Working her a$$ off, with almost singular focus, to both advance her career so she can provide a good material life for her family and to ensure that my son has the best opportunities available to him (and she generally does take the lead on things like researching schools, summer camps, after-school programs, educational opportunities/activities, etc).
When I push her to be there more for 'us', she generally points me to the above. She wishes that I could just love her for what she already is doing, rather than making her feel like she still has to do more for 'us.'
Though I usually point out that it's not just a 'doing' thing, but a 'being' thing. I realize that the '15 hours a week' thing (or whatever) may be a logistical nightmare at this point, but I would like to feel closeness and intimacy with my partner regardless.
Nothing in here is stuff she does for the marriage, other than trying not to treat you like crap. What a stellar way to treat your spouse.
Here is a simple exercise. Ask her to list all of the things she does for you. You list work, providing, advancing her career, researching schools for your child, etc.
Question: If you were to die tomorrow, how much of that stuff would she still do?
Answer: All of it. Why? Because it is not for you; it is for her and your child.
You are lying to yourself if you believe any of that is for you. You may bear some benefit from it because you happen to be a member of the family, but none of it is being done for you. Period.
Case in point - I learned of our second pregnancy three years ago (something I had grave reservations about, given that I thought our marriage was already in enough trouble already) because I read a letter that came in the mail from her doctor. That just seemed so wrong to me (but par for the course at that point). She came home from work and had brought a piece of cake for me in order to celebrate 'the big announcement', but I just couldn't believe she didn't communicate the news directly as soon as she knew the however many days before. It was weird...
The pregnancy ended in a miscarriage, and during that difficult time, she actually took off work and made time to talk. She said, "I miss talking with you", and I almost teared up, because that was the first time in a couple of years that I felt like she even wanted to be around me.
"Wife, the only thing stopping you is you."
Your wife has her ass planted firmly in the victim chair, and is quite comfortable there.
Your actions (and your therapists words) are enabling her to remain seated in said victim chair. She is unhappy, and it is all your fault. Convenient, that.
Did I link this for you yet? If not, read it, and read it very carefully. It will explain much in both of your behaviors. https://www.lynneforrest.com/articles/2008/06/the-faces-of-victim/
I wouldn't say perfectly content. She occasionally mentions that she, too, is unhappy with the marriage. And life in general. Nothing has really ended up being as she had hoped and dreamed. I didn't turn out to be the husband she had hoped I was, but she (unlike me) is just doing her best to deal with things and to not let the disappointments distract her from what needs to be done. She doesn't know why I can't just do the same thing.
She also sees me as needy, because (apparently) she feels that the reason we had such a 'perfect' marriage prior was because she was giving too much of herself to the marriage (something that I feel like I did as well, but whatever) and that she lost herself catering to me and my 'needs.' She doesn't want to do that again, nor does she feel like she even *can* do that again, given all the other needs in life. Harsh viewpoint to confront for me...
Here you are, trying to get back to a marriage you considered ideal, and she is telling you she never wants to be in a marriage like that again. Where is the compromise in those polar opposites?
Sex became more and more of an issue about seven years ago (during the tumultuous time of me losing my job, us moving to a bigger house, my dad dying and me being gone for weeks at a time trying to help my mom, etc). I could definitely feel her losing attraction for me. The bottom dropped out of our sex life after she got pregnant, and it's been mostly sexless ever since.
In fact, it was easy to establish when we got pregnant the second time - her gyno thought we had determined the conception date incorrectly (off by a couple weeks), but we had only had sex one time in the months prior, so we were pretty clear as to when conception actually took place. Turns out, of course, that the reason the gyno thought the conception date was different is because the fetus wasn't developing normally, which is what led to the miscarriage a few weeks later.
I am sorry that happened. I would not wish it upon anyone.
She would claim that she is doing a lot of work on her end, mostly to try to be a better person and less of a ***** so we can have a harmonious life (to her credit, she has made progress - she tends to ***** and complain a lot less, and her passive-aggressive behavior and lashing out in frustration has definitely dialed back). She just feels like she is doing everything she can to keep the ship on course, and doesn't like the idea that she should somehow be doing more.
Please recognize what she is saying. She is unwilling to do more. Her ideal regarding marriage is either really screwed up, or she simply resents you so much that she is refusing to see the ideal anymore.
Please, please set your timeline. Without it, you will be dragging the corpse of your marriage for years into the future. Until that timeline, work your ass off to make it better, but allow yourself to recognize if/when the effort is fruitless, and pull the plug.