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Discussion Starter #1
Good Morning All,

I'm a new member here and I just wanted to get some independent opinions on my situation. Thank you in advance for your help. So here goes....

My wife and I met pretty young. I was 19 she was 16. We started off well and enjoyed our first year together very much, but I was in college and went away overseas for 4 months and that caused problems. We worked through them but she did have a fling on a vacation while we were on a "break" from the relationship. I was hurt even though we were on a break, but we got through it.

After 5 years together, we got married. Great marriage for first few years, but she did complain that I made a lot of the decisions about finances, what we do, etc. Had a daughter, who is now 7. Things were ok for the first couple years of my daughters life, I worked a lot and she was still full time also. She complained that I was not the dad I needed to be, I complained I didn't have time cause she spends too much $ and I gotta work to support us. When my daughter was 2 we got pregnant again - with twin boys.

We decided we needed to add on to the house for more room. We moved into my parents basement. It was tolerable for the several months we planned on being there, but just when we were almost done the house burned. Completely. It was devastating. I did what I thought I had to do for my family, which was rebuild better than ever. It was how I coped. It took a year. She was on meds for depression, I was building a house. We were both struggling to do right by all 3 kids, and we were both working full time. It was bad. A tragedy.

Just after we moved into the new house, I found evidence that she was involved in an EA - likely to turn into a PA. Confronted her. She admitted it and ended it. We went to counseling for 6 months. She said I wasn't there when she needed me. I said I was doing what had to be done for our family. I know I needed to be there then for her, and that hurt her deeply. So here we are a few years later.

Married 10 years now, together for 15. Daughter is 7, twins are 5. Wife went part time at work 1.5 years ago to have more time with kids and to herself. Finances are good now. We don't really fight about $, or anything else for that matter. We are still very busy - jobs, kids, family obligations, household obligations, etc. We do have lots of family support from both sides.

Several months ago I realized I needed to do better with my kids because my relationship with them wasn't what it needs to be, so I have been focusing on that heavily and have really made a lot of progress that way. I bought some books like 52 things kids need from their dad, etc. My relationship with them wasn't bad, but it just wasn't as good as it could be. I realized I needed to change so the relationship could change. Things around the house have been going a lot better since I have made these changes. The boys started kindergarten in the September. Life is good, right?

WRONG!!! Just as the kids were about to start school this fall my wife told me she loves me but is not in love with me and needs space. She said she can't live forever with someone she doesn't love and who is too controlling. She said it hasn't been the same since we had those problems a few years back.

I think the biggest problem is relationship neglect. Jobs, kids, household, chores, etc. We have ignored each other. I accepted responsibility for my contribution to the destruction of our relationship and have been actively trying to be more fun, schedule dates, make sure she is heavily involved in any decision, be more loving (touching, kissing, etc - that doesn't necessarily have to lead to intimacy).

It doesn't seem to be working. She says she knows that she is the one with the issue at this point. It is on her. She has a wall up - a big one. She sees the changes I have made with the kids and I am currently trying to apply those same ideas to our relationship, but she doesn't think it is genuine. I have read divorce busting and a couple books by John Gottman. I am implementing some of their ideas.

She has been in counseling for the last month and a half and I went to the session last Friday. I love her deeply, and am willing to do almost anything to make this work. She is still in the house and hasn't really talked about leaving. It only came up once because the counselor told her about another couple she is working with that is separated. She said she wants to work it out, but doesn't know if she can ever feel "that" way about me again.

I believe also that she is depressed. She had another individual session yesterday. The counselor said she will get her to the doc that works in the practice for some meds. In the past though she was inconsistent about taking them. She has withdrawn not just from me, but her parents, brother, etc. The counselor and she also discussed that we should not be intimate until this is resolved one way or the other.

I have made legitimate positive changes and am making more. She says she wants this to work, but I am not seeing the effort there (example: she gave me paper with some questions on it the counselor wanted us both to bring to our joint session last Friday, I brought mine with a laundry list of good answers as to what our relationship foundation is that we can continue to build on...she "forgot" her paper. Along with her wedding rings that always seem to be "forgotten" at home anymore.)

At this point, I just don't know what to do. It's not like she left physically, but I don't think she is mentally/emotionally engaged in either improving herself or our relationship. I don't know how to proceed. From a Gottman perspective, what we need is more positive interaction, engagement and relationship building. DB seems to advocate giving her space and chill out. Should I just back off? Give her time and space?

One more thing, I have no evidence of any third party in this picture.

Thanks for your input.

BDA
 

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How long ago was her EA & who was it with? Make sure you read the Coping With Infidelity forum here. So you are making all of these positive changes and she still wants out? Do you think she has built up a huge wall of resentment built up against you?

I would not rule out cheating. Investigate.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for posting. The EA was with two guys actually. One was someone she went to high school with (who I didn't know personally) and the other was someone we both used to know a few years earlier and she reconnected with. I think she just wasn't getting the attention from me at all. (Which at the time that was right, I wasn't giving her attention because all my attention was directed at rebuilding a house that burned down.) I understand why she felt neglected. That was 4 years ago. The twins were 1 and we were just getting ready to move into the newly rebuilt house. I know I coped poorly with the tragedy - I ignored everything pretty much and focused on rebuilding the house and working at my job.

I am also very certain that she did not meet with either of them physically. I caught the situation early on and honestly with work, kids, living with my parents, building a house, etc there weren't enough hours in the day. Neither of us did ANYTHING outside of those activities for over a year. There just flat out wasn't time.

We talked Monday night briefly and I told her that I now see that her depression isn't all about me. I have been internalizing her bad days as somehow my fault and I told her that I support her and want her to be well and let me know if she needs anything or just wants to talk. She responded that she wants to be well and move forward, but just not sure if that is with me. Ouch. I blew it off and left it at that to let her think on it.

I have been doing the 180 since Monday. That talk was really kind of my first 180 step, and I already see/feel less tension in the relationship. I have been giving her space also all week. Last night when I got home from work, she actually came up to me, looked me in the eyes, leaned forward and gave me a huge hug. I call that progress. Things were pretty warm this morning also. Good conversation over coffee after the kids went to school. I made her laugh a couple times and she gave me a hug and kiss before I left WITHOUT me asking for or indicating I wanted that.

She definitely has a huge emotional wall and piles of resentment built up. And for good reason. That's what I need to somehow break through.

No evidence of another person involved - I have been monitoring...

Thanks again for the reply.

BDA
 

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I am going to be very blunt on this one. She seems very depressed and unappreciative of your efforts. You were not there for her, because you were rebuilding YOUR home and trying to give YOUR family a better place to live in. It was not like you were partying with your buddies every chance you had.
Plus, she decided to willingly have not one, but two EA. While you were trying to improve your situation.
Give yourself some more credit and above all don't let her diminish your accomplishments! You seem like you make an effort to be a better husband and a better father. On the other hand, she doesn't.
I hate people that cant see past their own necessities and feelings...
 

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I agree with Memento do not diminish your accomplishments. But being a woman, maybe she would rather have waited longer to have the house rebuilt if it meant her feeling like you were there for her. My advice is to keep doing what you are doing. Make her remember all the feelings she had when she fell in love with you the first time. Depression is very hard to deal with, especially on a spouse. Her showing you affection last night and this morning without any prompting from you is an excellent sign that things are headed in the right direction. Give it time. I would keep monitoring for any third party involvement for awhile more.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
@ Memento: Funny you should say that about being unappreciative...her mom says all the time to me that the people who do the most for her in her life (Me, her mother and dad, and my parents) she appreciates the least. Her mother has told her this also. I mentioned this in our MC session last Friday and asked that she work with this issue during her IC sessions.

Since you mentioned minimizing my accomplishments, I know that I'm a good father, and frankly somewhere to the above average side of husband. That's what pisses me off the most about this whole thing. The grass isn't any greener. I'm certain of that. I told her in one of my dark moments that there are many women who wish they had her "miserable" life. I feel more emotionally stable now that I have read divorce busting, am implementing the 180 and have a plan to move forward. I was a real mess since the ILYBNILWY talk.

I am absolutely committed to this marriage, however, and my #1 goal is to make this marriage work. I am doing what I can. She is unsure if this is what she wants, however, and I hope what it takes to get her back onboard is me demonstrating that I'm the kind of man she wants, being supportive of her needs, and giving her time to sort through her issues. She has said that she knows part of the problem is her...I hope she starts to put in the effort to fix herself.

@ Michelle: You are correct. I wanted to build an awesome house (which I did, it is unbelievable) but she said she would have been happy with a double wide on a foundation just so we could get on with our lives. I wasn't open to hearing that at that time. I wanted to give my family the best house I could give, but am now reaping the rewards of that attitude.
 
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