and seeking healing for past hurts. I encourage you to be patient and not give up hope. It sounds like this is what you are doing already, so please hang in there. :) I will be praying for you and your wife.

As I read your post, I was reminded of some articles from Focus on the Family's website that you might want to check out. They have some information on friendship in marriage and turning your marriage around. I work with Focus, and their marriage materials have been very helpful to me personally. I would also encourage you to speak with one of the Focus counselors by phone. It's a free, one-time service, you can find the contact info at this link.

God bless you!
 

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To clarify, there is no cheating. But to me, it feels like there is an EA with one of her girlfriends. Her own Mom even asked me if she was in a lesbian relationship. I told her no, but with all the private texting, and trips away for the weekend, and many afternoons and other outings, it causes me to understand what it might feel like to be on the wrong end of an EA. I understand that she and her girlfriend are close, and I know she gets a lot out of that relationship, and I understand she needs that friendship, so I don't mind. But I have to admit that I get jealous of the time and closeness they share. I want to have those intimate conversations that they have, and that I thought we once had.

How do you know there's no cheating? That's what everyone thinks.

Your wife has a million red flags that something's up.

And news flash, an EA IS CHEATING.

I would be most surprised if your wife was not cheating on you, either in an EA or PA, could be man or woman. Could be all 4.

There are so many signs of cheating in your post it's pretty textbook. You've had a walk-away wife and now that she's found someone else she realizes what she's been missing.

Snoop yer a$$ off and be prepared for a shock.
 

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Check her cell phone records for a number that is texted a lot. Too many redflags for her not to have found someone else. Especially the hot sex and then cutting you off. Cheaters get the feeling the are cheating on their affair partner and cut their spouse off.

Get a VAR and velcro it under her front car seat. You should know pretty quick what is going on.
 

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Now, it seems maybe there is a chance. I have some hope. So, here is my concern. Has anyone out there been in that situation where the wife is just not attracted to the husband, maybe even repulsed by him, but then was able to regain that "loving feeling"? I have read a lot of these posts, and so often it seems that once the love is gone, it is very rare to regain it. Are there some success stories out there? If so, do you have any advice that can help keep this going in a positive, healing, direction?
Read "When is Enough, Enough" in the reconciliation forum. Yes love can recover with a lot of work, patience and a little luck. In the meantime to your post here.

If your wife is indeed in an EA with her GF then the odds are stacked against you. You are no longer her emotional center and have been replaced in that capacity. Many of her needs, wants and desires are tied to the person that holds that position and if the affair is purely emotional and not physical she will not perceive it as a problem. If you try and force her to end it, she will complain that you are being controlling. ****ed if you do, ****ed if you don't. Determining what this relationship is may be the key to a recovery effort.

As suggested by others you may have to do some snooping to determine of there is an affair. Be sure to check in to the local laws about the use of keyloggers, VARS and GPS to make sure you are not putting yourself in legal jeopardy if you elect to go down that path.

While you seem to show great empathy for your wife and understand that your past behaviors may have had a hand in the condition of the marriage, do not lose your self in all of this. Few marriage failures or issues are completely one sided. If you attempt to bring the full weight of the marital woes on your own shoulders you will:

1. Crumble under the weight
2. Not hold her responsible for her part in it.
3. Develop tunnel vision chasing only a part of the solution

There is a lot of work you both need to do, but some of your wife's behaviors are positive. Concentrate on the fundamentals of the marriage, trust, communication and friendship. Don't focus solely on sex. While sex can be a powerful ally in resparking her emotionally, in is not the end goal, only part of the process when used at the right time. It is not a benchmark, it is a tool.
 

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Has anyone out there been in that situation where the wife is just not attracted to the husband, maybe even repulsed by him, but then was able to regain that "loving feeling"? I have read a lot of these posts, and so often it seems that once the love is gone, it is very rare to regain it. Are there some success stories out there? If so, do you have any advice that can help keep this going in a positive, healing, direction?
hurting guy,

This happens to a lot more couples than you might think. My advice to you is to quit paying so much attention to your wife's feelings and concentrate more on yourself. Your feelings (or lack thereof) are what's going to make or break your marriage. Make yourself remember all the good things you know about your wife and bring them up every time you see her. Thank her profusely for every little thing she does, even if she does next to nothing. Above all, don't allow yourself to have even the most miniscule hint of self doubt. Tell your wife every day how much you love her, how much she means to you, how much she has contributed to your life. In short, make sure you really love her and make sure she really knows it at all times. This will put her on the spot. She will either find her way back to you or she will find her way out the door. Meanwhile, get access and monitor all her electronic communications. Find out who she is talking to and what she is saying, if you can. If she has an affair partner, write back to us for a different set of instructions.

I think it is very sad that so many women will allow themselves to be unhappy for years, if not decades, while they wait around for their husband to develop clairvoyance and read their minds and take action on its contents. Don't fall into this trap yourself. Don't expect your wife to have to read your mind or use her powers of inference to know that you love her. Tell her frequently, firmly and strongly exactly what you want her to know.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Hello again everyone. I am listening to your concerns about possible cheating. I do agree that many of the signs would point to cheating, I see the red flags, but I really do not believe my wife is cheating. My wife is not that way, and if she was cheating I believe I could tell. My wife does not lie well. I don't believe I have blinders on, or am being naive, I just think I know my wife really well and know that she is not cheating.

But the girlfriend does feel like an EA. To that extent, I see that this is a form of cheating, in the sense that intimate emotional support is coming from elsewhere. I have told my wife that her relationship with her girlfriend "feels like" an EA to me, even if she doesn't view it that way. She said she understands why it can feel that way to me. I have also told her that I can't help but feel jealousy for her close intimate relationship with her girlfriend, because I want that cloeseness too. But I also know that I cannot try to discourage her from seeing her friend, she needs all her friends, and I think it is good that she has them to confide in. So, it seems, my job is to rebuild that trust and intimacy a little bit at a time until she starts to rely on me for intimacy.

To answer a couple questions, we do have kids. The youngest just went off to college, so we are becoming empty nesters. The girlfriend is not married. They have known each other for about two years. The girlfriend is a recovering addict, and my wife is helping her in recovery. Yes, my wife has many outings with her girlfriend and I am generally not invited. These are usually during the day when I am at work. When I go on business trips, they will usually have dinner together, watch a Netflix movie together, and spend most of the time together. For a while, because of the jealousy, my wife was trying to hide how much time she was spending with her friend, but I told my wife that it was okay to spend time with her girlfriend and to not hide anything, and that I just had to deal better with jealousy issues. I actually have become much better about the jealousy, those feelings are almost gone. I am concentrating on building emotional trust so she can look more to me as we try to heal.

I have to admit, I would be completely shocked if there was anything more going on. Despite the way it might look, I really think the girlfriend is just that, a really close friend. My wife is an only child, so I have thought that the girlfriend is almost like the sister she never had.

I think the posts that mention the walk away wife are on target. The articles I read seemed very familiar to our experience in a variety of ways. I think she was just on the verge of walking away, but she didn't do it because she knows our kids would be devastated and they would blame her. She even told me that several times she was "that close" to leaving. But, for the kids sake, she decided to give me a chance. I am trying to take advantage of that chance, and there seems to be some progress. Like I said before, I just hope I am not too late.

I know I am pretty naive about all this stuff, and maybe I am looking past obvious red flags, but I do believe my wife is telling me the truth about the nature of her relationships. If I have any hope, I have to believe her, and I do.

I know one thing. It sure helps to write about this. I have absolutely no one I can talk to. Your candor, warnings, and advice are well taken.
 

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I think 10 year's advice is a good example of what not to do, unless you want to live in a marriage where you perpetually kiss your wife's a$$ while she goes out and gets boned by half the town.

Women don't want a doormat, they want a man. Take advice from the hundreds of "nice guys" that spent all their time and energy making the bed so it would be nice and clean for their wives when they had affair sex in it.
 

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hurting guy,

Whether or not your wife is cheating now, she is setting herself up for it whether you and she realize it or not. Hopefully you can reel her back in before it gets to that
 

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Hurting,

Don't beat yourself up. Most guys don't believe their wife is capable of cheating. You can't be married to someone you don't trust. That's why it's such a hurtful thing, you learn that your spouse, who you trusted, is a f*cking liar and you can't believe anything they say or have done.

You may or may not believe us when we say it doesn't look good for you on that front, we're guys who have gone through what you have, and then on top of that, have seen the exact same story play out hundreds, thousands of times on this board. So at least do your due diligence and start snooping. But I can say in your case you probably will not like what you find, so be prepared.

I could go into the specifics on why the behavior is so textbook, but it won't matter much until you see the evidence for yourself and are willing to accept that your wife is as capable of cheating as anyone else that has done it before.

Start reading No More Mr. Nice Guy or the Married Men's Sex Primer, it will give you a good starting point for taking your life back. Love Must Be Tough is a good one to read to prepare for the conversation you will probably be having about cheating.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Wow, "ten year hubby" you hit it on the head with the things I am doing. Even about reminding of all the good times. She asked me to write down a self-analysis of all my "character flaws" so I did. But as part of it, I listed out a long list of so many good times we have had in our marriage, lots of little things and big things. It had some impact and she said it was good for her to be reminded of those times. I also told her I wanted to build lots of future great memories as we get older and grandkids come along in a couple years. I think that is part of why she is giving me a chance.

"Amplexor" you are right about not trying to force her to end her relationship with her girlfriend. If I tried that, she would be very angry and would be gone for sure. And you are right, she is at fault too. I have to remember that we both contributed to the problems we now are in. Thanks.
 

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"Amplexor" you are right about not trying to force her to end her relationship with her girlfriend. If I tried that, she would be very angry and would be gone for sure. And you are right, she is at fault too. I have to remember that we both contributed to the problems we now are in. Thanks.
I am not saying you should not "force" her to do this. I am saying that you need to understand what the relationship is. If it is truly an EA you may have to force her to end it in the interests of recovery. My wife was in one and there came a time where I had to force her out of it. At the time I did it I was fully aware that it may either save the marriage or scuttle it. Either way, I knew the marriage would not survive as long as it encompassed three people.
 
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unless you want to live in a marriage where you perpetually kiss your wife's a$$ while she goes out and gets boned by half the town.
Wow. And I thought I had a bad opinion of women. Not being able to predict the future, I allow for multiple outcomes. Her going out and getting boned is what I meant by her "finding her way out the door". I guess I didn't make that clear. OP, you can cut her off any time after the first guy, no need to be around for half the town. If your sincere love drives her into someone else's arms, there will be plenty of room in your bed for someone who loves you back.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Hmmm. Sobering thoughts. I guess deep down, I sense you are right that the situation is ripe for an affair. If not now, then maybe later. I suppose I am just hoping that my story will end differently. I will check out those resources mentioned in the thread.
 

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Wow. And I thought I had a bad opinion of women. Not being able to predict the future, I allow for multiple outcomes. Her going out and getting boned is what I meant by her "finding her way out the door". I guess I didn't make that clear. OP, you can cut her off any time after the first guy, no need to be around for half the town. If your sincere love drives her into someone else's arms, there will be plenty of room in your bed for someone who loves you back.
Yeah, you think if you rug sweep and "love her right" that she is going to walk up and say, "Oh thanks for treating me so well, I've been sleeping around."

Noooo......this is how affairs go on for years with multiple partners.

I can speak of my example because I know it is in no way unique. I tried being the perfect husband, all it does is make them more horny for the bad boys. I can point to 100 other examples of stories just like mine on the forum. What you are saying works when the woman is still interested in her marriage. At the point where another person becomes involved, man or woman, tough love is necessary.
 
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