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Should I give my wife 'space' to figure things out?

  • Yes. Give her a few days to figure things out. Then call.

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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Blurb about us: My wife and I have been officially married over a year but have been dating seriously for 10 years (both 32).

Problem: She recently admitted to 'meeting' up with an ex-boyfriend (her first lover, who she says is a great phone conversationalist--this may come into play later).

Background:
We are currently in a long-distant relationship b/c of our careers (I'm currently in the US, she just moved to China about a year ago). We try and visit every 4-6 weeks. This last week that I came to visit, we hadn't been together for the last 6 weeks. At first, I thought things were ok, b/c we went straight to the bedroom upon meeting. However, let's just say I could tell something was not quite right...

Problem 1: the ex
Later that afternoon, she sat me down and admitted that she met up with an ex-boyfriend (her first lover) on three occasions over ~ 2 weeks (drinks, restaurant, tennis). She told me not to worry, that they only talked and nothing happened. She just needed somebody that would 'listen' to her b/c she felt that I had emotionally neglected her b/c I had not put enough effort into our long-distance phone call conversations. She says she didn't want to tell me over the phone b/c she knew it would upset me and probably wouldn't let her see him (better to ask for forgiveness than permission, eh?).

This may be neither here nor there, but my Wife forewarns me (nice gesture?) that she's about to have her period. And of course, we fought and made up several times over the weekend--over my lack of communication, my lack of meeting her emotional needs, my laissez-fair attitude about housework, etc. At the time, while I was outraged at her response to my neglect--e.g. why didn't she just tell me before she went to see her ex?--I controlled my temper b/c I felt my share of responsibility in putting our relationship on the backburner. I felt guilty about not putting my wife's need as a priority (conversation being one of the important ones, which happens to not to be my strong suit) and felt that as a consequence, this is what must have driven her to her ex for 'emotional' support.

Now, while my wife just recently moved to China about a year ago, and she has made a few friends, she claims her ex is really the only person in town that she knows that will listen to her. For now, I'll accept there is nothing to it, and she was just really lonely and just needed a person to talk to.

Problem #2: the lack of chemistry? => need space to reflect
However, after I came back to the US, the main issue popped up again--the lack of connection as she calls it. Over the past few weeks, I had come up with the idea to 'take the lead' in the relationship every sunday to take the initiative and to get an update on how our two needs were being met. This seemed to be going ok, b/c I was able to directly address my Wife's need for conversation everyday in the morning. However, when I got back, she says that the every conversation has now made her realize a deeper problem.

The "deeper problem" to her is that she now realizes we may have no chemistry and we very rarely connect unless we fight or the talks after the fight. When we talk, she feels like she's forced me to talk and that it is often draining to talk to me.

Problem #3: She now wants 'space'
So now she wants 'space'--ironically, she now wants a few days where we don't talk to each other. She suddenly feels that our relationship is hopeless and bleak (this happens often when she has her period--sorry ladies! these are just my observations!). During these 'periods', this time as well, she may sometimes say "I don't know if I love you anymore", "I don't know if you really love me--I know you love me, but I don't think you're in love with me", "I feel distant from you", etc. etc. basically she can't think of anything good in our relationship during this time.

I've made clear that seeing, talking, or e-mailing her ex is out of bounds. I've also suggested that if she thinks I can't meet her needs for conversation and connection--or at least improve myself in those aspects in a fast enough rate (I'm incrementally improving my ability to talk about my feelings, but perhaps not fast enough)--maybe we should file for divorce and she can go be with her ex (long story short).

She then asked, "Is that what you want?".
When I said "No." she responded with "then give me some space."

Sorry for the super long post, but in the mean-time, what are ways that I/we can move forward with this situation?

i.e. should I be worried about problem #1 with ex boyfriend? and any suggestions on how I can be more conversationally intimate with my wife to improve our connection? any constructive ways to move through this 'temporary separation'? any other thoughts?

I love my wife dearly, but this is getting to me and I'm at my wits end. I love her for what I thought she was: Honest, direct, loving, quirky, spunky, etc. Lately though, b/c I would have never imagined her to contact her ex behind my back, I'm having slight trust issues and as I read more about wives contacting exes and the slippery road that it goes, the more of a headcase that I become. Obviously, I bear alot of the responsibility for the current state of the marriage, but I'm feeling a bit powerless at the moment.

Something else that might be useful for me is how to frame my/our priorities and maybe even ways to solve/work through them. Any advice is much appreciated.

Best,
Man o man

PS. Not that it really matters, but we have no language barriers--both US citizens
 

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This should be in the CWI section. You might need to get a moderator to move it. Before the affair -and that is what it is, to be frank- goes physical.

How come she got together in a town on the other side of the world with an ex?:scratchhead:
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks MattMatt,

Do you know how I can contact the moderator? I'm new to this.

Also the my wife met the Ex on vacation in China about a decade ago. As life would have it, she recently found a position in the same part of China as the Ex a decade later.
 

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Has she been in touch with the ex over the last 10 years?
How did she find out he was in china too?
Was it really a total coincidence?
It doesn't sound good I'm afraid.
 

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I'd say the affair has probably already begun. Three times in two weeks is more often that many couples meet up when they have just started dating.

She's making excuses. The bottom line is that nothing you say or do is going to change her mind about what she's doing. When you give her what she wants, the rules suddenly change because she is invested in keeping her opportunity open.

I don't know what your situation is that has you living apart, but it's not working well. If you can bring her back home, that'd be a good plan.
 

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First, is you wife a native of China? I'm assuming yes if her XBF is living there too. That may be a problem for you. Also, is she on a temporary assignment or is her situation in China open ended with no end date on the horizon?

This is just my opinion, but NFW do I ever allow my career to put me in a situation where I'm in a long distance relationship with my wife. The extended time away from each other alone is caustic to a marriage. I don't care if it's just a 1 year or 2 year temporary assignment, but husbands and wives should NEVER be separated like this. Since she moved over there a year ago, it's clear that this is a longer term than just 1 year and I'm guessing it's open ended. If that's the case, then IMO your only chance at solving this is to either 1) she moves back to the U.S. permanently or 2) you move to China permanently. If you two don't figure out how to move back together soon, your marriage is over - XBF or no XBF.

And yes, most likely your wife is having an affair with the XBF.
 

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Thanks MattMatt,

Do you know how I can contact the moderator? I'm new to this.

Also the my wife met the Ex on vacation in China about a decade ago. As life would have it, she recently found a position in the same part of China as the Ex a decade later.
Oh, boy! How convenient.:rolleyes:

I have asked the moderators to move your post to the CWI section.
 

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She is giving you the Smoke Screen, Nothing is happening he is just someone I can talk to and I have seen him numerous times over the past two weeks.

If it is not a PA already it is at least an EA. Though with a being an X who she has previously been intimate with it is probably a PA. Sorry, it is rare that you find anyone who has firm boundaries when they have deceived you, She did not tell you she was talking to him because you wouldn't react well. MAJOR RED FLAG!!!

1. Immediately demand NC from her with him, if not start exploring your options.
 

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Sorry to be blunt here but if she's NOT sleeping with her ex BF, I'd be shocked.

There's more (red) flags waving here than at the General Assembly of the UN:

-she met up with an ex-boyfriend (her first lover) on three occasions over
-Don't Worry - He's just a friend
-Sex isn't what it was before she hooked up with him
-She wants "space"
-It's basically your fault because you don't clean the house enough, you don't talk to her enough, you don't meet her emotional needs, balh, blah, blah
-And now that you've taken steps to address these problems? She tells you that there's a lack of chemistry!

Sorry Pal but she's following the cheater's handbook, chapter for chapter, verse for verse

As others have said, if you want a chance to fix this, the LD relationship you have with her has to end now. Either you get your butt on a plane to China NOW or she comes back to the US now!
 

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if no kids cut your losses.

and move on ,if you do have kids cut your losses and move on
 

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you're a half a world away from her,there's no way you can keep this relationship going with that vast of a difference. just tell her,baby you want space,here's thousand of miles of space---see ya.
 

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Long distance marriages don't work. Specially not when partners don't know about healthy boundaries. Better ask to move this to the CWI section.
 

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manoman,

You should also know that according to studies done by some relationship psychologists affairs with "old flames" burn brighter than those started with strangers. If they are having one, and it sounds very much like they are, then it will likely be extremely intense and moving forward rapidly.

You need to make it clear that it needs to stop NOW. I feel badly for you because you've basically been stripped of the ability to do a damn thing about this because of your distance. The only power you have right now is the power of leaving her if you aren't sure it will work.

If it were me, I would demand she return home. Choose her marriage or choose her career. Letting careers separate husbands from wives for so long is something I'll never agree with. There's a difference between a temporary overseas assignment and a year long assignment that doesn't appear very temporary.

I couldn't vote on your poll, my advice to give an ultimatum wasn't an option there.
 

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At a minimum she's gone on what is essentially dates with her ex, and is feeling lonely with only him to talk too... And she wants time alone from you.

My guess, the Space she wants is to go somewhere with the ex for a romantic vacation. That's why she's asking for a couple dark days.
 

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I'd say the affair has probably already begun. Three times in two weeks is more often that many couples meet up when they have just started dating.

She's making excuses. The bottom line is that nothing you say or do is going to change her mind about what she's doing. When you give her what she wants, the rules suddenly change because she is invested in keeping her opportunity open.

I don't know what your situation is that has you living apart, but it's not working well. If you can bring her back home, that'd be a good plan.
:iagree:

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How long will you be long-distance for?

Her meeting up with an ex (who she's dating) is no good. How long were they together for? Not that it really matters.

I tend to agree with 67th. She wants "space" on top of all the space between ou already? It doesn't sound good.

When will you see her again? How long do these trips of yours last together?

Ex has an advantage since he's tere live in the flesh. Plus they already have a romantic past = recipe for disaster.



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She wants space to see if things will work out with her and the ex, your the backup plan
 

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Long distance marriages don't work. Specially not when partners don't know about healthy boundaries. .
This.

Also, she wants to see if it'll work again with her ex. If it doesn't then she might get back to you. So to her, you're not a priority anymore ...at least not at this very moment. You got the 'I love you but not it love with you' speech.


Funny how she's thinking about chemistry after you spent 10 years together and now that her ex is in the picture.
Didn't she have time to think about the lack of chemistry before marriage?
 
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