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After spending the last 7 months on here as a reader and a “student”, it’s time for me to share my own story. In doing so, I hope to tap into this vast world of knowledge and experience found here, to maybe help orient me in these uncharted waters I’m now sailing. I’ll try my best to keep this short.

A little back history; my wife and I met in college, dated for a year, followed by a 6-month engagement. We have now been married 7.5 years, and have a wonderful 4.5 year-old daughter. My wife is a Charge Nurse on a labor and delivery unit (meaning no male coworkers – including maintenance and entry-level staff), and I am a traveling sales professional, on the road three out of every four weeks for four day intervals.

Our marriage has been in slow decline since fall 2011. I started to feel her slow yet deliberate emotional detachment in August 2011. Our sex life was declining as well – perhaps to about one interaction every 10 or 11 days. The holidays of 2011 were a blow out as they usually are; traveling, shopping, spending, giving, visiting, eating, stressing, etc., etc. February 2012 rolls around, and on one of my “at-home-off-the-road” weeks, I was at home having a quick lunch before returning to my office when she came home from the gym (while our daughter was at pre-school) and approached me, telling me that she wasn't very happy in our relationship, hadn't been for several month and that she felt that we should visit with a marriage counselor. I balked at the idea, stating that I was raised to believe that marital problems are best resolved between husband and wife under the same roof without any third party involvement. After some debate, she conceded, put the idea aside, and ended the conversation . . . But the emotional detachment took an increased pace following that day.

Fast forward to May 1, 2012. During us refinancing our home, she found out about some hidden assets and various other financial infidelities I had kept secret from her. She was devastated. I admit to my financial infidelities, am regretful of them, and would like nothing more than to earn a true forgiveness for them. Somehow, she was able to shelve this financial mistrust and continue with our relationship. We spent June and July in relative harmony – socially, however, emotionally, she was all but disconnected. We shared on intimate moment in June, and one in July. There was no more hugging, no kissing, no “I love you’s” over the phone…

In late July and on a Sunday evening before a busy travel week for me, I was feeling discontent with the lack of emotional connection, and unsatisfied that we didn’t share more intimate moments. We sat down late that Sunday night and had a lengthy and heated conversation over my unhappiness in our marriage. The following day, I spent the afternoon golfing with coworkers instead of making amends with my wife (which is something that she later informed me hurt her deeply), and then traveled out the following morning. Upon my return, she informed me in person that she wanted to file a divorce.

I asked her to meet me for lunch the following day. She did, and I asked her to give our relationship an opportunity to be repaired. We agreed to begin individual counseling respectively. She also agreed to hold tight for a period and not proceed with a divorce. Surprisingly, early August, we shared a brief, and very rushed intimate moment, but it had been quite some time and was a welcome surprise. The following week, I had moved some cash around to different accounts without her knowledge or consent, and she went bananas. But, yet again, was able to calm down enough to stay in our home and with me. That was until August 21, 2012.

The evening of August 20, I was at home with my wife. We shared a nice quiet meal (that I prepared), our daughter was especially well behaved, and we sat down to watch a movie together. Knowing that my wife was tired from her shift that day, I offered to get our daughter ready for bed. After she was tucked away, I suggested to my wife that maybe I could give her a massage or rub her feet and “see where that led”. She declined, saying that she was “way too tired”. So, I said okay, and instead just snuggled with her in bed until she fell asleep. I should have been content enough with that – but I wasn’t. I got up, and for the remainder of the night, sat at my desk in my office and stewed until my blood was boiling. I felt embarrassed, rejected, gross, unattractive, unworthy and genuinely pissed. I didn’t sleep a wink that night. The next morning, I dressed in a suit and tie and went in for my third counseling session. For some reason, I didn’t bring up what had just taken place the night prior, and my angry feelings. Following the “casual” counseling session, I phoned my wife, and unleashed an unbridled tirade of anger. How she could reject me, how I just wanted to grow closer, how I didn’t mean for it to be selfish, how I felt she thought I was unattractive and finally, even going so far as accusing her of perhaps being interested in another man . . . She had had enough. I was at my office while she packed four suitcases and moved that afternoon – August 21, to her best friend’s house.

Since then, nine weeks ago, it’s been a “violent” up and down roller coaster ride. Anger, rage, frustration, sadness, envy, embarrassment, self-loathing, longing for the past, etc. One of the first topics of debate following her separation from me was “child support”. Bear in mind that she is an RN, working full time, and can generate a worthy sum on her own. I explained to her that I was willing to share of my finances, but that there were strings attached to the bi-weekly check. I would not be financing her growing independence and reestablished life, but instead would finance her comfort during a temporary separation. Well, as can be assumed, this blew up in my face. She was furious that there would be strings tied to “child support” – or so she likes to call it. At the end of the day, I conceded, a quarter of my bi-weekly take home pay, followed by 50% of my monthly commission income (which ranges from $2,500 to $15,000 – this last month, true to my word, she received 50% of $7,000). She has since moved herself into a deluxe brand-new town-home with a six month lease.

So, where do we stand today? Well, two weeks ago we had our first marriage counseling session – which in both of our opinions was productive and healthy. Last week was my birthday; she gave me a nice card with a simple “Love, Her Name”. But, in reality, there has been very little communication between us, mostly business, usually about our daughter’s needs. Almost no discussion about our relationship, the future, the past - nothing. She doesn’t like to talk to me on the phone – although I do try. We split physical time with our daughter. While I’m on the road Tuesday thru Friday, she takes her. I take her on the weekends. I’ve read a lot: 10 Lessons to Transform Your Marriage, High-Conflict Couple, Hope For the Separated, How Can I Forgive You (I deeply want to earn her forgiveness for my failures in our marriage) and finally Why Does He Do That (I have been accused of being an emotional abuser). I stay active, I golf a lot, I ride my motorcycle every weekend, I spend quality time with co workers, I have excellent interaction and activities with my customers, I maintain an excellent house (always have been the domestic one in our relationship), and I have an incredible relationship with my daughter. But what’s missing? My wife – whom I love, deeply. I cheated financially, I was dishonest. I was disengaged emotionally, unconcerned for her emotional needs before my physical ones.

How do I jump start this thing back to life?
 

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I can relate on some level. It really sounds like you have and idea of how to keep yourself busy. MC would make me think that there is so sort of chance left.


I need to find something to keep me busy.
 
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