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I happened to be thinking today about the past year of my marriage. Everyone on these forums were so instrumental in my being in the great place I am today I thought I would post a note about where I was, where I am, and what I’ve learned.

A year ago my marriage was a mess. After 3 kids my stay at home wife spontaneously decided to start going out with her girlfriends again, including a “girls trip” to Vegas. She started a crazy fitness routine, including marathon running and triathalons. She started leaving me at home with the kids 2-3 evenings a week. A rough summer. I was insecure, controlling, alone, and afraid.

Thanks in part to the folks on this forum, life is much better now. My wife only goes out with her friends maybe once a month, and the last time she did, she came home early, threw her arms around me, and told me she’s so happy she gets to come home to me. She goes to the gym maybe once or twice a week for an hour or so in the early evening. When she does leave on races out of town the whole family will go on a camping trip together so we can be there for her at the finish line. The stress level in the house is much lower, and our happiness and respect for each other is much higher. Are things perfect? No – we still fight, have conflict, and disagree. But they’re shorter-lived, not has hostile, and just plain don’t seem to hurt so much. What’s changed? Me. Here’s what I learned:

1. Let her go. You can fight, hold her back, be controlling… and you’ll just look petty, insecure, and weak. Be cool, act secure, give her a kiss and say “have fun.” If she’s going to cheat or leave, she’s going to cheat or leave. It’s better if it happens sooner rather than later in my book. A marriage is a choice, a decision that’s made one day at a time. You’re in or out. This was really, really hard. But I've learned that nothing lasts forever, life is change. We can grow together or apart. I can't force her to decide to want to be with me.

2. Set boundaries, and then stick to them. I found in my marriage that it wasn’t ok to say “I don’t want you to do that” but it was ok to say “would you be ok with me doing that?” And then hold her to it. 9 times out of 10 the behaviour would go away on its own if I stuck to it. For example: if it was ok for her to be gone 2-3 nights a week so would I. After a couple of weeks she was dying to sit on the couch and watch a movie after we spent the evening with the kids together. Conversely, if it's within your boundaries, be cool with it. I started to let her off the hook for minor annoyances a lot more which cooled the stress levels.

3. Be ok with losing her. Seriously. After one of our last bad fights before things got better, I reconciled myself to thinking this might be it. The end of our marriage and little family. I thought out how things would be living on my own, sharing custody of the kids, etc. And as tough as it would be, made peace with it. It wouldn’t kill me, it wouldn’t kill my kids. Very negative experience and one I’d like to avoid at all costs, but we would survive. This changed my attitude and clinginess significantly… and to be blunt scared the hell out of my wife. Just last month she told me “I think you’d be more ok without me than I’d be without you.” And for our marriage, that balance of neediness works. I think it’s an alpha male thing, not sure but it seems to work.

4. Do my own thing. I’m out at least once or twice a week doing martial arts, yoga, weights, cross-fit, trail running, hanging with buddies… you name it. Gives me perspective and gives my wife time to miss me. And I’m in kick ass shape compared to last year, and now instead of me worrying about my wife getting hit on I’m having to deal with having her be upset because other women check me out when we go out. I’m going on a weekend martial arts training camp… and my wife couldn’t say a word after going to Vegas last year. Another thing: I make sure I either do something fun with the kids when she goes out (she’ll have to decide if it’s more important to miss out on family fun or friend fun) or I have fun while she’s out. Even something stupid like a scotch and cigar in the back yard when the kids go to bed so I can kick back and listen to the complete lack of complaining about the cigar stink. Ahh…

5. Be a father to our children. Not just “quality” time but real time. Conversations, walks in the park, helping with homework, taking them to soccer, etc. all seemed to help big time. Not just with my wife, but with all of us. And I also found my “father voice,” the voice of discipline and reason in the family. My kids listen to me a lot more, not in fear, but they know they have to listen. Now my wife comes to me when the kids don’t listen to her, not the other way around.

6. Get some buddies. Guys need close guy friends to do guy stuff. Complain about their wives. Be stupid and macho. Whatever that means to you, it worked wonders for me.

7. Fight different. Walk away rather than blow up. Mean what you say and stand up to it. For example, if I threaten that if she keeps doing x that means I'll do y, then I bloody well do y if she does x. This had two effects: I thought about what I said more, and so did my wife. I think my wife has a need to be able to hold me at my word, even if that’s a bad thing. Not sure why. Using few words in a fight, slowly and quietly while looking her directly in the eye seems to also work. Once it’s said, don’t repeat it. It is what it is.

8. Act from a place of strength. I don’t think my wife wants a weakling. She may say that she’ll want me to be more intimate, vulnerable, etc… I think that’s actually BS. Or at least that she doesn’t mean weak or actually vulnerable. If you have flaws or weaknesses either accept it and move on or fix it. I don’t let my wife try to fix my flaws any more. If she brings something up and tries to fix it I’ll ask her to mind her own business (gently). Not a behaviour that impacts her, those I’ll always try to listen to her on. But I don't let her judge me or try to live up to her expectations any more. I define myself, I don't let her do that for me.

9. Be decisive. Again I think this is an alpha male thing. Make plans. I planned a few date nights, and didn’t ask what she wanted to do. Instead I planned stuff I thought might be fun for us, and asked if she was having a good time. She was, especially if it was stuff she didn’t normally like to do (one time we went to a tattoo expo – I have one small tattoo and she has none – but got us out of our element and we had a blast!) Now if she asks me “what do you want to do” I answer with what I want. Works in bed too – I just made sure she felt comfortable in saying “no.” Don’t bully, be decisive and adaptable.

10. Know what I want from life. This is hard in today’s world. I had to pull my head out of my ass and figure out that I don’t want to sit on the couch every night and watch TV. So now I don’t. At least not every night.

11. Do more macho stuff. Fix something around the house. Dig a big hole in the back yard and plant a tree. Fixing her car, for example, seemed to turn a light bulb on in my wife’s head that reminded me that I’m a man and not one of her girlfriends.

So that’s my list. Hope it helps some of the guys out there. Your mileage may vary, and my marriage may still fail, but I’m in a much better spot in the past year than I have been in a long, long time.

Thanks for everything!
 

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So awesome! I'm right there with you. 9 months for me and I'm a much better man! Awesome feeling, isn't it!
http://talkaboutmarriage.com/mens-clubhouse/26967-does-feeling-ever-get-old-2.html#post352008



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thanks Marduk, bookmarking this now (even though I've had to accept point #3 the hard way). Will come in handy either by myself or with a new partner some day.

As to taking care of business, I've realized I have been doing so much just not able to appreciate it. I've had help from IC seeing through the blurry bubble I've put around my head, and am finding a source of strength in me that has been buried for a long time, heck I don't think its even been fully unearthed until now.
 

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Marduk,

The list shows that you are becoming a confident man, a very confident man.

When a man is confident, he is charming, women can feel it, and they need it! Women need to feel their men's charm so they become sexually aroused.

Do all the things you list above, and still keep on being a good and faithful man, your wife is going to have this feeling one day: I am one of the luckiest women on this planet, I am so happy with him, I don't want to do anything silly to ruin what I have.

I believe in relationship being controlling doesn't get you anywhere, but if you are confident and full of charm, your spouse is drawn by you automatically.
 

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This definitely qualifies as a stickie. The lessons you learned and implemented are valuable not just for men but for women as well. Well done sir.
 

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yes, #10 is a hard one for me, I definitely know HOW I want to live but what exactly I want from it is hard to even put in a context. For instance right now, I want a nap, tonight I want a good meal, beyond that I have no idea what I want. Am I supposed to plan it for until the end? And if it's not planned then how can you say you know what it is you want? Seriously, I'm not planning my life years into the future, when I want something I will schedule it in but I'd rather look at each option along the way as it comes.
 

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you don't want to know where my head was going as I read dig a big hole.

Excellent points.
Thanks
Dis
 

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This post just stole the #1 greatest post on this site from MEM's "Turning down the thermostat" post (sorry MEM :) ).
Absolutely INVALUABLE post. Every male who is having problems with a lower sex drive wife needs to be referred to this post (and MEM's).
Similarly, I just finished reading Married Man Sex Life Primer 2011 and this post basically sums up that book pretty damm well.
Congratulations on your transformation...both in terms of self and marriage!
 

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Marduk,
Truly fantastic post. This is what it highlights about YOU:
1. High level of self awareness
2. Exceptional emotional self control
3. Consistent use of variant 2 of the golden rule: Do unto others as they have been doing unto you
4. Deep understanding of female perception:
- They have an excellent radar for the "fear" of loss that so many men experience. You accepted she might leave and were ok with it. She could TELL you were ok with it. Scary for HER.
- The priority they place on male handiness/car fixing/tree trimming etc.
- Their response to messages delivered with minimal verbiage and maximal tone/body langauge. They take THOSE messages to mean (I WILL do what I say). Lots of talking means "I want to know what YOU might do if I start going out with friends 3 nights a week". That is weak. Honey - we both know you are going to keep going out 3/week with friends, will you be angry at me if I do the same thing to you"? NO woman is going to respond well to that.






I happened to be thinking today about the past year of my marriage. Everyone on these forums were so instrumental in my being in the great place I am today I thought I would post a note about where I was, where I am, and what I’ve learned.

A year ago my marriage was a mess. After 3 kids my stay at home wife spontaneously decided to start going out with her girlfriends again, including a “girls trip” to Vegas. She started a crazy fitness routine, including marathon running and triathalons. She started leaving me at home with the kids 2-3 evenings a week. A rough summer. I was insecure, controlling, alone, and afraid.

Thanks in part to the folks on this forum, life is much better now. My wife only goes out with her friends maybe once a month, and the last time she did, she came home early, threw her arms around me, and told me she’s so happy she gets to come home to me. She goes to the gym maybe once or twice a week for an hour or so in the early evening. When she does leave on races out of town the whole family will go on a camping trip together so we can be there for her at the finish line. The stress level in the house is much lower, and our happiness and respect for each other is much higher. Are things perfect? No – we still fight, have conflict, and disagree. But they’re shorter-lived, not has hostile, and just plain don’t seem to hurt so much. What’s changed? Me. Here’s what I learned:

1. Let her go. You can fight, hold her back, be controlling… and you’ll just look petty, insecure, and weak. Be cool, act secure, give her a kiss and say “have fun.” If she’s going to cheat or leave, she’s going to cheat or leave. It’s better if it happens sooner rather than later in my book. A marriage is a choice, a decision that’s made one day at a time. You’re in or out. This was really, really hard. But I've learned that nothing lasts forever, life is change. We can grow together or apart. I can't force her to decide to want to be with me.

2. Set boundaries, and then stick to them. I found in my marriage that it wasn’t ok to say “I don’t want you to do that” but it was ok to say “would you be ok with me doing that?” And then hold her to it. 9 times out of 10 the behaviour would go away on its own if I stuck to it. For example: if it was ok for her to be gone 2-3 nights a week so would I. After a couple of weeks she was dying to sit on the couch and watch a movie after we spent the evening with the kids together. Conversely, if it's within your boundaries, be cool with it. I started to let her off the hook for minor annoyances a lot more which cooled the stress levels.

3. Be ok with losing her. Seriously. After one of our last bad fights before things got better, I reconciled myself to thinking this might be it. The end of our marriage and little family. I thought out how things would be living on my own, sharing custody of the kids, etc. And as tough as it would be, made peace with it. It wouldn’t kill me, it wouldn’t kill my kids. Very negative experience and one I’d like to avoid at all costs, but we would survive. This changed my attitude and clinginess significantly… and to be blunt scared the hell out of my wife. Just last month she told me “I think you’d be more ok without me than I’d be without you.” And for our marriage, that balance of neediness works. I think it’s an alpha male thing, not sure but it seems to work.

4. Do my own thing. I’m out at least once or twice a week doing martial arts, yoga, weights, cross-fit, trail running, hanging with buddies… you name it. Gives me perspective and gives my wife time to miss me. And I’m in kick ass shape compared to last year, and now instead of me worrying about my wife getting hit on I’m having to deal with having her be upset because other women check me out when we go out. I’m going on a weekend martial arts training camp… and my wife couldn’t say a word after going to Vegas last year. Another thing: I make sure I either do something fun with the kids when she goes out (she’ll have to decide if it’s more important to miss out on family fun or friend fun) or I have fun while she’s out. Even something stupid like a scotch and cigar in the back yard when the kids go to bed so I can kick back and listen to the complete lack of complaining about the cigar stink. Ahh…

5. Be a father to our children. Not just “quality” time but real time. Conversations, walks in the park, helping with homework, taking them to soccer, etc. all seemed to help big time. Not just with my wife, but with all of us. And I also found my “father voice,” the voice of discipline and reason in the family. My kids listen to me a lot more, not in fear, but they know they have to listen. Now my wife comes to me when the kids don’t listen to her, not the other way around.

6. Get some buddies. Guys need close guy friends to do guy stuff. Complain about their wives. Be stupid and macho. Whatever that means to you, it worked wonders for me.

7. Fight different. Walk away rather than blow up. Mean what you say and stand up to it. For example, if I threaten that if she keeps doing x that means I'll do y, then I bloody well do y if she does x. This had two effects: I thought about what I said more, and so did my wife. I think my wife has a need to be able to hold me at my word, even if that’s a bad thing. Not sure why. Using few words in a fight, slowly and quietly while looking her directly in the eye seems to also work. Once it’s said, don’t repeat it. It is what it is.

8. Act from a place of strength. I don’t think my wife wants a weakling. She may say that she’ll want me to be more intimate, vulnerable, etc… I think that’s actually BS. Or at least that she doesn’t mean weak or actually vulnerable. If you have flaws or weaknesses either accept it and move on or fix it. I don’t let my wife try to fix my flaws any more. If she brings something up and tries to fix it I’ll ask her to mind her own business (gently). Not a behaviour that impacts her, those I’ll always try to listen to her on. But I don't let her judge me or try to live up to her expectations any more. I define myself, I don't let her do that for me.

9. Be decisive. Again I think this is an alpha male thing. Make plans. I planned a few date nights, and didn’t ask what she wanted to do. Instead I planned stuff I thought might be fun for us, and asked if she was having a good time. She was, especially if it was stuff she didn’t normally like to do (one time we went to a tattoo expo – I have one small tattoo and she has none – but got us out of our element and we had a blast!) Now if she asks me “what do you want to do” I answer with what I want. Works in bed too – I just made sure she felt comfortable in saying “no.” Don’t bully, be decisive and adaptable.

10. Know what I want from life. This is hard in today’s world. I had to pull my head out of my ass and figure out that I don’t want to sit on the couch every night and watch TV. So now I don’t. At least not every night.

11. Do more macho stuff. Fix something around the house. Dig a big hole in the back yard and plant a tree. Fixing her car, for example, seemed to turn a light bulb on in my wife’s head that reminded me that I’m a man and not one of her girlfriends.

So that’s my list. Hope it helps some of the guys out there. Your mileage may vary, and my marriage may still fail, but I’m in a much better spot in the past year than I have been in a long, long time.

Thanks for everything!
 

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Wow great job. Thank you so much for sharing.

I am in such a bad spot that I don't want to initiate anything with my wife since I am so upset on her. I don't even care to have sex either. But I do try to act more manly and at least feel a bit better.

But since my job requires creativity - and my head is just not working... its a big tough though!
 

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Just last month she told me “I think you’d be more ok without me than I’d be without you.” And for our marriage, that balance of neediness works. I think it’s an alpha male thing, not sure but it seems to work.
This was always true. Men have a much easier time fulfilling their needs and taking care of their financial business than women do after divorce. You just gave her space to realize this, whereas before she was spending all her time thinking about what it would do to you.
8. Act from a place of strength. I don’t think my wife wants a weakling. She may say that she’ll want me to be more intimate, vulnerable, etc… I think that’s actually BS. Or at least that she doesn’t mean weak or actually vulnerable. If you have flaws or weaknesses either accept it and move on or fix it. I don’t let my wife try to fix my flaws any more. If she brings something up and tries to fix it I’ll ask her to mind her own business (gently). Not a behaviour that impacts her, those I’ll always try to listen to her on. But I don't let her judge me or try to live up to her expectations any more. I define myself, I don't let her do that for me.
Was just talking about this idea of accept it or fix it yesterday. My ex was an expert at concealing behavior she didn't want others to know about (illegal, or not socially acceptable such as cheating), but she never would change from doing those things.

Now, of course, my daughter has picked up on this behavior and I will have a hard time talking to her about it, because saying or implying that her mother is a bad person is a non-starter with her (and I can appreciate that, as I would have trouble with someone talking bad about my mother).

My opinion is, if you are so ashamed of something that you must hide it, why do you continue to do it? Either be proud of what you do and share it, or stop doing it if it's so bad. Again this is a position of strength.
9. Be decisive. Again I think this is an alpha male thing. Make plans. I planned a few date nights, and didn’t ask what she wanted to do. Instead I planned stuff I thought might be fun for us, and asked if she was having a good time. She was, especially if it was stuff she didn’t normally like to do (one time we went to a tattoo expo – I have one small tattoo and she has none – but got us out of our element and we had a blast!) Now if she asks me “what do you want to do” I answer with what I want. Works in bed too – I just made sure she felt comfortable in saying “no.” Don’t bully, be decisive and adaptable.
I've done some of this with very good results. I need to be deliberate in doing this more.
So that’s my list. Hope it helps some of the guys out there. Your mileage may vary, and my marriage may still fail, but I’m in a much better spot in the past year than I have been in a long, long time.

Thanks for everything!
Good stuff, thanks.
 

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I wish I've read this post 3 months ago, this could have saved my marriage from separation:

1. Let her go. You can fight, hold her back, be controlling… and you’ll just look petty, insecure, and weak. Be cool, act secure, give her a kiss and say “have fun.” If she’s going to cheat or leave, she’s going to cheat or leave. It’s better if it happens sooner rather than later in my book. A marriage is a choice, a decision that’s made one day at a time. You’re in or out. This was really, really hard. But I've learned that nothing lasts forever, life is change. We can grow together or apart. I can't force her to decide to want to be with me.

2. Set boundaries, and then stick to them. I found in my marriage that it wasn’t ok to say “I don’t want you to do that” but it was ok to say “would you be ok with me doing that?” And then hold her to it. 9 times out of 10 the behaviour would go away on its own if I stuck to it. For example: if it was ok for her to be gone 2-3 nights a week so would I. After a couple of weeks she was dying to sit on the couch and watch a movie after we spent the evening with the kids together. Conversely, if it's within your boundaries, be cool with it. I started to let her off the hook for minor annoyances a lot more which cooled the stress levels.

3. Be ok with losing her. Seriously. After one of our last bad fights before things got better, I reconciled myself to thinking this might be it. The end of our marriage and little family. I thought out how things would be living on my own, sharing custody of the kids, etc. And as tough as it would be, made peace with it. It wouldn’t kill me, it wouldn’t kill my kids. Very negative experience and one I’d like to avoid at all costs, but we would survive. This changed my attitude and clinginess significantly… and to be blunt scared the hell out of my wife. Just last month she told me “I think you’d be more ok without me than I’d be without you.” And for our marriage, that balance of neediness works. I think it’s an alpha male thing, not sure but it seems to work.
 
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