What I am trying to tell you is that it is very likely the reasons are not fixable. If they were she very likely would have told you by now given how much emotional havoc a sexless marriage creates.
If it were me, I would sit her down and have the "talk". And the talk goes like this.
I understand there are things you want me to do to improve the emotional component of our marriage. I am all for that and as you can tell am committed to improving.
Separate from that we need to have an honest, unfiltered likely raw conversation about sexual attraction. Because the truth is - all that other stuff will make me a better friend, companion. But NONE of it is going to create desire. And that has been the real weakness in this marriage from day 1. So start telling me what creates desire, and what dampens desire.
For instance - I can guarantee you she has been in situations where a guy has behaved a certain way and it aroused her. And his behavior might have had nothing to do with her. Maybe it was a guy handling a difficult customer. Or giving a presentation in a really skilled/confident way.
This is NOT a critique of your wife. That type reaction is totally normal and has nothing to do with infidelity of any type. The thing is to get her to tell you what arouses her.
BTW - she is going to do everything she can to avoid this conversation. It is frightening and awkward. So you need to be firm or she will blow you off. And you have to decide what firm means. For me, and I have never had to have "that" particular talk, but when stonewalled on other topics I have just said "no further conversation about anything else happens until this conversation is concluded to my satisfaction". And that means other than kid schedules I simply go radio silent.
As for her emotional sensitivity let me tell you a story. My wife and I accidentally got pregnant before marriage - in fact before we were living together. For SURE before she was in love with me. I moved in and there was a lot of conflict. She was very embarrassed about the pregnancy - she comes from a religious catholic family. I was generally doing the best I could to be supportive. While we were fighting a lot we were also having sex daily - because - fortunately at least the attraction part of the puzzle has been good all along.
Overall I felt she was in general taking out her unhappiness with the situation on me. And to a degree I was tolerant - hey lets face it - she was going through a 9 month pregnancy - my physical participation was that I came really hard to start it all off. So I was not looking for parity - just an absence of "over the top" behavior. One afternoon one of us spilled a very small amount of water on the floor. We both walked into the bathroom together and I pulled 9 tiles of toilet paper off the roll. She erupted - full throttle fury. We only needed 2 tiles. I instantly responded in kind. About an hour later I calmly told her that if she was going to react that way to basically "nothing" I was moving out and would agree to the standard formula for child support after our child was born. I wasn't bluffing, I was simply defining a behavioral boundary. She reluctantly acknowledged she had over reacted. I told her that I wanted feedback - but was not going to stay with someone who was emotionally abusive. Guess what - that behavior pattern never repeated. See she is a survivor also. And she knew that the good guy she was with was really about to pack his bags and his paycheck and not look back.
I would be lying if I claimed smooth sailing post that one conversation. NOT. We had conflict. But the concept of proportionality applied. Full throttle fury was reserved for big stuff. Mild irritation was conveyed for little stuff.
And for many things I taught her the magic phrase "next time it would be better if you could do X when Y happens."
And yes - unfortunately I did have to warn her that I would leave every once in a while when I felt she was way out of her swim lane. But that was 21 years ago. And over time things steadily got better.
And ultimately we both converged on the golden rule. And we are both equally comfortable getting inside each others personal space, going eye to eye and asking "are you really sure you would be ok if I do to you, what you just did to me?"
I know this is difficult but often the more you buffer a "sensitive" from fair consequence, the more difficult they become.
Thanks for the hug
Yes, it is hard for people to view others that are making an effort to change with only the new goggles instead of letting the old goggles in. The slightest trigger from the "old" habits can flip those new goggles to old and have you looking through the old again. I say this as I've seen it from my wife AND I've seen it from me towards my wife. Fact is she has made huge strides in this as well.
Our counselor had said this to us as well, perhaps both my wife and myself need a reminder of this, everything we 'know' doesn't become inset and a good habit until practiced quite a bit.
Part of me keeping "MY Path" in line here is trying to help others, and in doing so reminding myself of the path I feel I need to stay on. Thank you for sharing AND reading, I know it is starting to get like a novel.
I know it may seem absurd, but I worked with her at one point prior to us dating. What seemed to me to be the smallest of things would truly just hit her like it was all consuming and unbearable. It is real.
Yes I've been given pretty much every excuse known to man and the inhabitants of the Star Wars, Star Trek, DC and Marvel universes. In the end they simply mean "I don't want to be with you"
Yes, I've felt one or another of these edited versions many a time...
"Sorry I am not attracted to you, never really have been but I do like you and by the way - I don't want to hurt your feelings by coming right out with that so will give endless excuses."
"I am not going to have sex with you just to make you happy because I shouldn't have to if I don't feel like it and I don't actually care enough about your happiness to make the effort to work on the real reasons why I don't feel like it"
On the other hand even if these are her real thoughts, they do have possibility for change. My wife is not a player. She IS a survivor though. She would concur, I'm sure. (perhaps I should write everything from here on out in rhyme -could make a more entertaining read