Start with His Needs, Her Needs (download it today) and sit down with your wife and plan 15 hours a week of undivided attention with her. Date your wife.
Sounds dreamy. How do you accomplish that when it's been made clear that you are not her priority?
She already feels like she isn't getting to be the mother she wants to be (she often sleeps with him at night because she misses him so much all day), and I feel her pain. I don't see how pressuring her to spend *less* time on our son is going to accomplish anything other than to reinforce how needy I am (you yourself have cautioned me against holding unrealistic expectations). I keep trying to find more ways to give her *more* time with him. That's why I try to take care of as much household responsibilities as I possibly can.
The good part is that this comes more naturally to most women
Seriously? Once a woman has lost respect for a man, I don't see them doing that sort of thing 'naturally.' If anything, it's men who are more naturally inclined to want to take care of their women. Women see needing to take care of their man as a deficiency on his part. Women hate men that they feel they need to take care of. That's why the 'bad boys' are so attractive.
That will change once you're willing to do the work.
Such as? I mean, that's the whole point of my working hard to overcome my emotional dependencies. If I can be independent, she won't feel pressured by me into having to be someone for me. She feels smothered and overwhelmed by me already.
You can change that if you go back to that point where you were in love with her and showing her great care and would do anything for her.
Are you suggesting I double-down on being the 'nice guy'? I've already been doing that - it's totally counter-productive. While she appreciates all of the support I give her, it doesn't make her feel amorous.
or ways for her to work but spend all weekend just having fun with the family instead of running errands and doing chores
Did you miss the part where I work my ass off to get as many chores done as I can so she *can* have extra time with my son on weekends? She and he usually go off to do some activity together while I stay home and take care of the house. I'm not sure how much more I can do.
Don't get me wrong - I totally appreciate and hold sacred her need to spend time with our son, and his need to be with her as much as possible (he worships the ground she walks on). It's a big reason why we aren't divorced. So this isn't necessarily a problem, but I feel like I'm doing everything I can.
Though I know that there is always more I can do. Like not being on the internet trying to solve my problems, lol.
She hasn't accepted it either, which is why she is telling you she is unhappy.
I think she has. She's mostly unhappy because *I'm* unhappy. She just wishes I could be happy knowing that we are doing everything we can to raise our son right. She feels that I'm being selfish and narcissistic by 'demanding' that our marriage be different (and more like it was). And, as you say, I probably am.
I read that you're in the best shape of your life
I was when our marital troubles started. But that was before having a kid.
Now I'm in about the worst shape of my life, and sleep deprived most of the time to boot.
you're just not sure how to do it with a wife who is likely depressed too.
She is. Having a stressful job, a depressed/'needy' husband, and never enough time with the love of her life (our son) is hurting her a lot.
Trust me, if I could jumpstart my now dead career and start making the big bucks so she could have more freedom and happiness, I would do it in a heart beat.
I just haven't figured out how to work, take care of everything and everyone in the household, and go back to school or whatever all at the same time. While dealing with my own sense of 'neediness', loneliness, and depression. It just seems impossible...