I appreciate the encouragement.
What you described there is what I am trying to work towards. That has been my strategy. We are both good people, we both love each other we are just missing opportunities to meet each others needs. We both used control and manipulation to try and get our needs met but now I want us just to be open about them.
The struggle for me is when I lay out my needs clearly, i.e. sex. And she flat out refuses. And I have done it almost exactly like your wife described. I said, "for me to feel emotionally connected and loved I need to have sex." She said it wasn't a real need and she couldn't do it. So then what do I do? Just try and meet her needs as best I can and hope for change (basically what I have been trying to do the last year)? What would have happened in your marriage if you had flat out refused to do the dishes?
How I described it to her was we were missing something important and now we can finally see clearly. Our mindset should be, "Oh my gosh I had no idea you needed me to do xyz." There should be an urgency, there should be running. Running to meet the neglected need. But she seems apathetic and resistant. It just hurts me more and I end up feeling even more rejected.
If you've really been doing that for a year and you've been having these open-book conversations for a year, then yes you need to be more demanding. But from what I've read I was under the impression that these real heart to hearts is a new thing that just started recently.
I want to make it clear that I agree you need to not dote on her 24/7, be your own man, and learn to respect yourself. That is important for any relationship and especially so in my case.
Timing is a big issue in these though. If you have really JUST started meeting your wife's needs, it will take time for the resentment to fade. You can talk to your wife about this, ask her if what you're doing is meeting her needs. If she says yes, ask her how long she's felt that way.
I think you need to definitely make time for yourself, find out who you are and make sure you are your own person. Give your wife some time to turn around, be open about it. Ask her how long she thinks it could take to let go of some of the resentment.
You'll know when you can't take it anymore, at that point you'll need to make the decision to keep going or leave. From what you're telling me your wife is wanting to work it out and it sounds like you both hit the bottom and want to start making it better. Don't short-change yourself by coming off as an arrogant prick and pushing your wife in the emotional ****ter.
The "man up" phrase can mean a lot of things to a lot of people. To me it means, always knowing who you are and your values, not compromising on them. It means making time for yourself. But to me it also means being a patient, understanding husband.
There are guys who will get run over their whole lives, Extreme A. There are guys who will be demanding asshats who only think of themselves, Extreme B. For some reason guys tend to fantasize about being Extreme B (granted they probably get a lot more meaningless sex). Somewhere in the middle are good men who have happy wives and are good role-models for their kids.
Any assbag with a wiener can demand sex from his wife. To me a real man is his own man, but is strong enough to put his wife first if needed. There's a difference to that and being a doormat. From what your telling me it sounds like your wife is jaded and is going to come around. It doesn't make you a doormat to be patient with her. Like I said, if you continue for weeks and get NO response, then you're being a doormat.
Start some more hobbies and make sure you are your own person and not just a slave, but don't stop being the man your wife needs you to be. That happy ground is in your name: BALANCE, and it's not always easy to find.