Originally Posted by TallDrinkoWater View Post
Hello all, new user here needing some advice.
My wife and I have been married for 17 years and we have 3 kids from ages 10 - 15. Up until last year, since about 1996, I made it a priority to be as intimate as possible trying to show my wife through actions that I was truly in love with her (because I was) by making sure we kissed goodbye, holding her, holding her hand, calling her from work in the middle of the day and whatever else I could think of to be certain she knew I was thinking of her. I also talked to her and let her know what I was doing and that I would feel better if she recipricated...that I needed to know that she was thinking of me. I had read somewhere that the more intimate a husband/wife is, the more successful they become! Also, it was fun and I enjoyed it, and I thought we both enjoyed it.
Pause. Good intentions. Possible wrong actions.
Have you done any reading on love languages? The kinds of attention that you have been giving may be how YOU speak love. But it may not be how she hears it.
My husband speaks love through touch. Not I! I have to work really hard not to flinch with his little drive by caresses. Not that I don't love the feel of him, but if I am say doing the dishes, it feels like his body is in my way. He has a very hard time speaking love my way, through words of affirmation.
But knowing about love languages and specifically what each of yours are may help you learn to speak and HEAR each others'.
It would get better for a month or so, then she would would revert back to acting like she didnt care, like we were just friends not an intimate couple, not initiating sex (I would have to do that all the time) and now talking to me or showing me she cared.
Ok we are talking about intimacy, caring and sex all in the same breath. This makes sense for you because, like many men, they go hand in hand. The sex forms and strengthens the intimacy.
It may be helpful to recognize that for many women it does not work that way. The feeling of caring and intimacy must preclude the desire for sex. Sex is expression of what is rather than the creation of so to speak.
So I would talk to her, let her know I'd like more involvement from her, for her to initiate sex, etc. Almost like a bell curve, it would improve then slowly dissipate until she was back to not showing she cared again.
In addition to this, when I would try to have a conversation with her, she would now begin to get irritable with me, start yelling and getting sarcastic as soon as I mentioned anything that had to do with criticising her actions. Of course, when I would admit my faults and what I was doing to correct them, she was all on board and offering constructive criticism, which I took in stride and corrected as best as I could.
Since the end of last year, I've given up. I'm tired of fighting this. Obviously, now, unless I completely initiate it, there is no intimacy in our relationship.
Pause for a moment. In your mind, try to disassociate sex and intimacy. She likely feels a lack of INTIMACY that makes her not want to have sex.
Please do not feel blamed. Or accused. It takes only one in a partnership to learn new ideas, act accordingly and change the dynamic in the hopes of engendering a change in the other. You are the one who is here. I woudl be saying similar things to her from a different PoV if she were here.
Unless I begin a conversation, she is content to watch TV. If I do something nice, I can honestly say I can count the number of times she has said 'thank you' on 1 hand. And, unless its done in a sarcastic manner, I truly cannot remember a time when she has apologized or said 'I'm sorry'.
You sound like you have a number of issues before you. Not at all uncommon when things have piled up over 17 years!
What really irritates me is that she is all happy and bubbly with her friends. None of them get treated like I do. They all get to see the fun/smiley/friendly/encouraging wife...the wife I married just out of college. I never get to see that when we're alone. I get the sarcastic/pissed off or just completely disinterested wife. I bring this up with my wife; the response is usually along the lines of, "Whatever".
Now, I know that when I point a finger at someone to criticize them, I've got three more pointing back at me. But, damn, I'm just tired of the fight.
I've asked our kids what they think of their parents relationship to get their point of view, and they think its good. Our 10-yr old thinks its really good because "you don't fight like some of my friends parents".
Several prongs, all of them have to do with educating yourself on creating a new dynamic.
1. Google love banks, love languages.
2. Read here the Nice Guy and man up threads. Is it possible to be TOO good to your wife? You betcha. And guess what it kills? You betcha. Sex. Also read the stickies in the Men's Clubhouse about fitness tests and how to pass them.
3. Find a resource on limit setting in a relationship. if she is treating you poorly, then you need to decide on, and effectively set the boundaries of behavior you are going to set.