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As a new member I'd like to first say a big thanks! I've been checking these boards for the past few months and have gotten some excellent advice and insight into my marriage problems.

I have to say I tend to be quite analytical and details-oriented so this may go on a bit long. I just feel some need to get advice and to vent a bit too.

Background - we've been married for 11 years, now in early forties late 30s. 2 lovely daughters 8 and 4 yrs old. Through our marriage we have always gotten along very well generally but lots of ups and downs. This has included our sex life which has been really varied through the years - no exact upward or downward trend.

That general tendency changed last year. I gradually started noticing some coolness, complaining, and at times downright disrespectful behaviour throughout spring and summer. This was not happening all the time and we still had periods when we were very close and warm with each other. However, she started on more about things such as how I did things wrong when helping around the house. One time I couldn't find something and she said *could I have such a stupid husband?'

The last straw seemed to have been when one day I was cooking dinner for myself and the girls (she wanted to eat something else) and she didn't agree with how I was making it but was too p***d off with me to give me advice on how she thought it should be done. After that she found about an hour later that I had put the wrong item in the wrong recycling box. After she pointed out my mistake she made a comment like 'we don't have to be together anymore' to which my first admittedly stupid reply was 'over the recycling?'

Anyways we had our talk that night and she said in her own exact words ' I can't find your attractive point'. She actually said during this conversation that I was a 'nice guy'. No exact reason was given except maybe stress from a number of things like trying to find a good job and being unable to see her family for a long time as they are in another country. Neither of us actually got really upset during this conversation which I think was a good thing. Inside, however, I was totally shaken up.


In the meantime I also tried to find out more info on why this could be occurring and came upon TAM. The Men's Clubhouse seem to really strike a chord with it's stuff on Nice Guys and sure enough most of it applied to me. My first attempts at manning up were quite clumsy - I often pointed out things I felt wronged about days later which made her say I was too sensitive. I tried talking about our situation at times but quickly learned she didn't want to talk about her feelings.

Oh yeah, about the possibility of an EA or PA. I've definitely had major thoughts about this and can't find any evidence. She is totally open with her phone and email and is a SAHM with our four year old. That's not to say that I'm so naive to think she would never cheat.

On a major note, though, I started to learn to pass fitness tests. One big one came on our anniversary when she (jokingly?) said to our daughter 'in this year do you think mommy should find a new daddy? My daughter was busy with drawing and didn't answer. That my wife could even make a comment like that made me realize how much respect I lacked from her.My response was to go to the kitchen, call my wife over and tell her calmly and sternly that I was putting up with that kind of comment, not to mention in front of our daughter. She really looked surprised and apologized.

Any ways to make a long story short, since early Dec things between us have improved to where we are having fun and enjoying time together. I am pursuing my hobbies, going out more with friends and doing some of the emotional thermostat stuff. Mostly trying to get rid of my nice guy tendencies and regain my confidence and sense of self. The number and level of fitness tests has gone down.

The only problem area is the big one for me - sex. Yes we have it once or twice a month but she is still obviously not into it yet like she was just before this thing started. There are a few hints for the better - she gave me oral last week (first time in a long time). Even though I have tried to keep things warm (my thermostat is not set too low) and I'm gaining confidence the spark is not there for her yet.

Recently she has said that I don't need to change (from being a nice guy- I haven't talk about it but she saw the book) and that it was not my fault that she had lost her attraction. She also told me that she felt pressured by me to change her feelings and that I should just relax more about things. She says she is doing her best. That's true she is saying ILY more, initiating hugs and .

Thing is if this sex situation doesn't change it will lead to divorce sooner or later. I'd like advice on how I can change things more to increase the amount and quality of sex. Also how long should I wait for some change to happen?

Any advice would be great - including from those who don't agree with manning up! Thanks
 

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Recently she has said that I don't need to change (from being a nice guy- I haven't talk about it but she saw the book) and that it was not my fault that she had lost her attraction.

That to me "is the test"...

She obivoulsy knows you are "manning up" and changing. Go back to mr Nice Guy, and well, draw your own conclusions.

Keep manning up, and stay manned up
 

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Neil,

I am in the same boat as you although my scenario the intimacy just steadily decreased over time. It never stopped because I insisted on it however I can tell she it just tolerating it and of course I would constantly ask if I could do something better to get her in the mood which led to my ultimate death spiral. Since we had a big blowup over this and was ready to leave because I felt hurt, rejected, resentment etc, She has been doing a better job and I appreciate the effort, but she is not still into yet. Based on the advice of others I had initiated and if she backs off I just go do something else (honestly it still hurts at little but not as much as before). Of course I long for the day when she would show a genuine interest. But I have to continue on myself and if and when it comes great, if not that I am also accepting that she might not be the right person for me.
 

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Thing is if this sex situation doesn't change it will lead to divorce sooner or later.
This langague is an example of not manning up. It is saying that something other than you "the man" is in control of the situation. When you restate this sentence in a manned up way, you will have your answer to the question.
 

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Night Owl,

Attractiveness is a subconscious thing.

To quote a rather infamous poster here, it's "primal".

She has no idea what she's talking about when she says it's "not your fault that she lost it".

Keep reading the stuff by coops and MEM.

But, be careful not to use scorecards. What this is about is not "what you can get", but how you feel about yourself.



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I think you need to talk to her away from the kids, house, jobs in a neutral place and have to tell her how you feel...she needs to know that you are suffering because you dont have one of the most important things you need to feel loved....that any man needs to feel loved....and that you both need to seriouly try to figure out how you can have it back...otherwise, the marriage will fail....sex is important part of feeling close to someone, even more for a man...so the longer you go without it, the longer you will feel disconnected to her and that with time will kill the love.....i think she needs to know more about men sexuality and heart...she has a problem that is keeping her from being able to enjoy her marriage to you and that is an issue she needs to get out...she must tell you why she thinks she is not attracted to you anymore....you need to tell her that you need to make love to her and feel that she wants to make love to you because this is the way you feel loved the most...and if you cant have it you need to know what are the reasons so you both can work at them......she needs to understand that you can go without this form of feeling close and loved to and by your wife for so long before you start recenting her...it will happen...trust me....you will start thinking in terms not so very nice in your mind when thinking about her after a while of feeling lonely and recentfull....dont let it go there....make sure she understand very well how you feel....and educate her....talk to her as much as you can in a neutral place and just put your heart on the table....no matter that you sound needed as long as aftewards, you dont mentioned again until the next talk.....communication is essential.....you MUST find out what is going on with her...what bothers her....good luck!
 

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And on this point I completely disagree. Sometimes people are just physically incompatible.

It is great to be "stand up" and not someone treat you with disrespect. And at a healthy balance in the relationship you can honestly say to someone "I need a certain amount of physical intimacy to feel happy".

BTW - lets be honest here. That IS true. You can be the ultimate stand up person - man or woman. You can be an expert at dealing with anyone who is disrespectful to your boundaries. But if your partner is determined to have a sexless marriage you are likely to find that a very unhappy situation.

At the extreme end of this spectrum are people who say "no one else can make you happy". And I violently agree with that. And I will gladly add that a sufficiently incompatible marital partner can MAKE YOU UNHAPPY.

There are a lot of things you can do that tend to increase desire. In order from easiest to hardest to execute:
- Fitness - especially getting a V shape - 50 billion Harlequin romance novels can't be wrong
- Humor - corny humor is a turn off - light banter a turn on and it is a skill that can be learned
- Having an edge - and this too can be learned though not easily. It does NOT refer to being mean per se. But there is an emotional roughness to it that many people find appealing

That said you could do ALL this and still have serious sexual incompatibility.

I think the OP is making good progress. Without respect you have nothing.

This langague is an example of not manning up. It is saying that something other than you "the man" is in control of the situation. When you restate this sentence in a manned up way, you will have your answer to the question.
 

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>>At the extreme end of this spectrum are people who say "no one else can make you happy". And I violently agree with that. And I will gladly add that a sufficiently incompatible marital partner can MAKE YOU UNHAPPY.<<

That is absolute truth.

Without going into too much detail, I can tell you my ex wife was about the worst person I could have married.

Once I realized I was set to lose my children (literally) as a result of that relationship, I manned up enough to get out.

And then the REAL journey started.



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I came on this and other sites for a different reason, but it all came down to the fact that my wife doesn't love me. Hasn't for a while. May never has. Is not attracted to me, Hasn't been in a while. Maybe never was. And in the year + I've been trolling, I have yet to see a success story regarding winning back that love that was lost.

See your mistakes and change?
- Too late. She will always be afraid that after she gives her love to you again you will revert back to that man she hates.
- Who cares? She didn't commit to this new person.That's not who she married. She has no obligation to fall in love with that person.

I hate to say it man, but my informal research tells me that you are in a battle with a VERY low sucess rate.

So, how did I come out of it? I don't care any more. I've bettered myself for me. I go out with friends. I enjoy my life. She can rot on her sofa watchingTV. I'm going to live. And although I'm not lookingfor it, I don't know what I'd do if I met someone who was attracted to me. A woman that would enjoy my kisses? That woman will never be my wife. I understand that. I also understand I only get one shot at life and I'll be damned if I'm going to live it miserably just because my wife threw in the towel years ago and doesn't care to work on it.
 

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10 second kiss? Yeah, right. My wife would be at the toilet hurling after 5.

Better yourself. Go find someone who WANTS to kiss you for 10 seconds.
 

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- Humor - corny humor is a turn off - light banter a turn on and it is a skill that can be learned
- Having an edge - and this too can be learned though not easily. It does NOT refer to being mean per se. But there is an emotional roughness to it that many people find appealing
.
More explination please?
 

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I came on this and other sites for a different reason, but it all came down to the fact that my wife doesn't love me. Hasn't for a while. May never has. Is not attracted to me, Hasn't been in a while. Maybe never was. And in the year + I've been trolling, I have yet to see a success story regarding winning back that love that was lost.

See your mistakes and change?
- Too late. She will always be afraid that after she gives her love to you again you will revert back to that man she hates.
- Who cares? She didn't commit to this new person.That's not who she married. She has no obligation to fall in love with that person.

I hate to say it man, but my informal research tells me that you are in a battle with a VERY low sucess rate.

So, how did I come out of it? I don't care any more. I've bettered myself for me. I go out with friends. I enjoy my life. She can rot on her sofa watchingTV. I'm going to live. And although I'm not lookingfor it, I don't know what I'd do if I met someone who was attracted to me. A woman that would enjoy my kisses? That woman will never be my wife. I understand that. I also understand I only get one shot at life and I'll be damned if I'm going to live it miserably just because my wife threw in the towel years ago and doesn't care to work on it.

This is not helpful....but i understand your need for venting and frustration....
 

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And on this point I completely disagree. Sometimes people are just physically incompatible.

It is great to be "stand up" and not someone treat you with disrespect. And at a healthy balance in the relationship you can honestly say to someone "I need a certain amount of physical intimacy to feel happy".

BTW - lets be honest here. That IS true. You can be the ultimate stand up person - man or woman. You can be an expert at dealing with anyone who is disrespectful to your boundaries. But if your partner is determined to have a sexless marriage you are likely to find that a very unhappy situation.

At the extreme end of this spectrum are people who say "no one else can make you happy". And I violently agree with that. And I will gladly add that a sufficiently incompatible marital partner can MAKE YOU UNHAPPY.

There are a lot of things you can do that tend to increase desire. In order from easiest to hardest to execute:
- Fitness - especially getting a V shape - 50 billion Harlequin romance novels can't be wrong
- Humor - corny humor is a turn off - light banter a turn on and it is a skill that can be learned
- Having an edge - and this too can be learned though not easily. It does NOT refer to being mean per se. But there is an emotional roughness to it that many people find appealing

That said you could do ALL this and still have serious sexual incompatibility.

I think the OP is making good progress. Without respect you have nothing.

But you have to give it a shot before you get out....remember this guy is here because he wants to save his marriage.....and we should try to help, at least those of us who can related to what someone may need to find some advise, guidance....
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
Thanks everyone for your responses. You've given me a lot to think about.

Conrad & Atholk, I checked out the 10 second kiss on the blog and will definitely give it a try. It'll have to wait a little while though because she's coming down with the stomach flu that I had last week. Also Conrad - point taken about not using scorecards - focussing on just getting sex without working on myself as well would be amazingly shallow.

Marcopoly69 - your advice is appreciated but in my case it's a no-go. This is because she has specifically told me that she doesn't want to talk about sex and attraction, and besides we have discussed it three times already since this thing started. To start another conversation after having this clear message from her would make me look incredibly needy and push her away more. It's much better for us to enjoy spending time together and with the kids and having positive experiences to build our relationship on. As well, in sex with my wife actions have always spoken louder than words.

MEM you sounded somewhat pessimistic, not like other posts I've seen from you. Was that because you were responding to Hicks comment? Contrary to what it seems, divorce is not imminent in my case (yet), but I have a problem with brooding over my problems which leads to some negative thinking. This generally happens when I'm by myself and i don't share this with my wife, but it can lead to me focussing on the issue too much. Anyways, as for the three desire points you mentioned:
1) Fitness - I'm slimming down to my lowest weight since university and doing weights to keep toned. This weekend she said I look good in my swimsuit.:)
2) Humour - This is fairly good but I'm somewhat reserved and don't naturally come up with jokes. Sometimes I feel pressure to find something funny to say. Having said that - I've always been this way, including when i first met her. We do have some good banter, one of the most recent when I teased her about her speeding ticket saying now you;re beating me in tickets 2 to 1, to which she replied I out numbered her in fender dents and started a fun discussion about an expensive topic.
3) Having an edge - a hard one for me as over the course of the marriage i have become more gentle. In the first part of our marriage I had this in droves because I did my own thing and didn't worry about what my wife thought, probably too much so. However, over time and especially after children I started to think too much like the GOOD FAMILY MAN and lost some/most of this.
I'd have to echo Mike188 and ask for more explanation on 2 and especially 3.

MrK - I know the odds are hard but hopefully not so bad as you think. One reason I have for some hope is that we have come back from the sexless threat before. Around seven years ago she mentioned her thinking that she was still in love but didn't want to have sex anymore because she wasn't interested. I totally rejected this out of hand (as noted above I had an edge) saying I didn't want to be married to a friend, why would I have gotten married in the first place, lets get divorced and meet at Starbuck's once a month if we are friends. She responded by saying I could go screw other girls if i wanted, which I said I didn't want to do unless divorced. What ended up happening after this was we never spoke about it again but continued to have sex. For more than a year this lasted - she was friendly in bed but not into really into doing it. Eventually things just came around and improved (like the graph of a company on a stock exchange, always up and down) until 2009 when she really started taking the initiative in sex and enjoyed it more than even when we first started dating. Then, of course what started last year was the reason for this post. It seems like my wife is just this up and down kind of person.

Neil, thanks for the encouragement - I'm definitely staying the course on this change.

Hicks - I'm wondering whether you mean I should say that I'm man enough to take control of the sexual situation or man enough to divorce her if I need to or both.

Bill2011 - good luck in your situation - maybe what I wrote above can give you some encouragement.

I guess I'm still a nice guy because I managed to respond to everyone who replied.- LOL
 

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The playful stuff the OP mentioned mentioned about speeding tickets and fender benders - that stuff is great. Actually you pay attention and MANY small scuffles in the house can be dealt with in a playful manner.

In fact - do a little exercise - think of the last couple weeks with your partner. And think through the situations where you are irritating each other. Oddly enough it is those moments of mild tension that - if you are clever can be converted into playful humor.

As for having an edge - the thing helps me the most is lifting weights. Creates its own natural edge. If you want to construct some behavioral edge - well the strategy is simple, the execution just takes practice.
- Talk LESS
- Use tone and body language more

Do not raise your voice - but use tone when you dislike what is happening. Loud = loss of control, tone = disapproval for how someone is treating you


More explination please?
 

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Night,
Sorry for seeming pessimistic. I will try to hit what I see as core to this whole dynamic. The LD partner does not start out feeling desire. They don't. And that is not their fault. However - and this is the difference between a great LD partner and a bad LD partner:
- The great partner is self aware and knows if they relax and let you warm them up they WILL get in the mood.
- The bad LD partner immediately rejects the idea of sex because they "don't want to" at the moment

As for the "warmup" itself - therein lies most of the magic - or not. Some W like slow and gentle. Some like firm and insistent. And others like rough and demanding. Just to make it fun for us lads - wherever your female partner is on an "average" day, mid cycle she likely wants more sexual edge from you. There is some very solid biology behind that but it means that what on one day will get you hot sex, on another day might cause her distress.

On a separate note, the way you handled the conversation about sex 7 years ago was textbook "edge". No conversation about how you felt. Short pointed discussion about consequences. Edge is fine. In fact edge is necessary. But as you have found edge without the other stuff that makes a man desirable results in a lot of "mechanical" sex.

It is clear from reading your post that your goal is to create passion. And that comes from being less predictable, and more often playfully aggressive. It is common to lose sight of the fact that there is a giant world of difference between being "nice" and being "fun" to be with. You can be "fun" even while being mildy irritating - in a deliberate, controlled and non-sadistic manner. I DEFINITELY tease my W about some stuff - her driving - her cooking - etc. Never about stuff that she is truly insecure about.


Thanks everyone for your responses. You've given me a lot to think about.

Conrad & Atholk, I checked out the 10 second kiss on the blog and will definitely give it a try. It'll have to wait a little while though because she's coming down with the stomach flu that I had last week. Also Conrad - point taken about not using scorecards - focussing on just getting sex without working on myself as well would be amazingly shallow.

Marcopoly69 - your advice is appreciated but in my case it's a no-go. This is because she has specifically told me that she doesn't want to talk about sex and attraction, and besides we have discussed it three times already since this thing started. To start another conversation after having this clear message from her would make me look incredibly needy and push her away more. It's much better for us to enjoy spending time together and with the kids and having positive experiences to build our relationship on. As well, in sex with my wife actions have always spoken louder than words.

MEM you sounded somewhat pessimistic, not like other posts I've seen from you. Was that because you were responding to Hicks comment? Contrary to what it seems, divorce is not imminent in my case (yet), but I have a problem with brooding over my problems which leads to some negative thinking. This generally happens when I'm by myself and i don't share this with my wife, but it can lead to me focussing on the issue too much. Anyways, as for the three desire points you mentioned:
1) Fitness - I'm slimming down to my lowest weight since university and doing weights to keep toned. This weekend she said I look good in my swimsuit.:)
2) Humour - This is fairly good but I'm somewhat reserved and don't naturally come up with jokes. Sometimes I feel pressure to find something funny to say. Having said that - I've always been this way, including when i first met her. We do have some good banter, one of the most recent when I teased her about her speeding ticket saying now you;re beating me in tickets 2 to 1, to which she replied I out numbered her in fender dents and started a fun discussion about an expensive topic.
3) Having an edge - a hard one for me as over the course of the marriage i have become more gentle. In the first part of our marriage I had this in droves because I did my own thing and didn't worry about what my wife thought, probably too much so. However, over time and especially after children I started to think too much like the GOOD FAMILY MAN and lost some/most of this.
I'd have to echo Mike188 and ask for more explanation on 2 and especially 3.

MrK - I know the odds are hard but hopefully not so bad as you think. One reason I have for some hope is that we have come back from the sexless threat before. Around seven years ago she mentioned her thinking that she was still in love but didn't want to have sex anymore because she wasn't interested. I totally rejected this out of hand (as noted above I had an edge) saying I didn't want to be married to a friend, why would I have gotten married in the first place, lets get divorced and meet at Starbuck's once a month if we are friends. She responded by saying I could go screw other girls if i wanted, which I said I didn't want to do unless divorced. What ended up happening after this was we never spoke about it again but continued to have sex. For more than a year this lasted - she was friendly in bed but not into really into doing it. Eventually things just came around and improved (like the graph of a company on a stock exchange, always up and down) until 2009 when she really started taking the initiative in sex and enjoyed it more than even when we first started dating. Then, of course what started last year was the reason for this post. It seems like my wife is just this up and down kind of person.

Neil, thanks for the encouragement - I'm definitely staying the course on this change.

Hicks - I'm wondering whether you mean I should say that I'm man enough to take control of the sexual situation or man enough to divorce her if I need to or both.

Bill2011 - good luck in your situation - maybe what I wrote above can give you some encouragement.

I guess I'm still a nice guy because I managed to respond to everyone who replied.- LOL
 

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Night Owl,

I know you were joking, but there is truly nothing wrong with being courteous, supportive, and polite.

There is something wrong with being a doormat - in hopes of not making waves, so you may get lucky.

I had to stand up on Valentine's Day. Of course, it resulted in hurt feelings. The next day - about as much passion as I can possibly handle. And, I can handle plenty.

It's not a "scorecard" at all.

It's about partnership.



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Yes, there comes a point in time where you have to be direct and give a consequence for sex itself, just as you are doing in other areas.
 
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