I have posted a few times here and think I am finally understanding a lot of the comments. My wife has been complaining for years about me and our marriage and I have always tried to downplay problems - even my own. Well we are going back to counseling and hopefully this will help. We are in our late 30s, kids, and have been married 15 years. In the past I have always allowed our problems be defined by her but lately I have spoken up and started saying yeah well you are not meeting my needs either. I am totally in love with her and she is in love with me but it appears is waiting for someone/something to tell her it is ok or maybe she is just in a phase.
I have really been working on myself and improving behaviors she was concerned about - this has been going on for a few years but lately been trying the MMSL stuff and it has been liberating. I am living and thinking more how I used to before marriage. The sex part is still going nowhere as she refuses to be anything more that a passive participant. For example I set up a nice date night and before we left she said my breath was off -- but thats ok I don't know if we will be kissing anyway. wtf - I was steaming inside. I have told her recently i will not continue to accept a passionless marriage and she seems scared about the prospect of us breaking up but refuses to move closer toward me. Anyway what I really need is practical advice for MC. I feel like I need to say as little as possible because she is so confused....her words not mine. And because I will say things really lightly and then they will be analyzed by her for 20 minutes. So guys help me out. What works best for you in MC? Thanks
I guess it depends on what it is you are wanting to address or bring up in MC. If its the lack of sex then you might could start there. She might not want to hear it but its something that bothers you that needs to be addressed. Maybe the counselor can help pull out of her WHY she still feels the way she does about it.
Wife and I recently went through a round of MC/sex therapy. She did several individual sessions because of family/upbringing problems from childhood, and I did one or two individual sessions that helped me get past some of my strict Catholic upbringing issues.
I learned that despite my belief that I am a good communicator, my wife felt otherwise, and I had to improve in this area. Instead of communicating when I was upset, I would withdraw.
My wife didn't understand that sex was how I connected emotionally with her - she thought it was strictly my need to "get off", despite my telling her otherwise for 20+ years.
It took a third party to convince us of how the other felt. We also had a willingness to do the work and get things back on track.
My best advice for MC is to be 100% open and honest, don't sugar coat anything, and don't be embarrassed to discuss your sexual issues frankly and clinically. When it comes to sex therapy, I don't think there is anything I could say that the therapist hasn't heard before.
Thanks Calalilly and Browncoat. We are both turnIng in a background questionnaire. This counselor uses cognitive behavior therapy which I think is perfect for us as I believe this approach is more focused on present issues. Our marriage has baggage for sure but clearly we need to move past it. I guess my concern about the meeting is that sometimes when I am asked a question and then get several follow ups my original thought or statement becomes far from reality. My wife is a psychologist as well and she does this in our arguements like she just keeps cross examIning me until she hears what she is after. It is tough to maintain my original thought without constantly repeating it. Anyway my thought is to just listen as much as I can and be careful about makIng broad statements. Maybe my concerns are unfounded. Last time we did counseling my widget refused to admit to any responsibility in our conflicts and thus most of the discussion was directed at me. Eventually I stopped going as I had worked hard on all of her legitimate concerns but she failed to move closer to me. Said she was just waiting to see if changes would last. For the most part I have stayed true to those behavioral changes. So upon her recent declaration that we need to return to counseling cause she is not happy but this time I have pushed back with neither am I. Basically she shows little interest in having a passionate marriage and has stated having attraction problems. Well I told her I understand but I am not going to stay in a relationship in which I don't feel that from my spouse. She appears thouroghly confused and off balanced. I can see she is committed to me and wants marriage but seems like she is having trouble letting go of past resentment. In the past I let her define this as our problem but I intend to make it a point that my resentment is real too but I just want to move past it all. Just don't want to walk into another trap but I do feel I am much more prepared this time. Posted via Mobile Device
here's what i found. you have to go into mc ready to bare your soul and put all the issues on the table. small ones, big ones, seemingly insignificant ones. you only get one shot at this. you can't end up a year from now saying "you always do _____" when you had a chance to discuss it and never did.
you also have to be prepared for your wife to do the same thing. that is point out a lot of issues she has with you.
in the end, some things each of you will be able to live with in the other. some things will need to change. you both have to be prepared to change WITHOUT waiting for the other to go first.
upon her recent declaration that we need to return to counseling cause she is not happy but this time I have pushed back with neither am I. Basically she shows little interest in having a passionate marriage and has stated having attraction problems. Well I told her I understand but I am not going to stay in a relationship in which I don't feel that from my spouse. She appears thouroghly confused and off balanced.
seems like she is having trouble letting go of past resentment. I intend to make it a point that my resentment is real too but I just want to move past it Posted via Mobile Device
Having spent enough on counseling to pay a year's tuition at a private university, it is my humble opinion that counseling is an exercise for the woman. I really wouldn't count on getting much attention for your issues.
If I may present another humble opinion, the problem you are experiencing has everything to do with your wife's internal self image. If she is subject to a dysfunctional condition where she allows your needs or demands into further erode her feelings about herself, then you may be working against your own purpose.
Nothing will burn up the little bit of love left in your marriage faster than resentment. Neither partner should be holding resentment and the fact that one does is not an excuse for the other to do the same
Ten Year Hubby - yeah I agree resentment is a killer. I can let mine go but she so far cannot it's almost as if she is waiting for this MC to tell her too. And I am sure that a big part of our communications issues come from her insecurities. We ended up in an argument this weekend because I told her idea for a gift was a bad idea. You would have thought I called her a bad name. She texted me saying nobody deserves to hear that. I did not back down and told her that I always respond positively and compliment good ideas and that I was not trying to insult her but in fact I thought it was a bad idea. It seems she is so influenced by everything I do and say to the point she infers things that do not exist. I have to tread carefully with this as she is sensitive to me pointing out how sensitive she is --- to her this reflects my lack of understanding of her nevermind that she should also know that I speak plainly and come from a very blunt to he point family. Posted via Mobile Device
After my wifes affair we went to MC every week for two months it really helped put the train back on the track. Finding a good one that listen to both parties and both are will to change really helps. We are a year since DD and our marriage is even strong. Is is almost like when we first meet.
For example I set up a nice date night and before we left she said my breath was off -- but thats ok I don't know if we will be kissing anyway. wtf - I was steaming inside. I have told her recently i will not continue to accept a
There is something the two of you can talk about in counseling...
It would have been very appropriate and helpful is you can remarked back to her about this statement... "Why would you say something hurtful like that to me?" You need to learn to speak up when the offending behavior occurs. If you do, she will be much more likely to get where you are coming from.
And your wife could spend some time in counseling explaining and exploring why she would blurt out something so hurtful. Why does she want to hurt you? Why doesn't she want to kiss you? To me the statement sounds like she feels she's in control of whether or not the two of you kiss. Is this the basis of her withholding kissing, sex etc? So she can have control?
Again thanks all for comments. I really want to get it right this time because I feel it is our last chance at having a good marriage.
Our session went ok. Actually was really rough on me but I like the counselor and I think this time it will be better as he is more engaged and said after a few sessions he will propose ideas/methods to work on our issues. I was relieved to hear that the last time we went to MC it was just talk, talk, talk. My wife thought that was great and I gave it my best but again I took the subtle suggestions but she did not just wanting to keep talking, as if could explain or rationalize away all of her issues.
I guess I should not have been surprised that the session focused more on me as I had been more detailed in questionnaire. The MC read my list of concerns in marriage which mostly revolved around not feeling wanted, loved, or important to my spouse. My wife said yeah all those deal with sex - To her it is a single issue but just as she is explaining how her emotions and sexuality are interconnected so are mine. And besides that I intend to keep up my intent on my sexual needs being met. If I was hungry I would want food. I cannot grasp how she does not get that since or sex our sex life is so sporadic, infrequent, and controlled by her that I would be focused on getting that need met.
She also said some mean things that blew me away. She ridiculed me for taking anti-depressants some times after we argued. I don't take them anymore as they actually make me distant and basically so mellow I just want to tell her to leave me alone cause I don't care. Anyway it was her solution that I needed those cause I was "angry". For her angry gets projected onto me anytime I am not clearly happy. If I am quiet I am angry. If I say no I don't like that I am angry. She appears to be overly influenced by my slightest movements - and most times she is wrong in interpreting how I am feeling. Nonetheless, she will start asking question after question until she gets a word she can use -- See you are mad, angry, frustrated. Yeah and by that point I am. Sucks!
Anyway the bright spot was the MC spent a bit of time discussing how people can project emotions incorrectly onto others. As we had talked about me for so much of visit he said next week the focus would be on my wife. Sitting there listening to her complain about me and with zero acknowledgment of all the improvements I have made since last MC - i felt like I was going to throw up. I truly believe deep down she knows this is BS. In fact weeks ago she commented to me about how I seem different and happy and optimistic. Yeah I told her I am just determined to be happy even if we as a couple are not.
Right now I am struggling with the thought that as much as she appears to love me she secretly would be happy if I just died. Of course she would not want the kids to have a father but at least she could finally be free of me. We are finally at a place financially that we are comfortable and I have this weird vision of her so content with the kids, FB, and Pinterest and little projects. This is not helpful to think this way I know and I am sure not true.
Marriage is so tough when you are in love with your spouse and they just have a different vision of what that is supposed to be. For years I have almost wished she developed a crush or something on someone else. Yeah that would worry me but I think I am much more afraid that those passionate emotions are dead. Lets pray they are just dormant.
For the record I am by far not a perfect husband. But I am the primary breadwinner. We never fight over chores. I do a ton and I love to cook and spend time with my kids. She never has to nag to get me to do something. We don't yell or scream. I don't cuss or act vulgar. I am exactly the same size and weight when we meet 18 years ago.
I am so in love but I secretly wish I never met her. And I am resentful/fearful that i am missing out on life. Yeah we both have our issues. She is so beautiful to me and thus I am still so attracted-- weird because I know that if she was not I would have to leave. The brain is such an odd thing. But my rational side is telling me I cannot let this marriage fail because then I would be a failure and more importantly I would not be able to be the dad my kids need. They are still little - can't think of not giving them a hug each night and seeing their beautiful little faces in the morning.
I am so in love but I secretly wish I never met her. And I am resentful/fearful that i am missing out on life.
I think that feeling is normal for a person in your situation. Any man who feels unloved and unwanted from the person they love... after all those years of marriage. Yeah it cuts to the core, and your mind naturally wanders to thoughts like that at times. I know mine did, though I'm ashamed of those thoughts at the same time... they were the types of dark thoughts I had to make a point to push out of my mind.
Your wife seems to want to control the MC sessions. She seems to want to harp on you a ton. Does she listen? If she doesn't, does she know she's not listening?
She seems to want to henpeck you a lot from what you wrote. Do you let her? We all have our boundaries, and it really is important to have them. Where are yours set on this issue? I know for me I have a zero tolerance for henpecking. We can discuss anything honest and in a way where we both get a voice, but I won't stand for nagging and picking on me about something. Though that's me and not you.
I understand feeling like therapy is your last ditch effort to save the marriage. It may well be, but use that feeling to try and spur you on to make the absolute most out of it. If your therapist is a disappointment switch and get a better one. If this is your last fight to save the marriage, give it your all. If I may use a sports metaphor: leave it all on the field.
Thanks Browncoat! I really really appreciate your input awhile back I was not ready to listen but your advice has been dead on with the info I have given. In a way yes she has always controlled any discussion of our marriage. The MC went along but clearly stated that our next session was going to focus on her. I finally have my antenna up and put a quick stop to any type of comment that would not be accepted if I had said/done to her. The thing is I have always let her slide cause I am thick skinned or whatever but then my resentment would build when she would melt at the slightest slight. We can talk about anything too but I think she has always felt as if she never has to bend or compromise like hey i do want I want. That's all cool but in a committed relationship I can't do this anymore as I feel like I am taken for granted like I come after kids, any project, and who knows what else and no thank you for the paycheck or security I provide to the family. And I do half of chores easily including the cooking and cleaning. I am not a needy guy at all so it took me so long to realize. It kills me to see women on here complaining about how to get him to stop snacking before dinner or how he never helps around the house. Posted via Mobile Device