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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My wife recently accused me of having an emotional affair with a long time mutual female friend. While the relationship I was having with our mutual friend wasn't a full blown emotional Affair, it did have elements of one and I completely understand my wife's accusation.
About 2 months ago I asked my wife if I could have a beer with our mutual female friend and she got extremely uspet and this is when it came to a head. My wife was set to divorce me, but was convinced by one of her friends to give her decision at least two weeks in order to make sure she wasn't making it out of anger.
During that two week period I broke of my friendship with the other woman, started individual counseling, and worked extremely hard to understand her concerns. We have been together for 12 years and I admit for most of them I wasn't available to her emotionally and was extremely bad at communication. There were a number of events in our relationship that required a lot more emotional suppert than I was able to give. I grew up in a family that didn't provide this type of support and I didn't realize that it severly affected me until recently when I started my individual counseling. During the last two months I have been working extremely hard to share my emotions with my wife and have completely opened up with communication to her. I love my wife more than anything and I really want this to work and am so happy to be able to be talking with her about these feelings I have now.
I have always been a person to show my love through physical affection, whether its is a small brush across the shoulders, hug, kiss, back rubs, and sexual activity. During the last two months while my wife and I have been working on re-building our relationship, except for just recently, she hasn't been willing to give me the physical affection and hasn't allowed me to give her physical affection. Recently she has been holding my hand and even gave me a kiss the other night. When this happened it made me extremely happy and I think she got a little worried about my reaction. She claims that I am placing too much importance on the physical affection and she is not willing to move forward until I can understand that the physical affection does not mean that we are "okay". She feels like if we have any type of physical affection that I will revert back to my old ways and stop working to have a healthy realtionship. She also still holds a number of issues that she is trying to sort out with our past. I didn't make the first moves when she held my hand and gave me a kiss, but I did act on them. When she kissed me I moved forward and gave her a backrub that night because it felt natural and also felt like it was welcome. Other than that I haven't done anything else to try to get her to be physical. She tells me that she feels extremely pressured by me for physical affection and the fact that I place so much value on it, it pushes her away.
I am worried because I am such a physically affectionate person. I am not looking to have sex with her right now, but I just want to be able to hold her, kiss her, and caress her. I am not sure I will ever be able to understand her side of this and don't know what to do. This is a HUGE part of my relationhsip with her and I need to know if she will ever be able to get past this and let the physical side return to normal.
 

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Ok.... It sounds as though she is extremely hurt by your affair. As a loving wife I understand her hurt. I really do.

But there has to be a time limit to this if she wants to stay married to you and heal your marriage. Did you both have the IC?

The cuddles and affection are a big part of the healing and rebuilding of connection between the two of you.

Does she acknowledge that you need love/affection/sex in the marriage?
Before your EA what was your affection/sex like?

Personally I would really be pushing for non-sexual contact and KEEP them non sexual. But I'm certain once you bring this back the rest will follow.

And under no circumstances contact the OW... ever. It would mean death to your marriage for sure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks WAIWERA,
She is extremely hurt the the EA. We have been working through all of our past issues, including the affair, for the last two months. I have told her how important physical affection is to me and how I feel like we will be able to have more success if we add it in to the re-building process....Once again I am not pushing for sex, but just any kind of touch.
Before the EA our affection was constant and we had sex regularly. She wasn't satysfied by the sex on a regular basis but she welcomed the other physical affection (Hugs, kiss, cuddling, etc)
I have been going to the IC at least once a week and she goes every three weeks. Her's recently informed her that it was probably time for us to go to MC, but she stated that isn't quite ready for that yet. Mine also told me that we are ready for the counseling but that I should wait until after the Holidays.

Everytime I ask about physical affection she gets very defensive and basically takes a step back. This is when she tells me that she feels pressured and isn't willing to go farther until this pressure goes away. I have stopped asking her for affection and this is what resulted in her holding my hand and giving me a kiss, but when I got excited about that she pulled away again. I have decided to stop asking her for anything, but don;t know how I shold re act when something happens.

Under no circumstance will I EVER contact the OW again. She was a great friend for both of us, but I value my relationship WAY more than that friendship. Had I realized what was going on between me and the OW and that it resembled an emotional affair, I would have stopped it a looooonnng time ago.
 

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In your wifes position here. Trying to save my relationship, and has its ups and downs. He's started paying more attention to me, but just can't bring myself to care. Ex cheated on me with his female friend so was incredibly incredibly wary of other females. When my current became close with a female friend, called her his best friend, I closed off emotionally.

Men and women as just friends? Only if the girls a complete troll. Sounds like your wife knows this without having to be told. Previous experience?

We're trying to work through us, but honestly, the fact that he could even crush on another girl is a betrayal to me - because in my heart, there's only room for one, and if I don't get the same courtesy, BYE BYE!

Oh yeah.. 7 years together. 2 kids.
 

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Kipani, I'm curious... how long are you planning to punish him with your lack of affection? I'm not trying to be snarky here, I just want to understand what you gain by withholding yourself from him when he's obviously trying.

Maybe the OP can get a better understanding of his wife's response to him trying too by your answer.
 

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I think she is afraid that any physical affection will be interpreted as an invitation for sex, and at this point, that is off the table. I agree with you that it needs to be part of your healing process together if you two were very affectionate before, but you need to do this at her pace. If she initiates the contact, let her know its appreciated but be subtle, she is probably easily overwhelmed right now.
 

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Hmm.. lasted a couple of months, with a lot of trying on his part and me being cold and snappy. He'd bring me stuff he knew I'd like, it was like the beginning again.. i began to feel special, something would set me off and I'd get angry and cold for days to weeks. Hell even the starting to feel safe part again set me off.

Caught him with porn, felt totally inadequate and closed off even more. Last night I told him I trusted him as far as I could throw him. He told me he felt like a complete idiot, and he would have never even become friends with her if he knew the whole story with my ex. (I told him the story, apparently it just clicked last night)

That he didn't blame me for feeling the way I did, but to remember he's not the same person.

Right now I'm really on the fences to run for the hills, but at the same time I love him, so I guess I'm trying to distance myself while he's trying to bring me back. His patience on the matter is helping immensely.

The thing to avoid is the triggers. Atm your wife feels really unspecial, especially since you probably gave the other ***** more attention than her. Couples that stay together have fun together. In my case, I tried to spend time with mine all the time, but he'd blow me off for the OW.

Sex normally for us is every day or every other day btw.. when we're normal lol
 

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azwildcat,

Thought I'd mention the book, The Five Love Languages by Chapman if you haven't already heard of it. This might help you both--you may want to read it initially, and then see if your wife will read it...this may give her an outside take on the importance physical intimacy has for you and may give you some insight as to what she needs to feel love, if it differs from what you need.
 
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azwildcat - please can I suggest that you stop saying the EA 'resembled an affair' or had 'elements of an affair'. It's insulting to your wife and what shes going through.

If your here, at IC, struggling to save your damaged marriage...it was a EA...it's just a matter of degrees.

Also if your saying any of this around your wife...she may well think you are full of sh!t... down playing it, rug sweeping. I know it's making me doubt your sincerity.

As far as the affection... you are the one that broke the trust. You are going to have to move forward at her pace.
Just be as loving and open as you can be. Look her in the eye. Make her feel special and cherished everyday. Hold her hand. Just don't push it.

Date her and woo her. You need to win her back. Make sure she knows she's #1 in your life.

I really hope you can get your relationship back because it sounds like you had a great marriage before.

Just a really sad situation.

All the best.
 

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During the last two months while my wife and I have been working on re-building our relationship, except for just recently, she hasn't been willing to give me the physical affection and hasn't allowed me to give her physical affection. Recently she has been holding my hand and even gave me a kiss the other night. When this happened it made me extremely happy and I think she got a little worried about my reaction. She claims that I am placing too much importance on the physical affection and she is not willing to move forward until I can understand that the physical affection does not mean that we are "okay". She feels like if we have any type of physical affection that I will revert back to my old ways and stop working to have a healthy realtionship. She also still holds a number of issues that she is trying to sort out with our past. I didn't make the first moves when she held my hand and gave me a kiss, but I did act on them. When she kissed me I moved forward and gave her a backrub that night because it felt natural and also felt like it was welcome. Other than that I haven't done anything else to try to get her to be physical. She tells me that she feels extremely pressured by me for physical affection and the fact that I place so much value on it, it pushes her away.

I just want to be able to hold her, kiss her, and caress her. I am not sure I will ever be able to understand her side of this and don't know what to do.
This is quite the complicated dance you two have going on and it would certainly be in your best interest to try to understand her side as best you can.

That said, my humble suggestion is to ask nicely, lovingly and respectfully for exactly what you want. "May I hold your hand for a minute?", "Would it be OK to kiss your hand?","Do you think I could give you a short kiss?". If she says no, respectfully say "OK" and let it go at that. But don't give up completely and especially don't get nasty or hurt. Just be sure to ask again later when you feel like it again. When you can do this without any emotional reaction on your part, including the getting turned down part, a big portion of your wife's motivation will be gone. Ultimately, you will persevere or she will leave.

My wife went through something like this for a while in a mostly self-created drama she starred in but hurt is hurt. Eventually, we were watching one of those dating shows on tv and a really catty woman on the show was doing this to a mostly sincere guy that was trying to win her affection. When my wife saw how unloving this woman's behavior looked on tv , she saw herself and came back to her senses. Something similar will happen to you.
 

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It's just showing how different men and women are on an emotional level. We (as women) don't offer affection when we've been betrayed emotionally, and alternatively men need affection to be emotionally connected to us. It seems we are doing ourselves in with this kind of thinking. We want our husbands love, then reject it when he gives it.
 

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Az, I'm in the same situation as you right now. Except what got me here is not paying enough attention to her requests, basically being dismissive and making her feel like a nobody. We've been in counseling for months. She still will not give me any physical affection. Her and our counselor keep stating that she needs to heal on her own before allowing me back in. It all honestly makes no sense to me, but I'm not a therapist.

I will tell you that she has said on many occasions that me keeping asking for it, or asking when will she take down the wall just delays her whole healing process. It doesn't seem right to me, and probably to you as well, that we are now being required to give our wives the emotional love in the ways that they want it, but they don't have to reciprocate and we should be fine with it. I told her it feels like she has conditional love for me, not unconditional, and she stated that wasn't true, she just needs time to heal.

The funny part (well, none of this is funny), but one of the things she was complaining about was the lack of physical touch not tied to sex. I'm wanting to give it to her, and she doesn't want it.

Hopefully you two will figure out your problems and your wife will heal quicker than mine.
 

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TryingandFrustrated said: I told her it feels like she has conditional love for me, not unconditional, and she stated that wasn't true, she just needs time to heal
Of course her love is conditional, if it wasn't she would freely give it.

I think society has romanticized those states of being so much that it's considered a negative if you DON'T love unconditional and admit to it. The truth is, it's not wrong to conditionally love. We're human beings. When we get hurt we want to hurt back or withdraw our love... it's completely a natural response and shouldn't be considered a flaw not worthy of empathy.

It's like the whole soul mate ideology. It's fluff to sell movies and hallmark cards IMO.
 

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I will tell you that she has said on many occasions that me keeping asking for it, or asking when will she take down the wall just delays her whole healing process.
Pay careful attention here, that these are two distinctly different questions. Asking when is silly, because how should she know? But asking directly in a loving, caring, respectful fashion should not be a foul. So how does this work exactly, does she count up the number of times you ask and add that number of days to the length of time needed for healing? If she knows that asking questions will make things take longer then she must have some idea how long without? Just wondering. But any time we ask for anything, we should always be respectful and accept without flinching whatever answer we receive.
 

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The truth is, it's not wrong to conditionally love. We're human beings. When we get hurt we want to hurt back or withdraw our love... it's completely a natural response and shouldn't be considered a flaw not worthy of empathy.
I hear you. The problem is that she claims she isn't doing it to hurt back, or get even. I've just got to trust her on this. She says that her withdrawing love is so she can spend all of her work on healing herself before getting back to our relationship. To me this seems counterproductive, but maybe there is some merit in her thinking.
 

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Pay careful attention here, that these are two distinctly different questions. Asking when is silly, because how should she know? But asking directly in a loving, caring, respectful fashion should not be a foul. So how does this work exactly, does she count up the number of times you ask and add that number of days to the length of time needed for healing? If she knows that asking questions will make things take longer then she must have some idea how long without? Just wondering. But any time we ask for anything, we should always be respectful and accept without flinching whatever answer we receive.
I agree, flat out asking when is silly. I guess it comes up in conversation from time to time when we are discussing things and I tell her I'm trying to be patient with her, but I just don't understand why she can't show some physical attention, other than holding hands or letting me kiss her goodnight/goodbye. No, she doesn't count the number of times I ask or it comes up :lol: , she just says "all will be better in time. It took a while to get us where we wound up, but it won't take us that long to get better."

I actually haven't pushed the subject lately (maybe the past month) and she seems to not be as bitter toward me, but she still has her wall up. I don't even ask her for any physical attention anymore. I'll offer up a backrub, which she always turns down.
 

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Just to throw another thought into the conversation.... Healing can't take forever. You screwed up...you admit it...you make sure you do everything you can to make up for it...you promise never to let anything even close happen again...now you chill and giver her time. There does come a point however, when she needs to be healed.
 

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I just wanted to point out, az, (and it may even be a side note but not an unimportant one) that if she was never satisfied by sex with you before, meaning climaxing I'm assuming, she may not be in a hurry to get back to it. That sounds like it may be a different issue in the marriage but somewhat related. You guys might want to work on that if you make it past this issue.
 

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Just to throw another thought into the conversation.... Healing can't take forever. You screwed up...you admit it...you make sure you do everything you can to make up for it...you promise never to let anything even close happen again...now you chill and giver her time. There does come a point however, when she needs to be healed.
I agree with you. It is the length of time that some (myself included) have an issue with. I know there is no set time frame for healing. I think my wife thinks if she lowers the wall, then we will go back to how we (I) was before, not believing that I have changed and don't want the crappy relationship we had for a few years previous to our counseling and work we've been doing for the past 8 months. I think it is hard for someone to be on the other end of "just give me time to heal". It seems like a never ending circle just waiting for the "healing moment". You think she should be there, and she says she is not there yet. And because you think she should be ready, she thinks once again the only reason you want her is for the sex... I feels like a big circle.
 
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