If you've read my other threads you'll see that I was an idiot in a marriage of 16 years. A jerk at times, a drunk, etc. and took my wife for granted, which in turn caused her to have an emotional affair, etc. last year....and at one time she was planning on leaving me this summer. I was almost out the door, she was almost out the door, etc. but we stayed in the house for our kids, one of which is graduating in a few weeks...the other is 12 and for me to leave (I wanted to run from the pain of knowing my wife didn't love me) would have been devastating to him. I stayed instead and endured the pain. A lot more this this marriage story and our past, but I don't want to hash over it right now :-)
Fast FWD to today, about 7+ months later....things are completely different for us in this house. I'm a better, stronger, more outstanding person...better than I've ever been in my entire life...through much on myself, work and pain, soul-searching, etc. I don't drink anymore, my wife doesn't drink anymore, and as far as the outside world is concerned, we're an excellent couple and a happy household. Inside though, we're just at a point where we are good friends, sort of a superficial relationship although I yearn terribly for her again....we laugh a lot, talk more than we ever have, I listen better than I ever have, my art career is starting back up, I've lost 25+ lbs and I'm all muscle, we're both on a health kick, etc. etc....I've done or am doing EVERYTHING suggested to mey and that I've read on marriagebuilders and other sites....we don't talk about the relationship right now, the past, or the future right now...at my wife's request. Months ago she was SOO angry with me but she's worked on that and is such a calmer, nicer person. Use to be 'you always did this, you use to be this and that way' and now she doesn't say things like that anymore. We greet each other every day with a quick kiss on the lips, nothing romantic....long eye contact, smiles, and really nice hug which I usually try to get a few more seconds out of. We look each other in the eye when we talk, and have sex now and then - although I'm the one who initiates it...and she's very unresponsive which bothers me but I think it's because we're just not there yet....she has said that I'm just trying to make myself feel better - probably true. We compliment each other on our looks and such.
She says she still doesn't have those romantic feelings for me that she use to have....and that they were gone last year when I was a jerk to her, and went away over a long time of my emotional abuse to her. I KNOW I caused her to build a wall around her heart, and 6 months ago she wouldn't touch me and told me she was afraid of me. It's so different today than it use to be. Things are so much better now because I show patient, trust, and I give her space...I listen when she starts to talk to me. I tell her how important she is and how much I care for her. I support her in her career training and such. I look and act like a model husband now ha!
Anyway I've read that it takes time for people that have been hurt to lower their defense, a long time to heal themselves....and sometimes that love they had for a person will come back. I know at one time I wasn't sure if I was in love with her, and she was ALL OVER me and it drove me nuts during that time. Now it's flip flopped! I realized just how awesome she is, and I'm 100% sure that I love her more than anything in this world. She's tried so many things over the years for this marriage, and I was unresponsive until she gave up and wrote it off as over. Hindsight....JEEZ it sucks!
I'll say 'I love you' about every 3 days, she'll say 'I love you too'. Sometimes on the phone she'll say 'Love ya' first before hanging up. We keep things happy, upbeat around the house....it's easy since we're both that type of person.
Anyway I'm determined to be patient as long as it takes, and I continue to follow my heart which tells me 'something' is still there, something worth working on and fighting for.
Any tips, suggestions, help from somebody who has been in my shoes? Any chance romance might sneak back in? I don't push things because I don't want to push her further away. She has said in the past 'Let me come to you', and 'You won't give me a chance to think'....things like that when I was being too clingy and suffocating. I'm not nowadays which has taken me many months to learn to do.
Location: Temporary Resident of Earth Lord Only Knows Where Next
Re: Do the emotional attachment or love ever return?
There are several parallels in your story to my own. Yes the emotions can come back but it can take a lot of time. One thing I learned is that even though my love for my wife came back in a flash at the shot to the head I was very close to losing her it has not been the same for her. I was expecting for a long time she would have a watershed event that would bring it all back. She thought the same thing. But what we found is that regaining her emotional attachment to me came at a very slow pace. And after 3 year of recovery we are still working on it. In reading your post it looks like both you and your wife have both made positive strides in the marriage. I commend you both. I have linked to a a thread I started two years ago. Note the time references and dates on the posts. Recovery can take a long time. I read somewhere where a full recovery can take 3 - 5 years so ours is not unique. Certainly there were things we might have done to recover more quickly but given our outcome I don't think I would have changed a thing. Since my last post on it a couple of months ago we've made further strides. Good luck and chin up, it can get better.
Re: Do the emotional attachment or love ever return?
Amp - thanks for your encouragement! I feel like I need some now.
It's so up and down, painful, and confusing.
Last week she wrote and reminder email (to pick up my son from school, her and her mother went out of town for the day) and it simply said
"Have a Super Day, I love you!!!"
I can't tell you how good that made me feel, since she's not the type to say something she doesn't mean.
Over the weekend she was sick and it was daughter's graduation and party, so I busted my but while she rested. We had a good saturday evening, even a glass of champagne or two together without her getting angry.
This pas week she's been busy with an online class and studying afterwards. I've been patient, supportive around the house and with the kids but I've been at work all day.
This morning I tried to initiate sex again, and she pushed my hand away twice. Yeah it was early, and she was probably sleepy....and now I feel like a groveling idiot for even trying!
I don't want her to drift away further, I don't want to push anything that'll push her away further. I'm giving her space, and at the same time trying to be there for her....but holy shyte is it painful, difficult, and the worst part is NOT KNOWING what's going on....is she using me for now? Is she healing?
I mean we went from having insane sex almost all day NY's Day and the weeks that followed (at that time she was having an EA, or at least thought she was in love with someone in another state, her gay friend, and wanted to have an open marriage...I sort of agreed early on and we were having great sex, and then backed out, broke down, and she's since decided she doesn't love him and doesn't want that arrangement anymore - AND sex and intimacy with me has halted, in a nutshell), to me having breakdowns/begging/crying in Feb/March, doing all the wrong things because I thought she was leaving, to where we are today.
I'm guessing, based on reading and advice, that she's healing somewhat but still has resentment against me. The non interest in sex is because she has no emotional bond with me anymore because of that resentment. I'm doing everything right now, and small significant responses are coming from her...few and far between but they're there....so I hang in there patiently.
The I love you email was something I never expected so see again, I mean a couple months ago she was SO angry at me and I was sure she was out the door.