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post #16 of 59 (permalink) Old 06-12-2018, 12:25 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Starting Counseling - Advice for success

what's also funny is that when I relinquish sex it becomes other things

"we don't have anything in common", because my career is like super advanced and hers isn't
i control all the money (but i really don't)
constant problems with my mother
you let the kids play too rough

so yea, i guess we're doomed

i'm back to timeboxing this thing, i think by end of summer or earlier she will render her decision

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post #17 of 59 (permalink) Old 06-12-2018, 12:36 PM
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Re: Starting Counseling - Advice for success

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Originally Posted by waynejoey View Post
what's also funny is that when I relinquish sex it becomes other things

"we don't have anything in common", because my career is like super advanced and hers isn't
i control all the money (but i really don't)
constant problems with my mother
you let the kids play too rough

so yea, i guess we're doomed

i'm back to timeboxing this thing, i think by end of summer or earlier she will render her decision
You're getting it dude, you are starting to see what you never wanted to see, what I didn't want to see. I thought I could will our marriage back together for the family. We were both devout, so I thought .... devout Catholics, kids in Catholic School, committed to marriage, kids, family, the future ... that all ended within a matter of months. 18 years was no match, even 1 month into the affair high.

I hate this feeling for me and I hate it for others like yourself as well. I am in full support of the Marriage Counseling but one thing you said, is that she will make the decision. That may not sit well with others but I'm ok with her calling it quits on you, especially if you are still trying to save but I would just adise this. Make sure you are legally covered and have all of your rights and options known before she makes that decision because it's crazy how one second, you are the nice guy trying to do all the right things and feeling like you are betrayed and then the next second, even though you are still playing nice, you become the mortal enemy of the walk away spouse. It's not wrong to know your options but if you feel like the end is inevitable, I would go get a consultation, so you are prepared.

Still hoping that Marriage Counseling uncovers something and she has an aha moment but the more the sounds of it, the more she keeps making more excuses. Keep checking in and let us know how the MC goes. Get that session booked sooner rather than later. Let her do the talking but don't necessarily back down from anything if it's really important to you.
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post #18 of 59 (permalink) Old 06-12-2018, 12:57 PM
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Re: Starting Counseling - Advice for success

Let me throw out some random advice. My angle is, I'm a specialist MC.
So of course I recommend: make sure your MC is someone that specialises in that work, not an IC who "also does" some MC work.

And @stillfightingforus is right about IC -- it tends to put the end to relationships.

Can you just check, is there any other reason she might have "fallen out of love" that you haven't mentioned? Like, you gained 50 pounds, or lost your job, or weren't there for her during some emotional crisis? She got mugged or was in a car crash, a friend or relative died or was in hospital, whatever?

Also, how old are the children?

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Her Issue - Throughout our entire relationship (2 years dating, 5 years marriage) I have been too pushy about sex, and now she is turned off.
Like other posters, I'm sceptical about this. I guess that depends HOW you were pushy. If you sulk when you get a "no" that's bad.

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I believe there is some post-partum / depression at play here and PTSD from her first divorce which was incredibly abusive.
You need to make sure these things are talked about in counselling. Do you know much about her past life? Her previous marriage, her childhood?

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I offered her as much time as she needs to heal.
Okay, but "to heal" makes it sound like you think she's damaged, that this is all her problem. Not a good phrase.

Quote:
Other than wait, any ideas of what else I can do to shine a favorable light on me? Should I continue to orbit around her (watch tv, talk, text) or should I give some space and let her get a feeling of what it is like for me not to be around (absence makes the heart grow fonder).
A moderate course. No extreme of either of those. Don't think too hard about "shining a favorable light" on yourself. Be cheerful.

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Originally Posted by waynejoey View Post
I'm still struggling with all the confusion in her waffling of answers. She says "sex isn't really that important". I said, how often do you think couples have sex that are happy. She says "all the time". Those two answers do not add up. Either you do it all the time if you're happy, or its not important and who cares. I could list a dozen more things where I've received both answers.
Okay, this suggests that you are pushing her for clarity and clear answers, when she's confused. You shouldn't be asking this question.

Quote:
(she said) "I want to get a job so I can have my identity again, followed by, I'm getting a job so if this doesn't work out I have a backup plan."
Hmm. "So I can have my identity again". That seems like a clue.

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Maybe she's just bi-polar and I'm here for the f-ing ride.
No, that doesn't sound at all like bipolar.
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post #19 of 59 (permalink) Old 06-12-2018, 12:59 PM
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Re: Starting Counseling - Advice for success

You use a biblical passage to justify staying married, but admit to wild pre-marital sex. So much for the word of God...

Are you sure you're not just afraid to make a decision? Leaving it up to her to leave is cowardly. What are you afraid of? Looking like the bad guy? Regretting your decision? No decision comes free of negative consequences, right or wrong.
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post #20 of 59 (permalink) Old 06-12-2018, 01:02 PM
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Re: Starting Counseling - Advice for success

I think if you go into counseling with this mindset, it won't work. Right now, it sounds like the full burden for intimacy is on you. That's not right. While it's understandable that she might not want to have sex, it's not right that she can give up all responsibility for fixing the problem. If you go to counseling like this, it will all be about how you need to treat her better and be happy with any scraps of intimacy she gives you. She won't be told that any of this is her problem and that she doesn't have to work to fix anything. If intimacy doesn't improve, it will be all your fault for not working hard enough to figure out the secret combination to unlock her desire.

Intimacy is one of the core foundations of a marriage. Things like intimacy, communication, shared household contributions, etc. should not need to be negotiated. Obviously compromises need to be made, but one person can't just abdicate their responsibility. If you told your wife you no longer felt like working and were just going to stay at home playing video games, I doubt she would feel it's her fault for not motivating you enough to get a job.

Things aren't going to turn around quickly, but you should see some motivation on her part to make things better. If she feels you aren't connected enough, she needs to make some effort to increase that (working less, coming to bed earlier, going on walks, etc.). If she's too stressed, she needs to simplify her life (volunteer less, get an easier job, etc.). But if instead she just goes about her life indifferently waiting for the spark to magically ignite again, you need to understand that your relationship won't get much better.
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post #21 of 59 (permalink) Old 06-12-2018, 01:07 PM
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Re: Starting Counseling - Advice for success

Mmslp
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post #22 of 59 (permalink) Old 06-12-2018, 02:35 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Starting Counseling - Advice for success

@ButtPunch I read MMSLP - awesome read, very helpful. If I had this from the start, I could have probably dealt with these things better.

@Laurentium

>> Also, how old are the children? 2 toddlers and a 9yr old from her prev marriage

>> Like other posters, I'm sceptical about this - yes I sulked when I didn't get sex and sometimes I acted weird or angry

>> Do you know much about her past life? She always had boyfriends, in her 20s she dated someone for like 7 years, she had a miscarriage in her 20s, after dropping out of college she moved from city to city (3 hops total) probably dumping one person along the way. Her mother told me that she was never the same after her divorce. She got knocked up on a first date and then they tried to get serious, but he just cheated on her the whole time and acted aggressive.


@zookeeper I'm not afraid of leaving, I just don't want to regret it if some of these issues are on me and I didn't give a chance for my changes to settle in. I have made some dramatic and consistent changes, but its all been pretty recent. I wasn't following God's plan when I was 30. Re-dedication to my faith is what is having me go down this route. The 30 year old me would be out at the bar right now stock piling girls.


@wilson I wish I had the option of making her take more responsibility. I will think about this angle during MC. She admits on her survey that intimacy is an issue, so hopefully they can give her ways to deal with it.
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post #23 of 59 (permalink) Old 06-12-2018, 05:40 PM
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Re: Starting Counseling - Advice for success

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Originally Posted by waynejoey View Post
>> Do you know much about her past life? She always had boyfriends, in her 20s she dated someone for like 7 years, she had a miscarriage in her 20s, after dropping out of college she moved from city to city (3 hops total) probably dumping one person along the way. Her mother told me that she was never the same after her divorce. She got knocked up on a first date and then they tried to get serious, but he just cheated on her the whole time and acted aggressive.

You need to go deeper into the above and learn more about her sex life in these relationships. Particularly her "abusive" marriage.
@waynejoey I want to commend you for your effort to resolve these issue in a healthy way and to really get to the bottom of what your wife's experience of this relationship and the problems look like. I just want to add another perspective that may help in the grand scheme of figuring things out.

Understand that women and men are very different in their relationship with their own sexuality. Thus far the book Come As You Are by Emily Nagoski, is the only piece of literature I've read that truly captures the magnitude of these differences and the corresponding impact on women's sexuality.

One critical point the author makes is to clarify that women's sexuality is heavily defined by social constructs and heavily influenced by context. Men, way less so. This simple point gives so much insight into issues ranging from women being so negatively affected by body image pressures from advertising or women viewing sex as bad as a result of an ultra conservative religious community or women feeling coerced to "give" their partners sex. Moreover, understanding that women's sexuality relies heavily on context also helps to explain why a light butt slap could get her wild and turned on at the beginning of the relationship but result in her turning into the dragon lady a couple years down the line when she has a baby. Historically, women's sexuality has been defined based on the understanding of male sexuality, a much simpler and straight forward construct, which has led to us women having to deal with men (and women) viewing us as "omg why she gotta be so complicated and make things so difficult".

Therefore it is not nearly as simple as: if she doesn't want to have sex with you it must be because she is not really in love with you.

More things to consider:

1. Considering that women's sexuality is heavily defined by social constructs, it would behoove you to get a better understanding of your wife's childhood and early sexual experiences that would have defined her attitude toward sex. Not to mention her past relationship(s).

I'll give you a simple example of how this has helped myself/my partner - In the past I responded very negatively when my partner attempted to flirt with me by pretending I'm a stranger he's calling to (eg if we're out and he makes whistling noises or flirty comments when he catches my eye/ear if we are physically distanced from each other). I could not verbalize or understand why it enraged me. Only through conversation about my childhood did it come to light how negatively catcalling affected me. Over this side it is the norm and it can become very aggressive when it is done by males in groups. I can recall feeling the need to protect my older sister and feeling her shame from the verbal assaults of catcallers from the age of 9. This was the source of my deep-seated anger towards my partner's innocent attempts at flirting, and it contributed to a bit of an overwhelming need to hold hands with my partner in public. I felt safer when he held my hands in public as the likelihood of catcalling would be slim to none. So when he was concerned that I got annoyed if he didn't hold my hand because I wanted him to publicly display his affection/our intimacy, it was really because of my anxiety from potential catcallers and the nasty feelings surrounding bad experiences from childhood.

2. Sexual response relies on a dual response as opposed to an 'I am in the mood or not' approach. While this is applicable to both men and women, because women are generally more sensitive to context there are a lot more considerations that make up their dual response construct. The dual response: 1) accelerator/ excitor, 2) brake/inhibitor. The accelerator is the body's turn on response to anything around us that we deem sexually relevant; brake is the turn off response to anything around us that says we shouldn't be in the mood right now. Most of us women are smack dab in the middle of both of these however some of us are outliers for one or both of these responses. For example some women have very sensitive brakes so discomfort with their own body will be an inhibitor to them being able to have sex especially with the lights on, an example of sensitive accelerator is getting easily turned on by certain scents or a visual that may seem sexually irrelevant to others. Or for some women knowing their children are awake and around is a major brake whereas some women can have an exciting romp once the kids are taken care of and the door is locked. Or for some women the idea of sex in public is a great accelerator, and just hinting at it seductively could turn them on.

3. It is common for women to have very little understanding of (and appreciation for) their bodies. Us women grow up knowing more about what a random penis looks like than our own vaginas. Think about it, men's sexual apparatus is right there, easy to see and operate. If a woman does not consciously sit back in front of a mirror, spread her legs and examine her vulva, she ain't gonna know what the thing really looks like. Likewise masturbation does not come as naturally to women compared to men. All of this adds up to some of us women not really being in tune with our bodies and not being able to communicate what we need. We have this idea in our heads of the end goal but no clue as to how to get there.

For a long time I wanted this sensual sexual experience where I trust my partner fully, and I savor his caresses, his whispers in my ear of how much he wants to make love to me, where I enjoy his rough hands all over me, sweet slow music in the background, his warm breath on my ***** lips right before he kisses them hungrily, me cumming all over his **** while I look him in the eyes and ride him slowly. NEVER EVER HAPPENED. We could never get to that point because I was always rushing into things. I felt pressured to get wet and horny quickly because I was overly conscious about how long it took for me to get there (example of a sexual brake) compared to my partner whose **** was always stiff and ready (the result of a social construct defined based on men's sexuality - something's wrong with the female who's not instantly ready and willing for her male partner). The result was I usually did not get wet but went ahead and had sex anyways which often resulted in me experiencing some pain or me not being super horny and into it, or a combination of both.

So let's say the situation above is the norm for a woman in that her sexual experiences with her partner frequently mirror the above or something similar. While this woman feels a deep need to have fulfilling sex, her own poor understanding of her body, backed by negative sexual myths only serve to hinder her ability to truly enjoy sex. Add to that her having sensitive brakes and zero understanding of how context affects her sexual desire. Plus a husband who is frustrated that she's not in the mood as much as he and when she is, she doesn't seem to find it as pleasurable as he. The result is a woman who is very confused about why sex doesn't just happen naturally or as amazingly as she truly wishes it were. Because this is all she's ever known about sex, she wonders if something wrong with her or could it be that something is wrong with her partner? Even if she considers that something is wrong with her, where does she begin to figure it out? This is often what leads to women suggesting that ok maybe if he offered more domestic help, maybe if he lost weight, maybe if he did this differently or that differently or did this for me or something else at this time.

She simply cannot comprehend that her understanding of her sexuality is severely limited and based on erroneous assumptions going wayyyy back. She is not able to recognize how all of this adds us to a self-defeating approach to sex, and years of poor sex that has solidified in her mind that it's just not worth the hassle. Or that sex is all about her husband's pleasure. Or that amazing sex is for other couples.

Edited to add: #4 - There's a lot more to sex than penetration.
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post #24 of 59 (permalink) Old 06-12-2018, 06:54 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Starting Counseling - Advice for success

@Keke24 wow that is a mouthful. there are a lot of things in there that make sense

i would love to read that book cover to cover and be right there to support the identification and resolution of excitors / inhibitors

the reality is, my wife things this stuff is "weird" and is totally closed off. i sent her the love bank stuff you guys told me about with cliff notes of like 10 points that exactly described our situation

her response "i read it", "its weird"

So as you can see this whole thing is coupled with a communication problem as she will not reveal the feelings. In the future it would be so much better if I could probe for those issues, and she would reveal the objection, and then we could overcome it together (like locking the door or planning another time).

I'll add that book to my list, I have a lot of reading to do.
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post #25 of 59 (permalink) Old 06-13-2018, 03:36 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Starting Counseling - Advice for success

@Keke24 do you recommend that I read Come as you are, or is that really for a woman to read. The last self-help book for men I read was so darn good I'm ready to pick up another one.

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post #26 of 59 (permalink) Old 06-13-2018, 03:53 PM
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Re: Starting Counseling - Advice for success

There is only one book you should read and its the 'Married Man's Sex Life Primer'. Everything else is just a bunch of psychobabble fluff that will lead you nowhere.

And I agree you should not be begging for sex or acting all pissy because she turns you down on the regular. What is that going to accomplish? Maybe some pity sex? Who needs that? Go get a gym membership, lift, better yourself physically and mentally. Read how to build the attraction, follow Kay's MAP. Best case, your wife starts digging you again. Worse case, you are ahead of the curve when your wife hits you with divorce.
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post #27 of 59 (permalink) Old 06-13-2018, 05:48 PM
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Re: Starting Counseling - Advice for success

^^^This! Time to start living for yourself and making yourself happy. She is an anchor right now. And she expects to have her previous marriage mistakes righted by someone...If not you, then someone else. Except we all know that is not how an marriage works.

She sounds like the perfect candidate for using the 180 on. Start working out. Go out by yourself, stop paying her way for ANYTHING... Make sure she has a self supporting job and she is paying into living conditions. No free ride. If she starts to throw it at you, just remind her you are part of this "contract" and you matter as well. And you are not happy. So, you are making yourself happy.

Soon, she can get her act together and start fawning for you, or she calls the bluff and moves out. Either way, problem is being solved, and you heart and head are intact.
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post #28 of 59 (permalink) Old 06-13-2018, 05:56 PM
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Re: Starting Counseling - Advice for success

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That is a tough and very valid perspective. Sex is really important to me, I think it keeps the couple strong and bonded. I know the feeling I get after, I can't control because its chemical, it just gives me a sense of satisfaction that lasts for days.

I'm still struggling with all the confusion in her waffling of answers. She says "sex isn't really that important". I said, how often do you think couples have sex that are happy. She says "all the time". Those two answers do not add up. Either you do it all the time if you're happy, or its not important and who cares. I could list a dozen more things where I've received both answers.

I want to get a job so I can get out of here, followed by, I do not want to get a divorce.
I want to get a job so I can have my identity again, followed by, I'm getting a job so if this doesn't work out I have a backup plan.
Acting like she is excited to look for a job, then I ask "hey this job search is exciting huh", and she says "no, not really, I don't like being around people".
Telling me she is not in love with me, followed by, "my heart explodes for you because you are the father of my kids".
I don't care what happens to this house, followed by, we need to fix the tree, the grass, the sink...
I can't imagine being with anyone else, followed by, I won't wait 3 years for this to pan out (decision will be quicker)
There were moments throughout marriage where she told me how much she loves me (and showed it), now she says "I haven't loved you for a long time". I can tell you 5 months ago we had some of the most passionate sex we ever had.

Maybe she's just bi-polar and I'm here for the f-ing ride.


I think this will be a time for both of us to finally choose what is most important. This fork in the road should have been executed before the engagement.
Do you honestly believe it is realistic or sustainable for needs to be met only one way?

You really have a tendency to wash away any firmness in a slurry of words, so please just stick to a simple yes or no.

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post #29 of 59 (permalink) Old 06-13-2018, 05:57 PM
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Re: Starting Counseling - Advice for success

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Originally Posted by waynejoey View Post
what's also funny is that when I relinquish sex it becomes other things

"we don't have anything in common", because my career is like super advanced and hers isn't
i control all the money (but i really don't)
constant problems with my mother
you let the kids play too rough

so yea, i guess we're doomed

i'm back to timeboxing this thing, i think by end of summer or earlier she will render her decision
Smokescreen.

Yet, you intend to continue to dispense with that which she said yesterday was the problem?

How did it feel when she moved the goal posts on you?

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post #30 of 59 (permalink) Old 06-13-2018, 06:02 PM
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Re: Starting Counseling - Advice for success

Have you ever given her the same response to a request for an active service that she gives you over sex?

"Sorry, but that's just not that important to me."

The more you acquiesce, the more she will be able to walk over you, and the less she will respect you.

She may like control, but what she likes and what she needs are two distinctly different things.

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