The last attempt
So, here goes. I hope there are those out there who can relate. My wife and I have been married for 20 years, and we have 4 children. Over the past 5+ years, I have been "recovering" from sexual addiction, and the reason I use quotations is because the recovery has not been clean. It has been very much like a roller coaster, with good times of sobriety, and not-so-good times as well. When I say sexual addiction, I mean a pornography addiction, which began when I found a neighbor's magazine stash when I was about 11 years old, unbeknown to my parents, which progressed to an almost daily ritual. When my wife and I got married, and int those years, I didn't call it an addiction, but that's what it was. Looking back now at my intimacy with my wife, I realize it has always been dysfunctional, because much of our sexual relationship was very selfish and controlling by me, driven by the fantasy-type scenarios which porn propagates. My wife had no idea that I would watch porn, but she found out probably 15 years ago. We didn't deal with it then, simply swept it under the rug, and I continued to struggle privately. The pornography addiction advanced to chatting, even emailing from the chatting, etc. Although I never have had a physical affair with anyone, I have had several mind and heart affairs through the images I have seen and the people I have communicated with. Over the past 4 years, my wife and I have been separated for about 2.5 years of that time, and for the past 20 months consecutively. I live only 5 minutes away, so as to remain in close contact with the kids and available. Despite all of this, and this only scratches the surface, as there is a lot of junk in my wife's childhood and life that compound things, we do love each other. Love is present, but we find ourselves now in a strange place. There is something worth looking up, and it's called Sternberg's Triangular Theory of love. My wife and I have friendship love and companionate love, but our physical relationship has died. W have not had sex for over 2 years in the midst of all of this. In the midst of all of this, in the midst of the relationship tumult, my wife gained maybe 40-50 pounds as she was consuming much alcohol to medicate the pain, and, at the same time, she said "I don't care how I look for you anymore". Now, I am in a good place in my recovery, sober, and getting healthy, and although my wife and I do relate well to each other, I have no idea what healthy intimacy looks like with her. I do not think of her as a sexual being anymore. There is nothing that we do to entice the other, flirt with each other, or make each other feel wanted or important, a consequence of everything we've been through. And it has been a long time. We both agree that we are framing the next 6 months as a special period of separation, at the end of which, if we are both in healthy places emotionally-trustworthy, honest, sober, and having integrity, that if we still are not able to relate to one another in a way that would exist within a marriage relationship, that it may be time to move on. I cannot imagine a passion-less, desire-less marriage. I feel that there is effort required on both of our parts to move towards each other by the end of that time, at the end of that time. For my part, and this is where I really need commentary, especially from the females, I believe that I must be about a few things: 1. Surrender my sexuality to God, and ask Him to change me, to give me eyes for my wife, after all we have been through, to help my struggle, 2. To get healthy myself, at all costs, and 3. Relate to my wife in such a way that it motivates her to move towards me; help her to feel loved and cared for during this time of separation, in an entirely non-sexual way(making her life as easy as I can, being available, helping her, listening to her, being patient, loving our children, kind, thoughtful, just being different). I want to attempt to meet needs that she may have in a subtle, unselfish, and consistent way, always looking for different ways to do so. I want to speak her love language. But, in doing so, the way in which I want her to move towards me is in the physical realm. I want her to want to take care of herself for me. What would speak to me at the end of this 6 months is for her to move towards me physically-to somehow, someway indicate to me that she wants me to look at her, that she wants to entice me, to draw me in. If she took control of her diet and began to exercise consistently, doing it first for herself, but wanting me to notice, she would have me. I love her, but I want to WANT her as well, and in a healthy way, not the way we have related in the past. Am I being selfish? Is that too much to ask? I am very fit, and so I do not ask as one who isn't also working hard to stay that way.