Some of you may already know a little about my situation but here is a brief recap.
Married 13 years we have 3 kids (9,5,2). Eight years ago I would have said we had a pretty good marriage. Five years ago we started MC and did that for a year and a half. Mostly during that time he worked on helping me "Man Up," although he did not use that termanology. After that time the MC seemed to think we were doing pretty good and drastically lessened the number of sessions. Things eventually started going south again.
My wife seems openly resentful and bitter. She has said that she is emotionally separated from me. In June she asked that we take a break from sex to give her space to process all the pain from the past (no one major thing just a bunch of stuff from the past ie. "you said this 8 years ago). Eventually we started up with a new MC. After about 5 months we stopped going.
So here we are.
I've been reading the "No More Mr. Nice Guy" and decided to lay out some of my expectations for the relationship. I tried my best to explain that these were things we needed to get to and may not be something that we can jump right into. So, here were my basic expectations.
1. I expect her to share her needs with me openly and honestly.
2. Our relationship has to be a priority. We need to make efforts to heal, reconnect and move forward. This included spending more time together, and generally making it more of an urgent need.
3. Respect. This included some specifics about not lying to me, not mocking me in public and not devaluing my ideas and needs (I can't tell you how many times she has rolled her eyes at me and told me nobody cared about xyz).
4. Love. This included telling each other that we love each other and show love through physical affection. I did tell her that I need sex 2-3 times a week but realize we can't just jump right into that so I could negotiate the amount of times, but it did need to happen.
1. Wanted to make sure I knew that making the relationship a priority was also my responsibility.
2. Although I was asking her to stop she wanted me to know that I spent a lot of time "teasing" and making fun of her early on in our marriage.
3. She does not want to say "I love you" and I need to understand that the relationship doesn't have to have that. She does not want to have sex and at most she could see us doing it once a month. She asked that if these were none negotiable than she would like to talk to the MC before giving a "real" answer. She also said that my "need" to have sex was not a real need but more of a desire.
I did start off this conversation stating that I was sorry about the pain that I have caused her. And that I have made some major changes to myself and that I want to do better at meeting her needs. I want us both to openly share our needs so that we can willingly, lovingly care for each others needs.
By the end she shared a number of times where I hurt her and she did not feel like I acknowledged it or did not apologize for it. I apologized for those things and told her I was glad she could share them with me. She also told me that the level of tenderness in the relationship was so far below what she needed that she didn't see how I could ever meet her need there.
Anyway, things are tense. I'm starting to think I must be an awful person. I didn't want to hurt her in some cases I didn't even realize I was hurting her. But, I have clearly caused unrepairable damage.
Sorry for the rant. Not even sure I have any questions really. Just not sure what to do. Do you think I totally screwed that interaction up? Was that the wrong approach? Am I missing something or isn't telling each other you love them a basic component to a marriage relationship?